4G LTE networks are experiencing record levels of traffic as people turn to mobile internet to stay connected in quarantine. Last month, for example, online gaming traffic on Verizon’s 4G LTE network more than doubled. During that same period, video traffic increased by more than a third. As traffic increased, average download speeds have miraculously stayed constant.
From January 27 to March 29, Opensignal measured average 4G LTE download speeds in a handful of countries. The study found that while 4G LTE speeds decreased in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom as the demand for mobile data increased in those countries, the average download speed in the United States stayed at around 26.6 Mbps throughout March.
That doesn’t mean some people aren’t starting to see a decrease in their mobile internet speeds now that the crisis has deepened in the United States. As businesses close, states go on lockdown, and people self-isolate, the changes in mobile internet traffic patterns and user behavior could be slowing down your fixed wireless internet connection.
Are you experiencing slower internet speeds during the coronavirus crisis? Let’s take a closer look at some of the new factors that could be affecting your average download speeds.
People are using mobile internet from home
People tend to congregate in commercial districts during the day. To manage this traffic pattern, carriers usually build higher capacity cell towers in busy commercial areas and lower capacity towers in residential areas that have lower daytime population density. Coronavirus has upended this typical traffic pattern as most people cut out travel and skip their daily commute.
People now spend much less time in commercial districts where carriers have already invested heavily in network infrastructure and more time in residential districts where the network infrastructure was never intended for huge amounts of daytime traffic. While average download speeds in commercial districts may be faster, while those in residential districts could be slower.
T-Mobile and other carriers are responding to this issue by rapidly increasing the capacities of their cell towers in residential areas. In March, T-Mobile doubled its 4G LTE network capacity in just three days by adding new 600 MHz frequency bands on loan from other wireless companies. The new bands also increased the average 600 GHz 4G LTE download speed from 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps.
Mobile internet traffic now spikes at different times of the day
Daily download speeds used to dip in the evening when people got off work and returned home or went to meet friends. While people are in quarantine, daily download speeds are low at other times too. For example, Opensignal finds that daily download speeds in Italy also dip in the morning now as people start remote work, begin online classes, or check the morning news.
While mobile download speeds have stayed steady in the United States so far, you may notice some changes in your internet experience throughout the day due to these changes in internet user behavior. For help determining whether any recent changes in your fixed wireless internet speed are normal or not, start a chat or give EvdoDepotUSA a call at (866) 439-6630.