cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

Highlighted
Journeyman

4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

I was wondering how everyone is doing with 4G in Chicago.

I live near Navy Pier and work near Union Station and I am getting zero 4G signal at both places.

I took my laptop outside and stood next to the John Hancock building and had a weak, slow, 4G connection.

Tech support says to be patient.

Tags (2)
37 REPLIES 37
Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

I do not have any experience with Downtown Chicago, but I do have some with the Western Suburbs.  I had the Xohm service previously from October '08 til June '09 and while the coverage area was small, it was expanding.  I was thrilled with the speed and it was blowing everyone's mind who saw it.

Fast Forward to 11/3/2009.  I received my card (after 3 hours on the phone) and plugged it into my Laptop.  They sent me the software on a little flash drive, which was an older version that did not include Windows 7 drivers.  Minor inconvience, but I downloaded it and installed the new connection manager and was online quickly.

Browsing is much slower than it was when it was Xohm.  My signal is "Perfect" according to the connection manager.  My latency to google is averaging 90ms and on Speedtest.net is avg 70ms.  Quite frequently when I am browsing pages will timeout and hang, downloads stop and I'm unable to visit any websites.  I've called Tech Support, spent an hour on the phone with them and was only able to speak with Tier 1 who blammed my tablet, Windows 7 and my Antivirus.  He blammed all of this even though I was able to reproduce the issue in Safe Mode, with no antivirus, no firewall (Windows or 3rd Party) and from a completely different Laptop with Windows XP professional.  I will still call them back as I feel it's a small area issue, if I can get on anywhere else I'd be able to test it, but I need to find coverage where I'm not sitting in the truck on my commute.  There's no coverage anymore at my home.

I had to assist a friend who wanted to upgrade his BlackBerry and because we were switching from iDEN to CDMA I needed to re-setup the BIS service so I brought my laptop into the sprint store.  There was coverage in the parking lot, but not within the store.  The Retail Consultant started to pitch to my the 4G service and how excellent it was and how it works "EVERYWHERE!" until I pointed to the card with it's red light.  He then decided to explain how Clear isn't the same as Sprint 4G, at that point I stopped him and told him that Sprint is selling a combo EVDO/WiMax card to which at that point he rolled his eyes and walked away.

My experience with Chicago coverage compared to the coverage maps that Sprint and Clearwire provide is positive, but they're highly inaccurate.  Joliet for example, Sprints map shows no coverage, but Clear's shows it's blanketed.  While driving through Downtown Joliet the network was available, but I was unable to connect.  It wasn't until I moved west into Plainfield/Route 59 was I able to connect.

At this point the 4G service is at best a backup solution.  I was unable to get it working without another working internet connection and the browsing/downloading dropout happens frequently enough to make it NEAR useless.  Coverage is Spotty and the service is highly unreliable, whether I can see the network and unable to connect, browsing hangs or just lack of coverage.

Yes, this is a "new" service.  Yes, I am being h4rd on it. (over zealous filter)   Why you might ask? Well they've been building this out for nearly 2 years. http://www.motorola.com/mediacenter/news/detail.jsp?globalObjectId=7571_7500_23 I'm not impressed with it at all at the moment, I understand that new things will have bugs and need to have issues worked out, but after a 2 year buildout I would expect that a lot of issues be worked out.  Sprint wasted much time and energy in this, much more than needed to be wasted.   Clearwire came in and said that Baltimore and Chicago isn't up to their standards and that they need to bring it to them before launching.  I'm not sure what that means, but from when I used the service when it was Xohm and now when it's clear their standards suck.

Now, I'm not saying it's all bad, just most of it.  If I download a ~10MB file that will complete, it goes at 600KB/s+. There's definately potential, but if they can't get past these initial issues, they're going to flop real hard because no one will want to deal with this crap.

Message was edited by: LineNoise

Message was edited by: LineNoise

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

Are either of you using the U300 card? I am now experiencing a poor reception on 3G and only getting 2 bars on 4G. I am in Charlotte and know we just got 4G last Monday---just wondering if you were experiencing poor 3G with the U300 card?

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

I have the U300. 3G is as before but no 4G.

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

I am in charlotte too and I get 2 bars as well, but if I drive a couple of blocks from my house, I get full bars and speeds is super fast.  I get 2.5 MB/s on downloads right now.

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

Just signed up for 4G in Chicago. It is not meeting my expectations. The download speeds are around 2000kbs. The latency is horrible at best 100ms but often close to 150ms. The Sprint Smartview utility doesn't work very well on my laptops (both running Vista 32-bit): I can easily connect to Sprint 3G network but 95% of the time I cannot connect to the 4G network. The problem is a software issue since with Clear's utility I can see the 4G network and connect (but I can surf the web since my MAC address is registered with Sprint not with Clear).

The only sliver of hope are the upload speeds when I am able to connect to the 4G network (8000kps and up during some sessions, perfect for someone who runs a home server).

