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Can toggling airplane mode actually improve your 3G data speeds?

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, August 17, 2012 - 1:14 PM MDT   CDMA1X and EV-DO carrier channels are shared resources. In CDMA1X, many subscribers share the same carrier channel, their individual traffic kept theoretically orthogonal by code division. Likewise, in EV-DO, individual traffic is separated by time division. But what happens when Sprint (or any other CDMA2000 network provider) has deployed greater than one CDMA1X and/or EV-DO carrier channel on a given cell site? How does your handset determine which carrier channel to utilize? You might like to think that your handset would automatically choose the least loaded CDMA1X and/or EV-DO carrier channel. But that is not really the case. Instead, when multiple carrier channels are available, each cell site broadcasts a channel list message of the available carrier channels on that site. Upon receiving this list of multiple carrier channels, each handset then invokes a hashing algorithm to select which carrier channel to use. Think of it like a multi lane highway, but each car must choose a particular lane based on the car's license plate number. For CDMA1X, the hashing algorithm -- which is a kind of pseudo random number generator -- is seeded with the handset's ESN or the subscriber's MDN/MSID (i.e. phone number). Unless the subscriber changes devices or phone numbers, these values remain static, hence the carrier channel hash is quite predictable. And Sprint, for reference, seems to use MDN/MSID based hashing. Nearly a decade ago, I built a spreadsheet that emulates the CDMA1X hashing algorithm, downloadable as an XLS file. However, for EV-DO, the carrier channel hash is not quite so outwardly predictable. To seed the hashing algorithm, EV-DO uses a session number, which obviously varies from data session to data session. Each time that a handset powers up, crosses a SID/NID boundary, or even toggles airplane mode, for example, generates a new EV-DO data session, hence a new session number. And it is this session number that determines the output of the hashing algorithm. To demonstrate this process, I positioned myself in one location about a quarter of a mile distant from the north sector of a local cell site. Over the course of several minutes, I grabbed three screen caps of the EV-DO engineering screen on one of my handsets. In between each screen cap, I cycled airplane mode at least once, each cycle generating a new data session. In the span of four minutes, I was able to get my handset to hash to each of the three EV-DO carrier channels deployed on this site. When I arrived at the site, my handset hashed to PCS 0175, which is the third EV-DO carrier channel (F3) in the channel list message. The second and third hashes after toggling airplane mode several times were to PCS 0150 (F2) and to PCS 0100 (F1). See the Channel Number field depicted in the screen caps:   In addition, here is a raw RF look with a spectrum analyzer at the seven CDMA2000 carrier channels deployed on this cell site sector: The four CDMA1X carrier channels are PCS 0050, PCS 0075, PCS 0125, and PCS 0200. As is oft the case, the three aforementioned EV-DO carrier channels -- PCS 0100, PCS 0150, PCS 0175 -- are distinguishable by their slightly higher RF power output. Furthermore, for those curious, PCS 0025 (at the far left of the graph) and PCS 0225, PCS 0250, and PCS 0275 (at the right of the graph) are fallow spectrum on this site. If deployed, PCS 0025 would be the next EV-DO carrier channel (F4), PCS 0275 the final EV-DO carrier channel (F5), while PCS 0225 and PCS 0250 would be additional CDMA1X carrier channels. Back to the hashing algorithm, while it attempts to distribute users more or less evenly among available EV-DO carrier channels, it does not take into account several other factors, such as loading and backhaul. For example, if you are stuck on a carrier channel and sector with a few data hogs who have stronger signal than you do, your data speeds will likely suffer as the "fair and proportional" scheduler integral to the EV-DO airlink attempts to maximize total throughput by allocating greater time slots to the users with better signal quality. Additionally, backhaul may not be distributed evenly among deployed carrier channels, so it is possible that some carrier channels may have inherently greater data capacity than others do. Another benefit of rehashing to a different carrier channel is that you may be able to connect to a closer cell site. Because not all cell sites have the same number of deployed EV-DO carrier channels, carrier channel hashing is an imperfect process. To illustrate, the cell site (call it cell site "A") that I detailed above for this trial has three EV-DO carrier channels (F1, F2, F3), as duly noted. But the adjacent cell site to the north (call it cell site "B") has only two EV-DO carrier channels (F1, F2). A handset that hashes to F3 on cell site "A" will cling to carrier channel PCS 0175 even as it moves north well into the coverage area of cell site "B." Interference will not be a problem, as cell site "B" does not transmit PCS 0175, but signal strength (and data speeds) will diminish until cell site "A" drops below a network defined threshold, at which point the handset will handoff to cell site "B" and hash to PCS 0150. This can require substantial movement and/or time. So, if you always want the most crisp EV-DO handoffs, you can try to ensure that your handset always hashes to F1, the EV-DO carrier deployed on essentially every site in the market. To conclude, by no means is airplane mode a panacea for slow 3G data ills. EV-DO carrier channel deployment and backhaul can vary from site to site, while loading can also vary from site to site, even from minute to minute. And EV-DO networks in some cities are just generally overloaded. But if you are at work, in a restaurant, at a park, etc., and find yourself with unbearably slow 3G data or lower than usual signal strength for that location, try toggling airplane mode. A 30 second on/off cycle of airplane mode will start a new data session and could get your handset to rehash to another EV-DO carrier channel that is on a closer site, has better backhaul, and/or is currently less loaded.   Sources: Qualcomm, author's field data

