Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comparing 3G Networks

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the and-the-winner-is dept.

Wireless Networking 127

bsk_cw writes "Brian Nadel got hold of cellular network cards from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, and tried them out with a Lenovo ThinkPad X300 notebook. He watched videos on commuter trains, worked with e-mail at cafes, listened to Internet radio at the airport, and downloaded large files while in a moving car. AT&T came out on top in his tests in the New York area (summary here). Some of the reader comments report different conclusions, so a YMMV is in order."

cancel ×

127 comments

I didn't RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398092)

What about costs, caps?

Re:I didn't RTFA (2, Funny)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398116)

What about costs, caps?

The article didn't say if he was wearing a cap - you don't it would effect reception do you?

Re:I didn't RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23399944)

What about costs, caps?

The article didn't say if he was wearing a cap - you don't it would effect reception do you?

only if it was tinfoil.

5GiB, $60 (4, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398120)

It seems like the high end is $60-$80 with a 5GiB cap. ATT and Sprint have lower end plans with a insane limit of 4-5MiB, Verizon 50MiB.

The lower end plans seem so limited as to be useless. How much Google maps usage can you fit into 4MiB before it is $1-8 per extra MiB?

Re:5GiB, $60 (3, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398178)

Is there much prospect of the price of wireless broadband becoming affordable? It's very irritating to have ubuquitous technology that practically nobody can afford (or is willing to spend that kind of money) to use.

Re:5GiB, $60 (4, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398286)

Is there much prospect of the price of wireless broadband becoming affordable? It's very irritating to have ubuquitous technology that practically nobody can afford (or is willing to spend that kind of money) to use.
You can get unlimited data and text and 500 minutes of voice for $30/month on Sprint if you get the plan that's been floating around a lot of Hot Deals forums across the net for the last year. You can get it, for instance, with the HTC Mogul, which acts as a wireless router (with modding) to allow however many laptops you have nearby to access the net. In my area speeds are around 800 kbps because we don't have great coverage here. The Mogul also has GPS (works great with Google Maps for live satellite views of your location) and gives you your choice of iPhone style 2 finger zooming in Opera (with modding) or (my preference) single tap zooming.

In summary, there are cheap, good plans out there, but they're quasi-secret.

Re:5GiB, $60 (2, Interesting)

BBF_BBF (812493) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398456)

You can get unlimited data and text and 500 minutes of voice for $30/month on Sprint if you get the plan that's been floating around a lot of Hot Deals forums across the net for the last year. You can get it, for instance, with the HTC Mogul, which acts as a wireless router (with modding) to allow however many laptops you have nearby to access the net.
The SERO plan that you're referring to DOES NOT ALLOW TETHERING. You may be happy with your "work around", but any business person foolish enough to do that is just asking for a meaty lawsuit that will cost his/her company lots more money and maybe a misdemeanor for theft. I agree it's not fair that "tethering" costs unreasonably large amounts of money, while "unlimited" on-phone browsing is *much* less. But such is life and it's what the market will bear.

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

Hunter-Killer (144296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398514)

I came to post this, but was beaten.

Except with phone-as-modem plans, you may not use a phone (including a Bluetooth phone) on a plan with unlimited Vision/Power Vision as a modem in connection with a computer, PDA, or similar device. We reserve the right to deny or terminate service without notice for any misuse.
SERO does have unlimited data plans, but they start at $50.

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398938)

I just signed up a couple weeks ago. $30. Unlimited everything but voice (500min).

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

Hunter-Killer (144296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399280)

I have that plan too (SERO F&F 500). You're not supposed to tether. The $50 quote was for a "true" data plan.

Re:5GiB, $60 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402800)

There's no such thing as a misdemeanor for theft.

Re:5GiB, $60 (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398478)

You can get unlimited data and text and 500 minutes of voice for $30/month on Sprint if you get the plan that's been floating around a lot of Hot Deals forums across the net for the last year.
For values of 'unlimited data' less than 5 gigabytes a month, per standard Sprint Terms Of Service, I presume?

Re:5GiB, $60 (2, Interesting)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398810)

For what it's worth, Sprint does not enforce the 5GB limit. Verizon did for a while but they got fined for false advertising (Unlimited BroadbandAccess(tm) say the ads), so they stopped. It's asinine to have to agree to ridiculous TOS restrictions like that, but that's what you get with oligopolies.

