06-23-2013 09:25:47 AM
06-24-2013 07:59:41 AM
06-24-2013 09:27:54 AM
I was up just this past weekend and was experimenting with one of the one-day passes for data on an Elevate 4G that I picked up for that purpose. Despite getting 4 bar indicator for signal strength, I could barely keep any data flowing at the 2G speeds that appeared to be available.
I was camping in a camper (read: a fancy word in wireless terms for a large faraday cage on wheels) but had an external antenna hooked up outside, thus the 4 bar signal strength on the wireless. However, my regular phone provider is T-Mobile (and my phone does not have the benefit of an external antenna jack and my plan doesn't include roaming data, thus is why I was trying AT&T which is the strongest signal I receive in that particular area. I assume they have a cell up on the CMU tower(s) just accross the road NE of Clear Lake)
I had to move my laptop outside to get their technical support on the phone, but was eventually able to keep them on the line, chase down the right phone number to call and at least get 'some' kind of connection (as mentioned above, barely working).
One of the things the guy I spoke with told me was that the towers in that area were due for an upgrade at some time in late July. My reason for coming to the forums this morning was that I was curious if there was any more specific comments on these upgrades and/or any way that I could be notified if and when they were actually up and working. (I won't be buying any more AT&T day/week passes until I know something has changed)
In the meantime, I will be playing with the Verizon hot-spot USB dongle that I have on the next trip. Allegedly Verizon bought all of the Alltel systems up there, and although there aren't any towers in the immediate vicinity of where I camp, there were a number of towers around the nearby towns and cities (two by Atlanta, one by Onaway, one by Hillman, one by Lewiston, a couple around Gaylord, etc) and i was seeing a very weak signal using just the omni antenna. (I also have an 11 element 850MHz Yagi I built to try to grab the verizon towers, but didn't end up buying any time on verizon this trip as the adapter I got for the antenna didn't quite want to fit on the Pantech hotspot to get a clean connection to the directional beam)
The upgrades, if what i was told was accurate, should help considerably if and when they end up covering at least the existing towers if not additional places. If you are in a weak signal area, there are a number of antenna options (for those not as savvy with antenna design like myself) in the $15-80 range depending on how much 'help' you need to find a good signal. In many cases, a hot spot or even a signal-booster (a bit more expensive) with a good, high profile omni-directional vertical antenna can help considerably in a given, fixed location. For very weak signals, if you can figure out which tower you 'see' the best, a fixed-location directional yagi antenna can also improve at least the signal side. (but as I mentioned, i was getting an 80% 4-bar signal consistently and still getting crap for data speed/consistency/reliability on 2g)
Most of what is currently implemented up there is still 800-850Mhz range signals. (verizon uses CDMA, AT&T uses HSPA) From where I was at, I could not see any GSM or LTE/4G signals, but among the weak-signal sporadic stuff I was picking up, presumably from the Onaway former-Alltel tower, I did see a 3G that identified itself as 'National' or something similar as the service provider - I assume the Verizon partner.
I was interested to be alerted or otherwise notified when AT&T upgrades the service towers as I will otherwise not do anything with AT&T until I know that things have improved. I already got bit in my sphincter-pucker when a non-AT&T, AT&T branded franchise store bent me over for $25 to get a sim card that AT&T corporate gives away for free. And I'm further disappointed by the costs, terms and limits of the pre-pay data cards. (T-Mobile, for example, sells similar bundles for about 1/4 the price in their coverage area, but unlike AT&T, when your data allotment is up, they don't tell you that you are Shat-outta-luck and simply switch you down to a throttled 2G speed until the actual time-period of the card is used up. From what I've been told, both AT&T and Verizon basically tell you to suck rocks when your data-block is used up, and verizon costs about twice as much, AT&T about 4x as much)
06-24-2013 11:32:01 AM
Yes there is an AT&T tower near Clear Lake St Park/Canada Creek Ranch. Go the the AT&T coverage viewer and view the voice coverage. That will pretty much show you where the towers are....in the center of the darkest orange areas. Verizon's signal is not good on that area and there is no tower between Atlanta and Onaway, which LTE are active on both towers now. Just keep reading these forums because word travels fast when they upgrade service as a lot of times you know withing hours after a tower gets upgraded. Also watch sensorly.com for user based real time coverage maps. AT&T has by far the superior network as far as coverage though we all know EDGE sucks. Compare AT&T/Verizon coverage maps including the U.P. and you will be shocked how many areas Verizon doesn't cover. I personally don't travel much to those areas so Verizon is better for me as they have pretty much statewide LTE coverage now. When AT&T upgrades to total 3G/HSPA/LTE statewide they will win back a lot of customers from Verizon.
06-24-2013 08:05:36 PM - edited 06-25-2013 04:43:30 AM
Drove by our local tower just south of Pickford last week. Absolutely no activity. They are telling us that 4G will beoperational by June 29. Pretty hard to believe looking at the tower. I'm posting a pic of the tower.
06-25-2013 06:18:42 AM
That tower has 3/4G broadband antennas on it and as you can see there are no black omni-directional "whip"
style antennas which means those panels are active. It's not impossible to have 4G service by the end of June especially since it has been backhauled with fiber. What irks me is the fact AT&T can turn on 3G with T-1 backhaul while they are running fiber but they have chosen to do nothing until they have fiber run to the tower. That's what Verizon did when they upgraded to 3G back in 2007ish. There are several AT&T towers around that appear ready to be fired up but are sitting there idling on EDGE. I imagine when they start turning on 3G/HSPA there will be huge areas lighting up at once.