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

(UPDATED) LG Eclipse 4G casts an early shadow

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, August 10, 2012 - 6:54 PM MDT   Update: The previously dubbed LG Eclipse is being released November 11 as the Optimus G. Additionally, the LTE 1900 EIRP figures that were missing from the original FCC filing were added six weeks later in a Class II Permissive Change application. Max LTE 1900 EIRP is 23.51 dBm -- though with substantial variability (up to 4.5 dB) due to differences in carrier frequency, bandwidth, and modulation (QPSK/16-QAM). Furthermore, CDMA1X/EV-DO 800 max ERP has been increased by approximately 2 dB to 23.17 dBm.   To quote the inimitable Yogi Berra, "It's déjà vu all over again." And here we go again. S4GRU is happy to announce yet another breakdown of an FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization filing for a major device headed to Sprint's upcoming Network Vision enhanced LTE overlay. Since this spring, we have analyzed the FCC authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, and yet to be released Motorola Photon Q 4G. Today, the expected LG Eclipse 4G hit the FCC database under the model number LG LS970, and here are the RF facets that we have been able to glean: CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz and 10 MHz carrier bandwidths 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi; max MCS index 7 (i.e. 20 MHz channel, 400 ns guard interval, single spatial channel) SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous Wi-Fi tether SVDO support absent Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 21.86 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 25.33 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 21.68 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800) NFC antenna integrated into battery cover Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagrams below)   Notably missing from the presumed LG Eclipse's FCC filing are two things: SVDO capability and LTE band 25 EIRP test results. Rumor has it that the Eclipse will utilize Qualcomm's upcoming and highly anticipated APQ8064 quad core 28 nm "Krait" processor. The quad core difference is noteworthy compared to the dual core MSM8960 chipset that has proven very successful in the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3, et al. But the MSM8960 incorporates a multimode modem, while the APQ8064 is a naked processor. If rumor has it right, then the Eclipse will also have to utilize at least one separate modem chipset. And it would seem that LG has chosen at least one CDMA1X/EV-DO modem that is not capable of voice "Fusion," which would enable SVDO with a second modem. So, like its Viper predecessor, the Eclipse appears to be a multiple chipset design. But unlike the Viper, the Eclipse is absent SVDO. Furthermore, the FCC OET filing includes requisite CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800 ERP/EIRP figures but lacks LTE 1900 EIRP figures. So, do not hold your breath for a release date. We will leave it to other sources to speculate/report on the ergonomics and other technical attributes of the upcoming LG device. But we expect that LG and its authorized testing lab will have to file supplemental results before the supposed Eclipse makes its way into the hands of eager Sprint subscribers.   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

 

Louisville/West Kentucky appears to be a late Second Round Network Vision/LTE deployment market

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 9:39 AM MDT   S4GRU has recently been apprised of some additional Network Vision information. As you may recall, when Sprint originally announced Network Vision details and explained their change to LTE for its 4G technology, Sprint also said that planning/design/permitting is under way at the first 22,000 sites. S4GRU was able to obtain the information about these first 22,000 sites last Spring and we have received several updates since. Now we have planning information on the first 24,000 sites.   In perusing the last update we received, we noticed a new market that we have not discussed before. That is West Kentucky. So now it appears that Louisville and the West Kentucky market are making a play for an earlier start.   Louisville/West Kentucky. There are over 360 sites in the West Kentucky Sprint market. West Kentucky  The West Kentucky market is included in Sprint's initial 24,000 sites planning. However, in a cross check with the NV schedule, this market has all its dates as "TBD." It's quite possible since all the planning and permitting for this market will be done in advance, it may actually be moved up to the end of the second round.   I would interpret that TBD means that they are finalizing the Network Vision schedule for this market. We cannot say with any certainty at this time. This should be seen as good news though for the folks living in the West Kentucky market.   We do not have any more details than this to report at this time. S4GRU will keep pushing for all the latest information for you on Sprint's Network Vision and LTE Depolyment. Stay tuned to S4GRU.com for breaking Network Vision news.   Photo of Downtown Louisville courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

S4GRU

S4GRU

S4GRU Compares our LTE Coverage Map with Sprint's in St. Joseph, Missouri

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, August 3, 2012 - 4:25 PM MDT   There has been a lot of discussion around our forums, and certainly in many other places, how Sprint's LTE coverage maps of launched markets have been pretty overly optimistic. To say it nicely. Today I decided to create some LTE coverage maps for St. Joseph, Missouri for our members usage, and for grins, I pulled up the Sprint LTE coverage map for the same area. The difference is pretty noticeable. In our map, we used data that we have from Sprint about each of the live sites, including tower height and downtilt. So we can enter in as accurate information as possible. We use the coverage creators that are provided from our friends at CloudRF.com. You can see the differences below.   S4GRU St. Joseph LTE Coverage Map. In the map above, you can see the LTE coverages for Sprint from the live sites in the area. This was produced by S4GRU using CloudRF.com. Green denotes Sprint 4G LTE Coverage area.   Sprint St. Joseph LTE Coverage Map. In this map you can see the LTE coverage as reported from coverage.sprint.com over the same area. Orange denotes Sprint 4G LTE Coverage area.   We recognize that this is far from a scientific analysis. The data used to create our map is accurate, however we are dependent on the modeling used by the coverage generator at CloudRF. We feel that CloudRF though has been very accurate in previous analyses we have conducted including our own field verification tests. So we feel pretty confident in our results posted here. It appears that Sprint has indeed posted very flattering LTE coverage in its maps so far. At least in regards to St. Joe. However, this was already supported by dozens of comments by our members as well. For the time being, I would not consider using Sprint's LTE coverage maps for very defined coverage of a specific neighborhood or street, but rather just to know if they have some live sites in a general area.   EDIT 6:30 PM MDT: S4GRU Writer, A.J. Shepherd, was in St. Joe this evening and reported a new live site that was not on our maps. We have added it and changed the coverages to reflect this recent addition.     FURTHER READING FOR S4GRU SPONSORS: We have an interactive version of our St. Joseph coverage map in our Sponsor section, and have a discussion thread posted there.

