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AT&T and Verizon LTE Networks Compared

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the competition-is-good dept.

The Internet 116

adeelarshad82 writes "AT&T launched a speedy 4G LTE network in five cities on Sunday, and the question that comes to mind is how it compares to Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE system. Well, according to the eight rounds of testing conducted in Houston, Texas, Verizon may have something to worry about. Downloads over the AT&T network averaged about 24Mbps and peaked at 42.85Mbps, the fastest cellular connection seen to date. Just as interesting as the sheer download speeds were the connection quality results: Pingtest.net generally rated the network an A or a B, good enough for video chat or gaming."

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Gaming...? (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452484)

Reliable, consistent wifi suitable for gaming and deployed across a broad area would certainly be a welcome development... MW2 over mobile broadband?

Alas... my experience with wireless networks is that they tend to vary wildly in their throughput, their reliability (especially in regards to dropped or delayed packets) and, especially here in Australia, their cost. Most sub $100 mobile broadband plans have less than 10gb a month. And that's over 3G; an upgrade to 4G would have to bring with it significant cost savings to make it worthwhile down here.

A fair few areas don't have reliable 3G access anyway. 4G is a long way away for us... gah.

Re:Gaming...? (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452590)

It's also an uncongested network with a minimal number of connected devices at this time. Let's wait and see how it holds up under load -- that's been AT&T's weakness for a while now.

Re:Gaming...? (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452776)

Agreed.

There is nobody on AT&T's network.
Its easy to be fast when your company currently offers virtually zero devices to run on its brand spanking new LTE network.

Give it a few months then the Movie streamers show up.

Then again, who can possibly use this speed when the current usage caps are so tight? Is it really that important to get
that email or that tweet that much faster? Forget movies, forget video-chat. No one can afford it with the tiers they have
set up.

Lets hope AT&T applies all $39 Billion bucks they will save by not being allowed to buy T-Mobile, adds in the $19 billion [pcmag.com]
already planned, and builds a first class LTE network that can actually carry the load.

Re:Gaming...? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453004)

I'm curious when AT&T is going to be rolling out 3G service. They claim to have it, but I ended up trading in my 3G capable phone because the service was almost non-existent. And I live in a major city. I found myself disabling it most of the time because it wouldn't be available and would take forever to drop down to edge.

who can use this speed with the current usage caps (3, Interesting)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453066)

Exactly. Assume the 250MB cap. At the 24Mbps quoted in TFS, that's 2 minutes.

Re:who can use this speed with the current usage c (0)

kelarius (947816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453212)

Exactly. Assume the 250MB cap. At the 24Mbps quoted in TFS, that's 1 hour 23 minutes minutes.

FTFY, speeds are measured in Megabits, cap in Megabytes, 1 Megabyte = 8 Megabits.

Wow, you're smart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454566)

If I had mod points I would mark this down for stupidity.

You are great at the bits vs bytes but not at the minutes vs seconds.

Mbp s stands for Megabits Per Second, not Megabits Per Minute.

As quoted above 250MB is ~2000Mbits. Throw in network noise, congestion, and the pedantic arguments of Mega vs Megi and you're looking at something in the neighborhood of 90 seconds. If you're going to be that guy who corrects people's math, maybe you should double check and make sure you have yours right so next time you don't look like a giant tool.

Re:Wow, you're smart! (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455546)

and the pedantic arguments of Mega vs Megi

It's actually mega- vs. mebi-. Kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi, exbi.

Re:who can use this speed with the current usage c (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454720)

250MB =~ 2000Mb, : : 2000Mb / 24Mb/s = 83s or about 1.5 minutes.

I'm currently on the "unlimited" plan but for demo lets say I'm bumped down to 2GB plan, that ends up being a little over 11 minutes if at constant use.

I was looking forward to the new iPhone to have a 4G connection as ATT is ramping that up in my area this fall. Now I'm not so sure since I could easily be over a cap in less than a day into the month. Granted usage won't be all at once and I doubt the speeds will hold with actual customers using it, but the faster the pipe, the more usage it will get. AT&T needs to up their data plans or prepare to t-off a lot of customers b/c of continual overages.

Although one bright spot to 4G, if the speeds hold, is steadily increasing competition to cable/dsl internet. If I can tether my phone and get those speeds, or use a hotspot for cheaper, cable is going to have to up the game for my home network.

Re:who can use this speed with the current usage c (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454906)

Isn't that hilarious?

