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What to Expect When Checking Sprint Mobile Data Speed

written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 7/14/2011

Speed means everything in the mobile world where customers readily switch from one wireless network to another based on the promise of faster connections. Sprint users have a test available to them that tells them how fast their wireless data card accesses the Internet. Learn what to expect here.

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    Speed Matters

    Wireless users depend on speedy data connections for productivity, entertainment and communications. While on the road or atsprint03  customer sites, mobile workers need confidence that their data connection will keep them in touch with their office network. While traveling or on vacation, mobile users need the best speed possible so they can surf the web, watch movies and play games.

    Mobile data services represent a significant monthly expense for businesses and individuals. Current consolidation in the wireless industry may make data service even costlier in coming years. Aware of this expense, wise users verify their connection speed to make sure they get the service for which they pay.

    As one of the few major wireless network providers in the United States, Sprint offers a mobile data speed test that helps users find out whether their mobile data meets expectations. This test downloads files from a Sprint server in either Atlanta or Chicago and then calculates the downstream transfer rate. The test then uploads data from a computer to the server to discover upload speed. Another test checks the time needed to send a ping from the host to the server. Another test reports the connection latency.

    Knowing the speed of their mobile data connection gives users the confidence that comes with knowing that their connection is ready whenever and wherever they need to work. Also, if a data connection proves inadequate, customers can get help replacing defective data cards or resolving problems with their account.

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    Using the Tool

    Anyone interested in testing their mobile connection speed may visit the Sprint Network Speed Test utility. This web-based application runs inside a web browser using Adobe Flash version 8 or better.

    Although this test will work on any data connection, users wishing to measure their mobile data speeds should make sure they connect their computer to the Internet using their mobile data card before running it.


    Users simply click either the "Chicago" or "Atlanta" button to start the test. This sends data between the host user and Sprint servers in the chosen city.

    This example shows what to expect when clicking the "Chicago" button. Here's what happens next:

    • The test displays the IP address of the user in the lower left corner of the test window.
    • Ping test results between the user and the Chicago server display in the same corner of the test window.
    • After calculating the download speed, the application displays the result to the left of the center gauge.
    • Finally, the program displays the upload speed between the user and Chicago to the right of the center gauge.

    The results for this sample test using the Chicago server are as follows: .18 Mbps download, .02 Mbps upload. The Ping test checked in at 138 milliseconds. Most users will receive different results.

    sprint02 Users can repeat the test with the Atlanta server to see different results. Here, the same data card got slightly better results: downloads at .19 Mbps and uploads at .02 Mbps.

    sprint03 With the test completed, Sprint users can record and their test results and then ask Sprint for help making their data card perform better.

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    Interpreting Results

    According to Sprint, 4G wireless data download speeds on its network range from 3 Mbps to 6 Mbps. In comparison, 3G speeds provide from .6 Mbps to 1.4 Mbps. This example used a 4G data card connected at 3G to the Sprint wireless network. Here, performance was substantially worse than the stated minimum Sprint 3G performance. Users in 4G service areas can also see how their speed rates against Sprint statements.

    Any device, including non-Sprint products, can use the Sprint wireless data test. Users can check the accuracy of the test by disconnecting the Sprint data card and connecting their computer to their home or office LAN. After making that change, they can run the test with their known data connection to prove its accuracy.

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    What to Expect

    Mobile data connections keep employees connected with the office network so they can work on the road. Families and friends stay connected with social networking, chat, and video calling. Every mobile data user can access books, music, movies and other entertainment on-demand, regardless of their location. Fast and reliable mobile data speeds become more important every day, making the Sprint wireless data test a valuable asset.

    Sprint customers can expect to test their mobile card and take corrective action when necessary. Test results may differ among various subscribers using the same data card.

    Sprint data speeds may vary based on the time of the test, the network and the computer running the test. How users configure their data card also makes a difference. Simple adjustments can significantly improve data speed. Sprint recommends running the test with at least two reception bars displayed in the connection manager window.

    Sprint wireless data subscribers should expect to get the wireless data connection speeds for which they pay. If disappointing, users should contact Sprint for help understanding their test results.

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    Sprint. Sprint network speed test.

    Welcome to 4G from Sprint.!/advantage/unlimited-data

    Image Credits: Screen shots taken by Bruce Tyson