Jump to content

The Wall

  • entries
    411
  • comments
    6,277
  • views
    4,764,329

Contributors to this blog

Chicago Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule update

S4GRU

32,940 views

blog-0512823001340157050.jpg

by Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 6:00 AM MDT

 

 

Chicago. Network Vision is nearly infamous among Chicagoans. Chicago has not been an easy market for Sprint so far. We reported in a previous article about some of the challenges Sprint has faced in its Windy City deployment. Even though this market has yet to be announced by Sprint, we are happy to report to you that Chicago appears to be on track for a September launch.

 

The Sprint Chicago market covers most of Northern Illinois and the adjacent suburbs of NW Indiana. Sprint's Network Vision OEM Samsung has been actively deploying in the Chicago market since December and is making good progress. As of this week, there are over 300 Network Vision sites that have completed upgrades. These sites are located throughout the market. But all outside the Loop.

 

gallery_1_2_244757.jpg

Network Vision Sites in the Chicago market. More than 300 Network Vision sites are complete in the market.

 

Market Launch and Remaining Schedule

 

It was Sprint's original plan to launch markets when they reached 50% of sites converted to Network Vision. However, it has now been determined that Sprint will move up launches sooner than 50% completion in several markets. This is likely to maintain a Mid 2012 launch in markets that have already been announced. However, in an unannounced market like Chicago, we don't know if they will resume pushing back market launches to 50%, or if they will now settle on a 30% - 40% completion to be the new normal for market launches.

 

If Sprint waits for 50% completion to launch the Chicago market, September would be the launch month should Samsung stay on schedule. It is believed that Sprint will launch the market earlier, with less than 50% coverage. This doesn't sound like enough, but it would provide pretty good coverage. Even Verizon doesn't launch on all sites in a market initially. Usually less than 50%, then filling in with more and more sites every few months.

 

gallery_1_2_129732.jpg

Anticipated Sites Complete at Market Launch. According to the Network Vision schedules that S4GRU has reviewed, if Sprint launched the market in September, 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.

 

Sprint is not reporting any of these live Network Vision sites in the Chicago market as currently broadcasting 4G LTE, only 3G EVDO. According to the NV schedule, these should have started coming online in May with LTE. However, none have shown up as LTE active to date. This most likely means that either the backhaul is not quite ready to service 4G LTE, or the 4G cores that these sites are tied to are not quite ready for LTE traffic. A huge backlog of LTE sites will probably come online in this market suddenly when the network is ready.

 

We are getting reports though of S4GRU members in the Chicago area, especially in the Merrillville and Hammond areas, who have been able to connect to 4G LTE for brief intermittent periods. So there are sites that are starting to get LTE capabilities working. They just have not been turned over to Sprint yet from Samsung.

 

The bottom line...

 

We currently do not have the formal "launch" date for the Chicago market. We believe they are targeting a launch month of September based on reports internally within Sprint. After reviewing the schedule, we can see a path to get there. Sprint will likely announce a launch date for this market, and a few others like Austin, Boston, Washington DC and Los Angeles around the time of the first launch.

 

Sprint's schedule for this market currently has 307 Network Vision sites complete, which is almost one third. Samsung is progressing very well. It appears that Sprint and Samsung are speeding up the schedule, as it looks like they are now ahead of schedule in this market.

 

S4GRU has examined the schedule in great detail in this market and sees that most of the sites will be complete by December 2012. However, there are a few sites that will likely linger past the completion. In our estimation of the schedule, Samsung should have no issues meeting Sprint's schedule completion date.

 

800px-Chicago_sunrise_1.jpg

Photo of Chicago 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

  • Like 1


50 Comments


Recommended Comments



Any update in regards to the progress in updating the backhaul in chicagoland? You estimate a September/October launch of Network Vision (LTE), will this include the back haul update? (my guess is yes, the back haul is necessary for LTE?)

 

Yes. Backhaul should be caught up pretty well by September. And it is necessary for LTE, as you mention.

 

Robert

Share this comment


Link to comment

Yes. Backhaul should be caught up pretty well by September. And it is necessary for LTE, as you mention.Robert

 

Gracias

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Ha, just realized this article was posted on my bday. thanks robert, you are doing a great job.