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400858)

I recently renewed my Verizon BroadbandAccess subscription, and the contract said 10gb in the fine print.

Re:5GiB, $60 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398802)

As long as you don't plan on, you know, USING the data transfer.

You sort of forgot to mention that you can't use this plan with a computer, like the entire point behind the article. (The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 notebook is a laptop, not a giant phone. RTFS.)

So you're limited to whatever browser comes with your phone. I suppose you could always get an iPhone - oh, wait, wrong carrier. I guess it's Mobile Internet Explorer on a smart-phone or bust.

And last I checked, that means no Google Maps, since Google Maps requires a full browser.

Re:5GiB, $60 (2, Informative)

jelle (14827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399638)

There is a Google maps application that I know will run on SymbianOS that Nokia uses (s60 phones)... And on phones like the N80i, it even locates where you are with about 2 miles accuracy. It's a separate google app, doesn't need a browser.

Re:5GiB, $60 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23399768)

1. As far as I can tell, Sprint doesn't support S60 phones. (They do have Palm and Windows Mobile phones, though.) So a S60 native application won't help.

2. Sprint charges extra for their own map application, and therefore locks out third party applications. It's called Mobile Nav or something like that, look it up on your own.

3. I know you can't copy third party ringtones and applications onto Sprint phones without them being signed by Sprint - and Google hasn't. So no Google Maps on Sprint phones.

Yes, you can get Google Maps and all sorts of cool features on smart phones - just not if you're using Sprint. Dunno about Verizon. AT&T and T-Mobile are both GSM, so any GSM-compatible phone can be used.

There's a reason Sprint is dead-last in the mobile market in the US, and it's not just because their coverage map has holes the size of cities.

Re:5GiB, $60 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23401896)

Not secret any more!

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/680568

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

aclarke (307017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402284)

Waaaah, cry me a river. I'd LOVE to be able to pay and obtain US data rates. I certainly miss $15/month "unlimited" data on my phone or $70/month "unlimited" usage with a data card from when I lived in the US.

Back here in Canada I'm currently paying $40/month for 8MB on my Blackberry. The biggest plan I can even buy on Bell Canada is 1GB/month for $100. Every MB over that costs $1 so for your "measly" 5GB cap I'd be paying $4100.

It's also worth noting that on my 8MB/month plan I'm paying $6/MB overage.

The sad and criminal fact is that companies charge these numbers because they can. US companies apparently feel their point of maximum profit is at a lower price point than the Canadian companies do. Obviously from the number of people in both Canada and the US with data plans, it's not the case that "practically nobody" is willing to spend the money on the plans.

Re:5GiB, $60 (4, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398214)

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398266)

Or is it $-7?

Not likely, though.

Re:5GiB, $60 (1, Interesting)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398348)

Er, are those plans really sold in GiB/MiB? Data plans are usually measured in GB/MB; GiB/MiB is supposed to be for RAM, (sometimes) flash storage, and other binary multiples. Data carriage is almost always sold using standard SI prefix meanings.

Re:5GiB, $60 (3, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398448)

AT&T is indeed sold in GiB/MiB:"1,024 kilobytes (KB) = 1 megabyte (MB)" from http://www.wireless.att.com/businesscenter/popup/dataconnect-comp-table.jsp#laptopconnect [att.com]

Sprint: yes, from http://nextelonline.nextel.com/en/legal/legal_terms_privacy_popup.shtml [nextel.com]

Verizon: yes, from http://b2b.vzw.com/broadband/bba_terms.html [vzw.com]

So, yes, they are all sold in binary units, and the SI prefixes are incorrectly used here.

Re:5GiB, $60 (0, Offtopic)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398570)

Well, that's remarkable. I guess my Offtopic mod was well deserved, then... :)

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400356)

Comms speed is measured in groups of 1000, data volume is measured in groups of 1024.. has always been so as far back as I cam remember.

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

The_Quinn (748261) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398364)

Sprint's high end is $99 for unlimited data (to a point), plus unlimited voice, text, and GPS navigation.