06-25-2013 08:19:22 AM - edited 06-25-2013 11:29:53 AM
I checked out the tower in McFarland, no activity there. Just "whip" style antennas on it. I'm assuming it will probably be one of the last towers upgraded.
06-25-2013 10:20:21 AM
It is really hard to say. The tower in which I uploaded the picture of in Red Oak is in between Mio, Lewiston, and Luzerne. It is pretty much forest all around but sometime in the last three weeks they moved in and installed the broadband antennas. They could do the same to the tower by you as they are working diligently to upgrade the remaining sites. Verizon has pretty much forced all the wireless carriers into massive upgrades to all of their networks plus there has been a lot of federal money available to them as well so they have incentive to invest sooner rather than later.
06-29-2013 01:43:14 PM
06-30-2013 10:27:46 AM
AT&T is really moving in the area around my cabin. There are now 3 towers that have been fitted with broadband antennas in the last month. Red Oak, Lewiston, and the tower on 491 and M-32 about 8 miles north of Lewiston. This pic was taken Saturday and by evening time the work was completed.
06-30-2013 02:28:54 PM
I have a question. How do you normally tell when you're going to be getting 3G/4G on your phone? Will you lose cell service voice/data for a few hours that day or something?
06-30-2013 04:10:11 PM
I'm not really sure because AT&T uses quad-band for voice/data, excluding LTE. When my home area was upgraded to 3G back in 2008, I had no issues with service. My phone simply restarted itself and when it came back online it was on 3G.
06-30-2013 07:02:48 PM
No 4G here yet in Pickford. But I did drive by the local tower located about five miles south of town. A big roll of wire on the pole at the entrance to the site. Drove back to the tower. They have cleared out a bunch of trees, which I think is to allow the wire to be buried. But then there was some big wiring on the side of the tower.
From the looks of everthing, I'll be suprised if 4G is up and running around here by the end of summer.
06-30-2013 08:19:47 PM - edited 06-30-2013 08:23:34 PM
@JRE - That tower is HSPA+ '4G' ready. Those are new coax lines on the tower and it looks like they will be using Charter fiber for backhaul. The ILEC doesn't use aerial distribution, so it could only be from Charter (which their fiber backhaul is great).
If you look closely on the coax lines when they run into the cell equipment shelter, you can see some wrapped in a blue tape and some wrapped in red. These color differentiators denote specific 3G/4G frequency. The blue might denote 850Mhz HSPA+ and the red might denote 1900Mhz HSPA+ (or visa-versa).
07-01-2013 12:00:13 PM
07-01-2013 07:43:04 PM
From my sources online I can tell you that Verizon Wireless is using Charter fiber backhaul for their LTE network. AT&T maybe using the ILEC. Double check the antennas and make sure its an AT&T site and not a VZW site (or they maybe sharing the same site).
07-02-2013 04:59:03 AM
It is an AT&T site, owned by Global Tower. The address is: 29255 SOUTH M-129
Verizon doesn't have a site in or around the Pickford area.
07-02-2013 11:05:06 AM - edited 07-02-2013 11:05:35 AM
@Lewyman..... If you are looking at the orange on the map, you are looking at cell coverage. You need to hit the data tab and the data will be displayed in blue. We have just average cell reception in Pickford, but zero data coverage, contrary to the map.
Verizon has no cell coverage in Pickford. Rumor has it that they are trying to get access to the tower about two miles west of our ATT tower.
07-02-2013 11:18:10 AM
07-02-2013 12:21:44 PM - edited 07-02-2013 03:52:07 PM
The new AT&T coverage map depicts coverage in Orange and Yellow rather than Blue. Here are pics of the maps shown from my phone and PC The map on the left shows regular voice coverage and the one on the right shows 2/3/4G data. Although there might not be actual 4G, you can see that Pickford is shown in solid dark orange 4G (hspa+). Here is the new AT&T coverage map:
07-02-2013 04:01:18 PM
HaHa yep. That blob of orange in Pickford is new as it was not there last Friday. Hope they get it finished for you before the end of this month. I will say that AT&T, like Verizon, might be waiting on certain components from vendors for their towers as all the wireless carriers are scrambling to upgrade their networks.
07-04-2013 09:00:45 AM
07-04-2013 12:42:41 PM
Called att for an update on our tower upgrade. July 15 is the new target date for 4G. Drove by the tower today, and the roll of fiber is still on the poll.
07-06-2013 07:43:45 AM
07-09-2013 05:29:02 PM
Any idea about 3G in Grayling yet? Specifically between Grayling and Lewiston. I'll be in Lovells next week. Was hoping there would finally be some 3G. I got full bars of Edge last summer but was so slow.
07-09-2013 05:54:39 PM
I really cannot believe Grayling doesn't have it yet. The tower in Lovells was still EDGE as of last weekend, and the tower in Lewiston had broadband antennas installed on it three weeks ago so it could be anytime now that they flip the switch. Now the tower in Red Oak at F-32(Miller Rd) and 489 has had active '4G" for the last two weeks which could be the prelude to a big expansion in the surrounding area. Kinda like the tower they turned on at Black Lake......since which they have made a large expansion in NE MI. I can only confirm "4G' in Onaway as I have not checked Cheboygan/Rogers City areas.