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

I don't know about you guys but the Sprint network in chicago and the surrounding area has been worthless for over 2 weeks now. (And I do mean absolutely worthless!)

 

My phone is worthless for anything but telephone calls now.

 

I cannot even get Google's home page to finish loading under 2 minutes. (If it even finishes at all!) 4G and 3G. That's the home page with only text on it. Was standing next to a woman who was swinging her phone around in the air trying to get her browser to load also. . .. .yelling about the signal.

 

 

And believe me. . when you're standing there with 3 bars, and nothing loads? You really become angry. . . .

 

I don't know what they're doing, but this isn't an improvement at all. The network is completely stalled and unusable. I've been a sprint customer for over 14 years - and this is enough to make me leave.

 

Phone is an Evo 4G

Share this comment


Link to comment

@A Boyd

 

I completely understand. I use the opera mini browser exclusively because of the data issues. Atleast with opera mini I can get to some web pages, the regular browser takes ages.

 

NV is coming, but I agree it should have been here already. If you need service now, verizon is the way to go. From what robert has written, Sprint will have NV live around Sept/Oct and complete closer to Dec/Jan. Until then, its a waiting game. I know better things are coming, I'm just being patient since I'm on wifi quite a bit.

Share this comment


Link to comment

I don't know about you guys but the Sprint network in chicago and the surrounding area has been worthless for over 2 weeks now. (And I do mean absolutely worthless!)My phone is worthless for anything but telephone calls now.I cannot even get Google's home page to finish loading under 2 minutes. (If it even finishes at all!) 4G and 3G. That's the home page with only text on it. Was standing next to a woman who was swinging her phone around in the air trying to get her browser to load also. . .. .yelling about the signal.And believe me. . when you're standing there with 3 bars, and nothing loads? You really become angry. . . .I don't know what they're doing, but this isn't an improvement at all. The network is completely stalled and unusable. I've been a sprint customer for over 14 years - and this is enough to make me leave.Phone is an Evo 4G

 

Check out this article. It explains what is going on. It will be painful while they are in your neighborhood. But what gets left behind is a much better network then you have ever had from Sprint.

 

Robert

Share this comment


Link to comment

just got off the phone with a sprint rep today asking when 4G LTE would go live in chicago and he told me with "100% certainty" that August 15 is the day. I asked him at least 10x if he was sure and he swore that he was. I was about to switch over to VZW too, so i'll wait and see if Sprint lied to me again.

Share this comment


Link to comment

First post, and this is a great site. Just got a new LTE phone and signals have been hideous. I live in Mount Prospect and was thinking of turning in the new phone and going to Verizon until I read the posts here. Looks like at this point the Schaumburg area is 4G, so I'm going to take a ride over there and see if I get a 4G signal.

By the way, I've got the new Samsung Galaxy s3, which has had some signal issues. I read in another forum that turning off the NFC will help with the constant roaming I get while sitting at my desk. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks

Share this comment


Link to comment

First post, and this is a great site. Just got a new LTE phone and signals have been hideous. I live in Mount Prospect and was thinking of turning in the new phone and going to Verizon until I read the posts here. Looks like at this point the Schaumburg area is 4G, so I'm going to take a ride over there and see if I get a 4G signal. By the way, I've got the new Samsung Galaxy s3, which has had some signal issues. I read in another forum that turning off the NFC will help with the constant roaming I get while sitting at my desk. Any thoughts on that?Thanks

 

I do not have signal issues with my Galaxy S-III, nor do I roam anywhere that I didn't before. I keep my NFC on. It seems more likely roaming issues are more likely related to Network Vision work than it is the device.

 

Robert

Share this comment


Link to comment

Thanks Robert, I went to Schaumburg but LTE was not turned on. I did get a better signal over there than the one by my house. I installed Netmonitor and the network type there was eHRPD. Does that mean the towers are ready for LTE? Sorry if this is something already asked, I'm a bit new to the technical details of cellular phones.