I am going to give it another week; if it doesn't get better I will have to return the U300 modem and sadly go back to Comcast or RCN.

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

If you're going to give it another week, at least call into tech support to make them aware of the issues.  They can't fix something they don't know about.

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

Me and my wife signed up for cell phone service on Friday and it didn't go too well (my phone was a special order placed the previous week, HTC Touch Pro 2). My wife phone (a Palm Pre) wasn't properly activated in store and I couldn't get Sprint TV to work on mine (among other problems). Her activation problem was solved by calling Sprint customer service in under 10 minutes. My issue however took a little more time: I had to spend two and a half hour on the phone, got disconnected twice when I was transfered to the upper level techs. The upper level tech didn't even know how to install an application on a windows mobile phone. After a first visit at a Sprint repair facility ( and 45 minutes wait) they ended up ordering a replacement phone that was supposed to be available for pick up at 4 PM this Monday. I had to wait over 95 minutes to pick up the phone and got taken of the waiting board twice... Both our phones are now working great and the service is ok but I don't know if I really trust their customer service skills...

What I mean is I will probably end up calling them but I won't hold my breath. I have a feeling no one will be able to help in a timely fashion.

BTW I did some more testing last night and I was getting up to 3Mbs down and 1.4Mbs up (at 1 AM). I live in Bronzeville by IIT's campus.

I am looking forward to more reviews...

Message was edited by: breizhjedi

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

breizhjedi wrote:

Me and my wife signed up for cell phone service on Friday and it didn't go too well (my phone was a special order placed the previous week, HTC Touch Pro 2). My wife phone (a Palm Pre) wasn't properly activated in store and I couldn't get Sprint TV to work on mine (among other problems). Her activation problem was solved by calling Sprint customer service in under 10 minutes. My issue however took a little more time: I had to spend two and a half hour on the phone, got disconnected twice when I was transfered to the upper level techs. The upper level tech didn't even know how to install an application on a windows mobile phone. After a first visit at a Sprint repair facility ( and 45 minutes wait) they ended up ordering a replacement phone that was supposed to be available for pick up at 4 PM this Monday. I had to wait over 95 minutes to pick up the phone and got taken of the waiting board twice... Both our phones are now working great and the service is ok but I don't know if I really trust their customer service skills...

What I mean is I will probably end up calling them but I won't hold my breath. I have a feeling no one will be able to help in a timely fashion.

BTW I did some more testing last night and I was getting up to 3Mbs down and 1.4Mbs up (at 1 AM). I live in Bronzeville by IIT's campus.

I am looking forward to more reviews...

Message was edited by: breizhjedi

Fair enough.  I can't argue with that ;-)

Just a little more about my experience as of today.  I have been able to browse collectively for about 5 minutes.  I was unable to resolve host names for most of the time, a disconnect and reconnect fixed that issue only to return quickly after that.  My connection keeps dropping and I am unable to browse.  It has gotten severly worse.

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

I got off the phone with Sprint 4G customer service (866-639-9565) half an hour ago. They told me there were issue this morning but they were resolved. I was able to get on the Wimax network while on the phone with them (for the first time since since 9:35 this morning. I got 1.5Mbps up / 1.1Mbps down and they thought it was withing the acceptable range (which for them is 2 to 4Mbps vs the brochure 3 to 6Mbps with 10Mbps peak). Latency was around 80ms, which is slow but not horrible. As expected the moment I hang up with tech support and move my laptop 3 feet away from the window I lost my Wimax connection and the Sprintview utility crashed when I tried to reconnect...

I am know waiting for a reply from their techs to try to address the unresolved issues... I don't know if Sprint can do much on the network side since Clearwire runs the show, but I could sure use some software updates...

BTW the image compressing utility in the Sprintview utility is not a welcome addition. It was cool in 1997 with AOL, not anymore....

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

Something is definately awry in Chicago.  I'm on the phone with Clear right now waiting for tier 2 or something.  The tier 1 guy said that I am 3.6 miles away from the closest tower.  I told him that there is no way possible as I have "Perfect signal" according to the connection manager he then verified my CINR and had no idea what RSSI was.

If I drive to the east and park outside one of the towers I suspect has clear (Fibertower backhaul, clear antenna's listed on the site plans, etc) have a RSSI of -50 the issue is still apparent.

Ugh, 2 hours just just get a ticket escalated to an RF engineer.  When do we get our checks for beta testing?

Journeyman

Re: 4G in Chicago-What is your experience so far?

Today I have spent over 3 hours with tech support.  I cannot connect to the web, it sits on "obtaining IP address". Tech support has had me do all sort of things and nobody seems to know what the hell is going on.  This service is really bad at this point, it is not reliable and it is not fast at all.  I think I will give it another week otherwise I will return it. I am in charlotte NC.

Community News

This is a PUBLIC ARCHIVE board, all artciles are read only.

Please click here to search the Active Community.