Re:5GiB, $60 but Sprint capless (2, Interesting)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398370)

I used Sprint EVDO as my only broadband (with SecondLife), streaming a few gigs each day from mid 2006-2007 on their unlimited plan. Always listened to music, and sometimes watched movies too... Now seeing what other services offer (rather, limit) I love Sprint even more! -Randy

Re:5GiB, $60 but Sprint capless (1)

W1BMW (462297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399102)

ditto. i'm using my Q9c tethered to my laptop via bluetooth several hours a day on secondlife and never has my bill gone over. I pay $40/mo for unlimited data and tethering from sprint. $40/mo more for 450 minutes of voice. so for what i was paying for a cable modem and vonage, i now have the same service but portable. I used the verizon air card for a few years with the same results, but sprint was cheaper and allows me do voice on the same device... less crap to carry on the road.

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

Jewfro_Macabbi (1000217) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398466)

I had AT&T's mobile service. It was 59.99 unlimited - there were no caps I'm aware of - I was using this for primary internet including torrents and all. I'm currently using Alltel - same 59.99 for a wireless usb card - unlimited. Alltel is much faster in my area. They also offer the service for only 29.99 unlimited via tethered phone... Two of my friends also use this service - as primary internet with no complaints so far. (other than having customer service inform me "it's not possible to connect to our internet using Linux... ")

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23401494)

(other than having customer service inform me "it's not possible to connect to our internet using Linux... ")
this is typical of AT&T. I got the same kind of crap when i purchased their DSL service. They refused to connect me and I managed to convince the CSR that I could do it, I swear, and besides....your company wants to make money, not lose it. I shouldnt have to argue this. After a while they agreed to send me the modem and software...


I had to call in and have someone make my account for me. Their account creation only supports IE, because the Java buttons are broken under firefox. bastards.

Re:5GiB, $60 (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402352)

Last time I tried activating SBC's DSL (so yeah it wasn't very recently), they couldn't believe that I had removed IE off of my PowerBook and were unable to understand that their "mac version" of the activation CD required it. The tech didn't recognize them when I mentioned Safari and Firefox. Why they can't just build an extremely simple registration form using standard HTML is beyond me...

Re:5GiB, $60 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398774)

The 5GB limits are not enforced. Verizon was fined for false advertising because they promised "unlimited BroadbandAccess" but ended people's contracts if they went over the cap. As a result they stopped booting people. Sprint, AFAIK, has never booted people for downloading too much (they need every subscriber they can get right now).

I have used both Verizon and Sprint 3G and found them both to be good. In fact, my DSL bogs down during peak usage times while my 3G does not, so 3G actually downloads faster during those times. Latency and upload speeds are worse but not unbearable (gaming isn't really possible though).

What large files, pray tell? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398118)

Could you be more specific? Or did you not elaborate on purpose because it is common knowledge what large files get downloaded on fast connections? Hmm?

Re:What large files, pray tell? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398222)

Or did you not elaborate on purpose because it is common knowledge what large files get downloaded on fast connections? Hmm?
Umm like YouTube videos, game demos, or... oh, wait, you're talking stereotypes here.

Re:What large files, pray tell? (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399566)

It doesn't matter so much what he downloaded. It would be interesting if the protocol was specified. http? bittorrent?

Like the commenters from TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398122)

I have found the exact opposite to be true: Verizon is typically the best of the three in terms of reliability and data throughput, and AT&T is the worst.

Maybe AT&T's network is GREAT around Computerworld's offices and crappy everywhere else. Who knows.

Theoretically, UMTS and EV-DO should be comparable, with EV-DO Rev. A having a slight edge in uplink speeds to the UMTS revs currently in deployment..

However, maybe AT&T's routing of packets through NSA secret rooms slows it down or something. *shrug*

It wasn't a fair comparison (5, Interesting)

letsief (1053922) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398392)

I don't think the reviewer did a very fair comparison. Most significantly, he should have used similar data cards- preferably using cards over USB. The AT&T and Verizon cards were larger, and probably able to pick up weaker signals better. They also included built-in batteries, which greatly impacted the laptop battery life test.

I'm also a little skeptical of his bandwidth testing method. I've never heard the Alken site, and the tests I did right now on my own system aren't even close to my actual performance (although, maybe they're justing getting slammed with traffic). It would have been interesting to see if signal strength played a factor as well.

In any case, most people I've heard from have had exactly the opposite results. Usually Sprint is the fastest, with Verizon not far behind and AT&T bringing up the rear. Sprint also has considerably more 3G coverage than the other two carriers. Without saying anything about their customer service, I think Sprint is the clear choice when it comes to data plans.

