Very soon (within the next few years) the way we connect to the Internet, the way we watch TV, and the way we use our smartphones and other Internet connected devices (IoT) from home (or office / work) will change forever.
Let me explain…..
It’s January 2020, and, there are, essentially, two ways (yes, there are more, but, this is a short article) to connect our home-based devices to the Internet:
While our ubiquitous smartphones connect to the Internet via your favorite cell phone carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobil, etc). See figure 1 below.
Figure 1 shows a typical home / office connection to the Internet. WiFi connects TV’s, Computers, IoT (Internet of Things) devices (Refrigerators, Thermostats, etc) to the Internet via either a cable modem or DSL. Your smartphone (Pixel, Samsung, iPhone, etc) connects to the Internet either via your chosen carrier, or, like what we do, via cable or DSL while you are at home.
If you are like us OK Boomers, you watch TV via your chosen Internet connection provider or another provider of your choice. I am a fan of not putting all your eggs in one basket (see this article), even though I have recently.
But times are a-changing.
Cord-cutting is rampant (streaming rules the day), IoT (Internet of Things) devices abound and home-based offices (duh….telecommuting) are on the rise, and, finally, everyone has a super-computer in their pocket that connects them to the world.
Younger kids already stream what they want to watch via, most likely, their cell phone provider with unlimited data, and us Boomers will be following.
Pretty soon, Internet connectivity will be the way to go, and TV watching will be via one of the growing number of streaming options.
You may still choose a cable or DSL provider for your home Internet connectivity or you may decide to use 5G which will be offered by your cell phone provider.
In short, in the near future, your Internet connectivity options will expand by one:
Cool! I like that.
Truthfully, I see myself cutting the cord with Comcast in the near future and going with 5G and, for example, YouTubeTV for TV. But…..we will see, Lori is hesitant.
Watch this short informative video to learn more about 5G:
How will that work for you or me?
Read on! 🙂
5G is not yet available to us. But, I am not one to wait to test something…..so I decided to do a couple of speed and subjective quality tests of our:
- WiFi / Cable modem Internet connection
- Hotpot / Carrier Internet connection
For the network speed test, I used the Xfinity speed test and for the subjective quality test I watched a Disney+ short on our new Sony 64 inch 4k OLED TV.
Figure 2 shows OUR home connections from which I will do these two tests.
In figure 2 we have Comcast as our TV and Internet provider (200 Mbps down!) and AT&T Wireless as our cell phone provider. We have a really cool Netgear ORBI WiFi router and we purchased a Netgear cable modem to connect our home network to Comcast and the Internet, we also have Netgear’s Arlo Pro security cameras. Whatever happened to my theory of not putting all my eggs in one basket? Oh, well. 😉
Test #1: WiFi (Orbi) / Cable Internet Connection
Figure 3 shows the connectivity configuration for this test.
All our devices (TVs, laptops, printers, etc) are connected to our Orbi WiFi router and then to the Internet via our cable modem. My Pixel 3 XL is also connected to the Orbi WiFi when at home.
Everything works great and watching Disney+ is outstanding. Figures 4 and 5 show screen shots of my speed tests from my laptop and Pixel 3 XL:
AS you can see from the screenshots, both devices are getting over 200 Mbps download. And with great video quality on Disney+…..we are good. 🙂
Test #2: Pixel 3 XL Hotspot / AT&T LTE Internet Connection
Figure 6 shows the configuration for this test.
I set-up the Pixel 3 XL to act as our WiFi hotspot then disconnected our Sony 4k OLED TV from the Orbi and connected it to the Pixel 3 XL. I did the same for the HP laptop and ran a couple of speed test and watched the same short, Loop, on Disney+.
Figures 7 and 8 show the speed tests from the HP laptop and the Pixel 3 XL:
The speeds dropped a bit, well…..a lot, but, watching the short on Disney+ was indistinguishable (go figure!) from Test #1. We are good! 🙂 In fact, this is a great backup in case our Comcast Internet goes down.
But what happens when 5G gets here?
For us, we will change our cell phone data plan to unlimited, purchase a 5G router (if they exist), sign up for YouTube TV and learn a new way of doing things. We will then disconnect Comcast (TV and Internet) thus becoming official cord-cutters.
Figure 9 shows our possible future connectivity configuration (Lori willing):
5G is going to happen. There are quite a few technical issues that need to be ironed out, and a whole lot of cost issues, but, once it is here and available to YOU, the speeds will be amazing…..approaching 1 Gbps or even more.
Having 5G as an option for your Internet connectivity is a good thing. You may choose to stay where you are (Lori!) or move on to something new, fast, and exciting (Me!) but, there is no doubt that having three Internet connectivity options is better than two.