News that Europe's first commercial LTE network was only capable of delivering up to 12 Mbps sent the cellular industry gossip machine into overdrive earlier this week. Tests conducted by Northstream, a local analyst firm, indicated that anticipated performance was below the promised 50 Mbps when connections were made from in, and outside, Northstream's offices in Stockholm.
This somewhat unscientific approach to network performance testing has been overtaken by results gained by SwissQual, an independent Swiss network quality measurement firm. According to the company, it has conducted drive testing on the LTE network in Stockholm and established that data downlink speeds up to 47 Mbps and TCP latency as low as 20 ms were achievable.
According to Magnus Hylen, SwissQual product manager, the tests used its own optimiser technology, the new Samsung Kalmia LTE and the Swedish Internet Infrastructure Foundation's server to test data download and upload to ensure that there were no bottlenecks in the IP connection.
"This was crucial for accurate and reliable throughput assessment, especially at the speeds we now see with LTE," said Hylen. Naturally LTE is in its infancy, and this meant that we saw regular disconnects and modem restarts. However, this is something we have experienced with all new mobile technologies during the early phases of the rollout. Apart from these issues, the performance that we have recorded is really impressive and sets a new baseline for mobile high speed data services."
Seemingly embarrassed by the media attention, Northstream has conducted a second round of more thorough tests at several spots in central Stockholm, which showed LTE in a more positive light. According to the company, the downlink data rates were above 25Mbps more often than below, and reached 45 Mbps on some occasions. This number is much closer to the "up to 50 Mbps" promised by TeliaSonera's Web site, conceded Northstream.
LTE-to-HSPA hand-off demonstrated, courtesy of ST-Ericsson
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