07-04-2012 07:11:30 PM
Your network map shows LTE as being "Dark Blue". In Boston, there is dark blue from the harbor of Boston to 20 miles west, as well as a few of the highways out of the area.
When I try a connection from my new AT&T Momentum 4G Air Card (Sierra Wireless 313U) I only get HSPA+ connectivity. I can only get about 10 Mbps down and maximum 1.1Mbps up. The device status, either from your Connection Manager, or via my Cradlepoint CBA750 data bridge show that the connection is HSPA+...and not LTE. The signals in downtown Boston are about -55dbm and at home, about -75 dBm. Both devices show maximal "bars" of signal, or 100% received signal strength indication (RSI).
When I spoke to two different AT&T customer service people this week, they told me that yes, the device can be used on LTE, but that Boston has "Limited LTE". To which, of course, I asked "limited in what way". Is it that there is one tower in the whole 20 mile radius of Boston that has LTE? Is it that Every tower has LTE but only for 30 minutes a day at 2 AM? Is it that all towers have LTE but only the first person who connects to LTE has it and all 30 others that connect do not? Is it that the only LTE in the whole state is a single AT&T store somewhere? Both your reps couldn't tell me. I asked both reps to give me a location of a tower that has LTE so I can sit under it with my device, and they said they don't know...they only know LTE is "limited".
So, how is it that AT&T boasts Boston as one of it's markets for LTE if I can't find a tower that will work with LTE? Also, at least with the 313U I can tell if I get LTE...but I also want a new iPad that has LTE. I'm told by two separate AT&T retail stores (not authorized dealers) that the new iPad only says "4G" on the AT&T network for both HSPA+ and LTE...they say there is no "LTE" symbol. So then, other than trying data tests and hoping for more than 1 Mbps upload is the only way to tell if there's LTE, there's no way to tell?
I need the data card to get to LTE as I'm using for backup, and 1Mbps isn't going to work for me. For both the card and the iPad questions, your reps say I can return it within 30 days. But what I need to know is the direction AT&T is going with the Boston market. If Boston continues to be "limited" in its LTE coverage, then I'll need to go with Verizon...yes I know the argument about HSPA+ being better than EVO. But HSPA+ does not get me to be over 1 Mbps which will not work for my requirement.
So, what's the truth about LTE in Boston?!
BTW, I have no extra antennas for the Momentum 4G, but I know I can have them. Will dual MIMO antennas work better? Are they a requirement for LTE?
07-05-2012 04:34:01 AM
Upload speed is the only issue. Grab somebody with an LTE phone and run the speed test before jumping ship. A big difference could mean a settings problem. -55dbm signal is very strong. 10 Mb/s appears to be LTE. VZ LTE (mine) was typically less than 8 Mb/s down.
07-05-2012 03:34:27 PM
In this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gkqsu-eZavE there's a guy with a 3G iAT&T Phone and a 4G LTE AT&T "New iPad". He's in the Braintree area of MA, about 18 miles south of Boston. This video was published in Marcfh, 2012.
He's gettting 23 Mbps up and 13 Mbps down., +/-. And, the icon on the iPad says "AT&T LTE". So, it seems a) both AT&T sales groups tell us "it doesn't say LTE" so we don't have an easy way to check a particular connection, and b) there is at least one tower within 20 miles of Boston that is LTE...but not in the downtown Boston Financial District, the airport, etc...that makes sense.
If I could find where he was, I would drive the 40 mile round trip to see it work with my Momentum 4G card. Why can't they just come out and say "our Boston area deployment will be completed on X date"? That's all I'm asking at this point is someone that knows about the darn deployment! Why can't they train their sales and support staff?! When will you have it, and where can I find it??!! How hard is that?
Oh, and I did get a LTE Android phone at the store(s). They only got about the same, 10Mbps up and about 2 down. The sales people told me "oh, there's an LTE tower on our roof, but it's small and has to make all these devices work, so that's why it's slow"...at which point I laughed and told them to call me when the unicorns and pixie dust started flowing into the magic LTE bucket on the roof.
BTW, the guy from Braintreee above was getting these speeds with 1-2 bars of signal, so, not bad overall...but <insert duplicate rant here>.
07-09-2012 05:50:32 AM
I've gotten my New iPad. And after activating it on AT&T, I can get LTE in downtown Boston, at my desk, inside a building. I got about 25 Mbps down and up...at least the first time. After that, I've gotten about 25 down 8 up, but still way better than the speed I've been getting from my Momentum 4G card.
I tried the card again, in the same 1 sq. ft. location that the iPad was in. It gets a -51 dbm signal, but refuses to do LTE. I am beginning to suspect that LTE firmware for the Momentum 4G (313U) isn't on the card, or dispite what the AT&T reps say, my account isn't provisioned properly. We'll see.
Also, BTW, the iPad DOES say "AT&T LTE", so this is a way to tell when you get an LTE signal without doing a speed test every few mins.