Now that I've got tethering up and running on my iPhone I thought I'd run it through some tests and compare it to my previous interwebz connection, my HTC Mogul on Sprint's EV-DO Rev A Network.
Sprint usually excels at being the first of all the networks to really push cellular networking technology out of the gate, however competition can be a bitch and AT&T is that bitch. We all know AT&T is under a lot of pressure from it's customers for some lame ass business habits and frankly I'm quite surprised Apple has tolerated any of it. Apple's iPhone is capable of so much and AT&T seems like they'd rather hinder the device than embrace it.
[DISCLAIMER: I, in no way, recommend you put your iPhone or Mogul through the following methods to enable features AT&T has yet to acknowledge. You take full responsibility for your actions, any malfunction you may cause your device and/or any charges you incur. With that being said, many people have gotten these features to work with little to no known side effects, YET.]
Let me make this clear, I have not yet enabled MMS, as that fork in the road leads to shitloads of other headaches at the moment but if you're so inclined feel free to read this and give it a shot. As much as I fucking loathe AT&T's viewmycocksack.com method of viewing MMS messages I still prefer to wait on an official release for that one. It's coming, but not till late summer. Plus MMS will actually modify your Carrier Profile while the tethering hack is simply adding an additional network profile that can easily be deleted if you no longer need it. Here's how you do the tethering hack, it's super simple to do.
Some users have been reporting that their visual voicemail no longer works, for the record I had no problems with mine, but the solution seems easy enough so the payoff depends on your point of view and as always, YMMV.
When you first install the tethering profile you'll notice an extra setting, Internet Tethering in your Network settings at Settings>General>Network. All you need to do is simply turn it on and your Mac will recognize it as a new network connection simply click on ok and then apply and you'll be surfing like Johnny Utah in no time. It's Apple's "It just works" slogan being put the test and...it just does. I haven't tested this on my PC, though I"m sure you'll have to go through the usual driver install rigamarole and you should be set. If for whatever reason you need to uninstall or remove the AT&T Profile later simply go to Settings>General>Profile and tap on remove and you'll be golden.
While Apple's iPhone has tethering built-in in 3.0, my HTC Mogul requires the use of third-party software to use your current data plan and avoid having to pay extra for, ridiculousness. The Mogul does have tehtering built-in as well however it's finicky as all fuck and you need to pay additionally for a Phone As Modem data plan. Just for kicks the software I used was USBModem by Mobile Stream. It's $20 and they do have a fully working trial version that you can test to make sure it works on your device first. I'll stand by it as I've used it for well over a year and comes in super handy when you
forget to pay your Time Warner bill really need it.
DL Speed/UL Speed
Network performance depends on many variables that affect speed so this is not scientific in anyway whatsoever but the highest speeds I've achieved so far are noted here. I took both networks to task at SpeakEasy.net and chose servers from San Fransisco and Dallas and here are the results.
HTC Mogul SAN FRANSISCO server, Sprint EV-DO Rev A
HTC Mogul DALLAS server, Sprint EV-DO Rev A
Loading videos from YouTube, GameTrailers, Game Videos, etc, there was always the need to queue them up and let them load entirely before even watching them. Streaming was not an option as the constant stop and go would get annoying quick. For occasionally updating the blog the HTC Mogul held it's own. The only time it really disappointed me was during E3. Trying to liveblog while watching the conferences was such a nightmare I had to resort to simply watching the conference and writing up some afterthoughts.
Now let's look at the speeds I get on AT&T's 3G Network. AT&T's 7.2 Mbps HSDPA Network won't start rolling out till later next year and rumor has it that AT&T will officially announce iPhone tethering then. It seems a bit pointless to me as only the 3GS has built-in support for those blazing fast speeds but a Thailandnese hooker makes more sense than AT&T at the moment.
Apple iPhone SAN FRANSISCO server, AT&T 3G Network
Apple iPhone DALLAS server, AT&T 3G Network
Upload speeds are generally always low. For example at home I can get anywhere near 16Mbps DL speed but my upload speed never passes the 1Mbps mark. Not entirely sure if that's bad as I don't really ever upload much aside from the podcast and pics for the blog.
It's quite obvious the speeds on AT&T's network are plenty fast, however the downside is it's not official yet. So eventhough you are paying AT&T for an "unlimited" iPhone Data plan, more than likely there is a fair use clause in there somewhere which caps it at a 5GB bandwith limit. I haven't quite reached that point yet, although on my Sprint data plan I did reach 11GB of bandwith month after month without a peep from Sprint. I'll chuck that up to my archaic Sprint Power Vision plan, which I don't think is an option any more. Visiting all the major sites I've noticed most tethering plans all start at about $30 and go up to $60, and all have a 5GB cap. Convenience wins in the end though. I'll take the risks and see what comes of my handy iPhone. The phone is still fully functional while tethered, you can still receive calls, text messages, play music etc. With the simple flick of a swtich I'm online as opposed to having to fumble through menu after menu on my Windows Mobile based HTC Mogul. Gotta hand it to Apple, they make some slick devices.