Re:It wasn't a fair comparison (3, Insightful)

general_re (8883) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398630)

I'm also a little skeptical of his bandwidth testing method. I've never heard the Alken site, and the tests I did right now on my own system aren't even close to my actual performance (although, maybe they're justing getting slammed with traffic).

Why would you choose a server in Norway to test the speed of a wireless connection in New York anyway? Are we testing the speed of the actual wireless network, or the peering arrangements for each provider across the North Atlantic?

Seems to me that you'd want to pick something a little closer, so as to test the actual speed of the provider's network, rather than the speed of the connection to Norway or South Africa or Mars or wherever. Alken just benchmarked my home connection at 1.6 Mbit down. Speakeasy's Washington DC [speakeasy.net] speed test server clocked me at 23.7 Mbit down - which one do you think is a better reading of my ISP's actual performance?

Re:It wasn't a fair comparison (3, Interesting)

kylehase (982334) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399362)

Absolutely correct. If you wanted to isolate the wireless connection as the variable then each provider should setup their own download server on their network. It would be in their interest to use a beefy server and place it optimally on the network for wireless downloads.

For an even more controlled test you'd need to use the same server hardware and same application layer protocols on each network.

Unfortunately, while this would be a great test for wireless transfer speed it's not a good test of actual browsing/downloading.

Re:It wasn't a fair comparison (1)

jriskin (132491) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399036)

I agree completely. No actual data from when/where the samples were taken. If you look at the coverage maps sprint and Verizon have much larger 3G networks. From my experience sprint has been very fast for me and several people I know. Obviously this to, is too small a sample size to rate a network. But, that article didn't really clarify anything. Especially considering he said several times he was not connected to a 3G network for Sprint and Verizon, did he average in non-3G network numbers?

Re:It wasn't a fair comparison (1)

perlith (1133671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400816)

I have to agree to parent here. Common hardware, i.e. the same data card, should have been used. In an attempt to make a car analogy...

Three cars take three different roads to arrive at the same destination. Speeds vary while driving, sometimes going the speed limit (average download), other times pushing their individual car to the limit where there are no restrictions on speed. Once the cars arrive, the finger is pointed solely at the roads they traveled over, not taking into account the car.

Oh, and printer-friendly link to skip clicking through five pages of ads: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=printArticleBasic&articleId=9083559 [computerworld.com]

Re:Like the commenters from TFA... (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400882)

Agreed. I have used Verizon's EVDO service for years during my daily train commute along the Hudson River, to and from Manhattan. (In fact, I am typing this from the train. Beautiful sunny morning on the river today....) It is common and well-tested knowledge among regular riders that Verizon has the best signal strength and throughput on my particular route. AT&T works in places, Sprint works in places, and Verizon certainly cuts out in places, but overall, Verizon is definitely most reliable.

IF you have ATT DSL you use there hot spots free.. (4, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398156)

and that cost a lot less.

Re:IF you have ATT DSL you use there hot spots fre (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398258)

If you made it through American Public education you know that they'll let you on their public network no matter where 'there' is.

Re:IF you have ATT DSL you use there hot spots fre (1)

Benley (102665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399196)

Let me know when those hotspots work on the Boston commuter rail. Until then, I'll trudge along with a cellular data card.

What's the lag? (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398162)

My big question would be: what's the lag?

The last time I tried to use a cell network for internet access, the lag was horrid (300+ms) compared to real broadband. How is the lag on these systems? I'd rather have the responsive 450kbps connection than the unresponsive 1.5mbps connection.

Re:What's the lag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398290)

I think you mean latency, not "lag". And, last I checked, people weren't doing much gaming on this kind of connection.

I mean, unless you have a better way to get a low latency connection pretty much anywhere in the continental US...

Re:What's the lag? (1)

Brikus (670587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398372)

I typically experience pings of at least 200ms on both CDMA and GSM networks.

Re:What's the lag? (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398574)

Not bad, but for $80 a month, it should be measured in nanoseconds.

Re:What's the lag? (3, Funny)

Bronster (13157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398650)

Nice call, Captain Lightspeed

Re:What's the lag? (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399510)

You can buy (more) bandwidth, but you can't buy (less) latency.