"You have excelled in speed, now use it fast because yo' cap ain't gonna last more than a couple o' minutes."

I guess I can pull up the weather maps and check the daily forecast to stay under my limit; it will pop up faster than it did before. Wooooowwwwwwwww.
/sarcasm

Re:Gaming...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37455170)

Also, there are no iphones on it. People like to think that iphone users just love their media and that's why it screws up networks. No, it's because it swamps the fucking carrier signal.

Uncongested (4, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452800)

From the article:

Of course, we're comparing a loaded Verizon network full of Droid Bionics and HTC Thunderbolts to a brand-new AT&T system just out of the wrapping paper.

Fact is, AT&T has screwed up, without exception, every single aspect of my life they've managed to touch. I had their cable service for a little while when my former provider sold out to AT&T. Fortunately, I moved shortly after that. Their residential phone service is woefully expensive. Their cellular service cuts out consistently, and I can barely get a signal (which is an improvement that only happened in the last two years--before that, I was SOL trying to use my company-issued AT&T phone) where I work in downtown Atlanta. I had 1.5 Mbps DSL at my house, as they didn't have any speed faster than that, until I figured out one day that Comcast had 16 Mbps service for a lower price.

Right now, AT&T has exactly zero--zero--LTE smartphones on its network, so yeah, I don't doubt it's fast. I simply do not trust the network to hold up to a real-life data load, though, so no thanks.

Re:Gaming...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37453280)

The same tests were done to Verizon in Phoenix last year in similar conditions. Unloaded network yeilded higher than advertised rates. Now that it is saturating I see 8m average, this time next year I would not be surprised if it measures half of that.

Re:Gaming...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454608)

Yup...
Just like how comcast broadband is great at my parents 30 minutes away out kind of in the middle of no where.. can always get great speeds. Here... I think everyone must be on this loop because it goes from 18mbps to 2 and back *all* of the time

Re:Gaming...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452756)

The latency is often too horrid to use mobile, it doesn't matter the technology, it's primarily a problem of error correction over wireless. The same problem happens with Bluetooth and 802.11 technology. If you're in a noisy congested area, you'll never get the sub-10ms latency required "in-carrier" hop before taking into account the maximum 33ms for real-time(FPS, action based MMO, peer-to-peer games and cloud gaming) 75ms for compensated realtime (Most MMO's with a dedicated client.) Most social network games are playable with 500ms and worse latency.

Many (albeit poorly designed) games like WoW and Mabinogi don't even operate correctly without turning off the nagle algorithm, since it artificially makes the latency 200ms. Playing the game with 20ms FiOS/DSL vs 200ms of latency makes for a very different game play experience. You simply can't do PvP in any realtime MMO without less than 33ms round trip.

Re:Gaming...? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452810)

I've used one of these LTE 4G devices on a similar uncongested network (not in america, pre-release testing, I do not work for the ISP but i've heard it said there are only 200 LTE units currently in testing in my city).

27ms round trip using speedtest.net to a server hosted by a different country in a city 1000km away.

outside of the big cities, with average congestion, I suggest this will actually be more usable than your typical ADSL2 link (with its 40-70ms ping times)

Re:Gaming...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452902)

200ms latency is unplayable for WoW? Cry me a river, Phoenix. You should try being an non-US WoW player where you'd be lucky to see 300ms on an outstanding day.

Re:Gaming...? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452872)

A fair few areas don't have reliable 3G access anyway. 4G is a long way away for us... gah.

I noticed something rather interesting when looking at one of the cell companies' websites: the LTE coverage area showed solid coverage in a lot of areas where 3G showed poor or no signal. Apparently, LTE does a lot better than 3G at handling stuff like multipath interference, multi-tower interference, and other issues that currently plague areas with high population density, tall buildings, rocky topography, or some combination of the above.

In short, depending on the reason you don't have 3G service, 4G might come sooner than you think.

Re:Gaming...? (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455740)

4G's lower-layer method is MIMO. With much less battery life, of course reception and transmission overall efficiency will be increased. There will be a loss with said increase, like every other balance.

I don't like the battery life of my Samsung Infuse with AT&T with HSPA+; I can't imagine how bad it would be with 4G. Of course, it is said that my Infuse supports firmware update to upgrade to LTE when it comes to fruition, but I will bet money that AT&T will say that it can't and charge for upgrade.

