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    woodyg8's Avatar

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    Default Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    For any of you in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas I have a bit of good news. Since the first of May I have been fighting with SPRINT about the serious reduction in coverage I have been having with my EPIC 4G. After weeks of fighting I managed to make it past all of the standard techs all the way up to the guy that send repair men to the towers. Here is the bad news. The tower tech informed me that the entire area is over Capacity. There are simply to many sprint customers in the area for the network to handle the calls and data. Now here is the good news. Sprint knows and they are doing something about it. The tech informed me that they were in the process of replacing all the equipment on the towers as part of the sprint network vision plan and that this should all be complete by August 1st. I was informed that these improvements will not only increase the capacity of the network but it will also improve coverage as well. So if you have been having problems like me hang on one more month and we should have the best network in the QC.
    As for 4G if you check the Clearwire website you will see that they have turned on a tower in Davenport for testing so it shouldn't be to long before we start 4G in are area as well.
  2. #2  
    Linkchomp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    I don't give a crap about 4G considering Clear is just dragging their behinds. I just hope coverage improves since the data speeds are fantastic when in full coverage.

    I'm hoping for better 4G rollout once the Lightsquared LTE starts rolling in. Plus I can't give up my Nexus S. I've grown attached to the phone.
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G



    Looks like about 20% of the Quad Cities are now covered. Mostly on the west side of Davenport.
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    drjb74's Avatar

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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    I have noticed the same issues. I have a strong signal, according to the device (NS4G, EVO 4G, wife has EPIC 4G), but I have trouble getting through data services.

    The active 4G tower is nice, as it is close enough to my house that we get pretty good coverage. I have the Dell 11" laptop from Sprint, and use the 4G service quite a bit. It doesn't come in as strong on my phones.

    Does anyone use the 4G to stream movies, i.e. Netflix? I have been using it, and lately, it has been "buffering" quite a bit, as compared to how it was a few weeks ago. Could this be due to the coverage issue as well?
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    The data cards broadcast a higher wattage signal and usually offer noticeably superior performance than phones. Especially at edge of service and in buildings. I use Sprint WiMax for Netflix, but only on my Evo (not on a computer). It buffers for a few seconds at start up (less than 5 seconds) and then runs without any interruption (unless I lose a signal). Signal loss happens much more than I'd like.

    But heck, Netflix streams well on 3G on my Evo also. As long as the 3G isn't bogged down. Like less than 600k.
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    That is great news! I've been getting terrible data connection speeds over 3G for the last month or so as well. Barely 40kbps on Speedtest.net. It's terrible. I cruise up to 5 points or St. Ambrose and use the 4G if I need to download a rom or something from the Market. Did you get any word on when we will see 4G coverage throughout the entire QC area?
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    That is great news! I've been getting terrible data connection speeds over 3G for the last month or so as well. Barely 40kbps on Speedtest.net. It's terrible. I cruise up to 5 points or St. Ambrose and use the 4G if I need to download a rom or something from the Market. Did you get any word on when we will see 4G coverage throughout the entire QC area?
    Clear has one tower here and, as far as I understand, Clear only has plans for that one tower currently.
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Based on the map, I think the tower running 4G is just north of Central Park, towards Fairmount St.

    I have been using Netflix on the Sprint laptop with 4G, and even that seems to buffer a lot lately. I have the laptop hooked up to a TV with HDMI. It will show about 2-3 minutes of a movie, and then buffer for 5-7 minutes before starting up again. I haven't used it a lot on my phone, but I will have to try it and see if the phone works better than the laptop.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    That is great news! I've been getting terrible data connection speeds over 3G for the last month or so as well. Barely 40kbps on Speedtest.net. It's terrible. I cruise up to 5 points or St. Ambrose and use the 4G if I need to download a rom or something from the Market. Did you get any word on when we will see 4G coverage throughout the entire QC area?
    Here is the rumored Sprint/Clearwire 4G WiMax rollout plan:

    1. Roll out at least one tower in every CMA (Cellular Market Area) in the Country to preserve FCC licenses
    2. Go back to Primary Markets and fill in coverage
    3. Move on to Secondary markets and complete coverage
    4. Finish up in Tertiary Markets and deploy in some profitable rural markets


    The big variable in all this is Clearwire funding. Clearwire has only a billion dollars left. That would probably get them complete with CMA's and primary markets only. This does not bode well for Secondary markets like the Quad Cities in the short term.