Re:What's the lag? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398482)

I SSH into a machine on the other coast over my Sprint wifi sometimes, and connect to an irssi session running in 'screen'. It's pretty usable.

Re:What's the lag? (4, Informative)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398506)

I've got an AT&T Tilt (HTC Tytan II) with HSDPA/3G/EDGE/GSM/etc and depending on where I am and what network, I get wildly different results. These is by using the bluetooth internet sharing with my MacbookPro in OSX or using USB internet sharing with my Ubuntu Linux Vaio:

Location / ping to google.com / max download speed
At my dad's house in NJ / ~400-800ms / ~65K/sec
NJTransit Train in NJ / ~80-90ms / ~110/sec
NJX Airport / ~40-50ms / ~120K/sec
In Brooklyn / ~70-80ms / ~120K/sec
In Manhattan / ~40-50ms / ~120K/sec

Re:What's the lag? (1)

p5 (102346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398920)

with my MacbookPro
Whoa, just found the major source of the widly different results!

Re:What's the lag? (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398932)

Using my Samsung SGH-T509 cell phone as a dial-up modem (over a USB cable), I typically experience latency of 700-1200ms. My cellular provider is T-Mobile, and I'm in Richardson, Texas. The speed is about 25 KB/s at best, though T-Mobile allows this luxury only for HTTP connections; the rest are throttled to about 4-6 KB/s.

Re:What's the lag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23399316)

Latency is indeed the weak spot of mobile data systems. It has improved greatly with the newer systems, at least our UMTS network has a latency about a quarter of what the GPRS network manages. GPRS would be 800 to 1000ms, UMTS seems to manage around 200 to 250. This is still of course not wonderful, but one of my team mates manages to play WOW over it OK.

The other problem if you are moving around is that handovers can cause breaks for varying lengths of time. Also of course you may move into an area that does not have the type of service you need..eg our network currently has GPRS wherever we have coverage, UMTS for larger towns and cities, and HSDPA in the major urban areas. So it might work great in the apartment and not so good at the beach.

Ideally you want to see if you can borrow a device and try it out in your most likely locations, as predictions of coverage are a bit like weather forecasts. The differences between networks are more likely to be local due to the amount of coverage the operator has in the area, rather than the inherent advantages of any particular technology

Re:What's the lag? (1)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23401888)

326ms... Having just tested 2 devices in a Verizon store at "Speedtest.net".

Does anyone see the connection here? (3, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398198)

Philadelphia's muniWiFi network goes dead next month when Earthlink pulls the plug.

Oddly, the telcos start allowing metered access of their 3G networks; no all-you-can-eat plans anymore. In megabyte increments in one case.....

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398382)

Hey, it works with text messaging. Why wouldn't they charge large amounts for something that costs them a lot less?

On a side note, Verizon has been doing that for a while with their "data plans". Last I checked they were limiting my phone to 100 MB per month. Good thing I don't use it for internet.

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398424)

Although I wonder how you get email it it's not 'internet', my old plan didn't seem to have any boundaries, just crappy and mercurial service. I had to mod various ugly plist files on my Mac to make it work, and Linux was plainly not going to see it as a modem without a lot of work. This guy used Windows; the low-hanging-fruit test.

The reality is that wireless broadband as expoused by the carriers in the US is on the meter now; it's not really broadband just bits-per-buck.

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398556)

Oddly, the telcos start allowing metered access of their 3G networks; no all-you-can-eat plans anymore. In megabyte increments in one case.....

Sounds like they're trying to get us used to the idea again. Remember when AOL was $10 a month for 10 hours and $2 per hour extra for each additional hour? If that happened again, people would flip.

I hope consumers are smart enough to vote with their wallets when such policies come to DSL and Cable modems.

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398614)

I gave up my Verizon plan; $60/mo was ridiculous. Convenient, yes. Frustrating, yes. Mercurial on a good day, impossible on a bad one.

Yeah, the meter is on. Let's hope this form of 'broadband' changes, and soon. I was hoping that WiMAX would be real, but even with the recent divorce and remarriage of Clearwire and Sprint and Intel, I don't give it much of a chance. I like Craig McGaw's LEO access balloons.....

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398670)

WiMAX would be nice, but until then, I'm trying to be part of the solution by keeping my WAP open. Hopefully others will follow suit, and companies that make routers will make it easier to do so without having your LAN pwned.

