updated 11:05 am EDT, Thu September 30, 2010
Verizon home 4G router tops 28Mbps pre-launch
A member of a private beta test today posted speed test results through a friend that reportedly shows real 4G speeds on the carrier's near-complete LTE network. Using what's described as a 10-inch square Thomson TG789vn router linked by Ethernet to an external dome receiver, the Edinboro, Pennsylvania-based tester at the BBR forums recorded speeds of nearly 28Mbps for downloads and 5Mbps upstream. While possible with FiOS, the relatively high latency at or near 150ms is more indicative of wireless but better than a usual satellite.
The test is only 60 people strong and appears to be a cooperation between DirecTV and Verizon, although the satellite TV provider may be there due to the fixed, outside-of-the-house installs. Verizon is said to want the testing a secret and may also be using the outside help to avoid drawing attention to the project as well as taking resources from its regular technician rollout.
While unconfirmed by Verizon, the test is considered a prelude to a full service and would turn the test participants into paying customers if they decide to keep using it. If based on LTE, the commercial service could be due as soon as the end of the year.
The testing is potentially promising for 4G. Verizon has promised 12Mbps typical maximum speeds and 50Mbps peak at best, but the new test would suggest that at least some users could get closer to the network's theoretical maximum in the right conditions. Smartphones, notebooks and tablets are likely to get less since they don't have as powerful equipment but could still stream HD and play multiplayer games over cellular with little impact. The first 4G smartphones are unofficially anticipated in January.
Fixed installs such as the Edinboro test may also help expand rural adoption, since Verizon could connect whole neighborhoods without having to run lines to each home.