Given battery life and lack of need (plus data amount limitations), I see no reason to upgrade. There's nothing for the phone to do that requires more than 3Mbps, anyway.

Them cellphone folks want your money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452488)

Dang, nice and fast, hit your cap in less than day and have to pay massive amounts of money in extra bandwidth fees.

Seriously, what good if 4g or anything fast, or anything at all, if you can't use it?

Re:Them cellphone folks want your money (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452642)

Pretty sure there is no cap on 4G, or at least that's what I remember from when I was shopping for data cards a few months ago. (I never got anything because they all required money to be exchanged, the bastards.)

Re:Them cellphone folks want your money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452690)

Since AT&T allegedly launched this "on Sunday" (from TFS), not a few months ago, I'm not sure why you'd presume your knowledge applies to AT&T's terms of service?

Re:Them cellphone folks want your money (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453120)

Wow. Totally and completely wrong, PA. Either they cap the amount of data you can move and charge for overages or they cut your speed in order to "manage the network". A while back, sprint claimed they neither limited data volume or cut speed but I'm sure they have some other "clever" way to restrict the flow of data. People who had unlimited Verizon plans prior to Julyish of this year can keep their unlimited data plan but only for phone data. Tethering has had a 5 gig limit for years and it's carried over into Verizon's 4G service.

It's really pathetic how these companies advertise all of the data-heavy things you can do with their new phones then they spank you like a child if you have the nerve to actually use those services.

Re:Them cellphone folks want your money (3, Insightful)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453358)

This argument is always made anytime mention is made of metered Internet plans, whether wired or wireless. The argument is "since I can exhaust this quota by downloading at the stated maximum of 'x' Mbps in 'y' hours, it's useless, and they should really only advertise it as being a 'z' kbps plan" (where 'z' is the bitrate that would be required to exhaust the given download quota in one month).

I don't buy that argument. My home internet connection is fast, and I would buy a faster connection if one was available, but I choose to pay only for a 30 GB download quota on it. Note that I say "choose to" - higher quota plans are available to me (up to 1 TB metered, or unlimited), but I don't need that much data, so I save a bit of money by just paying for 30 GB/month. The fact that, at my line speed, I could consume that 30 GB in a few hours if I so desired, is irrelevant to me. I don't need that much data ... but when I DO need/want something, I want it FAST. If the speed of my plan doubled tomorrow, it wouldn't make much difference to the amount I download. But it would mean I would only have to wait half as long when I did download. Which is good.

( NB. I'm not saying this applies to everyone. There are people with internet usage patterns out there that consume every bit of bandwidth available to them 24/7, and thus would start consuming a lot more if the speed was higher. I have friends who torrent everything under the sun just because they can, even though they will probably never get around to listening to/watching half of it. But for me? I download the stuff I want - that stuff happens to average out to 25-30 GB a month, so the 30 GB plan suits me. For 10 bucks extra per month I can upgrade to 100 GB ... so as my data requirements grow (which they will over time as the quality of downloaded media and size of software increases), I can just upgrade my plan as required. But that has nothing to do with ~speed~. I want as much of that as possible, even if I only have a small download limit. )

Re:Them cellphone folks want your money (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453818)

This is going to undo mods.. but WTF does your home connection have to do with peoples phones' connections?

That 30GB is 15 times what the average phone user gets, so if your tethering, you only get 1/15th the data you would at home. Then if you go over at home its what a dollar a gig? With phones its a hell of a lot more expensive. Its ten dollars a gig.

Your capped home plan has little to do with a caped cell plan. and 2gb is a hell of a lot less data then the 30 you use at home. Capped at 30gig might just suit you fine, but 2gb isnt really that much data a month.

Re:Them cellphone folks want your money (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37456128)

Oh agreed. What I was saying was merely that "more speed without an increase in download limit" isn't necessarily a bad thing (in general - this applies to any connection, home, mobile, or whatever).

If your mobile connection was your only connection, then yes, that would suck. :)

Great... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452500)

So now I can hit my 5 GB cap in less than 30 minutes. Hurray!

Re:Great... (3, Insightful)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455782)

So now I can hit my 5 GB cap in less than 30 minutes. Hurray!

I'll bite on this one.

The overage charges will pay for the providers' hardware overhauls in 6 months or less. I betcha, I betcha.

Too Soon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452514)

Wait until there are actually people using the network before taking any results seriously.
We all know how well AT&T handles lots of phones on their network (NYC).

