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Sprint battling Network Vision deployment woes in the Windy City


S4GRU

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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???

 

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Courtesy of verydemotivational.com

The problem, as many already know, exists at handoff between Network Vision sites and Legacy sites (existing sites). But this problem so far is only really happening in the Chicago market, and not the other markets actively deploying Network Vision upgrades at this time. Something unique is happening in Chicago. The new equipment being deployed is from Samsung. The existing legacy equipment is from Motorola. It is only in Chicago, so far to date, where this problem occurs.

 

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.

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Within the last week here (Around Waterloo, Iowa) myself and 7 other people I know with Sprint are having a horrible time keeping a call going. Within a 15 minute time span I can experience 8 drops. I can only hope this gets better soon,(as well as 3g, our speeds have been down as low as .10Mbit down lately and the spotty WiMax isn't even worth trying) and I will be pre-ordering my new Evo on the 7th to show my support and renewing for another 2 years. Hopefully I'm making the right choice.

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I experienced a series of dropped calls yesterday. Called Customer Service to report the issue....as soon as they pulled up my account, I was transferred to the Account Services department and was issued a credit for the whole month of service without even asking. The rep even upgraded my half dozen Samsung Airave units to the new Airvana ones.

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Unfortunately i must say that not only the data speeds have me considering leaving sprint, but now the dropped calls! I live on the outskirts of Chicago (joliet) and i honestly don't even bother picking up my phone now. You cant make it through a 2 minute conversation without dropping the call at least 3 times! They are promising customers it'll be "fixed in June" and for their sake i hope so. I cant keep saying to hold off on sprint to all my friends,family and co workers.

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That explains it!

 

I live in New Lenox, which is a small town outside of Joliet and work out in the boonies where signal has always been questionable. But even in the area's closer to Joliet where I use to have full bars, I will go full bars, 0 bars, full bars, 0 bars as I drive down the road, with maybe a 1/4 mile between changes. Often get dropped every few minutes to every few seconds. And it explains why my wife who commutes up into Chicago is much less effected. I knew that they had been doing upgrades and figured that was it, just didn't know the reason behind it.

 

It is truelly horrible. They really need to fix it as it makes phone calls nearly impossible.

 

Their is a new tower just build on rt 53 by Elwood, brand spanking new and doesn't appear to be turned on yet. Not sure if its a Sprint tower or somebody else. The sprint page doesn't show a new tower going up their.

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I would like to report that the network issues proceed much longer than 2 weeks. People in DeKalb have been experiencing the issue since the beginning of the year and the problems have continued through this week.

 

I have fewer problems in my Evo 3D than other people report, but I do have issues every now and then.

 

I'm going to go with they either missed a tower or there are other problems because as I proceed into the suburbs, the problem lessens. I won't leave the 3D for the 4GLTE until they launch because I still use the WiMAX in some areas.

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I live in Dekalb area too, was dropping calls like it was my job back in spring and early summer. Though, I noticed the problems started more or less at the onset of 2012 for my area. The dropped calls continue, but they aren't as bad in Dekalb area as they were earlier. My service was so bad I demanded Sprint pay ME for losses incurred to my business by not being able to communicate properly. Instead, they are reducing my bill by $75/month, and offered to waive the early termination fee if I wished to end my contract with Sprint. I found the bill reduction to be a fair solution, so I still have them. I must say, sprint has not done a good job of explaining the issue to their customers, instead they all pretend like they are surprised you are having problems, and go through the standard "let me see if there are any towers down in your area". In the end, after several calls and complaints, I finally had someone explain it to me, and offer me a solution. I've felt short changed by Sprint through the Nextel transition (I kept that service to the point it became baiscally unusable), the 4g WiMax debacle (they promised me it was "coming soon" and encouraged me to switch to a 4g device so I was "ready" for a service that never came that I'm now stuck paying for, and now this mess where I can't even make a basic voice call...LOL what a mess. I'll stick with them for the time being because of the price, and because I honestly don't think the other options are all that great either. If Sprint doesn't get their act together, they are going to be toast. I'm sure they have lost MANY THOUSANDS of customers due to this issue, Chicago is not a market you want to screw up this badly in...

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I live in Dekalb area too, was dropping calls like it was my job back in spring and early summer. Though, I noticed the problems started more or less at the onset of 2012 for my area. The dropped calls continue, but they aren't as bad in Dekalb area as they were earlier. My service was so bad I demanded Sprint pay ME for losses incurred to my business by not being able to communicate properly. Instead, they are reducing my bill by $75/month, and offered to waive the early termination fee if I wished to end my contract with Sprint. I found the bill reduction to be a fair solution, so I still have them. I must say, sprint has not done a good job of explaining the issue to their customers, instead they all pretend like they are surprised you are having problems, and go through the standard "let me see if there are any towers down in your area". In the end, after several calls and complaints, I finally had someone explain it to me, and offer me a solution. I've felt short changed by Sprint through the Nextel transition (I kept that service to the point it became baiscally unusable), the 4g WiMax debacle (they promised me it was "coming soon" and encouraged me to switch to a 4g device so I was "ready" for a service that never came that I'm now stuck paying for, and now this mess where I can't even make a basic voice call...LOL what a mess. I'll stick with them for the time being because of the price, and because I honestly don't think the other options are all that great either. If Sprint doesn't get their act together, they are going to be toast. I'm sure they have lost MANY THOUSANDS of customers due to this issue, Chicago is not a market you want to screw up this badly in...

 

There will be a steady month over month improvement until Winter, when everything should be running to the new normal. If it doesn't meet your needs by the new year, then you may want to consider something else. Because about that time all the improvements will have been completed.

 

I am optimistic though that you will be much happier at that time.

 

Robert

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