Top 10 North American Wireless Broadband Networks

Google's muni Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, Calif., topped the list, followed by Toronto's One Zone network.

A new report compiled by wireless services consulting and analysis firm Novarum ranks Wi-Fi, WiMax and third generation (3G) cellular networks in 16 North American cities, based on performance, service availability, ease of use and overall value.

The report includes ratings of wireless networks in Tempe, Ariz., Portland, Ore., Rochelle, Ill., Philadelphia, Pa., Mountain View, Calif., Madison, Wis., St. Cloud, Fla., and Toronto, among other locales. Novarum's data was collected between June 2006 and June 2007.

What follows are lists of the top 10 wireless broadband networks overall, as well as the top five networks based on performance

Top Ten Wireless Broadband Services

  1. Mountain View, Calif.; Google (tested with high power [HP] Wi-Fi client)

  2. Toronto; One Zone HP

  3. Mountain View, Calif.; Google Ruckus Wireless

  4. Mountain View, Calif.; Google 802.11n Ext

  5. Philadelphia, Pa.; Feather 802.11n

  6. St. Cloud, Fla.; CyberSpot (tied with Toronto)

  7. Toronto; One Zone (tied with St. Cloud)

  8. Philadelphia, Pa.; Feather HP

  9. Rochelle, Ill.; Rochelle Municipal Utilities (RMU) HP

  10. Mountain View, Calif.; Verizon

Top Five Wireless Broadband Services Based on Performance

  1. Toronto; One Zone HP (tied with Rochelle Ill.; Rochelle Municipal Utilities [RMU] HP)

  2. Rochelle, Ill.; RMU HP (tied with Toronto; One Zone HP)

  3. Rochelle, Ill.; RMU 802.11n

  4. Toronto; One Zone

  5. Mountain View, Calif.; Google HP

Additional notable findings include:

  • Metro Wi-Fi networks took all of the top ten performance ratings; metro Wi-Fi delivers twice the performance of 3G cellular data services, on average

  • Fifteen cellular services had 100 percent availability in Novarum's tests

  • Verizon's service in Mountain View, Calif. is the best overall cellular data service

  • Toronto's One Zone network is the best overall Wi-Fi service

  • "True" 3G cellular service had only 60 percent service availability in the cities tested

  • Use of the new wireless IEEE 802.11n standard drastically improves overall metro Wi-Fi network performance

  • St. Cloud, Fla.'s network is the only metro Wi-Fi service that delivered 100 percent service availability in tests

Information on the Novarum Wireless Broadband Review can be found on the company's website, and reports on Wi-Fi and 3G cellular networks in individual cities are also available for purchase.

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