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398712)

It might be quixotic, but you're a nice person. Your carrier might have some problem it... and it might be illegal to use your AP depending on the locale.

It reminds me of the old biker saying, ass grass or gas, nobody rides for free.....

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398764)

Oddly, the telcos start allowing metered access of their 3G networks; no all-you-can-eat plans anymore.

It's not odd at all. In fact that's exactly what I would expect them to do when there's no competition. Should be easy to see why they want it outlawed. I would like to know how good 3G service is and how much it costs in cities with muniWiFi.

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (1)

bkedersha (669510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398998)

Sprint allows all you can eat!

Re:Does anyone see the connection here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23399868)

In the exact same way land-line Internet connections do: namely, they don't.

There's a secret cap. Once you go over it, Sprint will "fire" your ass [slashdot.org] and you can go find another cell phone provider who'll both have better coverage and be up front about it.

AT&T FTW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398256)

I tried my 3G iPhone with both AT&T, verizon, and T-Mobile. AT&T had better speed and coverage (Chicago area).

Re:AT&T FTW (0)

oyningen (1189553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398464)

Aah, but in the future, when there's 3g iPhones, you'd expect these things to have changed somewhat.

Not AT&T in North Texas (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398360)

Where I live in North Texas, I lose calls on my AT&T 3G phone all the time, as it drops down to a different service level. I've even gotten the dreaded "Emergency service only" a few times on various days. Considering the town/city I live in has over 100K people and 2 pretty large universities, it has been surprising how poorly their 3G coverage is.

Considering my cell phone is my work phone (I work from home), this is not a good thing. The only reason I use AT&T is because at the time, there was no other carrier that had a decent plan that includes Canada in one flat rate. I call Canada several times a day, as my Dev team is there for the software I support.

They don't offer that plan anymore, so I keep my service level the same, and they don't change me 3 arms and 2 legs to keep it going. But with the current service levels, I'm considering a switch anyways.

Re:Not AT&T in North Texas (2, Insightful)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398508)

Why not get a VOIP phone?

Re:Not AT&T in North Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23399106)

Exactly what is this magical VOIP phone going to communicate over? Ether? You still need some sort of wireless network.

Re:Not AT&T in North Texas (1)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402300)

Exactly what is this magical VOIP phone going to communicate over? Ether? You still need some sort of wireless network.
Assuming this person has dsl or cable modem internet access

Re:Not AT&T in North Texas (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398562)

Have you tried Skype or other VOIP services? They seem perfect for you.

Re:Not AT&T in North Texas (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399068)

I found Verizon's EVDO to be the best performer here in the D/FW metroplex. Smokes AT&T's 3G aircard service for breakfast. We've used Sprint before too, and they're pretty good at least in most of the high-techy areas of the metroplex too, plus also around the D/FW airport where all four major carriers VZW, ATT, T-Mobile and Sprint all have strong coverage.

Considering the town/city I live in has over 100K people and 2 pretty large universities, it has been surprising how poorly their 3G coverage is.

Hmmm, city in N. Texas with 100K population and two universities? Would that be Wichita Falls? I was there a couple months ago and was astounded to find they actually have Verizon EVDO-A service there and I got 1.2Mbps service with my laptop's PC5750 card. I was expecting 1xRTT at best.

revA faster than rev0 (1)

The_Quinn (748261) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398390)

This comparison doesn't take into account both Verizon and Sprint's EV-DO revA networks, which are faster than the rev0 networks he was using. He may not live in a revA market, though.

Yeah, swell... (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398414)

What happens if your not on this list [att.com] ?
You're boned.

frqost pi5t (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23398486)

about half of the Trying to diisect all parties it's The reaper BSD'5 , a proud member outreach are

No comparison (1)

greatgreygreengreasy (706454) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398664)

In reality, there is no comparison. Unless you live in a MAJOR metropolitan area, GSM 3G is non-existent. On the other hand, Verizon offers EVDO in many areas of NORTH DAKOTA, where the largest 'city' has fewer than 100k people. When any GSM carrier can claim coverage in a significant portion of this state, I'll give them some consideration. Until then, they're about as useful as an asshole on an elbow.

Crowdsourcing the Data (4, Interesting)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398738)

Maybe something already exists, but wouldn't it be cool if there was some kind of app that people could install on their laptops that would upload metrics to a central server and make it available to review?