Re:Too Soon (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452548)

Just what I was thinking. If the test didn't include at least 200 devices (VERY conservative estimate) on each network node then the results might as well have been on a dedicated landline.

Re:Too Soon (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455794)

Just what I was thinking. If the test didn't include at least 200 devices (VERY conservative estimate) on each network node then the results might as well have been on a dedicated landline.

LOL! No kidding. How many comment pages could be filled with reference links to "false representations" from corporations in the past that looked "so damn fine" when they came out? :)

toad farts (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452522)

Has anyone here smelled a toad fart? I am asking because I think I did and now I need to know if I am going to die. Please help me slashdote, or else a dog will fart on you...........

Re:toad farts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452870)

that's cute and all but what really interests me are NIGGERS. nigger jokes especially. know any?

This will render FTTH obsolete. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452524)

There is no point in providing fiber optic connections to everyone's home, when such insanely fast speeds are achievable over the cellular network.

Re:This will render FTTH obsolete. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452552)

Yeah because we all what to pay 4 or 5 times what we are paying now for internet.

Re:This will render FTTH obsolete. (3, Informative)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452556)

Fiber == 1Gbps possible
Fixed wireless == 1Gbps possible, but very expensive
Cellular wireless with LTE Advanced == ~100Mbps possible
Cellular wireless with USA 4G == upto ~50Mbps possible

So NO, FTTH is not pointless

Re:This will render FTTH obsolete. (1)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455200)

If we're talking 'possible', PON can easily go to 10Gbps today with 40 or 100 coming around the corner. The gap between optical and wireless is even larger than you say.

Re:This will render FTTH obsolete. (1)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452612)

Who wants to use up their monthly data in a 30 minutes. Unless all the companies start offering competitive unlimited plans, they will never win over a wired connection, be it fiber or cable. Who most like have caps 10x more data or more per month.

Re:This will render FTTH obsolete. (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452638)

Guess again. When you get 1000 or more people sharing that connection, throughput will suck. This is an improvement, but by no means does this replace DSL, fiber, or cable modems, there simply isn't enough radio spectrum to do that.

Re:This will render FTTH obsolete. (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453380)

Incorrect. Wireless is a shared medium, and these results show what happens when you have only a handful of devices on a tower. Remember that the tower's wireless bandwidth is divided among all its users.

Wired connections (of any type, but in this case FTTH) do not have this limitation. They are also not susceptible to the other problems of wireless such as interference. They also have lower latency (admittedly LTE latency is very low compared to GPRS, EDGE, HSPA and HSDPA, but it still can't match fibre).

Both fast wired AND wireless technologies are needed. They complement each other, rather than compete with each other. Fibre is needed where a reliable, fast connection is required in a fixed location (homes and businesses). Wireless is needed so that communications are ubiquitous and available to people on the move. But the latter has limited electromagnetic spectrum to work with, and there is no point chewing up that valuable spectrum with mass data-transfer applications in a fixed location (streaming video to the home, for instance), when that requirement could be better satisfied with a wired delivery mechanism.

Moving and more users? (2)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452526)

How well does it perform when moving at 30mph and 60mph? So what if it works good an a stationary device on a network with very few users, that does not mean that it will work good with more users or while moving.

Re:Moving and more users? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452792)

How well does it perform when moving at 30mph and 60mph? So what if it works good an a stationary device on a network with very few users, that does not mean that it will work good with more users or while moving.

If it were to drop down to GPRS speed when you were moving at 60mph that might prove a good thing.

Let them put wifi on trains.

Re:Moving and more users? (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452808)

Tell that to the passengers on a bus or the other people in the car. And putting WiFi on buses would not help, since the bus would still need a way to get internet.

Re:Moving and more users? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452934)

Tell that to the passengers on a bus or the other people in the car. And putting WiFi on buses would not help, since the bus would still need a way to get internet.

Simple... FTTBus

;)

Re:Moving and more users? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453020)

The local bus service was doing that for a while. Not sure what happened with it. But it was a WAP on the bus hooked up to a cell signal. They were experimenting with a few of the longer routes, but I think they may have cut the experiment due to lack of funding.

Re:Moving and more users? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453396)

And the WiFi on the train is served by what? Ah - a cellular data connection...

Re:Moving and more users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454350)

No, they aren't. Ever see what hangs just above train tracks? Or even on what trains are driving?

