Measuring Wireless Performance in Major U.S. Airports

UPDATE WiFi and cellular speeds at airports can make all the difference when trying to get work done or streaming a movie during long layovers. Ookla, a global company who specializes in internet testing and analysis, recently released rankings based on testing done in the top 20 busiest U.S. airports, reports Yahoo Finance.  An Inside Towers article from last year based on a study by Root Metrics showed Oakland as the top spot for travelers’ phone connections followed by Boston. LAX measured out as the worst in that study.

Using its Speedtest measuring instrument, Ookla measured the download and upload speeds of the WiFi and cellular signals at those twenty airports. It measured the cellular signals of the four major mobile carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon—and analyzed the speeds provided by the carriers.

The airport with the fastest WiFi speed was Denver, which recorded average download speeds of 61.74 Mbps; Atlanta clocked the slowest at 2.71 Mbps on average. Ookla didn’t release statistics for the entirety of measured airports but did issue the rankings. The top 10 are as follows from fastest to slowest: Denver (DEN), Philadelphia (PHL), Seattle-Tacoma (SEA), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Miami (MIA), LaGuardia (LGA), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Newark Liberty (EWR), John F. Kennedy (JFK) and George Bush-Houston (IAH).   

The company also ranked the top 10 airports for fastest overall cellular speeds based on the speed of downloads. Here are the top 10 airport speeds from fastest to slowest: San Francisco (SFO), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Orlando (MCO), Seattle-Tacoma (SEA), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), McCarran, Las Vegas (LAS), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL) and George Bush- Houston (IAH).

The study also measured the fastest mobile services at airports and recorded rankings based on mobile provider. Verizon came out on top in nine out of the 20 airports. AT&T was a close second with top speeds at eight of the airports and was tied with Verizon at one other airport. Sprint and T-Mobile split the remaining two airports in top speeds.

April 18, 2017      


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