Thanks,

John

Share this comment


Link to comment

I was on the phone with Sprint for 1.5 hours and at the Sprint Store in Rolling Meadows for 2 hours. My phone would not receive incoming calls. The Tech support people said the tower on Northwest Highway in Mount Prospect has been having problems since at least the middle of June and that eventually i would get a refund on some part of my bill, but they could not tell me when the tower will be repaired. I went to the store to see if my Samsung GSIII was working ok and after two hours, the answer was Yes. I'll call them again and see if I can get an Airave, but just letting people in the Mount Prospect area know that tower is bad.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Thanks Robert, I went to Schaumburg but LTE was not turned on. I did get a better signal over there than the one by my house. I installed Netmonitor and the network type there was eHRPD. Does that mean the towers are ready for LTE? Sorry if this is something already asked, I'm a bit new to the technical details of cellular phones.Thanks,John

 

eHRPD is 3G EVDO that runs data through the LTE core instead of the 3G switch. It allows data to seamlessly hand off between LTE and 3G on a CDMA network. eHRPD must be installed and active in advance of LTE. So it means that LTE is coming, but not an indicator of how soon. Some places eHRPD goes live months in advance. And other places just days.

 

Robert

Share this comment


Link to comment

Same deal in Des Plaines, IL. The two towers that I am in between are useless. The network maps say there has been voice/network updates to them both, but I see no improvement. Its actually worse! Even though these updates are done, or being completed, we wont see anything until they turn the magic switch on, right? Is that why there is no improvement? I am so fed up with this signal issue. It's so bad that I am now not r'cving my voice calls and my vm are being r'cvd 24hrs later. I am trying to hold on, but the rope is breaking, if you get my drift. And I am not willing to call Sprint, because I try to be kind and explain that I know how to trouble shoot my cell (reboot, re-provision, etc). The only option is for me to get an airwave gizmo, and to do that I will have to jump through hoops I want avoid. Do not feel like having over two hours of my time wasted. I know Sprint can be awesome again, I just hope it is sooner rather than later...grrr.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Same deal in Des Plaines, IL. The two towers that I am in between are useless. The network maps say there has been voice/network updates to them both, but I see no improvement. Its actually worse! Even though these updates are done, or being completed, we wont see anything until they turn the magic switch on, right? Is that why there is no improvement? I am so fed up with this signal issue. It's so bad that I am now not r'cving my voice calls and my vm are being r'cvd 24hrs later. I am trying to hold on, but the rope is breaking, if you get my drift. And I am not willing to call Sprint, because I try to be kind and explain that I know how to trouble shoot my cell (reboot, re-provision, etc). The only option is for me to get an airwave gizmo, and to do that I will have to jump through hoops I want avoid. Do not feel like having over two hours of my time wasted. I know Sprint can be awesome again, I just hope it is sooner rather than later...grrr.

 

We discuss the issue in this article: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-166-sprint-battling-network-vision-deployment-woes-in-the-windy-city/

 

The problems will not go way until all the sites in your area are upgraded. It will likely be painful for 4 to 6 weeks.

 

Robert

Share this comment


Link to comment

We discuss the issue in this article: http://s4gru.com/ind...the-windy-city/The problems will not go way until all the sites in your area are upgraded. It will likely be painful for 4 to 6 weeks.Robert

 

I was sure this was the dreaded answer. I hope it will be magical when it happens... here is to hoping. :)

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Is there any info on when they'll cover the gaps between the Chicago NV and Indy NV projects along I-65? It's times like this I wish I didn't live in the middle of nowhere. Sadly, Verizon is about to expand LTE to my area very soon, and the only thing keeping me with Sprint is unlimited data. Not sure I can hold out another year if that's what it's going to take for NV to reach here. 3G is pretty abysmal lately.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Is there any info on when they'll cover the gaps between the Chicago NV and Indy NV projects along I-65? It's times like this I wish I didn't live in the middle of nowhere. Sadly, Verizon is about to expand LTE to my area very soon, and the only thing keeping me with Sprint is unlimited data. Not sure I can hold out another year if that's what it's going to take for NV to reach here. 3G is pretty abysmal lately.