Re:Moving and more users? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37456162)

Well where I live, nothing hangs above train tracks. They are either diesel powered (for long-haul interstate trains), or powered via electricity fed through the rails themselves (which AFAIK isn't capable of providing a data connection).

Are these tests really comparable? (2)

arwild01 (7568) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452538)

Verizon's network has been live for quite a while now and there's a decent number of customers actively using it. I would wager there wasn't many other AT&T customers sharing resources when these tests were conducted, but on Verizon's there was.

I'll be curious to see these tests repeated in six months, a year, etc.

(NOTE: not a Verizon fan... I'm with Sprint... just pointing out the obvious).

Re:Are these tests really comparable? (1)

CuriousGeorge113 (47122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454698)

When Verizon's 4G went live, they passed out 4G aircards to everyone in the media so they could report on how "blazingly fast" the 4G speeds were. In the same way, the VZW 4G network was essentially empty, with no real live users online yet.

VZW 4G has held up fine so far, but it's still essentially an empty network. The real test results won't be known for another year or two, when 4G smartphones become as ubiquitous as 3G is today.

Re:Are these tests really comparable? (1)

rocket97 (565016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455254)

IIRC when the Thunderbolt first came out and no one was on the Verizon network people were getting 80Mb+ down and 20Mb+ up. I know with my Bionic I am averaging 30Mb down and 15Mb up on Verizon LTE.

Bandwidth limits (5, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452542)

Am I the only person completely unexcited by 4G given the bandwidth limit to speed ratio?

On either Verizon or AT&T one can easily swallow up the entire 200/250MB lower tier limit in a matter of minutes. The 2GB higher end plan is a mere hours of airtime away. What happens when some rogue app or website pushes you well over the edge? Is this the texting overage nightmare ripe for abuse again? How the hell can you game on this kind of network with such low limits?

4G/LTE means nothing if the bandwidth limits are so paltry as to effectively make it a metered service.

Re:Bandwidth limits (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452588)

On the plus side, if they continue to work on upgrading their damned networks, maybe they'll finally raise the caps OR remove them?

Re:Bandwidth limits (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452666)

I consider myself lucky to have a grandfathered Verizon unlimited data plan, which is now renewed for another 2 years since I got a Droid Bionic last week. Can they still cap me if I use loads? Yes, but they can't charge me more and I'll start anew the next month.

Re:Bandwidth limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452828)

FUD

Re:Bandwidth limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452858)

I never got the appeal of mobile Internet due to the ridiculously low caps. It's too expensive to really use the Internet as you would on a desktop PC. So it's only good to transfer small chunks of text (mail, mobile websites, etc.). GPRS can do that at a decent speed.

Re:Bandwidth limits (1)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452950)

I never got the appeal of mobile Internet due to the ridiculously low caps. It's too expensive to really use the Internet as you would on a desktop PC.

Or, you know, use Sprint. I have a gaming desktop and an Android phone. I do not feel as though I need a personal laptop -- my phone takes care of all my mobile needs and I never have to worry about a data cap.

Re:Bandwidth limits (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453410)

Huh? There's a big difference between "small chunks of text" that might only be a few MB per day, and the several GB per month that most cellular data caps are. I have a 1.25 GB cap on my current phone (could buy more, but don't need it) and I stream radio, watch Youtube on the way home, tether it to my laptop in areas where WiFi isn't required and I need to download a file etc. And I never come close to using my cap ... yet none of that would be possible with GPRS, or even EDGE.

What I'm saying is that there's a middle ground between "the Internet as you would use on a desktop PC", and "small chunks of text only". Plus, unless you're tethering, it's pretty unlikely you would WANT to use the Internet on a phone as you would on a desktop PC anyway...

Even the higher limits are shit (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453610)

You can use 5GB no problem. Having had 4G for awhile now I don't mind it, but it doesn't excite me at all. It is nice to have things load rather quickly on the phone, all the things I did before like get e-mail and so on happen much faster, more like a wired connection. However the idea that I'd be able to use it for all sorts of new tasks, or as a replacement to my cable modem is stupid. The 5GB limit means that all I'm going to do with it is what I do now: Get e-mail, download apps, check things on the web if I'm not near a PC (like in a store or something) and that's about it. I'm not going to stream a movie to it.

Until they get real about bandwidth limits, 4G is going to be a nice toy but not really any more useful than 3G. It just lets you get things done a little faster.

Re:Bandwidth limits (1)

Subratik (1747672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454266)

They'll bump up the datacaps when they get enough money from the people that go over the limit and then complain enough to clog up their customer support lines.

