When I worked at QUALCOMM over 20 years ago, I was introduced to cellular data. Everyone was excited about being able to get stock quotes on the 4 line display of the phone; remember Unwired Planet? Data speeds were a whopping 9.6 Kbps on the digital network. This speed was enough to stream Real Audio, get email, and do basic tasks. I was even able to hookup a laptop and “browse the web”.
Fast forward to today where the mobile hotspot I use is able to get 20 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up! These speeds are significantly faster than the 5 Mbps down I had on my cable modem when I worked at QUALCOMM. I know that I shouldn’t be surprised at the advances, but trying to explain to my son about what we could do back then makes me think how far technology has come in that time. Today’s cellular data speeds are at least 2000 times faster than what I used 20 years ago and there is no end in sight to how fast the connections will get. Of course, there will be a limiting factor that the connections to the other parts of the Internet won’t match the air link, but the speeds still amaze me.