What factors affect Mobile Broadband Coverage

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve found a fantastic deal on mobile broadband and are chomping at the bit to get your new tablet computer or USB dongle up and running. If you haven’t checked out the 3G network coverage in your area and done some research on which network provider provides the most reliable connection and speed, you will be cursing that iPad or dumping the dongle before long. So what factors affect the mobile broadband coverage in your area?

  1. 3G network coverage – whilst Ofcom estimate that 87% of the UK population has mobile broadband coverage, some rural areas or parts of the country where the population is lower, do not have sufficient 3G signals to be able to use mobile broadband.
  2. Objects and buildings between you and the network mast – the 3G signal does not travel through walls as easily as the traditional mobile phone signal. So if there are lots of buildings, thick walls and even trees in the way, this can impact on your signal strength and therefore affect connection speeds. If you are using mobile broadband outdoors, you will often get a quicker connection.
  3. Network congestion – at peak times when many people are using the 3G network, connection speeds and quality suffers. All the major network providers have a set amount of ‘bandwidth’ to accommodate their users, so if you are using a very popular service, the speed and quality may deteriorate if the network gets overloaded.

How can I check mobile broadband coverage?

All of the mobile broadband providers claim different levels of network coverage, but one of the easiest ways to check coverage is by using their coverage maps or postcode checkers. Another way to check not only whether you have coverage, but the strength of coverage in your area, is by using a 3G phone and checking the signal from where you live. It’s worth noting that being upstairs, or close to a window can give you a better 3G signal.

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