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iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

Journeyman

Re: iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

I tried for the latter part of the night and saw no speed improvement, in fact at 6:30 EST it was the worst it had EVER been, seriously I am talking 3 second pings and .01 UL speeds.  I don't understand why the Sprint rep would waste his time to call me and tell me that crap... Speeds are over 1.0Mbps this morning but that is because no one is up yet.  When he calls back Sunday to do a follow-up I am, to put it lightly, going to express my disappointment at the so called "fix."  One other thing before the guy called me to tell me about the fix, I called customer service for an update on the ticket, now they are giving out supervisor numbers, I got an 817 number, supposedly direct lines to supervisors, Sprint, seriously, what are you doing... The supervisor said they will be issuing credits when this is resolved... yep I expect that just like the "fix" at 5:30 CST last night.  I want the number to the our CEO, spouting that crap, iphone uses 50% less 3G data...

Wizard

iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

Robcourt91 wrote:

The past couple of days proved to be a good, reliable and fair test with enough data to back my theory that I believe it is indeed Sprint's network and NOT the iPhone 4s. I do not doubt, nor am I minimizing anyone else's experience but here's mine:

My job requires travel and this time I was accompanied by two co-workers - an engineer and my boss, on a sales/tech  visit to MA (Brookline, a Boston suburb), our home base in NYC  (including Manhattan and Brooklyn) and CT (New Haven and Hartford).

I, of course, have a Sprint iPhone 4s, my boss an AT&T iPhone 4 and  the engineer, a Sprint HTC EVO 3D. Unbeknownst to me prior to the trip (till the topic was  brought up, plus ensuing tests) the engineer said that Sprint's network coverage on his EVO is abysmal throughout NY and CT, either 3g or 4g. My boss, certainly not a techie, was quite happy with AT&T's network speeds, though, of course that's all relative. So, we decided to test our respective speeds  throughout the 3 states (my boss needed to download Speed Test).

The  engineer and I, both on Sprint but with different phones, nearly mimicked one another's speed throughout the test....MOSTLY poor  speeds.   There WAS a stretch in Wallingford, CT where we did get 1.8 mbps (I was amazed), but that was the exception and not the rule. For the most part, we hovered around .10-.30, with a low of .02 on mine and .01 on his (tested in the same area).

My boss, with his AT&T iPhone 4 (not 4s) consistently hit 2.0 mbps and better, regardless of location. When  the engineer and I hit our lows, he incredibly hit 3.4 on his iPhone. In  NYC, where our Sprint was weakest, his lowest speed was over 1 mbps.

CLEARLY  in the above cases it was the Sprint network and NOT my iPhone 4s. As  for the gentleman who blogged that Sprint scored higher speeds than  AT&T in NYC, am I the only one who noticed that he measured the network speeds via laptops that his phones were tethered to? Is that really a good test indicative of the phone/network speeds? There are environmental factors including the laptops he used, their speeds, applications installed and configuration, all part of the equation - not to mention how reliable or successful the phones tethered to the laptops. A nice effort but essentially meaningless, especially in light of what I discovered with the ACTUAL phones themselves.

Again, I am not doubting anyone else’s experiences, but my tests pretty much cemented my belief that the slow speeds are undeniably Sprint's network and not the iPhone 4s.

+1000000

Thanks for your post... hopefully it goes far to convince people of what I feel is the truth.

Journeyman

iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

Hi Robert - The point is that you're measuring the wrong thing. The performance of a data network has multiple dimensions, aggregate throughput is only one of those. Latency, jitter and availability are also important.

AT&T's HSDPA+ network has much higher aggregate throughput than a CDMA network like Verizon or Sprint. This is what the speedtest application measures. This isn't what you should care about. You should care more about latency, jitter and availability. When an application loads a webpage, communicates with Siri or throws an email across your IMAP connection, the amount of data that it xmits is actually very small, measured in the 10ths or 100ths of mbytes. However, the application sends a little bit, waits for a response and then sends a little bit more, these serialized requests are why the latency is so important. A network connection with aggregate throughput of .1mbit/s and 200ms latency will load a web page vastly faster than a network connection with 10mbit throughput but 1s latency. Sprint's latency is seriously better than AT&T and you see this in the performance. Siri works on Sprint while walking around Manhattan and Brooklyn. It doesn't work on AT&T.

The reasons behind all of this are important and (at least to me) interesting. The basic answer is that AT&T's network is over capacity. However the conventional wisdom, that their network needs more spectrum, again turns out to be false. The issue with AT&T's network isn't spectral capacity, but signaling capacity, their 3.5G aka HSDPA+ technology really wasn't designed for mobile data connections. It's limited to (I might have this number slightly wrong) 64 simultaneous connections per antenna sector, so a standard cellular base station with three sector antennas can support a mere ~200 active wireless connections at a time. This is easily exceeded in an area like brooklyn or manhattan where population density is high and there are lots of smart phones that frequently exchange small amounts of data (remember it's active connections that matter).

Anyway, you'll never get a 10mbit or even 2mbit connection on Sprint, but your experience using the network, especially in NY and San Francisco might be significantly better than on AT&T.

