The emergence of 3G networks gives rise to new mobile services in many different areas of our daily life. Examples of demanding mobile services are mobile-healthcare (i.e. m-health) services allowing the continuous monitoring of a patient’s vital signs. However, a prerequisite for the successful deployment of m-health services are appropriate performance characteristics of transport services offered by an underlying wireless network (e.g. 3G). In this direction, the EU MobiHealth project targeted the evaluation of 3G networks and their ability to support demanding m-health services. The project developed and trialled a patient monitoring system, evaluating at the same time the network's performance. This paper presents measurements based performance evaluation methodology developed and applied to assess network performance from an end-user perspective. In addition, it presents the (selected) speed-related evaluation (best-case scenario) results collected during the project. Our measurements show the dynamicity in the performance of 3G networks and phenomena negatively influencing this performance.
Based on the evaluation results, we conclude that in-spite of certain shortcomings of existing 3G networks, they are suitable to support a significant set of m-health services. A set of recommendations provide a road map for both operators and service developers for design and deployment of m-health services.