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4G vs. 3G vs. WiFi Throughput For Samsung's Epic 4G

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the taste-of-things-to-come dept.

Cellphones 103

MojoKid writes "Some of the most popular Android smartphones currently available are members of Samsung's Galaxy S line. Powered by Samsung's own 1GHz ARM Cortex A8-based Hummingbird processor with a four-inch Super-AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, it's no wonder Samsung has sold over 5 million Galaxy S phones. The Epic 4G variant of this phone, available through Sprint, is also one of the scant few 4G capable devices on the market currently. Sprint's 4G network utilizes WiMAX mobile broadband, with a theoretical maximum throughput of 40Mbps. Sprint claims that the average download speed on its 4G network is between 3 to 6Mbps, with peak download speeds above 10Mbps. The performance figures seen here actually show solid throughput for the Epic, besting competitive 3G devices and even versus some with a Wi-Fi connection. 4G WiMAX service is still rather limited geographically, but hopefully devices like these will help to kick the roll-out into gear a bit."

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103 comments

iPhone 4 (0, Offtopic)

WarpedCore (1255156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914504)

and the tests don't include the iPhone 4 and no reason/mention why. It'd make sense, since ya know, the Epic and iPhone 4 share the same Intrinsity chip design... and the iPhone 4 supports UMTS and Wireless-N whereas the 3GS doesn't.

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

LiMikeTnux (770345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914522)

This is a Samsung Epic review, not a comparison with other phones, as far as I can tell.

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

LiMikeTnux (770345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914582)

nevermiiiiind completely missed the second link to the chart. Rather confusing, that one. What are they trying to show?

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914850)

nevermiiiiind completely missed the second link to the chart. Rather confusing, that one. What are they trying to show?

That the Samsung Epic is the fastest phone that they tested.

Re:iPhone 4 (2, Interesting)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914966)

That the Samsung Epic is the fastest phone that they tested.

In other news my i7 Laptop scores better on benchmarks then my compaq 386...
Could they really not find a G2 to test?

Something I recently learned about android is how important the kernel is to download speeds, I went from 1mbps with stock android to 2-3mpbs with biffmod, with stock cm6 I only got. 300kbps.

On one test I got 3.2Mbps.... Which is higher then what they're getting here... and this is on my G1.

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915610)

What are they trying to show?

With silly phrases like "Powered by Samsung's own 1GHz ARM Cortex A8-based Hummingbird processor with a four-inch Super-AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, it's no wonder Samsung has sold over 5 million Galaxy S phones" I'd say they are trying to show an advertisement.

Re:iPhone 4 (5, Informative)

tayhimself (791184) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914586)

This is a Samsung Epic review, not a comparison with other phones, as far as I can tell.

Err is that why other phones are in the graphs? For a more detailed and IMO better review this page on Anandtech [anandtech.com]has wifi only comparison including the iphone 3gs and 4.

Re:iPhone 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33917770)

The plots are useless, the mix WiFi, 3G and 4G in the same plots. At some point I didn't know if the article was about their ISP, the wireless service providers or the phones.

Go Back To Starbucks Hipster Douchebag (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914572)

No one gives a fuck about your piece of shit iPhone 4 and its defective antenna.

Re:Go Back To Starbucks Hipster Douchebag (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914906)

is it worse to be a hipster douchebag or a pretentious asshole? are you seriously JUDGING an individual based on the brand of cell phone they own?

and what antenna problem? I am an iphone4 owner (apparently also a hipster douchebag) and have NEVER had antenna issues before OR after I was given a complimentary case (bet you had to buy a case for your phone). the iphone4 is a solid phone. I am sure your phone is great too, and I wont judge you based on your phone choice. I'll judge you because you seem like an asshole.

Re:Go Back To Starbucks Hipster Douchebag (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33915054)

He probably got a phone that didn't REQUIRE a case to be fully functional. The only thing worse than an Apply fanboi is one who doesn't know how to properly capitalize his sentences.

*Captcha for comment: sarcasm. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader on whether that's funny or not.

Re:iPhone 4 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914578)

The iphone doesn't have 4g

Re:iPhone 4 (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914636)

Yes, but between a faster CPU and HSPUA radio, the iPhone 4 is noticeably faster 3G in supported areas. I don't know about on WiFi.

Example test [obamapacman.com]

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915238)

HSUPA Is the upstream part of an HSPA radio. The iPhone wouldn't have half of an HSPA radio. I don't think it has one at all, since AT&T doesn't have HSPA as far as I know.

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916222)

The iPhone 4 and the Epic have the same CPU.

In fact, I believe the Epic is clocked faster.

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916366)

All of the Samsung Galaxy S phones have the same CPU IIRC. They all use a 1GHz Hummingbird cpu. These include the Verizon Wireless Fascinate that my wife has, the Sprint Epic 4G, I forget the AT&T model name, the original (and fastest Android phone released at the time) Galaxy S i9000 that I have on Immix Wireless.

