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Which Wireless Broadband Is Best In US?  
User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2490 times:

Hi - I live in NYC and need a USB device for on the go access to the Internets. Question is, is it a good solution, is it fast enough to do basic stuff - any thoughts?

Advertised around here are Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, Virgin and T-Mobile. Sprint claims to be fastest with its '4G' network.

Many thanks.

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2467 times:

comoron: Right now, there's no dispute that Sprint has the fastest wireless broadband network. It's just a technical fact of life. Verizon will be bringing theirs online over the course of the next couple years, but most major metro areas will be covered by the end of this year. AT&T will be a bit further out, as will T.Mobile.

Also, you asked about Virgin, but there are really only a few carriers in the US of national significance: Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T.Mobile, AT&T, Leap, and US Cellular. Sprint owns or controls Virgin, Boost, Helio, Nextel, Assurance, Clear, and Clearwire. Leap owns Cricket and Jump. Verizon owns Alltel (rapidly being subsumed into the parent brand.) AT&T owns Centennial. América Móvil/TelMex owns TracFone. U.S. Cellular and T.Mobile use only one brand.

The remainder are bit players of minor significance, particularly when it comes to brandband and/or national coverage.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2407 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 1):
there's no dispute that Sprint has the fastest wireless broadband network

But T-Mobile is gaining ground: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ytech_gadg/2...25/tc_ytech_gadg/ytech_gadg_tc2244

I'm with Verizon and can only comment on them with any authority. I've been using the MiFi mobile hotspot card for a few months now and I'm very happy. Speeds are good, but nothing to write home about. It "does basic stuff" really well and I was even able to watch an episode of Lost without difficulty.

Just as a reference, here are the speeds I typically see:


User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2368 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 1):

Thanks for clearing it all up! I'm leaning to Sprint because of speed, Virgin because of Pre-Pay, and T-Mobile because have their Blackberry service right now.

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 2):

I am huge 'Lost' fan!

I will keep your points in mind.


I wonder if I can somehow share the wireless with other networked computers nearby.

Anyway, thank you all for the valuable posts.


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2324 times:

Quoting comorin (Reply 3):
Thanks for clearing it all up! I'm leaning to Sprint because of speed, Virgin because of Pre-Pay, and T-Mobile because have their Blackberry service right now.

Well, Sprint is only offering 4G data under their Sprint, CLEAR, and Clearwire brands, and 4G voice under the Sprint brand. The other brands are 3G-only. Also, there is no 4G BlackBerry as of yet.

[Edited 2010-05-28 18:38:54]


When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2318 times:

I'll check up with Sprint tomorrow - thanks again.

User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2306 times:

Quoting comorin (Reply 3):
I wonder if I can somehow share the wireless with other networked computers nearby.

I should have added -- Sprint's 4G offerings, particularly the new Evo, does this.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineZentraedi From Japan, joined Jun 2007, 660 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2228 times:

I'm in Japan, but actually use 2 different mobile broadband services. One is a 3G HSDPA / HSUPA (7.2 down/5.8 up) and the other is WiMAX. The WiMAX is just a free 15 trial, but I'll end up canceling my 3G plan and sticking with the WiMAX.


Over here at least, WiMAX appears to be several time faster, but I would assume that WiMAX in the US is capable to similar speeds.

Here are the speeds I get:



The only downside is that the MiFi style WiMAX routers are all currently about 4 to 5 times the size of Huawei's 3G MiFi devices. For usb dongles, the 3G ones are little bit more svelte.


User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2204 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):

Well, Sprint is only offering 4G data under their Sprint, CLEAR, and Clearwire brands, and 4G voice under the Sprint brand. The other brands are 3G-only. Also, there is no 4G BlackBerry as of yet.

I was not aware the Sprint had something to do with CLEAR. I knew Comcast had something to do with it, but I didn't realize that it is a JV with several other companies.

Quoting Zentraedi (Reply 7):

Over here at least, WiMAX appears to be several time faster, but I would assume that WiMAX in the US is capable to similar speeds.