Journeyman

Re: iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

I am starting to think Sprint is not doing jack about it besides the routine troubleshooting they do.  Every time I call I get a different story.  So this morning I called to make sure I can turn on data roaming (based on my plan) and not be charged anything (exception being international roaming), that is true BTW for everything data plans, on the iPhone that setting is off by default, so it is safe to turn it on.  I figured since I was on the phone let me see if their is an update on my ticket, I was told to call a different number.  I did, and the person said the ticket was update with the tower is OK, for me to call Apple!  That this is not a Sprint network issue.  24 hours ago I was told this is a nationwide issue and they are working on a fix and an internal network fix would go into affect yesterday 5:30 CST... yeah right... then this morning a whole new story.  I am over this, if it gets fixed, great, if not, so be it.  Sprint just has a crappy network it seems.  But for 80 bucks less a month than ATT and Verizon, that is the compromise you must accept. 

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Journeyman

Re: iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

I'd just like to clear up some things that were stated quite incorrectly a couple of posts back.

Load time on a web page can be significantly improved with faster throughput.   Many web pages contain large flash/video files and pictures so throughput is significantly more important than ping time.

Likewise if you are sending emails or receiving emails with any pictures, audio and/or video content your upload and download throughput (depending on if you are sending or receiving) could determine if it takes 1 minute or 1 hour to send.

Pings are a udp broadcast vs. a TCP directional send so ping time is not always a reliable statistic as the routing isn't factored correctly.   Proxies aren't always factored correctly into ping times.

Many of you probably have multiple data items occuring at all times - sending and receiving emails - perhaps set for push/continuous on possibly a work email address and personal email address(es).   MMs/Instant Messages, traffic and weather updates, news and sports updates, ongoing games with friends, so throughput is significantly more important as you'll build up quite a queue of traffic waiting to be processed on your device if you have wretched speed tests with Sprint.

Journeyman

Re: iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

RobBass407 wrote:

I am starting to think Sprint is not doing jack about it besides the routine troubleshooting they do.  Every time I call I get a different story.


That is because frankly they aren't paid to solve problems.  They are paid for how many calls they process per hour.   If they take the time to solve your problem, their metrics may take a hit and that is what their supervisor basis his performance on and his boss/mid level manager needs something that seems to be concrete to base his bonus on.   Measuring customer satisfaction because you solve problems is far more challenging than counting 60 calls per hour were made.


Solutions to keep 60 calls per hour metrics -

1. Tell you they see a problem with a tower in your area and they are working on it -  you say thanks, hang up and don't call back for a week or two.

2. Tell you there is a problem with the network but Sprint is working on it  - you say thanks, hang up and don't call back for a week or two.

3. Tell you the problem might be with your device: let me transfer you to another department.   - you say thanks.  They hang up on you instead of transferring you and you have to call back and hopefully you'll be in someone else's queue.

4. Tell you that your device may need to be diagnosed, you should bring it to a Sprint store - - you say thanks, hang up and waste your time at a store where there are no metrics or people who know anything about phones but they'll take your phone for a hour or two until you come back and they'll say they couldn't determine what as wrong with it so you get a new phone from them and they tell you it could take up to 4 hours it to be fully provisioned so you've left their store with the same issue but a new phone.

5. Tell you that you are the first to tell them about this issue, let me transfer you to a different department. - you say thanks. They hang up on you instead of transferring you and you have to call back and hopefully you'll be in someone else's queue.

6.  Tell you that they are aware of the issue and working on it  you say thanks, hang up and don't call back for a week or two.

7. Tell you to do a PRL update, reboot yoru phone and call back after it reboots -  you say thanks, hang up and hopefully you'll get someone else when you call back.

8. Tell you they are aware of the issue with your phone and there should be a patch coming out within a month - you say thanks, hang up and don't call back for week or two.

Things you should do to increase your chance of getting a resolution for some things with Sprint.

1 Always call from a landline - pretty much common sense but not always convenient, still worth doing for any phone related issues.

2 Tell them not to hang up when they transfer - tell them you want to make sure you get transferred to the right department - they'll actually take about a minute to look up the number instead of the immediate hang up.   They'll transfer you to the wrong department anyways but they can't hang up until they get you to the right department.   Since that effects their statistics they'll be much more determined to quickly get you to the right department unless you get someone who is familar with that trick and they'll tell you there must be a problem with the phone system as no one is picking up in that department so you'll call back later and hopefully get into the queue with someone else.

Journeyman

Re: iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

iPhone safari won't load flash and they delayed method that it uses to load video removes this from the equation. Here's a graph from some work that i did years ago looking at the effect of latency on page load times.

https://plus.google.com/115450369001355623660/posts/NFwhqFqhq71

Journeyman

Re: iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

does turning on data roaming help ? I looked and turned mine on. Last night I was in target and this is the second time there I can not get any data service in there. I asked an employee and he said he has no problems but he has att. anyway just curious if the data roaming would help in that or other situations.

my speeds have been getting better slowly

Journeyman

Re: iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

Nice post. Not only are these tactics used to get you off the phone, they are also used to push you past the 14 day return period. Anyone still having issues and approching the end of their 14 days should seriously consider returning the phone.

Journeyman

iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

has anyone notice that this thread out of the

215,921 views

only 1,216 replies.... 1/4 are probably only speed test posting

1/2 are probably double

and rest are everyone else..

There are probably less than 175 unhappy SPRINTERS posting

Journeyman

iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

This post was amusing. You've clearly worked in a high volume call center where all that matters is metrics before

Journeyman

Re: iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful

I don't believe the alleged internal memo story. The official Sprint statement all but contradicts the memo, if it was real and accurate.  I think we have a bad Sprint service issue, and not an IPhone 4s issue.

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