    Hopefully, Sprint will either bail out Clearwire with more cash, or finish buying them out. This is the only way WiMax can continue rolling out through secondary and tertiary markets. Another big question mark on this is Sprint is moving to LTE with a sharing deal with LightSquared. Will Sprint finish rolling out WiMax completely then start on LTE? Do they stop WiMax altogether and switch to LTE? Somewhere in between? Sprint hasn't let that cat out of the bag, yet.

    The reason why Davenport has one tower now is that Clearwire is running around the country, desperately putting up one tower in every CMA in the country. Currently, they have spectrum licenses for 2.5GHz in all 300+ CMA's in the country. However, each license is good until 2012. In 2012 they qualify for automatic renewal if they are operating. So they are scrambling to get operational with at least one tower in every CMA this year. In any CMA's they are not operating, their license could be put up for auction.

    I believe that Davenport/Bettendorf are in one CMA and Rock Island/Moline are in another CMA. So it's possible they may still put another tower on the other side of the river this year. However, I think it's going to be awhile before you see more than that.

    I have seen a couple of variations though. When Clearwire got to Lansing, Michigan, they put up three towers. In Omaha, they put up one. Then came back in 2 months and added another. And in another 2 months they added another. But Omaha is considered by most carriers as a primary market (just barely).
  10. Thread Author  Thread Author    #10  
    woodyg8's Avatar

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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by NMherron View Post


    Looks like about 20% of the Quad Cities are now covered. Mostly on the west side of Davenport.
    Well lets hope that we get at least two more 4g towers because that coverage sucks.
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    I understand the over capacity issues with the network, but lately even the 4G signal has been terrible. Would the network issues affect the 4G signal as well? A couple months ago, the 4G was working great, and it has just gotten worse. I am just wondering if these issues are related. I don't know how the 4G signal relates to the 3G signal, along with network overload problems.

    I am just trying to determine if Sprint gets their capacity issues worked out, will that also improve the 4G issue?

    On a side note, in my house, with my laptop (Sprint Dell 11) and EVO 4G next to each other, I can stream Netflix on my EVO on 3G wth no problem, but on 4G in the laptop, it buffers every couple of minutes. Any thoughts? I could sure use some help on this one.
  12. #12  

    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by drjb74 View Post
    I understand the over capacity issues with the network, but lately even the 4G signal has been terrible. Would the network issues affect the 4G signal as well? A couple months ago, the 4G was working great, and it has just gotten worse. I am just wondering if these issues are related. I don't know how the 4G signal relates to the 3G signal, along with network overload problems.

    I am just trying to determine if Sprint gets their capacity issues worked out, will that also improve the 4G issue?
    It would be really hard to fathom that the new 4G signal was beyond capacity there in Davenport. The tower would be broadcasting in 150mhz of spectrum (more than any other carrier in the country). It can accept thousands of simultaneous users spread across it's dozen+ of 5x5 channels.

    Most likely, the backhaul to the internet from the tower is insufficient. If Clearwire did not upgrade the backhaul when they deployed their 4G, then Sprint 3G and 4G are sharing the same insufficient internet connection (and possibly other carriers, too). And adding 4G to it, just is adding more users to an already beleaguered backhaul.

    It's kind of like at home, I upgraded to a dual band wireless router. It broadcasts an N signal at 5GHz which is capable of speeds of 300MB/s. However, I still have the same old pathetic Windstream DSL service plugged into it. So now matter how fast my wireless signal is capable, it's limited by it's connection speed to the internet. And in the evening, my internet will drop below 1MB/s. However, my router is still broadcasting at 300MB/s.

    With all internet connections, wireless, or fixed, our speeds are limited to the worst piece in the chain. And with Sprint right now, that piece is mostly backhaul. At least with 4G. Sprint definitely has a capacity issue on the signal side with their 3G also.

