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Mobile data transfer: Speed vs. ease of use

Posted: 11 Aug 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:data transfer? Wi-Fi? USB? 3G?

Wi-Fi connection
An alternative to a physical USB connection is to use a Wi-Fi network. In this case you simply turn on the antenna (if you have disabled it previously to conserve battery power) and select the desired network. Almost all phones are capable of interfacing with the security systems set up on a wireless network, such as Wired Equivalency Privacy or Wi-Fi Protected Access.

The inherent benefit of using a Wi-Fi network is the fact that there are no wires necessary. However, the connection is not as widely available as using a cellular network, such as a 3G network, as you have to within range of a transmitter. However, there are a number of locations that have available wireless networks, such as Starbucks, but whether there is a price involved or not is another question.

Compared to using a USB connection, Wi-Fi is not as fast, but it is more convenient in that it does not require a separate cable. Take the example again of going to a friend's house and wanting to download something. All you have to do is jump onto their wireless network, and hopefully get their password, and you can go to the iTunes store and download a song that you just heard on the radio.

The other thing about using a Wi-Fi network is that it tends to drain the battery on a cellphone relatively quickly. Take for example the specifications for the iPhone. It claims to have up to 6 hours of Internet use time on a Wi-Fi network. While this may seem like a fair amount of time, as long as the antenna is active it will constantly be drawing power from the battery to try to identify a wireless network. For the Bold I have noticed that if the Wi-Fi is turned on the phone has to be recharged every night, where as if the Wi-Fi is turned off then the phone can last for a few days before requiring a recharge.

The Storm was not included in the testing as it does offer Wi-Fi capabilities.

It was surprising that the file size sent to the Bold was so small, and yet it took so long for the file to download and install, where as the iPhone received a much larger file and installed the program at a much higher MByte/s rate.

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