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Thread: Any free ways to check Hotspot speeds?

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    Any free ways to check Hotspot speeds?

    So my roommate and I currently have RedPocket AT&T and use that for home internet. (Total typical usage is about 80GB/month, but we could likely limit it to 50GB without too much trouble). However, probably because of 3G towers being shut down here or whatever, speeds have become very slow over the last few weeks. So I'm looking for alternatives, but first need to check out whether TMo and Verizon give good hotspot speeds at this location.

    For TMo, I had bookmarked this TMo Test Drive link for future reference. It still talks about a physical hotspot device, but the link to order a device goes to their new Network Pass program, which says "Tethering not available" in its fine print.

    So am I understanding this correctly - now there's no way to test hotspot speeds on TMobile (as a free trial)? And if so, is there some other *free* way to get a feel for TMo hotspot speeds?

    Thank you very much for any help and suggestions! Would also appreciate any ideas on (free) ways to test out hotspot speeds before signing up with any prepaid provider. Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Can you use the SpeedTest app and test the WiFi signal (which comes from the hotspot device) ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Can you use the SpeedTest app and test the WiFi signal (which comes from the hotspot device) ?
    Hi hpham, I must not be thinking clearly because I don't seem to understand your post
    The TMo free trial doesn't allow tethering, so I'm not sure what you mean by "test the WiFi signal (which comes from the hotspot device)"

    Oh, or do you mean - I should sign up for TMo's free trial and run the speedtest app on the device to see what the speeds are?

    Or are you asking about testing my current Red Pocket AT&T speeds? - speedtest shows barely 0.52 Mbps for download speeds, and < 1Mbps for upload. So really terrible speeds on the phone, as well as on the devices that connect to the Red Pocket hotspot.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sillyette View Post
    Hi hpham, I must not be thinking clearly because I don't seem to understand your post
    Please disregard what I said. I didn't pay attention to the fact that the T-mo trial doesn't allow tethering.

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    Keep in mind that the same data your phone uses is the same as what your HS device uses. Any speed difference between the data speed on the phone itself and a HS device is based on your phones vs HS devices reception and transmission ability, not the network. So you can compare the data speed you're getting with your ATT to TMO or VZW on a phone.
    Boils down to whether TMO (or Verizon) gives you a better data signal then ATT. You don't need a HS device to find that out.
    But a better device or better phone, antenna wise, can give you a better signal as well as better wifi HS transmission ability. (But not by leaps and bounds)
    Last edited by rpz1; 09-18-2022 at 10:50 PM.

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    For that free Tmobile 3 month trial, you need an iphone with esim. Not sure if android support is up. I got the trial on a 2020 iphone se & it works as does hotspot & tethering.

    You might also try this:https://www.amazon.com/Mint-Mobile-S...-1-spons&psc=1
    Only 250mb of data, but should be enough for 1 or 2 speedtests.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seawulf View Post
    For that free Tmobile 3 month trial, you need an iphone with esim. Not sure if android support is up. I got the trial on a 2020 iphone se & it works as does hotspot & tethering.
    Wait, are you able to hotspot/tether on the new Network Pass 3-month free trial? I saw the fine print about no tethering and gave up on it. My roommate has an iPhone with eSIM but doesn't want to go through the whole thing if we won't be able to check hotspot speeds. Please post if hotspot is available. Thanks!

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    I've used over 5gb both plugged into my laptop via tethering and connected to the hotspot via wifi. My iphone is fully unlocked. I'll use more data at the last week of the month to test throttling.

    Even if my experience is a fluke, I think it's worth getting since it's free data and takes 5 min to sign up via the app. Just remember the last step won't work unless you scroll left/right thru all the info.

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    Thanks for confirming, Seawulf! I think I should be able to convince my roommate to try and sign up. She has an iPhone with eSIM that doesn't have any carrier on the physical sim. I hope they will allow that wi-fi phone to be activated. (They say something like - compare TMo's network to your current carrier, so I hope a wi-fi phone will work for the trial).

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    Quote Originally Posted by sillyette View Post
    She has an iPhone with eSIM that doesn't have any carrier on the physical sim. I hope they will allow that wi-fi phone to be activated. (They say something like - compare TMo's network to your current carrier, so I hope a wi-fi phone will work for the trial).
    No, the phone has to be on an active plan on a physical sim to activate the trial. You can just swap any active eSIM(EDIT: I mean any active physical sim) until it's active then remove it.