    The good news in all this, is supposedly Sprint's Network Vision plan is supposed to take care of all these problems. It's just now starting to be implemented and will take 3 years to complete.

    Quote Originally Posted by drjb74 View Post
    On a side note, in my house, with my laptop (Sprint Dell 11) and EVO 4G next to each other, I can stream Netflix on my EVO on 3G wth no problem, but on 4G in the laptop, it buffers every couple of minutes. Any thoughts? I could sure use some help on this one.
    As for the Evo and Laptop Netflix streaming issues...

    Netflix has a very sophisticated system. It detects the type of device and resolution and sends a correctly formatted version to your device. So when you stream to your Evo, Netflix knows the OS and Device and the Resolution. It streams a resolution that is good enough for these parameters (and not something higher). This ensures you receive a high quality experience using the least amount of bandwidth as possible.

    The same thing happens when you connect on your laptop. It detects your OS, device and much higher resolution and sends the appropriate streaming resolution. Since the screen on your laptop is likely 5 to 10 times larger than your Evo, it takes approx. 5 to 10 times more bandwidth to provide an equal experience.

    So if your 3G experience on Netflix with the Evo is good, it would take an equal signal that is 5 to 10 times faster on your laptop to create a similar experience. Since the 4G signal is not likely 5 to 10 times faster, this is most likely the largest issue causing the disparity. Also, if your 4G signal is less than 50% full strength, this would cause even further problems...and much more buffering.

    Hopefully this helps shed some light on the issue. There is not a lot you can do to improve performance on your laptop in the short term. Moving near a window on the side of the building toward the tower, or even an upper floor may get you a little improvement. However, it seems like the tower backhaul is the issue in your location.
    Last edited by NMherron; 06-29-2011 at 10:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Placement of the tower in Davenport is funny considering the northwestern portion of that coverage area is sparsely populated
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by NMherron View Post

    As for the Evo and Laptop Netflix streaming issues...

    Netflix has a very sophisticated system. It detects the type of device and resolution and sends a correctly formatted version to your device. So when you stream to your Evo, Netflix knows the OS and Device and the Resolution. It streams a resolution that is good enough for these parameters (and not something higher). This ensures you receive a high quality experience using the least amount of bandwidth as possible.

    The same thing happens when you connect on your laptop. It detects your OS, device and much higher resolution and sends the appropriate streaming resolution. Since the screen on your laptop is likely 5 to 10 times larger than your Evo, it takes approx. 5 to 10 times more bandwidth to provide an equal experience.

    So if your 3G experience on Netflix with the Evo is good, it would take an equal signal that is 5 to 10 times faster on your laptop to create a similar experience. Since the 4G signal is not likely 5 to 10 times faster, this is most likely the largest issue causing the disparity. Also, if your 4G signal is less than 50% full strength, this would cause even further problems...and much more buffering.

    Hopefully this helps shed some light on the issue. There is not a lot you can do to improve performance on your laptop in the short term. Moving near a window on the side of the building toward the tower, or even an upper floor may get you a little improvement. However, it seems like the tower backhaul is the issue in your location.
    So, based on this, would the streaming issues get worse if I hooked the laptop up to a TV with HDMI, or would the signal issues be the same, since it is running through the laptop no matter what?
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by drjb74 View Post
    So, based on this, would the streaming issues get worse if I hooked the laptop up to a TV with HDMI, or would the signal issues be the same, since it is running through the laptop no matter what?
    Should be about the same. Netflix will detect your laptop settings when it configures what it streams. It will not be able to read info on the tethered device. You will notice a big difference in video quality if you change to a BluRay player with Netflix streaming than a computer that is connected to a TV. Well, that is if your internet bandwidth will support the higher resolution.

