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Thread: Best phone for maximizing throughput speeds

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    Best phone for maximizing throughput speeds

    What would be the best phone / hotspot for maximizing cellular download and upload speeds on a budget?

    Ideally, if I could get something that is unlocked that would work on either AT&T or T-Mobile, that would be ideal. But if not, then AT&T usage is the primary choice.

    A hotspot would probably work - since I'm only interested in the data. But my plan would be to use either the 15GB for $40/mo AT&T Prepaid plan or 8GB Prepaid plan - both of which allow for mobile hotspot - or possibly a T-Mobile MVNO plan. I'm not sure if using those plans in a hotspot is frowned upon or not.

    I'm not so much interested in the WiFi output part - since I have a router setup where I can just plug any phone or (presumably) hotspot into via USB and get better WiFi coverage.

    Is there any particular phone that does carrier aggregation that might achieve better throughput on the cell side? Anything on a budget? Ideally I'd like to keep the expense to around $100, but I don't know how feasible that is. I know I can get a random phone for under $100 to work on AT&T - but I'm not certain if any of those support CA or have better antenna reception. Or really even if CA or antenna construction would really help that much.

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    "What would be the best phone / hotspot for maximizing cellular download and upload speeds on a budget?"

    That's an impossible question to answer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesfinley View Post
    What would be the best phone / hotspot for maximizing cellular download and upload speeds on a budget?

    Ideally, if I could get something that is unlocked that would work on either AT&T or T-Mobile, that would be ideal. But if not, then AT&T usage is the primary choice.

    A hotspot would probably work - since I'm only interested in the data. But my plan would be to use either the 15GB for $40/mo AT&T Prepaid plan or 8GB Prepaid plan - both of which allow for mobile hotspot - or possibly a T-Mobile MVNO plan. I'm not sure if using those plans in a hotspot is frowned upon or not.

    I'm not so much interested in the WiFi output part - since I have a router setup where I can just plug any phone or (presumably) hotspot into via USB and get better WiFi coverage.

    Is there any particular phone that does carrier aggregation that might achieve better throughput on the cell side? Anything on a budget? Ideally I'd like to keep the expense to around $100, but I don't know how feasible that is. I know I can get a random phone for under $100 to work on AT&T - but I'm not certain if any of those support CA or have better antenna reception. Or really even if CA or antenna construction would really help that much.
    There isn't much, if anything, under $100. An unlocked, generic Moro E6 will work on any carrier and has all the major LTE bands. They are ~$100. They will do 2x CA.

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    Honestly I get a little confused when it comes to LTE categories, carrier aggregation, and MIMO.

    Is there any website that lists this information per phone so different phones can be compared. My personal use phone is a Moto X4 - which is a little old. How does it compare to a Moto E6?

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesfinley View Post
    Honestly I get a little confused when it comes to LTE categories, carrier aggregation, and MIMO.

    Is there any website that lists this information per phone so different phones can be compared. My personal use phone is a Moto X4 - which is a little old. How does it compare to a Moto E6?
    I use gsmarena & phonearena.

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    I can confirm Pixel 3a will work as a hotspot, you can get a used one. It is compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, just make sure to get an unlocked one.

    I recently used it as a backup (USB tethered directly to my desktop) when my cable internet went offline for a few hours. It worked fine except it seemed after some period of inactivity it seemed to drop connection. I think I had to turn the screen on in order to get it working again, just don't remember for sure.

    I understand carrier aggregation and speed is important to you but I just wouldn't worry about it, here is why: you are considering data-capped plans. All high speed will do is you will run out of data faster. In fact I had to disable screen sharing during the meeting while I was tethered because it seemed to consume about 0.5GB/hour. And to begin with, hotspot via cell phone is a best-effort case anyway - if you tower is shared between a lot of users at the moment you will be slowed down no matter what speed your phone can support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe007 View Post
    And to begin with, hotspot via cell phone is a best-effort case anyway - if you tower is shared between a lot of users at the moment you will be slowed down no matter what speed your phone can support.
    The point of more CA is more channels/bands bonded simultaneously so if the particular channel you're connected too becomes congested, then you have another to fall back on - so yes CA matters even on capped plans.

    It's why when I tether an old device, my speed is roughly half of when i use my OnePlus 8 or iPhone 12 ProMax, and I can feel a difference in speed/performance on things like page loads.

    Also, a person is not likely to use "more" data just because it comes faster unless they're streaming video. HTML is the same size at 500kbps vs 5000kbps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad15 View Post
    The point of more CA is more channels/bands bonded simultaneously so if the particular channel you're connected too becomes congested, then you have another to fall back on - so yes CA matters even on capped plans.

    It's why when I tether an old device, my speed is roughly half of when i use my OnePlus 8 or iPhone 12 ProMax, and I can feel a difference in speed/performance on things like page loads.

    Also, a person is not likely to use "more" data just because it comes faster unless they're streaming video. HTML is the same size at 500kbps vs 5000kbps.
    I never said they will use more data, just that they will run out of it faster. Perfect example is downloading some large application or a Windows Update.

    I actually think it also applies to a degree even to streaming video example. The way I understand it if client indicates it can support higher speed the server may push higher rate bitstream, hence consuming MORE data as an outcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe007 View Post
    I never said they will use more data, just that they will run out of it faster. Perfect example is downloading some large application or a Windows Update.

    I actually think it also applies to a degree even to streaming video example. The way I understand it if client indicates it can support higher speed the server may push higher rate bitstream, hence consuming MORE data as an outcome.
    Thing is, if you're after a 12GB file.. you're after a 12GB file. Does not matter the speed.

    That's just an odd way to look at it. That Windows Update is not going to be smaller on a slower connection, it's just going to take longer (and keep resources tied up from someone else on that channel... longer)

    The idea is to get the *same* work done in less time, and get that user off the network as fast as possible. Again, unless you're streaming video/audio that dynamically changes it's quality based on connection speed.. you're not going to go through more data.. you will just get the info/file you need faster so you can move onto something else. Sure it's "faster" consumption, but that's also less time I spend waiting on the one file I needed and can leave my Mac/PC for something else I need to do.

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