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Ft. Wayne/South Bend Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 7:35 AM MDT   The final market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Fort Wayne/South Bend. This market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Ft. Wayne/South Bend market covers most of Northern Indiana, except for the NW corner which is in the Chicago market. This includes Fort Wayne, South Bend, Mishawaka, Elkhart, Goshen, Marion, Logansport, Warsaw and Plymouth. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in November. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online before the end of that month.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in February, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Northern Indiana. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a February market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved.   Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 25 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a below normal production rate when compared to other markets. They shouldn't have any schedule issues with the appropriate amount of resources allocated.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by April 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Fort Wayne provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

Coverage of the Q2 12 Sprint Nextel Corp Earnings Conference Call

Sprint Nextel revealed their second quarter 2012 corporate earnings in a conference call to their investors today and S4GRU was covering for news on Network Vision. Network thinning of the iDEN network is complete, taking 1/3 of Nextel towers off air. The Nextel network was built to support 20 million subscribers, but was only supporting 4.4 million subscribers, so it could easily be thinned without [much] noticeable change in street coverage. Sprint also converted 60% of the Nextel subscriber loss into their Sprint subscriber base. Interestingly, they stated that Verizon has been the biggest poacher of subscribers leaving Nextel, grabbing 50% of former subscribers in the last 4 1/2 years. In that same timeframe, Sprint has grabbed 25%, AT&T 20% and T-Mobile 5%.     On the Network Vision topic: 4 additional cities will launch, including Baltimore, by the end of August.*Edit* Cities were disclosed VIA press release following the conference call. They are: Baltimore, MD Gainesville, GA Manhattan/Junction City, KS Sherman-Denison, TX   Over 2,000 sites are currently online with 12,000 sites to be online by the end of the year Network Vision towers are seeing 10-20% additional voice minutes usage per tower, overnight after activating Network Vision. This will equal roaming savings for Sprint, and ESMR will only increase that savings. CEO Dan Hesse confirmed that Sprint will be releasing the Motorola Photon Q "in the very near future." It will be a QWERTY slider "with robust business and consumer features." It will also be sporting world phone capability. Several hundred Network Vision sites are waiting for backhaul, and will turn on when the backhaul is installed, several hundred more sites have birds nesting on them and Sprint won't be able to turn them on until the birds leave, according to the conference call. Sprint sold 1.5 million iPhones during the quarter, even though other carriers saw slowing of sales with rumors ramping up that the new iPhone would support LTE. 40% of the iPhone sales were to new customers. They also stated that iPhone customers require less customer support and are expected to churn less than customers on other phones. Mr. Hesse confirmed that Sprint is not looking to change plans in the near future. Things are looking up for Sprint. This quarter saw their highest ARPU and their lowest churn rate to date. They posted a larger loss than Q1, but beat their revenue goals for Q2. For more detailed financial information, check the source link below.   Source: http://investors.spr...spx?iid=4057219 http://finance.yahoo...-141200985.html -Thanks to S4GRU sponsor marioc21 for finding this link!