The biggest differences are things like the i9000 has no flash, a front facing camera, and 1 physical button and two soft touch buttons at bottom of screen, the Fascinate has no front facing camera (IIRC), a flash, and 4 soft touch buttons below screen. Oh, the other huge difference is my i9000 comes unlocked and "unbranded" since Immix doesnt lock or really mess around with their phones

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

Varsis7 (1919072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916380)

Yes, but between a faster CPU and HSPUA radio, the iPhone 4 is noticeably faster 3G in supported areas. I don't know about on WiFi.

Example test [obamapacman.com]

The Epic 4g has the same processor as the iPhone 4, a 1-GHz ARM Cortex A8. It has a newer GPU, the PowerVR SGX 540 as opposed to the 535 in the iPhone. It also has 512mB of RAM instead of the 256 in the iPhone. It has a few other advantages, like the Super AMOLED screen, which I can attest is absurdly high in contrast, brightness, saturation, and ... power usage. The iPhone 4 in comparison has a 60% higher rez screen, is smaller, and runs iOS, which at present is definitely still an advantage. For me it came down to the fantastic deal that Sprint's bottom of the line plan for smartphone users offers. Also, post-patch about a week ago, the 3g speeds are noticeably faster than that chart suggests, which is good because 4g is worthless in heavy brick buildings, basements, and while moving. It's also worth noting that in a month, it hasn't dropped a single call. >.>

Re:iPhone 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33917788)

the iPhone's CPU is only about 800 MHz

Re:iPhone 4 (1)

Jeffrey_Walsh VA (1335967) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914994)

Yea, just as there are only a few device on the market that use the soon-to-be-prevalent IMT-2000 4G, apple releases their fourth generation iPhone and quietly pushes the term 4G along with it.

Re:iPhone 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33917666)

The reviewer was left-handed and couldn't keep a call going long enough?

(I kid, I kid...)

Anecdote (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914568)

Living in one of the better covered 4G cities, my personal experience is that both WiMAX availability and throughput vary widely within the metro area. I would describe the WiMAX coverage as "spotty." When available it seems uniformly faster than 3G on my and my friends' phones. I have seen it get as high as 8Mbps download and as low as 1Mbps download (using speedtest.net). Coverage tends to get better as you near the city's core.

Throughput seems a difficult thing to measure, as it varies so widely in my experience.

Re:Anecdote (2, Interesting)

fsterman (519061) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915120)

Mod parent up.

I used to sell for the network that Sprint uses for it's "4g" coverage- it's total crap. Even at fixed positions, the signal waxes and wanes significantly. Only the most naive of customers were really satisfied with it, the rest hated it.

Maybe this test was at a good location, but the overall experience is just as spotty as current data networks.

Re:Anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33915574)

I have Wimax service for my home internet. I share the account with a friend, who lives a few blocks away. He has the larger home receiver, and I have the small mobile USB dongle. My experience is that it's very sensitive to positioning - the signal was spotty when I plugged the receiver directly into my computer, but after I bought a USB extension cable and positioned the dongle just so in my apartment, I've experienced consistent, good signal strength. Moving the receiver just a few inches can cause a large drop in signal strength and connection speed. I can see how people actually trying to use the service from a mobile device would have a frustrating experience. I live too far away from the city center to get DSL service, and I dislike the cable company too much to give them any money, so I'm glad to have another option.

Re:Anecdote (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916116)

I live in Denver, 4g is not up quite yet (you can get on down by 16th street mall, but that's about it) and i routinely connect over the current 3g. I get a consistent 3mps. While that may not boggle anyone's mind, remember that I get unlimited data. I have connected on 4g when I've been able to, and, to be honest, it's very fast. I haven't been able to test throughput simply because it's not live yet, but I would say it is easily 5-8mps.

Actually, now that I think about it, yea... Sprint 4g sucks. You should definitely choose another carrier. This is so slow, I just can't access my facebooks and episodes of "The Hills" fast enough. I would choose another carrier, because hey, only one thing matters, right?

Wimax vs real mobile tech (1)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915706)

Wimax isn't real 4G [wikipedia.org]. Its just a crappy extension of Wifi. Hence the spottyness.

Here at Tampere I'm able to get 8Mbps 10km from the city with the good old 3G network using HSPA+. Beats my ADSL over POTS. And the connection degrades gracefully via WDCMA -> EDGE -> GPRS as you reach countryside. See our coverage map [elisa.fi]. Carriers here are ignoring Wimax and are building LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks already. Check out Oslo or Stockholm for city wide operational networks if you're visiting.

Re:Wimax vs real mobile tech (1)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916452)

Wimax isn't real 4G [wikipedia.org]. Its just a crappy extension of Wifi. Hence the spottyness.

WiMax isn't "real 4G" because there is no "real 4G" because "4G" isn't defined-- just as "3G" was not defined by the ITU before it was used as a marketing term. At one point, even GPRS and Edge were called by some "3G", while others responded that it was more like "2.5G".

