ITV test the Hubba 3G Broadband

Since this post was written back in 2012, this early 3G model has been superseded. Our range of units have developed and are now capable of delivering up to 70Mb/sec over 4G networks. Please visit our 4G router range for more information.

In January 2012 – ITV put one of our Hubba 3G units through its paces at a number of locations as part of an internal test, the findings show that the Hubba consistently out performed the Vodafone dongle. Below are the independent results and comments from the ITV journalist.

Hubba 3G Wifi Access Point Test

“I have been trying the Hubba 3G wifi access point on the road for the last two weeks. It’s a small piece of kit, around the size of a coffee grinder. (although a lot quieter) Inside is a 3G mobile phone sim card socket, with four aerials and a wifi server. The idea is that the Hubba looks to see what 3G mobile data services are available and chooses the one with the best data throughput. This is not necessarily the one with the strongest signal. By choosing one of the four internal directional aerials, you get a better signal than you would from a standard omni-directional 3G dongle aerial and the three aerials that are not used for transmission and then able to increase the noise reduction.

Connection to the Hubba can be done by Ethernet connection or via its internal wifi hub. Multiple computers can connect to the Hubba and share its 3G connection.

I did tests from 9 locations around our patch over the last two weeks. I used the same 3G sim card in both the Vodafone dongle and the Hubba and found that in every location I was able to get far higher data speeds with the Hubba than with the Vodafone dongle. Ironically, the one location where there was little difference was in the car park behind Lewes Crown court, where the upload speeds were almost identical. That makes me think that the limiting factor there is the Vodafone data connection to the local 3G mast. The manufacturers of the Hubba have tested all mobile phone company sim cards and recommend 3 Mobile as the best sim to use in our area.

Hubba Test Results – Download Upload

Test Date: 9/1/12 Location: Rottingdean
Vodafone usb modem 1.1Mb/s 0.67Mb/s
Hubba 2.4Mb/s 1.1Mb/s

Test Date: 10/1/12 Location: Brighton office
Vodafone usb modem 0.7Mb/s 0.1Mb/s
Hubba 1.2Mb/s 0.5Mb/s

Test Date: 10/1/12 Location: Burgess Hill
Vodafone usb modem 1.01Mb/s 0.75Mb/s
Hubba 2.97Mb/s 1.13Mb/s

Test Date: 11/1/12 Location: Lewes Crown Court
Vodafone usb modem 1.7Mb/s 0.64Mb/s
Hubba 2.3Mb/s 0.66Mb/s

Test Date: 11/1/12 Location: Balcombe Fracking
Vodafone usb modem 0.9Mb/s 0.24Mb/s
Hubba 2.4Mb/s 0.84Mb/s

Test Date: 12/1/12 Location: Bexhill Inquest
Vodafone usb modem 1.6Mb/s 0.27Mb/s
Hubba 2.8Mb/s 0.75Mb/s

Test Date: 16/1/12 Location: Hastings
Vodafone usb modem 2.6Mb/s 0.8Mb/s
Hubba 3.74Mb/s 1.2Mb/s

Test Date: 19/1/12 Location: Falmer Stadium
Vodafone usb modem 1.4Mb/s 0.8Mb/s
Hubba 3.01Mb/s 1.3Mb/s

Test Date: 20/1/12 Location: Bognor Regis
Vodafone usb modem 1.3Mb/s 0.3Mb/s
Hubba 3.3Mb/s 1.2Mb/s

As you can see, the Hubba gives better data throughput in all locations that I tried. The improvement to the data speed did vary with location, which is to be expected when using something like the public telephone network. It won’t be until 4G is widespread that we will have guaranteed bandwidth. In towns there was quite good improvement in bandwidth. Actually 500% improvement in the Brighton office, although the 3G in there is particularly bad. Out in the countryside in Balcombe which is a long way from a mobile phone mast, we obtained more than 300% speed improvement. This makes the difference between sending an edit from a laptop taking 24 minutes or a blistering 8 minutes. The smallest improvements were from locations which already had good data speeds. Even there, we obtained speed improvements of 80%.

Overall I thought that the Hubba was really easy to use. You just pop it onto the roof of the car and power it from the vehicle cigarette lighter socket. It takes a couple of minutes for the Hubba to look around and test data transfers to any mobile phone masts it can find. Logging onto it is as easy as any home or cafe wifi point. I managed very fast connection to it even with the laptop inside the car. I think there is an issue with weatherproofing the unit. The sim card goes in the top and there are ventilation holes around the case which would allow rain to penetrate. I didn’t do any tests with the Hubba on the car dashboard but this may still give a good signal. Otherwise something like the rain slicker we use on the cameras would sort out the problem. Once the Hubba is switched on you don’t need to touch it.

I think that the Hubba is a great piece of kit which will definitely make sending location edits from anywhere in our patch quicker and more reliable. It is around £300 but after buying it, there are no ongoing costs except the cost of the 3G contract.”