pyroscott

pyroscott

Sprint LTE launch market connection issues

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 12:59 PM MDT   As many of you already know, the ability to connect and keep connected to LTE signals in Sprint's launch markets has been problematic for Sprint customers. What's going on? Here at our forums at S4GRU, we have been busy talking with our members and trying to figure out the issue since LTE markets started going live last Thursday. Some members were able to connect early and often. Some had problems and were able to eventually connect. Some have been unable to stay connected. Some have never connected, even standing right next to a live LTE site. We have now complied a lot of data from our members and have drawn some observational conclusions. There are two main issues, connecting to LTE can be a challenge on some devices (especially the EVO LTE), and the signal thresholds are not optimum to keep connected to LTE before getting pushed back to the 3G EVDO network.   I am in a confirmed LTE area with a strong signal but cannot connect Some LTE devices just do not want to connect to LTE. With the EVO LTE, some of our members have complained that they even stood next to a confirmed operating LTE site and the 4G icon would not appear. For most of these folks though, cycling from CDMA/LTE mode, back to CDMA only mode and then back to CDMA/LTE mode forces the phone to look for a LTE signal. This has worked for most people I have talked with who have an EVO LTE and know they are in a strong LTE signal area. This also seems to help some other LTE devices sometimes. There most likely is an issue where these devices are not scanning for LTE service like they should be. When you go out of CDMA/LTE mode and then come back in, the first thing the device does is scan for LTE service. Hopefully, Sprint will get an OTA out that fixes this issue soon.   I can connect to LTE but it goes back to 3G EVDO Other members have discussed how they can connect to 4G LTE, whether automatically or by forcing it (as described above), but it goes back to 3G EVDO. They cannot keep a Sprint LTE connection. This may happen right away, or this may happen as they drive down the road, or after they pick up the device. By the best we can tell, this is being caused by the LTE signal thresholds programmed in the device(s). When your device is in CDMA/LTE mode, it seeks LTE first. If it finds LTE, it should connect, but if it doesn't have a strong enough signal, it shunts the user off to 3G, sometimes in seconds. The devices have a minimum LTE signal programmed in them (it appears to be somewhere in the midrange and could be slightly different between devices). If the LTE minimum signal that is programmed is maintained, the device stays connected to LTE, no problems in most instances. So if you have a strong LTE signal after you connect, you will most likely keep it. However, if you have a midrange LTE signal, you will likely get bumped back down to 3G EVDO if you should move farther away from the signal, or maybe even pick up the device. Most devices will drop a few dBm of signal when being held, and it could be enough to move you back down to 3G. If you have a weak LTE signal, then you are almost doomed. You will not likely be able to stay connected to LTE for very long and most likely be shunted back to 3G pretty quickly. An exception to this we noted is if you are also in a weak 3G area. But if you have a strong 3G signal and a weak LTE signal, you are most likely not going to be able stay connected with the current thresholds programmed.   What can Sprint do? I know this is very frustrating for most of you. We all want it to work flawlessly. But this is part of the process. Sprint needs our constructive feedback so they can make changes. There are drawbacks to being early adopters. That is the point of this article. To wrap up some meaningful and thoughtful feedback from our members into a single comprehensive piece and give to Sprint for them to work on. As well as educate our members and readers into some of the information we have been able to determine. Sprint, please work with your OEM's right away on OTA's to adjust the thresholds for keeping LTE signals, as well as addressing the cycling through CDMA only mode to get devices to make initial LTE connection. One key point that I hear over and over again is that LTE customers would rather have a weak LTE signal than a strong 3G signal. Weak LTE still performs better than even good 3G in most instances. If anyone from Sprint would like to reach out to me and provide any updates of what they are doing to address the problem, I would love to receive a PM, email or Direct Message on Twitter. I will then be happy to provide an update for our members and readers.   What can we do now? With WiMax devices, we could actually change the WiMax signal threshold ourselves. However, we have not been able to locate anywhere in the LTE devices where that can be done. So we are in a waiting position to see if Sprint will help us. If you absolutely cannot connect to LTE or stay connected to LTE, you can force your device into LTE only mode. If you do this, you will lose access to 3G EVDO and 1x services while in this mode. But it is reversible at any time. It requires your device's MSL code, though. You can get your MSL code by using some apps like MSL Reader, or by using a Terminal Emulator with some models. You can search the web for ways to get your MSL code of your particular device. Some people can even get it from Sprint CSR's. Once you have your MSL code, go into your phone dialer and enter ##DATA# (*#*#DATA#*#* on the Galaxy Nexus). A menu will open and ask you to select Edit or View. Select Edit. Enter your MSL number. Now in each device, there may be some variability in the next steps. Select the Others button, then choose HDR/1X selection. Select LTE Only mode. Now you will only be able to connect to LTE, no 3G or 1x. However, you will not be able to make/receive phone calls or text in this mode. Data only. Once in LTE Only mode, you will only be able to connect to LTE signals. Even weak LTE signals. And you will not have to worry about getting shoved off into 3G. This will allow you to test your LTE, and make sure your LTE is indeed working in your device. You could stay parked in this mode if you wanted to. You just wouldn't be able to use the phone or text. To restore to normal, just go back in the same way and select LTE/CDMA or LTE/CDMA/EVDO, depending on your device. If going into LTE only mode you are still unable to connect to LTE, then you are either not in LTE coverage like you thought you were, or your device has a problem. This is all we know at this time. We will update with more information as we learn it. Thank you to all who helped gather this information from the field. You guys are what make S4GRU an awesome place!  

S4GRU

S4GRU

EDITORIAL: C'mon people, you really do want access to the LTE network early, right?