Furthermore, WiMax is not an "extension of Wifi" unless you want to attempt to reduce the significance of OFDMA to that of an "extension", in which case LTE is no more significant, given that it is also based on OFDMA. WiMax and LTE have more in common with each other than either has with wifi, and typical range for a WiMax base station is a kilometer or more-- with LOS, up to 8km.

You're calling out those describing WiMax as "4G" for confusing technical terms with marketing ones, but I think you've fallen prey to one yourself-- the near-ubiquitous description of WiMax as "wifi on steroids" which just means an IP-based WAN. WiMax coverage is spotty because providers don't deploy enough base stations compared to existing operators using other technologies.

Who really cares about speed at this point? (5, Insightful)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914576)

What good does ever-increasing speed do if I just end up blowing through my data cap that much faster? I can live with lower speeds, I just want reasonable prices per GB.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914680)

> Coverage tends to get better as you near the city's core.

It depends. I live ~15 miles southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale, and routinely get the throttled-max throughput Sprint will allow me to have: ~9mbit down, ~1.2mbit up (I'm about a quarter-mile away from the tower). My experience has been that the closer I get to downtown, the SLOWER and spottier it gets, because then you have more users and more wimax-shadows caused by tall buildings. One of the more amusing wimax shadows is visible at the Sprint store in Pembroke Pines (by the mall). Stand on the sidewalk, and get 7-8mbit down. Go inside the store and stand by the window, and it "kind of" still works. Walk over to the Epic and Evo display, and it's a total 4G dead zone. If I were the manager at that Sprint store, and I couldn't get my hands on a WiMax repeater, I'd make DAMN sure I moved the Epic and Evo displays to the front of the store by the window so their 4G would work. But knowing how Sprint stores are run, the manager probably doesn't even REALIZE (or care) there's been a live 4G tower less than a mile away for the past 4-6 weeks since it hasn't been Officially Announced(TM) yet...

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914728)

Sprint has no data cap, and likely won't get one since it is a major selling point over the other carriers. So as a Sprint user, I care

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

geek (5680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914900)

No advertised data cap you mean. They do in fact cap 3G at 5GB a month. They just don't tell you about it. No cap is on 4G yet but it's coming.

I have the Epic and love it but Sprint is a telcom just like all the others. Do not ever forget it.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33915386)

If you have a 4g capable phone they make you pay an extra ten bucks a month for truly unlimited data.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

praecantator (102628) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915612)

If you read the actual contract, the extra charge for unlimited data also applies to 3G, not just 4G. They *do* cap your roaming data, but that's pretty unlikely to come up in any metropolitan area.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33918436)

No advertised data cap you mean. They do in fact cap 3G at 5GB a month. They just don't tell you about it. No cap is on 4G yet but it's coming.

I have the Epic and love it but Sprint is a telcom just like all the others. Do not ever forget it.

Sprint's 3G is capped on mobile broadband, not on wireless phones plans,.

The first month I had my EVO 4G (I'm on the Everything Data Share 1500 plan), I was living in an area that did not have 4G coverage. My first month usage was just over 9GB, no capping, no decrease in speed, no additional charges. Prior to getting my EVO 4G I had other smartphones on Sprint and on a few occasions also went over the 5GB mark with absolutely no consequences (at that time I was on a SERO plan that cost around $45 a month after insurance and taxes). If they were going to cap anyone they would have capped the SERO plans that they've been trying to get rid of for years. BTW unless you're doing a video streaming on a fairly regular basis, 5GB/month is a lot of data on a phone.

Further, now that I use both 4G and 3G my sprint bill still contains just one line for data usage. Well it does include a separate line for roaming data, which is also listed as unlimited. But they never distinguish between 4G data usage and 3G data usage (Or 2G for that matter). If Sprint was actually capping 3G and not 4G, wouldn't they bill them separately?

When Sprint says their phone plan has unlimited data, they mean it. At least so far.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914956)

What good does ever-increasing speed do if I just end up blowing through my data cap that much faster? I can live with lower speeds, I just want reasonable prices per GB.

Sprint has no data cap. So, for Epic users, this is not a problem.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33917138)

>Sprint has no data cap.

And Sprint has few 4G towers. The 4G speed won't matter if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The nearest 4G towers are 50 miles east [imgur.com] in Stockton and Modesto. Stockton has the distinction of having among the highest foreclosure rates in California.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915174)

What good does ever-increasing speed do if I just end up blowing through my data cap that much faster? I can live with lower speeds, I just want reasonable prices per GB.

Sure, data caps are a big concern, but that hardly negates the benefits of better throughput. If I have a 5GB/mo cap, I may never use more than 2GB, but why wouldn't I want a fast connection for when I *am* using data?

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (2, Insightful)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915292)

It depends on what you are doing - there are applications that need speed but will rarely push much data on a monthly basis.