The app could tie into the 3G card and pull your approximate location, your carrier, and your average speed and upload it all to a server. As long as it doesn't also upload personal data, or your IP, etc, I can't foresee privacy issues (and it would be opt-in anyway).

With enough people running an app like this, the data could come together quite nicely and allow people to view a map overlayed with the different networks and average performance.

And I bet such a site could be supported by ad revenue. (3: Profit)

Re:Crowdsourcing the Data (1)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400078)

You mean like dslreports [dslreports.com] has been doing forever and a day?

It's too bad they don't have the results broken down in a more useful manner, and don't ask where you are when you do the speed test.

AT & T gets a thumbs down here (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 6 years ago | (#23398930)

I used AT&T for several months along the East coast, and thought it was crappy. I ended up paying the early termination fee just because I got better service from free wireless points, and hotel wireless.

What about roaming in other countries? (2, Interesting)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399088)

I want to know if there are carriers that will provide data service and not completely rape me when I travel overseas. Usually when I ask a US carrier about international anything (rates, service, whatever) they have nothing but blank stares to offer.

How do you get data service overseas?

Re:What about roaming in other countries? (1)

MyGirlFriendsBroken (599031) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399848)

How do you get data service overseas?

Wireless hotspots or I rent another 3G card. It would seem that Telcos the world over are set on using any kind or roaming and data especially to fund a larger private jet for their execs. Calls I can kind of get, but the cost of providing data access abroad must oly be a fraction more than in the home country of the user it should just be ensuring that the billing and access authoriation infra is in place.

Wireless can work pretty well, I used to use iPass which worked in every country I went to, no idea how much that cost though as I was not picking up the tab.

Re:What about roaming in other countries? (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400328)

The problem isn't the cost of actually providing data-transfer in other networks.
The problem is that all network-operators charge all the other network-operators ridiculous sums for roaming clients and thus no operator can afford to lower what they charge for roaming.

It's ridiculous.

Re:What about roaming in other countries? (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400304)

How often and for how long do you travel abroad?
It might be best to get a local subscription if you mostly go to one country and do this a lot.

If you go to Europe and travel between countries, you must check to see that you get one that let you use the free data-rate while roaming though...
Most don't and you still get the rape when roaming.

Examples of 7.2Mbit/s services from www.tele2.se in sweden:
$16.24/month with a 1GB/month cap, then the service gets throttled to 30kbit/s
$26.08/month with a 5GB/month cap, then the service gets throttled to 30kbit/s
Not that bad, but if you where to roam in, say, Germany with this you'd be charged between $10 and $20/MB depending on the network... =P

Re:What about roaming in other countries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402292)

That's because they don't have contracts with foreign countries. They can charge you whatever they feel like and your wireless carrier doesn't get a say with it.

if you want to know, from that country, call 611 (i think is the number) and talk to their customer support. They'll tell you just how bad you're about to take it...

and turn off automated data on your phone too... that's a killer, especially on a cruise when you may hit 3-4 countries in a day and data roam in each...

(I worked for a cell phone company for 2 years in a call center, i've heard many different stories... your phone gets stolen and taken to canada where it makes many phone calls before it's reported, you're on the hook for everything that happens before you report it.)

aircards (1)

hiimhoit (1195485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399254)

In the USA is yankee doodle dandy, but what I'm wondering is which aircard has the best coverage internationally. I have customers who use there aircards overseas, especially in New Zealand which seems to be the biggest trouble area. I have heard using aircards internationally is atrocious (I have not ever left the lower48).

ATT 3G...how much did they pay for that article? (5, Informative)

knutsdood (866904) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399370)

As an IT manager for a consulting business, 80% of my workforce is on the road 80% of the year. Broadband cards are absolutely critical to our success. We field test all over the nation and offer all three options. Our people have decided on 2 Verizon cards, 6 dozen Sprint cards and nobody has opted for the ATT card.

Our consultants are regularly in NYC, Philly, Houston, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and Dallas.

If it helps anybody, Sprint is weak in New Jersey and parts of the Dallas area. Verizon picks up New Jersey nicely and this is where both of our Verizon cards are primarily deployed. Verizon and ATT are both not superior in Dallas so perhaps something else makes them all less than perfect.

One last thing...as soon as iPhone 2.0 comes out, and sells like hotcakes, the ATT network is going to be overburdened...you watch.

