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Top 5 Free Apps

Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: May 22, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: August 29, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: March 27, 2009
Release Date: August 07, 2009

iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
Release Date: September 20, 2009
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Genre: Rock
Release Date: August 25, 2009

Top 5 Paid Apps

Release Date: April 22, 2009
StickWars $0.99
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Genre: Games
Bloons $0.99
Release Date: April 05, 2009
Genre: Games

Discover New Music

  • The Stooges

    • 8 out of 10
    • The Stooges
    • Another pillar of my musical foundations, The Stooges' first album is one those records whose influence far outweighed its popularity. Like The Velvet Underground & Nico, hordes of people wh

  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

    • 6 out of 10
    • U2
    • U2's latest entry is a mostly underwhelming collection of songs that does very little to sound any different from its equally pedestrian predecessor, 2000's "All That You Can't Leave Behind." While

  • Live at the Magic Bag, Ferndale, MI

    • 6 out of 10
    • Supersuckers
    • Man, there's nothing like good, old fashioned, rock and roll... add a bit of industry resentment to that with a double-shot of cynicism, and you get one of the best "new" rock bands going. This album
  • Supermodified

    • 10 out of 10
    • Amon Tobin
    • The genius is in the beats. Amon Tobin creates fantastic, groovy beats behind beats. "Supermodified" rolls through your expectations of breakbeat music, and turns them up a bit. It's a mellow album, p
  • Another Day on Earth

    • 10 out of 10
    • Brian Eno
    • In his first proper solo release since 1996's relatively cold "The Drop," Brian Eno has constructed a whimsical and ecclectic masterpiece which is arguably one of the year's strongest records thus fa

Reader Specials

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In-Depth Review

Speed Test Shows Network Speed on iPhone

Sometimes, when one is out and about, on a public network, it's nice to see what kind of throughput your iPhone or iPod touch is getting on Wi-Fi. The Speed Test app from Ookla is the little brother of the well known Speedtest.net Website that Apple recommends for evaluating your Network's speed. It works very well.

The operation is simple. Make sure you're connected to a Wi-Fi network and launch the speed test. Because the iPhone and iPod touch uses 802.11g (and the less often used 802.11b), speeds will fall into the nominal range for the typical "g" network. That's a theoretical peak of 54 Mbps but a lot, lot less in practice.

Speedtest

The Main Panel

Not only was I curious about the speed of my iPhone 3G, I was also curious about the speed of the iPhone relative to my MacBook Pro. Here is the speed test on the MacBook with Safari immediately following, using www.speedtest.net

Speedtest on Mac

Same Test (almost) on MacBook

So it looks like, for at least this test, at the same distance from my AirPort base station, on the "g" network the iPhone is somewhat slower. That could be due to the iPhone's smaller antenna and power and the fact that I couldn't specify the city for the iPhone app. All this introduces variation.

Operation

The speedtest app for the iPhone has three major panels.

  1. The main panel: test the network speed (shown above).
  2. Settings: one can specify the format of the speed and how the history is sorted, a display of both the LAN and WAN IP addresses, and an estimated LAT/LON from the IP address (shown below)
  3. A history log of the results and date stamp.

Settings panel

Settings Panel (Some Data Obscured)

The app has a great analog display of the up and down speeds. (In my case, Comcast has a cap of 1 Mbps for uploads.) The one major drawback is that one cannot specify the distant city for the test -- as one can do with the Website via a browser. And if you try to access www.speedtest.net via Safari on the iPhone, the Website will detect the Agent ID and redirect you to the iPhone app, preventing equivalent testing.

I can see the app being useful for diagnostic purposes by technicians, tests of Wi-Fi public networks when a second data point is needed (and the hotel manager is making excuses), and household diagnostics regarding the placement of Wi-Fi base stations.

Best of all, it's free.

Just The Facts

Speed Test from Ookla

MSRP $0.00

Pros:

Simple, fast, seems accurate.  Free.

Cons:

Speedtest.net not direcrtly accessible from iPhone via Safari.  Must use iPhone/iPod touch app.

 

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