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Ookla Reveals Mobile Broadband and WiFi Speeds at Key UK Airports

Tuesday, Jun 18th, 2024 (3:00 am) - Score 1,880
LONDON, UK: British Airways A380 on final approach into London Heathrow on 06 July 2017(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

New data from broadband connection testing firm Ookla, which operates the popular online Speedtest.net service for internet users, has revealed the mobile data (4G, 5G) and WiFi performance results from some of the world’s busiest airports, including London Gatwick (LGW) and London Heathrow (LHR) in the UK.

The study found that the fastest airport for median average download speeds over Wi-Fi was San Francisco International Airport in the USA (173.55Mbps down, 233.29Mbps upload and 7.81ms latency), while the fastest for mobile broadband speeds was Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar (442.49Mbps down, 33.54Mbps upload and 34.43ms latency).

Network latency times (a lower figure is faster) on mobile were also found to be generally higher than on Wi-Fi, with some 46 airports showing a Wi-Fi latency lower than the lowest latency on mobile. Upload speeds were often also faster on WiFi than on mobile, while download performance tended to be much more variable. As for the only two UK airports included in the test..

Results for LGW and LHR in the UK

Heathrow Airport (WiFi)
Download: 58.44Mbps
Upload: 68.06Mbps
Latency: 6.43ms (milliseconds)

Heathrow Airport (Mobile)
Download: 38.12Mbps
Upload: 7.02Mbps
Latency: 50.1ms (milliseconds)

Gatwick Airport (WiFi)
Download: 49.46Mbps
Upload: 49.84Mbps
Latency: 11.71ms (milliseconds)

Gatwick Airport (Mobile)
Download: 86.82Mbps
Upload: 9.83Mbps
Latency: 43.49ms (milliseconds)

Sadly, Ookla’s full study wasn’t able to provide a simple results table, so it’s a bit tricky to show everything side-by-side.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
7 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Peter Coghlan says:

    The biggest problem at busy airports is the number of available mobile channels and actual WiFi coverage which can be very patchy. With the former you can have a full “5 bar” coverage on 4g or 5g yet no data

    1. Avatar photo Rob says:

      I didn’t think the bars related to data signal. Many a time had 4g appear to have no connection. Dropping to 3g fixed it. Won’t be able to do that for much longer.

    2. Avatar photo ACDeag says:

      You can have full signal bars but no data due to congestion.

    3. Avatar photo Jin says:

      I guess that explains why Three has full signal in areas but no data sometimes.

  2. Avatar photo DD says:

    Vodafone doesn’t work in large parts of the Heathrow airfield (including remote stands etc) which is surprising as you’d expect Heathrow would appreciate the rent for masts! Other European airports (such as Barcelona) have lightning fast 4G/5G from the moment you land.

    1. Avatar photo Mark says:

      The revision to the communications act resulted in mast operators only having to play a peppercorn rent. This was as a result of heavy lobbying by the telecoms industry. They told the government that it would mean more free for investment in more mast sites etc.
      But of course what has actually happened is that lots of land and roof top owners have kicked them in touch and evicted the masts, and no one wants any new masts on their land buildings now.
      There will be masts at airports but as with all telco macro sites they are a fat lot of good inside buildings.
      If you are the owner of an airport terminal or for that matter any public venue, it is far cheaper, easier, and quicker to deploy and manage a Wi-Fi network indoors than it is an internal cellular based neutral host solution for the mobile networks.

  3. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    Mrs Arthur Brain function says, “Remember, in the 14th Century, they didn’t even have semaphore flags”

    The answer is obvious. In sh*thole Britain the best way to get decent broadband connection speed . . . .like anything else, is to go on holiday, abroad, . . . permanently.

    “I agree” says Mrs Brain function

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