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 5:01 PM MDT   I am taking a moment and breaking from our normal Network Vision news and educational pieces to write an editorial. I try not to bloviate, but I feel like I am at a breaking point here. This weekend was a moment of great joy for many of us Sprint Network Enthusiasts as 4G LTE started going live at hundreds of sites across the country in a few select markets. However, our geek party was frequently interrupted by incessant whining. One of the chief frequent whines I heard around S4GRU was related to LTE coverage. And it still is populating our forum posts, my e-mail box and our social media sites. You folks need to wake up and get a grip. The world is not ending. S4GRU has been out there building expectations among our members and readers from the beginning. We have written hundreds of articles on Network Vision/LTE deployment. Anyone who actually reads our content knows that Sprint is targeting 40% market completion at market launch. 40%. That means 60% of the sites within a market do not have LTE at the time a market is planned to launch. Sprint did not quite even get to 40% with these July 15th markets, but proceeded any way based on demand from customers wanting access.   You hypocrites! You know, I find it very interesting that so many people were pushing Sprint to stop blocking LTE connections. There was a large battle cry from most Sprint LTE device holders in active deployment areas for Sprint to stop blocking completed LTE sites. "Let me use my LTE, darn it!" This was heard over and over again. We even were championing for Sprint to open up their LTE network at completed sites for customers to use. Finally, Sprint does exactly that. Instead of rejoicing, there was whining en masse. "I live in the San Antonio market. And the block where I live behind the Piggly Wiggly doesn't have LTE right this very second. Sprint sucks. I'm leaving!" Really? Are people that messed up??? Many of you should be ashamed of your self-centered ridiculous tantrums that you posted, publicly embarrassing yourself. You act as if Sprint actually went through maps and hand picked who would win and who would lose in early deployments. This is far from reality.   Early access or comprehensive coverage? Pick one, you can't have both The question I have for you folks is this... Should Sprint have waited until these markets were 100% complete later this year to allow the completed LTE sites to be used, or should they open up the markets now where at least the completed sites can be used? This is a no-brainer! Open them up now and every additional site that goes live every week, as they are complete! These markets that have launched are not done. They are still active deployment zones and additional sites will come live every week until completed. And we will update the progress here at S4GRU. This ridiculous moaning and complaining will just make it more likely that Sprint will not allow other markets to go live early. If all they hear from their customers are the whiny bunch, then they will think their customers don't want LTE until it is completely ready, with no bugs and completely 100% deployed. You may not like it, but the complainers are speaking for all of us.   Time to stand up and go on the offensive If you want to continue to have access to the LTE network early, then you need to stand up and start posting out there the counter story. The tech sites, blogs and forums are being inundated with these people speaking on your behalf. Complaining about all the problems of an early launch and early access to LTE. You may even have to go to the Sprint Community Forums and help defend the intelligent decision to open up LTE early. The counter point needs to get out there. It's time for the Wireless Nerds to take our rightful place. We want access to the network early. We would rather live with a few bugs and limited coverage than to not have access to Sprint's LTE network at all. Sprint needs to continue opening up their LTE network even in more places where they can. And they will be afraid to do that in the next markets if we don't take a stand. I know this editorial may be a little over the top for some of you. But I am mad as hell, and I'm not going to let the whiners speak over our voices any more. We are Sprint, not them!   Signed, Robert Leader of the Nerds   EDIT: Changed the two references to bitching. I violated my own rules.

S4GRU

S4GRU

RSSI vs RSRP: A Brief LTE Signal Strength Primer

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, July 16, 2012 - 1:40 AM MDT   As Sprint LTE 1900 has become live and discoverable in numerous markets over this past weekend, some of our readers, especially those who are using Android 4.0 ICS based ROMs, have expressed concern at the seemingly low signal levels that they have encountered. For example, see this screenshot from an HTC EVO 4G LTE (under Settings > About > Network):   Note the -102 dBm signal level. If this were measuring CDMA1X or EV-DO, then, yes, -102 dBm would be nearing the margin of usable signal. But -102 dBm is actually relatively healthy LTE signal level. To understand why, we need to learn the differences between two types of signal measurement: Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) and Reference Signal Received Power (RSRP). First, an LTE downlink is divided into subcarriers. A 5 MHz bandwidth downlink, which is the configuration that Sprint is deploying, contains 300 subcarriers. And of those subcarriers, one in three carry LTE reference signals. In other words, of the 300 subcarriers, 100 transmit periodic reference signals. To illustrate, I captured this power vs frequency sweep with a spectrum analyzer. The LTE downlink graph comes from a Sprint site in the Kansas City area in late April, well before Sprint stopped blocking devices from live LTE sites. So, the sector depicted here exhibits no data traffic; it is transmitting only the periodic reference signals on 100 subcarriers, which you can clearly count in the graph: Now, RSSI is the more traditional metric that has long been used to display signal strength for GSM, CDMA1X, etc., and it integrates all of the RF power within the channel passband. In other words, for LTE, RSSI measurement bandwidth is all active subcarriers. If we take the above RF sweep of a Sprint 5 MHz bandwidth downlink, RSSI measures the RF power effectively of what is highlighted in yellow: RSRP, on the other hand, is an LTE specific metric that averages the RF power in all of the reference signals in the passband. Remember those aforementioned and depicted 100 subcarriers that contain reference signals? To calculate RSRP, the power in each one of those subcarriers is averaged. As such, RSRP measurement bandwidth is the equivalent of only a single subcarrier. And using our graph once more, RSRP measures the RF power effectively of what is highlighted in red: Since the logarithmic ratio of 100 subcarriers to one subcarrier is 20 dB (e.g. 10 × log 100 = 20), RSSI tends to measure about 20 dB higher than does RSRP. Or, to put it another way, RSRP measures about 20 dB lower than what we are accustomed to observing for a given signal level. Thus, that superficially weak -102 dBm RSRP signal level that we saw previously would actually be roughly -82 dBm if it were converted to RSSI. To conclude, here are a few takeaways about RSSI and RSRP as signal strength measurement techniques for LTE: RSSI varies with LTE downlink bandwidth. For example, even if all other factors were equal, VZW 10 MHz LTE bandwidth RSSI would measure 3 dB greater than would Sprint 5 MHz LTE bandwidth RSSI. But that does not actually translate to stronger signal to the end user. RSSI varies with LTE subcarrier activity -- the greater the data transfer activity, the higher the RSSI. But, again, that does not actually translate to stronger signal to the end user. RSRP does a better job of measuring signal power from a specific sector while potentially excluding noise and interference from other sectors. RSRP levels for usable signal typically range from about -75 dBm close in to an LTE cell site to -120 dBm at the edge of LTE coverage.   Sources: 3GPP, author's graphs