Business as usual...

Re:Bandwidth limits (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37456186)

It's psychologically about status and 'first-to-play'.

Many, MANY people want to be the 'first to have [something]', and many others want to live in the world of being 'above the rest'.

Those desires, combined with the limitations of usage imposed by the provider, equal profit in the end. Nice equation; been used for years.

Add shame on to the end and you have a winner (e.g. "I uh... MEANT to use 20x my data cap this month because it was ummm.. important stuff that I needed and I uhh.. planned on it ahead of time!")

In summary: (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452558)

Just-activated network that only works with a handful of just-released devices is surprisingly fast and uncongested. Film at eleven.

NY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452560)

Houston TX is no New York City.

Living in Houston Tx (1)

rivin2e (1738784) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452564)

I still have no bars... how did you do this test?

Re:Living in Houston Tx (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452650)

Ha ha, you're so funny...not. Even as large as Houston is (and you're not using a POS cheap phone), you can drive around the entire 610 loop and not drop the call. And that's during rush-hour traffic through the Galleria west loop side too.

Re:Living in Houston Tx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452768)

Making a call from outside, in a car, on a highway, is easy. Even T-mobile and Sprint are good at that. Getting service that is strong enough to penetrate deep into your office building is another story. My T-mobile service would go in and out in my office, and barely ever there in the bathroom. My Sprint service does the same thing. It will spend a lot of time with no signal, and then part of the time roaming on Verizon's signal. It kills the battery life.

Re:Living in Houston Tx (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37453356)

My T-mobile service would go in and out in my office, and barely ever there in the bathroom.

Agreed... this totally sucks... I mean: not being able to watch some pr0n while sited in the bathroom must be awful.

Re:Living in Houston Tx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37455416)

No phone is a POS. Even if its the lowest model, no keyboard on it, just purely for phone calls, its a cell phone.

Re:Living in Houston Tx (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455880)

The reliability of a cell phone connection is directly proportional to its SAR radiation level. That's because while the fractal antenna may be good, the ability for the phone to transmit back may be too weak to reach the cell tower through external obstructions. While debated to be unsafe, the higher the SAR level, the more reliable the connection. CNET keeps a list of current phones with SAR levels.

http://reviews.cnet.com/2719-6602_7-291-2.html?tag=page;page [cnet.com]

Re:Living in Houston Tx (2)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452722)

Maybe you are holding it wrong :-)

no users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452566)

I am sure there are very little users that have 4g with Verizon. I am sure that helps the results

Re:no users (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452710)

I think you mean with AT&T, but if they JUST launched it there won't be many users of it

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452578)

So maybe ATT customers can use 4G to talk instead of the voice network which always drops your calls?

Video chat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37452658)

My T-mobile Nexus S works great with video chat over 3G. That's a pretty poor way to describe its capabilities, in my opinion. As long as the video latency is under a couple of seconds, video chat is usable. Gaming is a better one, but be more specific. I can play poker over Edge without any issues.

Meanwhile in the board room... (2)

sparkeyjames (264526) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452752)

Smithers fire the engineer that made this possible and the person who let it slip out.
The masses will be demanding this type of thing now and well be hard pressed to come up
with a plausible reason that we have to price it just out of their reach.

Re:Meanwhile in the board room... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452864)

And that is the real problem with AT&T, they are just too frigging big to care about anything but AT&T. Years ago an attempt was made to resolve that problem but, like Replicators, they just seem to be able to reconstitute themselves from remnants of their former selves.

Re:Meanwhile in the board room... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454570)

You are making the mistake of thinking that the AT&T of today is the AT&T that was broken up. It isn't. Today's AT&T is no more the original AT&T than Verizon is. It is actually an interesting comparison. The parts of Verizon that were not part of the original AT&T are less significant in the formation of Verizon than the parts of current AT&T that were not part of the original AT&T (and those parts became part of current AT&T before it bought the carcass of the original AT&T and became AT&T).

Coverage (1)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452836)

The question that comes to my mind is when the hell are they going to improve service availability. In my major city's metropolitan area you can drop calls all over the place. Coverage is full of huge gaping holes, some of them a decade old. Out of town, along the interstates, calls drop like flies as 3G to Edge and back handoffs fail like so many stimulus plans. When coverage IS available the oversold bandwidth is filled to capacity often enough that "Call Failed" with 4 bars of coverage is commonplace.