For instance we have a product that runs on phones that can use the 3g connection for public safety communications back to the home base for communications (this particular application includes visual elements too - if they simply need voice there is a telephone connection that avoids this). It is basically unusable for that application in the vast majority of the country even as a backup let alone for a primary means of communication. Connections are spotty, dropped packets happen quite often even on good solid connections, latencies are atrocious, basically unusable. It works great through a WiFi connection - no problems whatsoever. It doesn't use a lot of data monthly because it is only use when an ongoing incident is happening, lots of data over short periods.

It becomes truly important in some areas like that - the classic example is if someone is asking permission to shoot and kill someone and the response is "don't shoot" and the "don't" gets cut off - it is a real problem. There have been times where it takes over a minute for the message to reliably get there. Most of us will never have that occur but if you are in a security and disaster response arena it is quite important - people can and will die over that type of thing. Smart phones (and the resultant data networks) are so geared towards web browsing and checking e-mails where those things are irrelevant they have basically made it impossible to use for a great number of applications that it would be ideal for.

I haven't been able to test any 4G networks, but some of the other engineers I work with (a different company than the one I'm on - we resell and do custom software on some of their products) has basically said that while the 4G networks they have tested are quite a bit better and you can really tell the difference whilst "normal" internet tasks, it still is so focused on non-mission critical tasks that the carriers simply do not care about anything else and have made no attempts to make it better. We have seen that too in our other line of products (storage and disaster recovery products for mission critical transactional machines - credit card processors, 911 call processing, and a few stock exchanges) and some of even the server class hardware accepts error rates that we simply can not. It can be tough to find providers that truly understand that some people can't accept problems that are just fine for video games, web browsing, and using a word processor. In all of those cases the question is "If you have been shot and are calling 911 would you want your call going through that?". That is why voice connections are so heavily regulated and downtime is heavily fined - data not so much.

So yea, care about speed too - it could potentially one day save your life. There are many more applications that for these data pathways than just web browsing and streaming video.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33915364)

What are you doing on your phone that's causing you to blow through your data cap? I'm serious, I would like to know. I rarely approach mine and use my phone for streaming all sorts of media and I would definitely appreciate the improved throughput of WiMAX if it was available.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916814)

I'd like to be able to tether my laptop and do what I normally do on a broadband connection. Stream last.fm, watch youtube videos, update my offsite backup, buy and download games on Steam, grab the occasional new linux distro, and just generally use the internet as it's meant to be used. I just don't want to have to worry about counting bytes.

I'm not looking for an unlimited plan. I'm looking for a reasonable price per gigabyte so that I can stop having to pay for broadband just as I've stopped paying for cable TV and a landline phone. I'm also coming at this from the perspective of a Canadian who has even less choice and even higher prices for mobile data than in the US. Rogers, Bell and Telus have a cozy little cartel going on up here.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33917426)

Well I want a toilet made out of solid gold, but it's just not in the cards now is it?

Simple, silly...there is no spoon (1)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915374)

As a 12-year customer of Sprint, and as someone who's used mobile data access since before there were "smartphones", and still does with his shiny new Epic, I will tell you this:

I do not now, nor have I ever had, a data cap on my cell phone.

You, my friend, need to check the marketplace and either get a better provider or a better plan.

Re:Simple, silly...there is no spoon (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916440)

Not possible if you are in the UK. All providers cap the data (and charge e.g. £2 per megabyte if you go over, usually about 1GB a month). T-mobile is an exception in that they will throttle rather than charge when you exceed your limit.

Latency (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915588)

What good does ever-increasing speed do

Not much but LTE also has far better latency, which makes browsing or other tasks a lot more desktop-like.

Also most people would use about the same amount of bandwidth, they'd just be done with what they are doing faster. The exception would be some video feeds with variable bitrate depending on available bandwidth, where you really could use more data in the same span of time even without meaning to.

Re:Latency (1)

praecantator (102628) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915618)

As a point, I typically get around a 60-70ms ping on my EVO; I've tethered it to my computer when my home internet was down and quite successfully played several games on it.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915670)

Re What good does ever-increasing speed do
Telstra in Australia is/was the poster telco for this.
They pushed speed and more speed as a way to provide some PR space/nation building spin beyond the race to ever more data per month.
Its just smoke and mirrors, trinkets and beads for average telco consumers.
Backhaul roll out, number portability, non contract options would be the key to real plan innovations.
The freedom to find any telco that gives you speed, data and service as a customer vs a monopoly that milks you as a consumer.

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (1)

MorpheousMarty (1094907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915920)

What good does ever-increasing speed do if I just end up blowing through my data cap that much faster? I can live with lower speeds, I just want reasonable prices per GB.

