If you are on the fringe of 4G capable towers, or have no 4G towers in your area, it can be a nightmare.
4G Phones have been available since last year. They were generally careful not to push them in areas where there were no 4G towers early on. But apparently that’s not the case now.
People on all the cellular networks have had situations with frustrations with their 4G smartphones/devices. Whether it is AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc. Whether it’s handset makers like Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, etc.
The build out continues and it will likely be great when it’s done, but in the meantime…
Phones seem to work fine for calls (unless a specific phone has issues with that), but data connection problems have abound since they started pushing these 4G data phones it seems especially in fringe or no 4G tower areas.
18.1 Million results on Google for a search on 4g device data connection problems.
In the last month or two is the first time I have seen one of these 4G cellular Internet devices in action in our rural areas where there are no 4G towers — and there are not likely to be 4G on the towers for a long time to come while cellular companies ramp up in city and suburb areas where it is more economically profitable to do so.
We were using two separate USB cellular wireless 3G devices that were working great on the close 3G tower. But one of the devices died. We needed two devices to get at least 10GB monthly. Still too little for our needs really, but we made it work. It cost us; first the cost of each device, and then $60/mo plus taxes and fees for each of those two devices and so much a MB (not GB) for overages if we went over 10GB a month.
So OK, one breaks, and now we were down to a single USB cellular wireless 3G device. And we were mid month when this happened. The timing couldn’t have been worse.
We wanted a 3G MiFi 2200 or at worst case a 5 Spot for 3G, but we were told neither one was available. So we ended up with a 4G MiFi device from Verizon Wireless.
It was a total disaster. And I mean total disaster in our area.
The bad things I had heard about these 4G devices in areas with no 4G on the towers were so true!
We went through 1-2 weeks of major issues/connection problems due to this very nice looking 4G MiFi device. Data was on again, off again, like a crazy monkey. It couldn’t stay connected to the tower to save it’s life. Seemed to be constantly looking for 4G and when it did, it would drop the 3G connection while it looked, and when it couldn’t find it, it would go back to the 3G. Back and forth, back and forth.
It was so bad, even though we had it plugged in all the time, it couldn’t maintain a charge so (as was typical when the battery was low as we found out) it would then get so low on the charge that it would go on and off like a crazy monkey even worse. The first device wouldn’t stay connected from day one for more than a few minutes at a time.
It was a nightmare to say the least.
We got a replacement unit from Verizon, and it worked for a whole 12 hrs before it got so low on battery power that it would go on and off again like a crazy monkey till you turned it off and let it charge up again. But it never stayed on for 12 hours again after that first 12 hours, even with a fresh charge after 3 hours offline to charge it.
Eventually, we were sent a 3G MiFi 2200, and it and the tower are very happy with each other, and we are again happy with them and Verizon.
We live in a rural area that will not be getting 4G anytime soon so the 3G MiFi 2200 was a much better choice for us. At least at this time.
NOTE: There was a setting in the 4G MiFi to set it to 3G only but it didn’t work. The Verizon technician installed the newest firmware on the replacement 4G unit (this was before they finally sent us a 3G unit), but that didn’t work either. He was hopeful. No go.
Verizon Wireless Tech Support was great. They tried their level best to fix the situation. And after it was all said and done, Verizon took care of us, so we didn’t have a bunch of charges related to all this mess either. So we are thankful to Verizon for that and although their service isn’t as impressive on the MiFi 2200 as it was on the USB devices, it is still quite nice and solid except for the daily reconnects which seem to normal for Verizon’s cellular 3G data service.
We lived through a terrible time and we were very frustrated to say the least. I wouldn’t want to live through that again. Especially since cellular Internet is the only viable solution in this rural area.
I don’t want to get started on the caps because we will never be happy with their $80/mo 10GB caps and $10/1GB overage charges, but those are better than what we were paying before with the USB devices at $120/mo for 10GB and having to change out the devices and watch the bandwidth closely so we changed before each device went over every month. But I digress…
In many cases where folks are complaining about smartphones and their data connections, I wonder how much of their problems are related more to the chipset in the devices and on the towers, or the firmware, or the lack of available settings within the software/firmware to stay in 3G if 4G not available like for our 4G devices?
And in that case, are the smartphone and other 4G device makers themselves really taking the heat for the slowness on the cellular companies on getting 4G built out? But who really is at fault?
Were the handset makers buying into what chipset makers are saying in an over confident way about their chipsets and how they will work right in all environments. Were those chipsets tested in real world environments with both 3G/4G avilable, not available, and intermittently available, before they were ‘sold’ to the smartphone/cellular device, and wireless cellular internet companies when they commission devices themselves from companies?
And what about the complimentary chipsets on the towers which were sold to the cellphone companies themselves and put on the towers?
Hardware, software, firmware … back and forth. Whose really at fault for all this apparent misdirection on what is wrong with the 4G scenarios particularly today in areas where there still are no 4G towers and people are getting frustrated with the service being provided after paying good money for their devices and service when maybe it’s really just the wrong device for the job in that area.
I have seen folks in Michigan putting up with horrible service from Sprint due to the 4G hardware they were sold in anticipation of 4G being in their area within 6 months. They are still waiting and being frustrated as it’s their only hope in their rural area where there is no tower close enough to give them even solid 3G speeds especially with the 4G device they were sold over a year ago, maybe closer to 2 yrs at this point.
What about all the frustration that folks in rural areas have had to deal with over this 4G fiasco?
We were a squeaky wheel and got some satisfaction but that was close to 2 weeks I never want to have to relive.
Our friends in Michigan have not gotten any satisfaction from Sprint. Just constant empty promises of 4G will be there soon….still. And constant, intermittent connections and frustrations.