Related question (1)

Quixote (154172) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399750)

Is there an easy-to-use hardware device which will accept one of these 3G cards and act like a WiFi accesspoint, for a mobile WiFi solution?

I've been looking for one, but with mixed results.

Re:Related question (1)

MyGirlFriendsBroken (599031) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399862)

Is there an easy-to-use hardware device which will accept one of these 3G cards and act like a WiFi accesspoint, for a mobile WiFi solution?

I've been looking for one, but with mixed results.

These do exist, but I can't remember who makes them. I spent a while in Switzerland with me from the UK, a guy from Germany and a Swiss guy all working at a client, we used the Swiss 3G card and a device which does exactly as you describe and it worked really well. I'll come back if it occurs to me later today

Sprint gets my thumbs up (1)

mitoe (785312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399770)

I've had the mobile broadband service from Sprint for well over a year and have felt it worth the money. First off, I pay $60/month for unlimited usage. No bandwidth caps. Secondly, the speed isn't bad at all. I can reasonably play UT with decent (100 or so) pings. Speed: 642k down, 210 up to SpeakEasy in NY from Ohio. 624/147 to LinkLine in LA. I live in a rather rural area which (up until recently) had no DSL and definitely has no cable access. Coupled with the fact that I'm constantly on the road as an audio engineer, the service has been well worth the price.

Re:Sprint gets my thumbs up (1)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399952)

I also use Sprint's service in the S.F. Bay Area and I'm impressed with it. The no-cap policy is what first attracted me but now it's the reliability that has made it worth it. It's a very good service.

Location, location, ... (1)

jasonwea (598696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23399774)

Anyone thinking of trying out AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon should check their coverage maps carefully. I have great difficultly in getting a reliable connection here in Australia.

Re:Location, location, ... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400236)

I am surprised you get a connection at all from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon in Australia. What sort of antenna do you have?

Re:Location, location, ... (2, Funny)

jasonwea (598696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23400506)

My signal bars go up to eleven!

How to Choose a 3G Service (2, Interesting)

gamartin (145290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23401158)

Trial and error is key -- once you narrow the cost/feature choices then MUST actually try it out in your circumstances, especially for "difficult" environments like commuter trains. Remember they all have return policies for good reason!

Example: Metro North commuter train in NYC:

  1. first tried AT&T, which worked great at my house but had a major dead zone on the commuter train -- the connection would always break at that location and have to be restarted... unacceptable. Returned everything to AT&T store for a full refund.
  2. consulted a map of cell towers (do your own search), found that Sprint had the closest tower to the difficult dead zone
  3. tried Sprint Mobile Broadband, which worked much better -- no dead zone, smooth continuous connection for the entire commute (at least until the train goes underground near Grand Central), pleased with service

Notes about using Sprint Mobile Broadband:

  • Sprint somewhat supports linux -- I was able to get the Pantech PX-500 card working on my linux laptop in no time using documentation from the Sprint web site
  • don't expect blazing speeds -- realistically get several hundred kbps, which is more than fine if your expectations are reasonable
  • latency is good enough -- I do e-mail with a shell account, and latency is generally no problem
  • coverage is quite good -- every reasonable location I have tried has had reasonable coverage, including a farm in upstate New York
SUMMARY: I had a bias against being a Sprint customer, but coverage and linux led me there, and I have been quite satisfied with Sprint Mobile Broadband.

Network load (1)

VindictivePantz (911136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23401214)

It was not clear to me how in-depth the testing was at given times during the day, night, week, month, etc.

I would imagine that actual performance is significantly impacted by the number of users - not only of the data service, but all of the folks using their mobile phones as phones at the time(s) tests were conducted.

Voice and data is fighting for the tower's attention, and I would assume most carriers would start ratcheting down data speeds/capacities if their towers were seeing a lot of voice calls.

A long term study examining the most common network performance factors (i.e. latency, throughput, etc.) using the following would prove useful:

Time of day
Weekday, weekend
Population
Tower density
Rural (few buildings over 5-6 stories) vs. Urban (skyscrapers, dense buildings)

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23401862)

What's with the prices?

I pay $44.95 for unlimited data w/Verizon.

My total bill for 2 phones sharing 1400 mins and unlimited data on my XV6700 is $150.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...