    The BluRay player will request HD from Netflix, or the highest resolution your internet bandwidth will allow at the moment you connect. The laptop will likely request a lower quality resolution. However, I believe that there is something in your settings that you can force a higher resolution than what Netflix does automatically. However, you will not be happy with the results. Lots of buffering. There is a reason that it automatically configures. It's trying to provide the best quality experience that is possible under your exact conditions at that moment.
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    Placement of the tower in Davenport is funny considering the northwestern portion of that coverage area is sparsely populated
    Usually, Clearwire has given very little strategic thought to which tower they first deploy on. I think it's the tower of least resistance that usually gets it. It's probably the easiest/cheapest one to deploy to.
  17. Thread Author  Thread Author    #17  
    woodyg8's Avatar

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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Ok we are now 4 days away from the date Sprint told me the network repairs would be complete. Has anyone noticed improvements in reception, dropped calls or data? I have noticed no improvement at all as of yet. I would have to believe that if they were doing the upgrades to to towers like they said someone would have seen improvements by now.
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyg8 View Post
    Ok we are now 4 days away from the date Sprint told me the network repairs would be complete. Has anyone noticed improvements in reception, dropped calls or data? I have noticed no improvement at all as of yet. I would have to believe that if they were doing the upgrades to to towers like they said someone would have seen improvements by now.
    Woody, do you have any documentation of the Sprint tech telling you that a) the network was way over capacity and b) the network upgrades would fix it in early August?
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Forget about sprint expansion of wimax. They are implementing lte.
  20. Thread Author  Thread Author    #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles.C View Post
    Woody, do you have any documentation of the Sprint tech telling you that a) the network was way over capacity and b) the network upgrades would fix it in early August?
    No I don't have any docs in hand. I have been going off what the tech that sends service workers to the towers to repair them told me. They have been calling me from time to time asking me to check different numbers on my phone as they make changes. Also if you go to the sprint store they will also tell you that they are aware of the poblem and that it will be fixed by aug 1st
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by lornaevo View Post
    Forget about sprint expansion of wimax. They are implementing lte.
    That's as good of guess as any. However, there is no way to know which way Sprint is going at this point. It's conceivable that they finish WiMax rollout in primary markets with the LTE rollout. They may even do secondary markets too. They have so much 2.5GHz spectrum, that they can conceivably do both with the Network Vision upgrades.

    And as you point out, they may stop WiMax expansion altogether. Not a single additional WiMax tower. Or, they might just finish a WiMax build out to 100% in the cities they already serve.

    Sprint is being very tight lipped about it. Hopefully this will be one of the mysteries solved at the October 7th Meeting.
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyg8 View Post
    Ok we are now 4 days away from the date Sprint told me the network repairs would be complete. Has anyone noticed improvements in reception, dropped calls or data? I have noticed no improvement at all as of yet. I would have to believe that if they were doing the upgrades to to towers like they said someone would have seen improvements by now.
    I have not noticed any improvement in the signal. My NS4G, my wife's EPIC, and my laptop are all just about useless at this point in time, especially when it comes to the internet.

    I am hoping that this issue will be resolved very soon, as I have been a Sprint customer for 10 years, and it has never been this bad, at least for me...
  23. Thread Author  Thread Author    #23  
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Well its the first and no improvement so I called sprint. I talked to three different people in the last 3 days and got 3 different answers the worst of them was the down tower would not be fixed until sep 23. DOWN TOWER!!! wait a minute I was told the network was being upgraded in the quad cities and it was going to be complete aug 1. Sorry I was told. I see no network upgrades scheduled for your area. Looks like I fell for it again but this will be the last time. I had them cancel my contract. After13 years with sprint I have had enough. I really don't want to leave and give up my gold status and pay more for verizon but at least I will get the service I am paying for there. Good luck to any of you staying with sprint I hope one day they understand that they need to supply a good service along with a good price
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    Well, that's nice to know. I think I may be doing the same thing as well. I have always liked Sprint, and have never had theses issues. I understand the situation, and how the build-out of the network will be a benefit, but it is very frustrating when I have several devices (laptop, tablet, 3 phones) and they are just about useless when it comes to data and the internet.

    I will definitely be giving Sprint a phone call about this. When you cancelled your contract, are you paying ETF's? Just curious.
  25. Thread Author  Thread Author    #25  
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    Default Re: Quad Cities. Network and Coverage issues and 4G

    No. They reviewed my records and decided they couldn't hold me to it with all the problems I have been having with there network
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