Don't tell us how blazing fast your network is. Hell even a terabit connection ain't shit if it's less reliable than a cage full of messenger squirrels.

Neither one meets the spec. (0)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452866)

> averaged about 24Mbps and peaked at 42.85Mbps

So can we please STOP calling it 4G?

Granted, I don't expect the people who work for at&t and verizon to be anything other than lying sacks of crap. But shouldn't a site that bills itself as "news for nerds" strive for better?

Re:Neither one meets the spec. (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452912)

I think you need to re-read the spec.

Re:Neither one meets the spec. (0)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453188)

Perhaps you should put away your copies of the verizon and at&t press kits and read the spec again yourself.

http://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-r/opb/rep/R-REP-M.2134-2008-PDF-E.pdf [itu.int]

The fact is there are only two technologies developed so far that the ITU has acknowledged as meeting the 4G requirements. Those are "LTE-Advanced" and "WirelessMAN-Advanced" (aka WiMAX Advanced); neither one of which is actually what is being deployed and marketed by at&t or verizon:
http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2010/40.aspx [itu.int]

Note that "LTE" is not the same thing as "LTE-Advanced". A key point where "LTE" falls flat on it's face (As does HSPA+ and the Clearwire WiMAX network offered by Sprint.) is the bandwidth requirement:
"enhanced peak data rates to support advanced services and applications (100 Mbit/s for high and 1 Gbit/s for low mobility" [itu.int]

Now, I'm aware that T-Mobile shoveled a bunch of money toward the ITU to get them to issue a press release stating that they did not object to tmo's use on the term 4G in their marketing. But there's a big difference between the lies told by marketing and MBA types and the actual facts.

Re:Neither one meets the spec. (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453260)

Tacky to reply twice to the same comment, I know. But to use the ever-so-popular automotive analogy...

What the cellular carriers, and those in the press going along with them, are doing is advertising and selling a car to the public as having a V-8 engine. But when you actually open up the hood, all that's there is an inline-4 and a can of mixed vegetable juice.

Re:Neither one meets the spec. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37454716)

But what good is a 100Mbps connection when you get 250MB a month? All it does is enable the carrier to bill you for more bits, sooner.

At 100Mps you'd be through your cap in about 20 seconds.

Re:Neither one meets the spec. (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 2 years ago | (#37456694)

About as good as having a car with a V8 when you can only drive in a city with 35 MPH speed limits everywhere.
All it lets you do is get to the speed limit a tiny bit quicker. And give you meaningless bragging rights, I suppose.

Re:Neither one meets the spec. (1)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454918)

While I agree that cellular carriers are generally lying sacks of crap (and I think that's putting it kindly), I can't entirely fault them for pushing LTE as 4G. I think the ITU was wildly optimistic with their bandwidth requirements. The ITU even later revised their position to state that LTE, WiMax, and HSPA+ qualified as 4G. While part of that was bending to pressure from carriers, it was also a tacit admission that they were wrong with their original targets.

Other than the unrealistic bandwidth requirements, LTE hits all the other selling points for 4G. Most notably, it's all-IP and uses the much better OFDMA/SC-FDMA air interface. It will be compatible with LTE Advanced networks. It is much more closely related to full-blown 4G systems than it is to 3G systems, so I think it's better to just call it 4G than use some contrived term like 3.9G.

Need Channel Widths (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452882)

PCMag's work made for a useful location-specific test, but it's still lacking in details. Specifically, how wide are the channels AT&T and Verizon are using in that area? If AT&T is using wider channels then of course they're going to have more bandwidth*, but because channel widths are location specific (AT&T and Verizon don't have the same allocations everywhere), it's entirely non-representative if AT&T or Verizon's channel widths were significantly different from the national average.

* If the T-Mo merger does go through, this will be one of the big benefits for AT&T: they will be able to put together wider channels at lower frequencies

False Hope (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37452906)

Sure, when there are ~5000 or so people using the entire AT&T 4G network, in a pathetic handful of cities, you'll get great speed. Under full and prolonged deployment, I guarantee it will drop significantly. If you want a real test of "who's better", compare the networks *under the same load* instead of just a side-by-side of a one-day-old network with virtually no users versus a months-old network with a huge user base.

No matter how much AT&T pushes, they will always fall behind Verizon because they don't invest properly in infrastructure, their pricing model is even more of a joke than other carriers, and their customer service makes Verizon look like the Ritz.

