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Sprint EPIC "4G Service" Useless Indoors

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Journeyman

Sprint EPIC "4G Service" Useless Indoors

At my home in Haverhill, MA it works like a charm outside....full boat signal and it flies speed wise.

Walk in the house and the signal drops to a fragile connection and most of the time fails.

Assuming it was just a fluke at my house, I tried it this morning in Boston as well while going to a project meeting.

Same thing...wonderful signal outside with grreat up and down speeds....walk indoors and POOF...it's gone.

What good is it if it only works OUTDOORS?

Message was edited by: jfenton1957

Message was edited by: jfenton1957

56 REPLIES 56
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Journeyman

Sprint is getting so many calls about this that their Tech Support phone specialists have come up with a standardized answer.  "Sir, the extra $10 per month is not for the 4G.  It's because there are so many new features on your phone!"  Then, she went on to tell me how she owns one herself...blah blah.  I think they're all being told to tell Epic owners that they own one too.  This type of illogical explaination is what Sprint is/will use to justify overcharging all of us $10.00 every billing cycle.

Yesterday, I had my 4G turned on in a very strong signal area just outside Chicago.  I'd stand outside the car in a parking lot and the 4G signal was fine.  I'd get back in the car and 4G would stop.  I had to hold the phone right up to the windshield to get 4G and even then, it would keep switching back and forth between 3G and 4G.

Since 4G signals dissipate so easily, I am going to demand a $10.00 monthly credit.  Last month, Sprint got rid of the %18 percent employer discount on family plan phones.  My bill went up from $162 to $171.  Now, I'm going to get hit with an additional $10.00 per month.  Calculate in the higher taxes associated with a more expensive bill and this 4 person family plan could be $200 a month, which is totally unacceptable.  I'll go back to basic phones and make my kids start dialing their friends instead of texting them.  I can wait till I get home to do internet/e-mail and my wife never does anything more than take/make occassional calls anyway.

If Sprint doesn't find some way to give me at least a $10.00 bill credit, I will simply cancel our contract and take our family back to 2005...the good old days of under $100 a month phone bills.   BTW..for those of you who don't know, if Sprint changes your contract, ((like removing the employer discount as they did to phones (beyond the first 2) on family plans last month)), THEY have voided the contract and you're free to go without any penalties.  I confirmed this with Sprint Cust Service back when the discount was removed. Wish me luck!

Bert in Chicagoland

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Journeyman

"I thought I would share a link to an article on this topic and a few clips from it.  I also see folks mentioning LTE, and as the article mentions, it shares some of the same issues that Wimax does.  Here is a link to the article, and a couple of snippets from it:

http://www.mycomputer2u.com/network/indoor-coverage-challenges-in-the-wimax-technology

"The combination of high capacity requirements and extensive network access from indoor locations makes it a challenge to build a mobile broadband network. This is not a challenge unique to WiMAX operators: Long Term Evolution (LTE) or Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) operators will have to face a very similar situation in due course. WiMAX indoor coverage adds a significant burden to the existing network resources, as the penetration loss due to the first wall in a building usually ranges between 10 to 20 dB"

"To extend the coverage range and improve indoor coverage, WiMAX changes its modulation scheme dynamically as a function of subscriber location. But there is a stiff price to pay: increased range and indoor reach results in lower throughput."

"Here lies the challenge, as most users would connect to WiMAX while indoors. In fact, according to Senza Fili Consulting, 75% of WiMAX Operators estimate that over 80% of their subscribers will connect to the WiMAX network while indoors".

"More often than not, indoor users have longer sessions and use more bandwidth intensive applications, resulting in the need for Operators to ensure high capacity in addition to optimized indoor coverage. Therefore, for best-in-class user experience, improving indoor coverage is becoming a very crucial task."

Many articles I have read about indoor WiMax penetration discuss options that those who will be using the Clear 4G network that we share with Sprint will be utilizing.  Our use of WiMax on phones provides us limited options, but Clear will use devices such as IADs (Integrated Access Devices) which can be placed where the signal is best (near a window for instance) and provide WiMax into the device, and then it will spread coverage to other devices in the home using WiFi.  One option clear has, with the exception of using an outdoor antenna, is their new puck device that takes in the 4G signal in a good location and acts as a WiFi hotspot, using WiFi so users can connect devices from inside a location.  Here is a link of a description of that device: http://www.fastcompany.com/1693721/clear-rover-4g-hotspot

Although those using WiMax have more options than we do, since we are limited to our phones and don't want to pay for extra devices, it will mean we will either have to be close the areas in a building where indoor coverage exists, or using an external antenna.

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Journeyman

I have not met a single satisfied 4G user, anyone who is using 4G regularly and successfully. My sample maybe small and it can be argued that NYC is yet not official (although I doubt there will be any significant improvement between now and the next week); however compare this to TMobile G2 users. Almost everyone is very happy and thinks it is a great improvement over 3G. One of them thought its been  life changing. That I thought was funny because folks at Sprint do not recognize TMobile's HSPA+ as 4G even.

So any happy Sprint 4G users out there? Anyone who thinks 4G has been a life changing experience?