I get what you're saying, but I have a 100mb plan, and I use it accordingly (no video, no browsing, just e-mail and calendar). But once in a while I need to pull down a few megs for some web browsing or something like that, and I don't want to wait, especially if the limiting factor is my phone and not the network. This can actually become a safety issue when I'm pulling up google maps because I've been drinking and am not in the best part of town. Being able to pull up the quickest route home and put my phone away quickly is a feature I'm going to pay a premium for.

For my usage pattern, more data isn't very valuable, I want more speed (particularly latency).

Re:Who really cares about speed at this point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33916270)

What good does having a smart phone do if you don't have unlimited data?
At least I want to use the device instead of counting how many bytes I have transferred today.

LTE (2, Informative)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914596)

Clearwire is trialling an LTE network in Phoenix right now, saying it will achieve 20-70 Mbps throughput. They have the spectrum to actually achieve this too. When WiMax 2 and LTE Advanced come out, assuming enough competition exists to prevent caps from showing up, DSL companies will be put out of business. This of course is why Verizon sold its rural landlines to Frontier. They know they can come back with 700 MHz LTE, and later LTE a, and blow the pants off of slow-poke 1.5 Mbps DSL.

Re:LTE (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914654)

That slowpoke dsl will probably have a latency of less then half the wireless... (Damn the faster and faster speeds, fix the latency. Whats the point of gigabit internet if you have a ping of 2-3 seconds?)

Re:LTE (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914736)

Clear(wire), using WiMAX today, has latencies of about 60ms. It's not ideal, but it works for gaming.

Unfortunately, they've also started to have *really* bad congestion problems - on a nominally unlimited download plan (practically speaking, the top DL rate is ~12 Mbps), I've been getting 0.2 to 3.2 Mbps for the last couple weeks. The upload, which is capped at 1Mbps, is almost unaffected and often substantially faster than the DL.

Even though the latency is staying pretty good, modern VoIP-capable games start to choke at speeds below 0.25 Mbps/game, which means if my apartment mate and I want to play games at the same time and the connection speed drops too low, we start getting truly atrocious lag spikes.

I've ordered Qwest (fiber backbone, DSL last-mile; I don't live in an able with fiber-to-the-door). It may not be the fastest or the cheapest, but it's less subject to congestion, has lower latency, and the speeds are more consistently high. I'll consider Clear again when they get their congestion sorted out, but according to their tech support people that won't be until mid-January. Thanks, but I'm not going to put up with two months of shitty Internet when I can just go with a cheaper competitor.

Re:LTE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914760)

Clearwire is throttling users who use too much (probably more than 7GB) even though they advertise unlimited, NO speed caps and that they won't slow you down if they think you're downloading too much. You can find more info in the uproar in their forums. Likely they implemented throttling because they are overselling (not surprising news in the broadband industry).

Re:LTE (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914856)

I didn't see any throttling for usage caps in the configs on the Clear data centers I setup. More likely they are just selling well. They are adding tower sites like crazy and upgrading the data centers to handle a LOT more bandwidth. The main issue when I was there was trying to get the equipment vendors to build and ship the new models quick enough. It's a great network though. Layer 2 Ethernet all the way to the data center.

That said, it is a shared radio resource, with all the trade offs involved. Moving to LTE won't effect much beyond the radios on the tower. The network is designed to be agile. If I needed mobile service, they would be my choice.

Re:LTE (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915262)

Not exactly. Clearwire is throttling users on congested towers. In their defense they are upgrading towers with much higher throughput microwave as we speak, so hopefully throttling will become less and less common. But I hear your concern. When it comes to my area I don't think I will risk moving over to Clearwire as a home connection if they're throttling users.

Re:LTE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914814)

Hopefully your area is well-serviced by Qwest, since you can see serious congestion even on wired links. I lived in a smallish town (~10,000 people) serviced by Qwest DSL, and you could actually feel "rush hour on the Internet". From about 6pm to 10pm, high-bandwidth applications, like video streaming, were almost unusable. My bandwidth would drop to almost 1/10 of its normal rate at off-peak hours.

Re:LTE (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922118)

Clearwire's problem is that they are trying to sell the product to anyone and everyone. They retail stores, and tons of pop-up tent booths in grocery store parking lots, mall kiosks, guys on street corners at major intersections. There's a Clearwire banner in the local Kroger, there's several at the mall, etc.

Last weekend, they had a popup tent in a car stereo shop/liquor store parking lot in a bad part of town where the only people out are hookers and their customers. But Clearwire was there and would be happy to sell a card to any of them or anyone else. I wonder if they insist on cash or would take services in kind instead. Hmmm.

Not sure how many of them they are actually selling but the profit margin must be good to support that many different approaches to selling the cards.

The point is, they are trying to go mass-market in a big way in a hurry. Looks good on the balance sheet, locks people in to a contract before something better can come out, etc.. But loading in a massive number of customers is going to strain the network even if on average few of them are really maxing it out. All you need is a few tens of other people who are casually using it to equal the load of a couple big users. The way Clearwire is going after those casual users is going to matter.