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Sprint LTE launched today and a video for your viewing pleasure

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 10:44 AM MDT   Launch day is here. Sprint has launched 4G LTE in the 5 markets and more than a dozen cities as they announced a few weeks ago. 4G LTE is available now in: Atlanta, Georgia Dallas, Texas Ft. Worth, Texas Houston, Texas San Antonio, Texas Athens, Georgia Rome, Georgia Waco, Texas Galveston, Texas Conroe, Texas Huntsville, Texas Corsicana, Texas Greenville, Texas New Braunfels, Texas Mineral Wells, Texas Gainesville, Texas Freeport/Lake Jackson, Texas St. Joseph, Missouri Manhattan, Kansas Wichita, Kansas (isolated locations) More coverages to be added every week. Stay tuned to S4GRU.com for all the latest. And now, for the launch day video:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX9Agiuzie0     Live Atlanta/Athens LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting. But more coverage will be added weekly.

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint LTE is now discoverable in the DFW, Houston, San Antonio & Austin markets

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 8:46 AM MDT   It's been quite a beehive of activity around the S4GRU forums as members proclaim that 4G icons are appearing live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, Houston, San Antonio and in isolated spots around the Austin market (most notably around Waco). 4G LTE is appearing in these markets. I have now received confirmation from sources within Sprint, that they have indeed stopped blocking LTE connections in the DFW, Houston, San Antontio and Austin markets. LTE is now discoverable for Sprint LTE devices in these locations where LTE sites have been completed. Every fully configured and signed off LTE site in these markets is now live. Currently, this leaves only th Atlanta market to be lit up of the July 15th announced cities. Our sources do not know when that is yet, but feel like it may even still be later today. There is a flurry of activity occurring. There have also been reports of some LTE sites appearing in the Chicago market by S4GRU members. But these are very scattered and inconsistent. Please note that the live LTE sites in the Austin market is very limited. Mostly around Waco. But there are a very few isolated sites live in the Austin metro area. We are awaiting details on locations.   Live DFW LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting. But more coverage will be added weekly.     Live Houston LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting. But more coverage will be added weekly.     Live San Antonio LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting. But more coverage will be added weekly.     Live Waco LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting, even a few around the City of Austin. But more coverage will be added weekly.

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint LTE is now discoverable in the Kansas market

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 9:58 AM MDT   Yesterday, dozens of S4GRU members in the Kansas market started rejoicing as they saw 4G icons start appearing on their Sprint LTE devices. Several threads were posted in our forums, and my e-mail box started filling and text chimes on my phone started ringing. LTE was coming live in the Kansas City area. Now I have received confirmation from sources within Sprint, that they have indeed stopped blocking LTE connections in the Kansas market. LTE is now discoverable for Sprint LTE devices. Every complete and signed off LTE site in the market is now live. Even in places outside Kansas City, like St. Joseph, Missouri and Manhattan, Kansas. And more are expected to go live every week until the market is 100% complete. We should hear more about other Sprint LTE markets soon. Stay tuned. Let us know if you are getting any 4G LTE service in other communities in the market. Like Wichita, Hutchinson, Topeka, etc.   Live LTE sites as of the last S4GRU update. There are more sites live at this time than what we are reporting. Solid coverage is isolated around Olathe and Independence. But more coverage will be added weekly.

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Portland/Oregon Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 6:55 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Oregon/SW Washington. The Oregon market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Oregon/SW Washington market covers the State of Oregon and the part of Washington in the Portland Metro Area and along the Columbia River. This includes Portland, Salem, Eugene/Springfield, Bend, Corvallis, Astoria, Medford, Grants Pass and Klamath Falls in Oregon and Vancouver, Battle Ground, Kelso and Longview in Washington State. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in October. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online before the end of that month.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in June, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Oregon. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a June market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved.   Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 45 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a normal production rate when compared to other markets. They shouldn't have any schedule issues with the appropriate amount of resources allocated.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by September 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Portland/Mt. Hood provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Seattle/West Washington Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 12:00 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...West Washington. The West Washington market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint West Washington market encompasses most of the Western Half of Washington State. This includes Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Everett, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Puyallup, Issaquah, Bremerton, Olympia, Bellingham and Aberdeen/Hoquiam. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in October. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in November.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in May, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in West Washington. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a May market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved.   Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 55 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a normal production rate when compared to other markets. They shouldn't have any schedule issues with the appropriate amount of resources allocated.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by September 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Seattle Skyline/Mt. Rainier provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Long Island Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 7:03 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Long Island. Which I like to pronounce Lawn Guy-land. But I digress...the Long Island market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Long Island market encompasses Nassau and Suffolk counties. This includes the cities of Hempstead, Levittown, Garden City, West Babylon, Freeport, Hicksville, Valley Stream, Islip, Long Beach, Huntington Station, Massapequa, Happaugue, the Hamptons and Montauk. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in November. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in December.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in May, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Long Island. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will try. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a May market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of only 25 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a pretty low amount compared to many markets. There is no reason why they should not be able to complete the market on time, and there is a good chance that they may even be able to get ahead of schedule.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by September 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Long Island provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Inland Empire/Riverside/San Bernardino Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 11:56 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Riverside/San Bernardino, otherwise known as the Inland Empire. The Riverside/San Bernardino market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Riverside/San Bernardino market includes Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville/Hesperia, Murrieta, Temecula, Rialto, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Barstow, Twentynine Palms, Palm Springs and Indio. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in November. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in December.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in April, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in the Inland Empire. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will try. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a April - May market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of only 45 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is about average and the should be able to complete this market on time.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by October 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Riverside Skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Minnesota Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 7:30 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Minnesota. The Minnesota market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Minnesota market encompasses most of Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. This includes the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul and suburbs), Duluth/Superior, Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato, Brainerd, Bemidji, Winona, Eau Claire and La Crosse. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in late August. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in September.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in April, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Minnesota. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a April market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved.   Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 65 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a big chunk to complete monthly, but is doable with the appropriate amount of resources allocated.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by September 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Downtown Minneapolis provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