    Also if the phone is carrier locked, so is the eSIM.
    Last edited by Seawulf; 09-19-2022 at 09:17 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    Keep in mind that the same data your phone uses is the same as what your HS device uses. Any speed difference between the data speed on the phone itself and a HS device is based on your phones vs HS devices reception and transmission ability, not the network. So you can compare the data speed you're getting with your ATT to TMO or VZW on a phone.
    Boils down to whether TMO (or Verizon) gives you a better data signal then ATT. You don't need a HS device to find that out.
    But a better device or better phone, antenna wise, can give you a better signal as well as better wifi HS transmission ability. (But not by leaps and bounds)
    Hotspot speeds generally have a lower priority than on-device data, which means speeds may be less while tethered if the network is congested. It’s in the fine print.

    For example: https://www.t-mobile.com/iot-devices/hotspots

    “During congestion, hotspot users may notice lower speeds than other customers, and further reduction for heavy data users (>50GB/mo. for most plans), due to data prioritization; see plan for details. High-speed data on our network up to monthly allowance, then max 2G speeds for Mobile Internet plans and max 3G speeds for Mobile Hotspot.”

    That being said - I’m in an area with a ton of T-Mobile customers and yes, in my experience my hotspot speeds are less than what I see on my phone. Still perfectly usable though for streaming and what not.

    I can’t think of any free ways to test hotspot speeds. As long as coverage is decent though, even lower priority access to the network should result in useable hotspot. I’m not sure how much you both spend combined for cell service that includes home internet usage, but it might be worthwhile to calculate the cheapest wireline broadband service + dropping down to a very minimal or no data package cell service to compensate for spending on home internet.


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    I'm still not 100% clear if the OP is using their phone as a there home internet HS or using a dedicated HS device. Either way, a data signal is what it is. You don't need to HS to know what data signal you get. Just testing Vzw, TMO, or ATT in your area on your phone is all you need to get close enough to what you'll experience when using what ever device as a HS.
    After that it boils down to how well which ever device you use transmits the signal within your house if HS via wifi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    I'm still not 100% clear if the OP is using their phone as a there home internet HS or using a dedicated HS device. Either way, a data signal is what it is. You don't need to HS to know what data signal you get. Just testing Vzw, TMO, or ATT in your area on your phone is all you need to get close enough to what you'll experience when using what ever device as a HS.
    After that it boils down to how well which ever device you use transmits the signal within your house if HS via wifi.
    Tethering from your phone and a dedicated hotspot device receive the same lower priority and potentially speeds depending on the network congestion. Unless you’ve regularly used wireless service to tether while traveling or less demanding home use, it’s harder to see the nuances that go along with it.

    The abbreviated version is what you see on your phone is generally a close approximation, but tethering or a hotspot device can be a completely different experience if you’re in a congested area. If you know your area is not congested, testing on a phone should be fine.

    I regularly see upwards of 800 Mb/down on T-Mobile these days and streaming on my iPad over 5G is no problem. That’s faster than our Wi-Fi. I also have a dedicated LTE hotspot which I can see gets lower speeds during the day compared to my phones on LTE in the same location at the same time. I still recommend wireline internet if at all possible though. Unless you’re in an area with a lack of choices (and therefore high prices), or a rural area where satellite is your only option.


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    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    I'm still not 100% clear if the OP is using their phone as a there home internet HS or using a dedicated HS device.
    OP here. So currently, my roommate and I are using Red Pocket's GSMA $50 plan that gives unlimited talk, text and 100GB data for home internet. (At the time of signing up, it was only 50GB data. Then they raised it to 100GB which was a pleasant surprise). The sim is in an AT&T-whitelisted Android phone. Data is always on, hotspot is always on.

    Used to get good speeds but I think AT&T did something to the towers in our area. Now the speeds are horrible. Red Pocket says the network hasn't changed, but I don't think that's right because data speeds have gone down dramatically.

    Just out of curiosity, is there a way to know what may have caused the speeds to decrease so dramatically? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by IsLand_BoY View Post
    I still recommend wireline internet if at all possible though. Unless you’re in an area with a lack of choices (and therefore high prices), or a rural area where satellite is your only option.
    Those other alternatives are really expensive here.
    And no major internet/phone service providers want to provide service here, unfortunately. I keep reading about all the great deals that Xfinity and Google Fi and others seem to offer, and they're never available in this region .

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