I just wish I could stay with Verizon after my unlimited plan expires in April. Guess it will be Sprint after that, unless VZW goes back to an unlimited plan. Fuck paying $30/month for 2GB...I could buy and mail a shitload more bandwidth than that using hard drives/key drives/whatever for a lot less money.

Re:False Hope (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453054)

Indeed, AT&T has made me seriously consider going back to Sprint. The only reason I don't is that I'm on a family plan because it's cheaper than getting my own plan. But, around here Sprint and T-Mobile seem to have the best reception.

AT&T is just a pathetic pile of dog shit that's been eaten re-shit a few times before being pissed on. For a while I had a 3G capable phone and the service was so bad that I ended up disabling the 3G support in the phone so that I could get a consistent connection. It was pretty pathetic being in the middle of a major city and not being able to get a connection at all.

Re:False Hope (1)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453182)

Can't you just renew your plan or keep it going? It was my understanding that as long as you don't adjust that part of your plan coverage, you get to keep it going. I've had the exact same mobile plan from Verizon for going on 6 years now and it's never changed even in the periods between me renewing the 2year contract. Unless something is changed you should be able to just renew another 2 year contract or stay month-to-month and keep the unlimited data.

Re:False Hope (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454172)

Your unlimited data plan is grandfathered as long as you don't remove the option from your account (ie: switch away from a smartphone).

Verizon will leapfrog ATT again... (1)

D-OveRMinD (1517467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37453226)

...with LTE-Advanced. ATT is JUST NOW getting in the game. I remember when Verizon first dropped LTE. It rated much higher then as well, what with no devices or users clogging the network. All the while, Verizon has been rolling LTE and devices out like mad, nation wide. And in the background, they have been working on LTE-Advanced, which will take speeds, and more importantly, latency far beyond what their current LTE can provide. Add to this that it's a simple upgrade on there part to roll it out, and they will easily leapfrog ATT before they can even get close to Verizon's current LTE coverage.

frost 4ist? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37453888)

Or chair, 8eturn From a technical GRANDSTANDERS, THE 800 mhz machine

"the fastest cellular connection seen to date" (1)

Gnutte (907952) | more than 2 years ago | (#37454606)

Well maybe in the US. Over here in Europe we have seen speeds up to 90 Mbit/s over 4G(LTE) for quite some while. This article that compares different 4G networks in Sweden from January this year sheds some light (it's in Swedish but the graphs are readable): http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.364964/de-har-snabbast-4g [www.idg.se]

HSPA+/LTE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37455160)

I recently upgraded my ATT phone to an HTC Inspire 4G. It says 4G right in the name. However, its 4G is HSPA+, not LTE. I understand that HSPA+ is not the same as LTE (and that HSPA+ really isn't 4G even though they are labeling it as such), but how will ATT explain/spin that even though the phone has a 4G symbol on it, it doesn't work on the 4G network.

what next... (1)

pdfsmail (2423750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37455578)

I wonder how the companies with these ridiculous caps will promote the next technology... "blaze through your data cap in no time with our new technology..." I always argued that data caps would become a problem, and made room for companies to put users in a tight spot and charge them more money... now its going to start to show as things progress from here. I still believe that any company promoting high speeds with data caps should be regulated and forced to follow strict pricing guidelines.. of course that will never happen... if you cant support a network at speeds you claim uncapped, or at least more reasonably, then you just shouldn't offer it.

Bass Ackwards (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37456066)

AT&T has said the average user of its home DSL system consumes 18GB per month. At current rates, that would run $180/month for LTE wireless service.

AT&T phone and DSL is on average $90/month. So you get two times the cost, the same amount of usage, used in a fraction of the time. Awesome! Cant wait to dodge that deal.

Fastest cellular connection seen to date? (1)

narooze (845310) | more than 2 years ago | (#37457054)

Downloads over the AT&T network averaged about 24Mbps and peaked at 42.85Mbps, the fastest cellular connection seen to date.

The first mention I found of an actual download speed for the LTE network in Stockholm [computerworld.com] (you know, the world's first publicly available LTE-service) beats that figure easily, peaking at 59.1 Mb/s. That is a measurement from over a year ago.

Re:Fastest cellular connection seen to date? (1)

narooze (845310) | more than 2 years ago | (#37457162)

And after some further googling I found a measurement for 102 Mb/s [4g-patrullen.se] in Stockholm.

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