East Michigan Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, July 9, 2012 - 12:01 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...East Michigan. The East Michigan market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint East Michigan market encompasses the Eastern Half of the Michigan Lower Peninsula. This includes the cities of Detroit, Warren, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn, Livonia, Canton, Troy, Southfield, Rochester Hills, St. Clair Shores, Pontiac, Tri-Cities (Saginaw, Midland and Bay City), Jackson, Port Huron and Alpena. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in September. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in October.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in April, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in East Michigan. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a April market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved.   Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 60 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a big chunk to complete monthly, but is doable with the appropriate amount of resources allocated.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by September 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Detroit Skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Orange County Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, July 9, 2012 - 6:00 AM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Orange County, California. The Orange County market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Orange County market includes Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Orange, Fullerton, Laguna Niguel and Mission Viejo. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in September. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in October.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in April, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Orange County, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will try. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a April - May market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of only 35 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a pretty low amount compared to many markets. There is no reason why they should not be able to complete the market on time, and there is a good chance that they may even be able to get ahead of schedule.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by August 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Newport Center provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

West Michigan Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 2:30 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...West Michigan. The West Michigan market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint West Michigan market encompasses the Western and Central Portions of the Michigan Lower Peninsula, as well as a few isolated Upper Peninsula sites around St. Ignace, Mackinac Island and Sault Ste. Marie. This includes the cities of Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, Battle Creek, Portage, Muskegon, Holland, Traverse City, Mount Pleasant, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and Niles. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in September. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in October.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in March, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market. There likely will be more in the Grand Rapids Metro area than what is shown here.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not yet selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in West Michigan. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we have attempted to do that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a March market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved.   Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 45 sites per month to stay on schedule. This market shouldn't have problems staying on time as this is a lower production rate than many markets.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by August 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Downtown Lansing provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

San Jose/South Bay Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 12:09 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...South Bay. The South Bay market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint South Bay market encompasses Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties. This includes the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Campbell, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Morgan Hill, Hollister, Gilroy, Salinas, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and Soledad. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in October. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in November.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in February, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in the South Bay-San Jose area, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will attempt to do just that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a February-March market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if Samsung and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates before deployment in this market begins. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production is achieved.   Samsung needs to hit a production rate of approximately 35 sites per month to stay on schedule. This market shouldn't have problems staying on time as this is a lower production rate than many other markets.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by August 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Downtown San Jose provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, July 6, 2012 - 12:55 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is way down yonder...Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The PR/VI market has yet to be announced by Sprint. Network Vision work is under way, with Samsung and their subcontractors actively working around the market. The Sprint PR/VI market encompasses all of Puerto Rico (including Culebra and Vieques) as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands (including St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John).   Samsung has this market deployment configured in a completely different manner than any other we have reported. Samsung did show up and begin work at the end of April. Their subcontractors are running around the islands installing base station equipment, new cable runs, remote radio units and new Network Vision antenna panels. We have had S4GRU members in Puerto Rico submit some pictures of this work being completed at sites near them. This work appears to be on schedule from our previous report for the market.   Network Vision site in Yauco, Puerto Rico. S4GRU Member Edil Montalvo provided this shot of a site in Yauco that received NV upgrades in early May. This site is slated to get Microwave backhaul which will not arrive until this Fall.   Sprint and Samsung are currently working on the 4G Core in Bayamon that will handle all the LTE data and eHRPD data that will come from completed Network Vision sites. The Bayamon 4G Core will not be ready until this Fall. Sprint's backhaul vendors are actively working to install high-speed backhaul that will connect these NV sites to the completed core.   Once the 4G core is complete and a good chunk of the backhaul is in place, Samsung will get back out to completed Network Vision sites and get the 3G upgrades and LTE hooked up to the new backhaul. Then the eHRPD and LTE networks can be running. The deployment dates in this article will discuss the dates that LTE sites are scheduled to start going live this Winter after everything is in place.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in February, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   We currently do not have a date that Sprint will formally "launch" LTE service in the PR/VI market. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will attempt to. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a February-March LTE launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). We will have a better idea how deployment is going after the Bayamon core and backhaul work are completed and LTE starts to go live.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by May 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. There is a chance that if the Bayamon core and backhaul can get completed ahead of schedule that these LTE live dates can be improved upon.   Photo of Christiansted, St. Croix provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Southern Connecticut Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 4:49 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Southern Connecticut. The Southern Connecticut market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Southern Connecticut market encompasses Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties. This includes the cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich, Danbury, Hamden, Trumbull, Waterbury, Meriden and Torrington. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in September. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in October.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in January, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Southern Connecticut, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will try. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a January - February market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of only 25 sites per month to stay on schedule. This is a really low amount compared to most other markets. There is no reason why they should not be able to complete the market on time, and there is a good chance that they may even be able to get ahead of scheule.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by July 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of Stamford provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