Re:LTE (4, Interesting)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915252)

LTE, LTE a and WiMax 2 has much better latency than WiMax. TeliaSonera in Sweden has a commercial LTE network running with latencies of 20-40 ms in real usage settings. It's ridiculously fast. Online gaming over wireless will be great.

Slashvertisement? (4, Insightful)

Cidolfas (1358603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914646)

This reads like an ad with just enough to make it slashdot-worthy... but the line at the end makes me think it's just necessary gadget-lust spec gushing. I can't tell if he copy-pasted bits of the article from a press release, or just chose their writing style.

Cortex A8-based Hummingbird (1)

tooyoung (853621) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915464)

Powered by Samsung's own 1GHz ARM Cortex A8-based Hummingbird processor with a four-inch Super-AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, it's no wonder Samsung has sold over 5 million Galaxy S phones.

No doubt it is the 1GHz ARM Cortex A8-based Hummingbird and Super-AMOLED that have people rushing to the stores.

This is obviously an advert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914666)

"the most popular"

"it's no wonder"

"and even"

NO MORE ADS PLEASE!

Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33914696)

First. Dont sell unlimited data if you can't handle it. I am in a 20gb pr month plan for 17$ where i come from.
Second. When i visited the US, my never-sim-locked iPhone was roaming on t-Mobile. It is not jailbroken. (if course data roaming was off).

I like the epic (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914740)

Really I do. I'm typing this on it. Downoaded the full version of Angry Birds app for free today. Best ultraportable pc I've ever had, and the calls sound great too.

3g wireless internet is a little slow. 4g is much better but coverage is spotty and it kills your battery. Still, I would want that if I used the hotspot feature.

wifi rocks though. Watched a 2 hour hd movie on youtube last night. Not a glitch the whole time.

The times they are a-changing

Re:I like the epic (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914840)

Thanks, I played through the lite version in an hour or so...

I've got a G2 now and HSPA is noticeably faster than the 3g ever was...

Re:I like the epic (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916122)

Cool. It took me three hours to burn through the lite version, but the kids were "helping". While I'm glad I get 150 levels with the Android Full ad supported version, I'd like to buy the Full version so I can let the kids play with less supervision. The ads present a lot of risk that the kids might follow some clicks and buy stuff while I'm not looking. They are kids after all. They don't know where money to buy stuff comes from.

Epic's wimax is faster than wifi (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33914750)

I'll concur that on my Epic, wimax DOES seem to be solidly faster than wifi inside my house... but then again, my router (Linksys WRP400) utterly sucks for wi-fi, and the Epic's wi-fi is pretty mediocre, too. Mix in Comcast maxing out at 16mbit/sec down (largely theoretical) and capped at 256kbit up (on the dot), compare that to the 6-8mbit/sec down and 800-900kbit/sec up I routinely get indoors with wimax (pegged to ~9mbit down and 1.2mbit up if I go outside), and it's unsurprising that wimax looks good.

On the other hand, Sprint's 3G in my area (southwestern Broward County) absolutely, positively sucks. Like, 80-100kbit down, and 160-240kbit up -- with 5 out of 6 alleged bars of 3G signal strength. I'm pretty sure Sprint's uninspiring 3G performance in my neighborhood is backhaul-induced and has nothing to do with 1900MHz spectrum availability or signal strength, because it's pretty constant wherever I go -- 1 bar, 6 bars, same slow 3G. It's like they've only got a single T1 line leased from BellSouth/AT&T for everyone touching that tower to share...

It's easy to be fast when the air is clear (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915070)

How many 4G phones are out there right now? It has to be a tiny number compared to 3G handsets. It seems like it should be trivially easy for the phone to rip through data because there's little to no competition for the airtime at the moment. I'd be more interested in what this looks like in a couple of years when there is a million iPhones/Androids/etc... on Sprint all competing for the bandwidth.

Re:It's easy to be fast when the air is clear (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915128)

Yeah, the wimax service used to be pretty good here in Melbourne but my wife has changed to 3G because it has become almost unusable in the last six months or so.

Re:It's easy to be fast when the air is clear (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922546)

The terms "3g" and "4g" mean NOTHING. Given that Verizon uses CDMA and Sprint uses GSM, comparing the two on any technical basis is meaningless.

"3g" is a term I've been hearing for a decade or so. It's meant many things and it seems to be recycled over and over. It seems that "4g" is death to any technology that gets its label; within a year or to it's called "3G". But what is it? What is 4g?

1) It's not an encoding technology for wireless; those are already covered with terms like "cdma" and "gsm".

2) It has nothing to do with speed; I've seen "3g" coverage at 40Kbps, I've also seen "3g" coverage at over 1 Mbps.

3) It has nothing to do with handsets - my (now 4 year old) winmo phone was "4g capable" when I bought it. How is it now that new phones are just now getting 4g capabilities?

XG is bullshiat marketing terms. Want to know what I want?

1) Low latency: RELIABLE Ping times to hosts on the 'net under 75 ms or so.

