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Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

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Journeyman G-B
Journeyman

Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

Hi all,

We were switched from a MiFi 4082 (3G / WiMAX) to a Sierra Tri-Fi (3G / WiMAX / LTE) about a month ago.

We noticed that with the Tri-Fi, we have significantly poorer roaming 3G/1XRTT coverage.  We don't use much bandwidth roaming, but we do roam frequently due to our travels.  Even on Sprint's online coverage maps, the area covered by 3G/1XRTT roaming is vastly smaller than with the Novatel MiFi 4082 and other 3G/4G devices.

Ideas why this is???

Thanks!

7 REPLIES 7
Journeyman G-B
Journeyman

Re: Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

Ok, here's some additional info, albeit inconsistent.

From Novatel (MiFi 4082):

WiMAX: 2.5GHz, 5 and 10 MHz

CDMA Mode: 1xEV-DO Rev. A/0, 1xRTT

CDMA Bands: 800, 1900 MHz

From Sierra Wireless (Tri-Fi / 803s):

LTE 1900 MHz

WiMAX 2500 MHz

CDMA 1900 MHz

Am I reading this correctly?  The Tri-Fi omits several frequency bands that are supported by the MiFi?  (On Sprint's published info on the Tri-Fi, they say it supports CDMA 800 MHz, but Sierra's website does not support that)

Journeyman

Re: Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

Can you share where you see the Sprint published info?  We want to make sure it lists things correctly.

Journeyman G-B
Journeyman

Re: Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

It's here:  http://community.sprint.com/baw/message/419824#419824

Frequency: 1xEVDO Rev. A, Rev. 0 and 1X (850/1900 MHz)

(that's odd, it says 850MHz, not 800MHz)

Journeyman G-B
Journeyman

Re: Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Here are some coverage comparisons between the Novatel MiFi 4082 and the Sierra Wireless Tri-Fi 803s.  (Novatel on the left, Sierra on the right)

National coverage:

national.png

Local coverage in an area we frequently travel in (we live in Colorado, and often travel in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington).  Again, Novatel Mifi 4082 on the left, then Sierra Tri-Fi 803s on the right:

local.png

That's a pretty significant loss of coverage -- and unknown to us when we were switched from one device to the other.  We thought that "backwards CDMA EvDO / 1xRTT compatibility" was all that we needed.  We didn't know we'd completely lose roaming coverage in most of this particular travel area.

Journeyman G-B
Journeyman

Re: Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

Well, I haven't heard any answers from the Sprint folks here, and the Sierra Wireless folks never got back to me either.

So, this isn't from the proverbial horse's mouth, but it is from the "farmer".  FCC records indicate that, yes, the Tri-Fi is limited to 2.5GHz WiMAX, 2.4GHz 802.11, and 1900 MHz CDMA.  Contrary to the Sprint specs referred to above, there is no mention of any band in the 800/850 MHz range at all.

So apparently this device only half-supports 3G / CDMA.... thus the massive loss of coverage on the coverage maps above.

jp7.png

Journeyman

Re: Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

G-B - You are correct about the specs for the Sierra Wireless Tri-Fi.  800 and 850 MHz is not supported by this device. Roaming is capable on 1900 MHz.  Sorry for the confusion and inconvenience.

We will work to update the online link that you provided earlier.  Thank you.

Journeyman G-B
Journeyman

Re: Poor roaming coverage on Tri-Fi - why?

Thanks, EB12, for the info!  (it wasn't the news I wanted to hear, but it does explain things.)

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