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Journeyman

Atlanta, GA...

My 4g only works when Im outside...so no, I am not happy with my 4g service at ALL.

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Journeyman

I used my Epic in midtown manhattan last weekend. The 4G signal was rocking - even indoors - which really surprised me. I was getting 4-5 bars in most of the apartment I was staying in.

At my work in DC, I get no 4G in my office if I hold the phone in my hand or put it flat on my desk. If I have the phone in my Izel stand though, with the back of the phone facing the window, I suddenly get 4 bars I ran a speed test yesterday with it i the stand and I got 6 mbps down stream.

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Journeyman

According to Sprint's 4G coverage map, my apartment is in a dark-blue area that is supposed to get 4G indoors.  But I don't, even though the exterior wall construction is pretty thin.  However, I get moderate 4G speed (~3 mbps) inside my downtown office building in a relatively dense core area.

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Journeyman

If you're interested, Sprint just had their developer's conference (Oct 26-28).  Here is a link to the 4G presentation and video of the presentation given.

http://developer.sprint.com/site/global/video_hosting/2009/clearwire_and_sprint.jsp

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Journeyman

I have seen some messages in this group that asked about LTE as compared to WiMax technology being deployed by Sprint.  Here is a good article discussed a comparison between each of them:  http://www.wimax.com/lte/why-the-wimax-vs-lte-battle-isnt-a-battle

Here is a snippet from that article:  "Neither of these technologies will emerge as victorious over the other, and neither will be forced to accept a role as the "also-ran" in the annals of tech history.  In fact, both WiMAX and LTE can and likely will play equally important roles in the future of wireless networks.  At one point I hypothesized that those roles would be "access" and "backhaul" - with LTE providing the access technology of choice and WiMAX providing an ideal backhaul technology for 4G networks.  But I no longer think that WiMAX and LTE need to be pigeonholed into those exclusive categories."

You might also be interested in watching the video, or portions of the video and presentation just put forth at the Sprint Developers Conference that was held October 26-28th.  Here is a link to that video/presentation:

http://developer.sprint.com/site/global/video_hosting/2009/clearwire_and_sprint.jsp

In case you want to jump right to the point about LTE vs WiMax, go to about 38:35 into the presentation, a person in the audience asks about a comparison between LTE and Sprint's 4G (WiMax).

At 43 minutes into the presentation, a discussion about indoor coverage is discussed.  I think everyone in this thread would be interested in that piece.

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Journeyman

I don't have enough time for a more complete response, but the issue is NOT WiMAX vs LTE, the issue is band frequency.  Sprint / Clearwire (BTW, the people speaking in that video, not likely to call their baby ugly) WiMAX uses 2.5GHZ.  LTE will be implemented across different frequencies (based on the spectrum that the implementer has license to).  As an example, Verizon will use 700MHz.  Go to the bottom of this page for a nice loss calculator: http://www.wirelesscommunication.nl/reference/chaptr03/indoor.htm

Ex:

   700MHz has a path loss of 110db after penetrating 1 brick wall and 1 interior (drywall)

   2.5Ghz (Wimax) has a path loss of 122db under the same conditions.

We could argue the math, but the facts will remain.  2.5Ghz is less effective (compared to lower frequencies) for building penetration.

Message was edited by: PleaseFixTheEpic

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Journeyman

I don't dispute any of that PleaseFixTheEpic, and I am very familiar with frequency and penetration, however there are probably many in this thread who are not.  There has been some discussion about LTE use in the future in the thread and I just wanted to point out an article on that.  It was also interesting to hear the gentleman in the audience bring up the indoor issue.

Although LTE is mentioned, it is not what we will be using on our Epics and Sprint 4G for now, and I think yours and others who have pointed out the issues with it.  As you point out, we cannot expect much indoors, without the use of hardware other than our phones, of receiving WiMax (Clear/Sprint 4G) indoors.  However, for those at home or in businesses with WiFi, should be able to compensate, as well as 3G for our phone calls.

-Russ

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Journeyman

Does the Sprint Wi-Max 4G network possess some kind of method for allowing phone communications?  This past weekend, I was at a big indoor sports complex with steel walls and roof, in a Chicago suburb.  I was the only one able to place a call from inside the building.  Everyone else had to step outside.

Inside the building, I had a ZERO signal strength for the telephone. (No bars illuminated).  But, of all things, the 4G icon indicated that a pretty decent signal was present.  I placed 2 out-going calls with no problem.  The phone also works great in large buildings where my former Palm Pre would not even dial out, due to no signal being available. 

After 9 days with Epic, I'm starting to really like this phone.  Wish there were more customization features, but there's probably progams in the App catalog for doing almost anything imaginable.

-Bert

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Journeyman

SPRINT BASICALLY LIES.  THE 4G AVAILABILITY IS TOUTED IN TAMPA, BUT I CAN'T GET IT AT MY OFFICE OR MY HOME.  IT IS AT THE POINT THAT I AM CONSIDERING CANCELLING MY PLAN.  DON'T OBTAIN A SPRINT PHONE ON A PROMISE.

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