2) Bandwidth: I want to pass 5 Mbits without sweat.
  not just
3) Caps: Who needs 'em? Why? there's no minimum material cost for transfering data, why should there be a bandwidth cap? It's like limiting the consumption of water among fish swimming in a lake. (dumb dumb dumb) Wny not just give me what my connection allows?

Re:It's easy to be fast when the air is clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33923748)

FYI I think they already have pretty close to a million/several million. Sprint has two cellphones with 4G capability, plus have been selling hotspot and USB dongles for well over a year. They also share the same network with Clear who market strictly wireless home and mobile broadband (and it's been selling subscriptions for several years now), and it's pretty popular.

4G EVO vs T-Mobile Vibrant (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915084)

I recently switched from a 4G EVO (Wimax) to a 3G Vibrant (HSDPA) and here in Chicago the speeds are almost identical. With Sprint I got 3-6mbps with good reception on Wimax and with the Vibrant I get more like 2-5mbps with T-mobile's 3G HSDPA network. [speedtest.net] The Vibrant doesn't do HSDPA+ btw, just vanilla.

The difference is with the EVO I had to manually turn 4G on and off because its such an incredible battery drainer. I usually stayed on Sprint's 3G network which is CDMA and terrible, you'd be lucky to get 1 mbps and in my neighborhood I got around 80-100k. Not to mention switching from 3G to 4G on Sprint takes 30-60 seconds but syncing to HSDPA on Tmobile takes 2 seconds.

Don't dismiss T-mobile's HSDPA rollout, it may not technically be 4G but its just as fast and there's no $10 a month 4G fee like Sprint charges. The HSDPA+ devices are doing over 10-15mbps in real world scenarios, which is incredible. I have a feeling that Wimax is doomed on the cell side of things. Its too power thirsty and doesn't penetrate well through buildings using Clear's frequencies. The future is most likely LTE and HSDPA+ with Wimax focusing on laptop and stationary installs.

Re:4G EVO vs T-Mobile Vibrant (1)

randallman (605329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915494)

I'll second that. I've got T-Mobile on my N900 in Houston and I often get 6.5 down and 1.5 up. And it's $10 per month less when you bring your own phone and no contract. Pretty sweet.

Re:4G EVO vs T-Mobile Vibrant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33925168)

"no $10 a month 4G fee like Sprint charges"

Yes, but even with the $10 fee, Sprint is still far cheaper than T-Mobile, so there's that...

Product Placement? (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915170)

If this is supposed to be an article about 3g vs 4g vs wifi, as the title led me to believe, why does tfs begin

"Some of the most popular Android smartphones currently available are members of Samsung's Galaxy S line. Powered by Samsung's own 1GHz ARM Cortex A8-based Hummingbird processor with a four-inch Super-AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, it's no wonder Samsung has sold over 5 million Galaxy S phones."

Less blatant next time, please...

4G and 3G suck with US carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33915240)

Both 4G and 3G suck in the US. You need 40 Mbps WiMax to get "up to" 10 Mbps real world transfer speed (more like 1-2 Mbps average)? And you get 1 Mbps with a 7.2 Mbps HSDPA connection? That sucks. In rural Canada I often get 5-6 Mbps out of a 7.2 Mbps HSDPA HTC Hero. US carriers would probably call this 5G. Stop inflating the number of Gs and Mbps and give us what we pay for.

Battery Life Makes it Useless (1)

fartingfool (1208968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915460)

So in the end, after reading the article, this is yet another phone with pathetic battery life.

They tested the phone in New York City (where I assume there is always at least a few bars on the phone) and it couldn't even make it an entire day. I understand there's going to be compromises for all of that power and speed, but why are they NOT taking a previous gen phone's speed as status quo for a new, different model with improved battery life.

I own a Samsung Moment right now (many more gripes than just the battery life on this one), but I live in an area with poor reception and am lucky to make it 8 hours. I ask around to find out what's wrong and the response I get is "You expect MORE than 8 hours of battery life? Jeese, you're insane to expect that from a smart phone". Keep in mind I don't even use the phone. It self-destructs just sitting there fighting for a signal. Fine, I'll accept that poor reception forces the phone to raise the power output of the transmitter/receiver instead of just fucking roaming. That's my fault for buying a smartphone without checking my address on the coverage map.

The problem here is I don't have any new alternatives. Apparently these new phones get even worse battery life now. So I can't even find a new product that fixes my current problem. I have to accept that my current phone's battery life is the best battery life I'll ever see.

In the end, I'll wait 2 more seconds for my browser to load up just so I can have a phone that will last a few more hours a day. Am I asking for too much?

Re:Battery Life Makes it Useless (1)

bomanbot (980297) | more than 3 years ago | (#33917282)

I hate to say this, but aside from the usual slashdot bashing (which honestly, I found kinda odd), there actually is a recently released smartphone with greatly increased battery life compared to its predecessor:

The Apple iPhone 4

As far as I have seen the new iPhone usually gets the best scores among all smartphones right now in terms of battery and a lot of user reports seem to suggest that they get great battery life out of it, even without disabling all connectivity options.

