by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, April 23, 2012 - 1:59 PM MDT
Can you hear me now? No, I mean really? This isn't some Verizon TV commercial joke.
This is really the situation in Sprint's Chicago market. Many of you, especially in outer Chicagoland, like in Joliet, Aurora, Elgin, Addison, Rochelle and Morris are getting dropped calls like crazy. And other performance issues. As any of you who closely follow S4GRU.com, you know that Samsung is rolling out Network Vision in the area in a big way. First starting in the outer market and working their way in.
A problem started occurring quickly after Network Vision sites started to go live in Chicago at the end of February. Calls started dropping, at a much higher rate than normal. And the complaints started rolling in. It took awhile to actually isolate the issue and discover the cause. Which Sprint and Samsung now well understand. However, the solution will not be easy, and maybe not even implemented.
What's your problem???
Courtesy of verydemotivational.com
Also, Sprint/Samsung has discovered that the site handoff problems only occur when transferring to the same channel. For instance, if you are on Channel 325 when on a Network Vision site, and your device gets handed over to Channel 325 on a legacy site, you may get dropped. However, if you get handed over to Channel 375, then you are safe and will not likely get dropped. The problem does not exist when being handed off to a new site on the same channel if both sites are NV sites, or both are legacy sites. Only the same channel transferring from a NV Samsung site to a legacy Motorola site.
The problem is exacerbated in rural and in less dense suburban areas, because most sites in these areas only have one, or possibly two, voice carriers. And in places where only one or two carriers are deployed, they were most often deployed on the same exact channel. Making it much more likely that you will be transferring to the same channel between NV and legacy sites in these areas. Since Network Vision work in the Chicago market started in more rural and exurban areas, this problem is occurring more often than it will when Samsung starts working in the Loop and there are multiple voice carriers (on different channels) at each site.
Solution options are slim
Sprint is working with Samsung and their network manager Ericsson to try to resolve the problem. However, no easy answers have been discovered. The first thought that comes to my mind, is to start trying to mix up voice carrier channels at legacy sites, so the number of transfers to NV sites on the same channel could be reduced significantly. However, this would involve a "truck roll" to every site and would likely be cost prohibitive.
If Sprint does nothing, the problem will work itself out in time. Since sites are being converted from Legacy systems to Network Vision every day, it's only a matter of time before the whole market is complete and there are no more handoffs between legacy and NV sites on the same channel. The areas where the drops occur are shifting every day as new sites come online.
Even if a solution is not figured out before Network Vision is completed in Chicago, it would still be important for Sprint and Samsung to solve this problem. Chicago is not the only market where Samsung is working on Network Vision and the legacy equipment was by Motorola. Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus are also in this position, but are not actively receiving Network Vision upgrades, yet.
We will bring you more info as we learn of it.