iPhone 3G Tethering Speed vs. Roger’s Portable Internet Stick

The latest download 3.0 software from Apple gives you the ability for Tethering your internet connect through your iphone to your computer. Here is the summary from the Apple web site, “If you travel with a PC laptop or Mac notebook, you know it can be difficult to find a Wi-Fi hotspot. With Internet tethering on iPhone, you don’t need one. Now you can share the 3G connection on your iPhone with your computer and connect to the Internet anywhere. When your iPhone is tethered, you can still send and receive data and make phone calls.” Link to Tethering on Apple website.

Since I have both a portable Internet stick from Rogers (Novatel Wireless Ovation MC9500D) I wanted to conduct a test to compare the upload and download speeds using my iPhone 3G and my Internet stick. Since both devices are using the 3G network from Rogers, my assumption that the speed tests should be fairly close. For the speedtest I used the Shaw Speed Test tool, available here.

I started by conducting a speed test using my wireless connection running Shaw’s High-Speed Internet. Here are the results of that speed test.

Shaw Internet Speed Test

Here are the results from the Portable Internet Stick.

Roger's High Speed Portable Internet Stick

Here are the results from using my iPhone 3G connected with a USB cable.

iPhone 3G Tethering USB Cable

Here are the results from using my iPhone 3G connection via Bluetooth.

iPhone 3G Tethering Bluetooth

As you can see from the results above, I was quite surprised at the lack of performance when comparing the iPhone 3G with the Portable Internet Stick. In both the download and the upload speeds, the portable internet stick clearly out performs tethering with the iPhone. This is interesting considering both where using the Roger’s 3G network.

Based on this test my conclusion; in a pinch tethering using your phone for quick connections would be completely fine, however, if you are a power portable user I would not rely solely on tethering as the speed is simply not there.

NOTE: this test was performed in the order listed above on July 3, 2009 between 11:30-11:50am MST.