Yes, you could pack a spare battery and yes, walled garden and evil Apple and yada yada, but the recent crop of Apple products all seem to have nailed down great battery life for some reason, considering the iPad and the newer Macbooks seem to do well in that area as well.

Re:Battery Life Makes it Useless (1)

unkiereamus (1061340) | more than 3 years ago | (#33918564)

Seriously? You found the bashing of the iPhone 4 odd?

Well, welcome to slashdot, I guess, in a couple of weeks, you'll get the lay of the land.

Here's a hint: Apple, Microsoft, the RIAA, and sort of law enforcement = bad and should be flamed immediately and hard, Linux and really any variety of FOSS = good and should be praised heavily. Any news story which doesn't actually have anything to do with any of the above will eventually be twisted around until it does and the flaming/fanboidom can begin.

Oh, and you can never go wrong with a comment about how this isn't news for nerds, and slashdot is no longer what it was/is supposed to be...oh and don't forget to mention that kdawson is an idiot.

Re:Battery Life Makes it Useless (1)

fartingfool (1208968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920892)

I didn't want to bring in the iPhone bit, since it's an android phone and different carrier, but I'll agree. Even my old iPhone 3G had better battery life on its worst day.

Maybe that's why I'm so grumpy.

Re:Battery Life Makes it Useless (1)

The Asmodeus (18881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33917326)

The latest firmware took mine from 8 hours normal to 12 - 15 hours normal. Everything stock.

Re:Battery Life Makes it Useless (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919216)

Not all android phones get the same battery life. Currently the Motorola Droids (1,X,2) get the best battery life. But as another poster mentioned, iPhone 4 still beats them for longevity.

Still waiting on 3G (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33915628)

As customers we've spent billions of dollars on 3G. Can we get network reliability and availability please? If we can have that I don't care how many G's it is or much faster it is.
Get maps to download quick enough in the places where we actually need the maps and we'll really have something to get excited about.

4G (1)

HelloKitty2 (1585373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916054)

Can't 4G be implemented in software? With the N900 that can also run Android, can't I just install Android and use 4g?

Re:4G (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916290)

Err... no. Think of 3G and 4G like AM and FM radio. The N900 is kind of like a radio that can only receive FM (they sell a lot of stuff nowadays that has an FM receiver w/o AM). You cannot get that FM receiver to receive AM, you need to include an AM receiver. If you want to know the details, 3G and 4G use different frequencies, like AM and FM do. They also use different modulation techniques, again like AM and FM radio.

Re:4G (1)

HelloKitty2 (1585373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33916952)

From what I understand for example with WiFi only the drivers put a limit on the radio, the rest is in the drivers (Including frequency selection and power management with limitations that must meet regulations). So I guess I was thinking of it more like a re-usable Open GSM stack.

Re:4G (1)

bomanbot (980297) | more than 3 years ago | (#33917252)

Good luck trying to get an FCC certification with something like an Open GSM stack and then finding a carrier willing to let you on their network with that.

Re:4G (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919164)

In the context of wifi, 3G and 4G is a lot like going from 802.11g to 802.11n, especially with stuff like MIMO. You can't simulate MIMO in software.

MicroCell (1, Informative)

The Asmodeus (18881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33917314)

Thought I'd point out that I have an Epic and in tests I've run against iPhone's (3g, 3gs, 4g), it's been faster than them all at internet access. This went against the tests though showing the iPhone 4g was faster. Then, at the bottom of the page I saw that the iPhone's where benefiting from a 3g microcell. Talk about apples to oranges...

This article was written by people just barely technologically literate so I'll give another vote for it being written by someone's marketing department.

As for the battery life, I'm getting a solid day of usage out of mine (12-15 hours) after the last firmware update. They say they are rolling Froyo out now starting overseas so hopefully in a few weeks it'll make it here.

They need a better connection for WiFi testing (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33917682)

I get as high as 15 Mbits/second download from Speedtest.net on my iPhone 4, which is nearly twice the speed they reported. I got the same download speed on my iPhone 3GS.

That's on a 25 Mbit/second FIOS connection at my home.

Re:They need a better connection for WiFi testing (2, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33917704)

I get as high as 15 Mbits/second download from Speedtest.net on my iPhone 4

After postng, I realized that was actually the Xtreme Labs test. So, I went and downloaded the Speedtest.net application. I got nearly 20 MBits/sec download and 15 MBits/sec upload (WiFi on a 25/15 FIOS connection).

4G on HTC EVO (1)

jbgeek (952457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33922106)

FWIW I got about 8mbits/s down and 1.2mbits/s up on 4g when I was in Santa Fe Springs CA on my Sprint HTC EVO 4g using the Speedtest.net app.

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