 

Northern Jersey Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 12:26 PM MDT   The next market in our Network Vision/LTE deployment schedule update series is...Northern Jersey. The Northern Jersey market has yet to be announced by Sprint, and may not be announced until as late as this Fall.   The Sprint Northern Jersey market encompasses Hudson, Essex, Bergen, Union, Passaic, Morris, Warren and Sussex counties. This includes such communities as Newark, Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Elizabeth, Clifton, Passaic, Paterson, Hackensack, Teterboro, Paramus and distant Phillipsburg over on the Pennsylvania border. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Alcatel/Lucent is scheduled to begin mobilizing their subcontractors around the market in October. The first completed Network Vision sites are scheduled to start coming online in November.   Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in January, these are the anticipated sites that would likely have LTE complete at that time. This would provide fairly good LTE coverage over many parts of the market.   Schedule details and the bottom line   Sprint has not selected a date to formally "launch" LTE service in Northern Jersey, yet. It is difficult to try to pick a date now this far out, but we will attempt to do just that. In looking at the schedule as of today, it would indicate a January market launch (going on a 40% - 50% completion for launch). But there is no way to know if AlcaLu and their subcontractors will actually hit their schedule dates this early in the deployment for this market. We will be able to gauge better after a few months of production.   Alcatel/Lucent needs to hit a production rate of approximately 50 sites per month to stay on schedule. This market shouldn't have problems staying on time as 50 sites per month is a steady rate that can be achieved with proper planning.   S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by August 2013. However, there may be a few sporadic sites that will linger past the completion. Photo of the Statue of Liberty and the Jersey City skyline provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.   NOTE: S4GRU Sponsor Members can track regular updates of Network Vision sites completed nationwide. Completed sites are shown in an interactive Google Maps interface. Information about sponsorship can be found here: S4GRU Sponsorship

S4GRU

S4GRU

Fire Photon torpedoes! Motorola Photon Q hits the FCC OET

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 2:54 PM MDT   S4GRU continues with the third in a series of short articles on the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization filings for "tentpole" devices headed to Sprint's upcoming Network Vision enhanced LTE overlay. Over the past few months, we have brought you the scoop on the FCC authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE and the Samsung Galaxy S3. Today, the Motorola model number XT897 hits the FCC OET database with FCC ID IHDT56NL2, and we expect this mystery handset ultimately to be the Photon Q. Without further ado, here is the RF rundown:
  CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz and 10 MHz carrier bandwidths world phone international roaming capability 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; max MCS index 7 (i.e. 20 MHz channel, 400 ns guard interval, single spatial channel) SVDO and SVLTE support, including SVDO or SVLTE and simultaneous Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 22.45 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 19.89 dBm (EV-DO 850), 27.12 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 24.03 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 21.72 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 19.33 dBm (EV-DO 800), 25.22 dBm (LTE 1900) NFC capability Antenna locations: CDMA1X bottom, EV-DO/LTE top, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth bottom   The Photon Q's FCC filing makes mention of world phone international roaming capability, albeit latent inside the handset. Presumably, it will include at least GSM 900/1800 and W-CDMA 900/2100+1900 (a la the international roaming capabilities announced to be unlocked in several VZW handsets). But, before anyone asks, do not expect any LTE international roaming capability. RF uplink output looks to be healthy. It is generally a bit higher than what we have seen recently from the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3. However, unlike the EVO LTE and Galaxy S3, the Photon Q lacks 802.11a/n Wi-Fi 5 GHz band capability. The filing indicates that the hardware is present, but 5 GHz operation is locked out. So, the Photon Q will be stuck in the increasingly overcrowded 2.4 GHz band. At this point, the LTE UE category remains unknown. Recent Motorola RAZR LTE handsets on VZW have used Moto's own Wrigley LTE baseband chipset, which has limited those devices to LTE UE category 2. We hope that the Photon Q will utilize the Qualcomm MSM8960 as a single chipset modem, as that should enable UE category 3. Perhaps the most interesting and potentially controversial aspect of the Photon Q's FCC authorization is the inclusion of two references to the Motorola Admiral, a front facing QWERTY handset currently available on Sprint. One reference cites the Admiral as a "similar transmitter;" the other reference flat out calls the Photon Q the Admiral. Thus, while some sites have leaked photos of what purports to be the Photon Q in the expected QWERTY slider design, we leave open the possibility, however modest, that the Photon Q may arrive as an LTE refreshed Admiral clone with a front facing QWERTY keyboard.     Sources: FCC

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