It would be capable of speeds like that if the CLEAR (the main provider of WiMax in the US) would improve their infrastructure in their existing markets. The speeds I'm getting on WiMax are more like the following:

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 2):

This wouldn't be so bad if I was paying for that speed. However, I'm paying for 6 MB down and 1 MB up, and this is a common complaint on the dedicated forum set up for CLEAR subscribers. CLEAR for several months blitzed the Atlanta area with ads on TV, ads on buses, signed up people to sell the service (There are areas where there's an authorized CLEAR dealer every mile or two.). As a result, they got a lot of people to sign up for the service which clogged up the speeds. Oddly enough, they've practically quit running ads in this market.


User currently offlineZentraedi From Japan, joined Jun 2007, 660 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2189 times:

Quoting srbmod (Reply 8):
It would be capable of speeds like that if the CLEAR (the main provider of WiMax in the US) would improve their infrastructure in their existing markets. The speeds I'm getting on WiMax are more like the following:

I wonder if it's not just the number of towers though, but whether they actually have a smaller spectrum allocation?


User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2182 times:

Quoting Zentraedi (Reply 9):
I wonder if it's not just the number of towers though, but whether they actually have a smaller spectrum allocation?

It's the towers, as there are reports of folks who based on the coverage maps are able to get CLEAR but cannot get a signal in that location. I know that they're trying to add towers, but in some cases they're facing resistance in some areas from residents who don't want them to build a tower in their neighborhood (They want them to use existing towers in those areas.). They're supposed to have 1000 towers here in Atlanta once they build out the network, but I don't know the number of towers they currently have in operation. A search of antennas within a 4 mile radius of me show that there are approximately 12 towers with CLEAR WiMax antennas on them, and there are three within a mile and a half of my location.


User currently offlineAF340 From Canada, joined Jul 2007, 2786 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2162 times:

Quoting srbmod (Reply 8):
CLEAR for several months blitzed the Atlanta area with ads on TV, ads on buses, signed up people to sell the service (There are areas where there's an authorized CLEAR dealer every mile or two.). As a result, they got a lot of people to sign up for the service which clogged up the speeds. Oddly enough, they've practically quit running ads in this market.

Yeah, I noticed on PeachtreeTV that those ads have come down in the last couple weeks. After reading reviews on CLEAR, I'm not surprised...


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2061 times:

Quoting Zentraedi (Reply 9):
I wonder if it's not just the number of towers though, but whether they actually have a smaller spectrum allocation?

It might not be the towers themselves, but the backhauls to the towers. Each tower has X number of T1s or T3s servicing that particular tower, which then goes into Sprint's backhaul network.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 1952 times:

A bit of an update. I finally figured out the cause of my slow speeds. It's amazing what cleaning out the browser cache and the temporary internet files does to the speeds. I'm now getting over 5 MB down and close to 1 MG up. Before I cleared the cache and the temp files, I was getting a little under 2 MB down, which was better than I had been getting. I guess I won't be dumping CLEAR for the time being.



User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1933 times:

I wanted to thank everyone for their most helpful advice and ended up signing on for T Mobile Wireless Broadband on a USB stick. I needed this to do remote demos via WebEx etc.

My results are:



I think the ping value is a problem, how do I interpret that?

Thanks in particular to N328KF for the detailed replies.

[Edited 2010-06-05 16:09:31]

User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 1926 times:

Quoting comorin (Reply 14):
I think the ping value is a problem, how do I interpret that?

I think lower is better.


User currently offlinecomorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1912 times:

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 15):
Quoting comorin (Reply 14):
I think the ping value is a problem, how do I interpret that?

I think lower is better.

I wonder how it translates from a user experience point of view. I am able to watch streaming video decently enough, but sometimes on a.net it gets stuck with 'waiting for Google analytics'...

Thanks.


User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1910 times:

For typical online use, you won't notice things too much. Now if you were trying to play an online game, you would definitely see some lag and latency issues.

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