 

A coverage expansion will not likely occur until 2015. The next few years is going to be more about conversion than expansion.

 

That being said, Network Vision sites do extend the signal slightly farther than legacy sites do. So if the coverage gaps on I-65 are small, then they may improve. Also, Sprint is adding 800MHz voice and LTE coverage, which will also extend service farther from existing towers. However, it will only extend coverage by two miles or so.

 

If the gaps are greater than 4 miles now between existing sites, then you will likely not be getting any relief from Sprint any time soon. Doesn't Sprint offer you roaming coverage in those gaps, though?

 

Robert

Share this comment


Link to comment

A coverage expansion will not likely occur until 2015. The next few years is going to be more about conversion than expansion.That being said, Network Vision sites do extend the signal slightly farther than legacy sites do. So if the coverage gaps on I-65 are small, then they may improve. Also, Sprint is adding 800MHz voice and LTE coverage, which will also extend service farther from existing towers. However, it will only extend coverage by two miles or so.If the gaps are greater than 4 miles now between existing sites, then you will likely not be getting any relief from Sprint any time soon. Doesn't Sprint offer you roaming coverage in those gaps, though?Robert

I think I may have confused you. I have decent coverage currently with Sprint 3G, my question was referring to closing the gaps in LTE coverage along I-65 between the 2 NV projects after they are finished. Like I said, we are covered with Sprint 3G right now, but will be just a little out of reach of LTE according to the Chicago and Indy NV maps when they launch. Just wondering how soon we could expect them to convert these remaining cell sites to NV that are along I-65 between the Chicago and Indy NV projects, as I live in a 5k pop town about a mile off 65 (Rensselaer, IN).

Share this comment


Link to comment

I think I may have confused you. I have decent coverage currently with Sprint 3G, my question was referring to closing the gaps in LTE coverage along I-65 between the 2 NV projects after they are finished. Like I said, we are covered with Sprint 3G right now, but will be just a little out of reach of LTE according to the Chicago and Indy NV maps when they launch. Just wondering how soon we could expect them to convert these remaining cell sites to NV that are along I-65 between the Chicago and Indy NV projects, as I live in a 5k pop town about a mile off 65 (Rensselaer, IN).

 

Yes, I definitely was confused. Market launches are just a snapshot in time. After a launch, deployment continues at the same rate until the whole market is complete.

 

When the Chicago market is done, LTE coverage will cover the same areas as 3G now. So even if you are in an area where LTE is not ready on launch day, it could very well be the next week or the next month it will.

 

Hopefully this clears up some confusion.

 

Robert

Share this comment


Link to comment

Yes, I definitely was confused. Market launches are just a snapshot in time. After a launch, deployment continues at the same rate until the whole market is complete.When the Chicago market is done, LTE coverage will cover the same areas as 3G now. So even if you are in an area where LTE is not ready on launch day, it could very well be the next week or the next month it will.Hopefully this clears up some confusion.Robert

Yep, sounds good. Thanks!

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

I had intermittent 4G LTE SIGNAL IN THE SOUTH JOLIET AREA NEAR THE 55 AND 80 JUNCTION.  It only lasted about 5 min or so, may have been a test.

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

I've been getting 4g in spurts in the Plainfield/Joliet area. Speeds aren't wowing me, but its a start. RSRP -106 RSRQ -8 Don't know if that's good or bad, but that's the setting that was getting the higher speed test results.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Stable 4G signal for the last hour+ in Waukegan. Speeds of 11.87Mbps downloading and 10.65Mbps uploading when using the Speedtest app. Very nice to finally have a stable connection after the last 2months of teasing!

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

I am a pretty hard core sprint fan and have been gotten a lot of people to switch over. I recently saw the following article though which was performed in February 2013 and compared the 4 major networks:

 

http://rootmetrics.com/compare-carriers/united-states/chicago/chicago-february-2013/

 

I was slightly sad that although the lte rollout in Chicago is near completion (including 800 Mhz), Sprint does not fare all that well. It is still much improved, but shouldn't Sprint be near the top (maybe not speed, but call and text quality)? I guess I was expecting more from an all new network. Here's to hoping that LTE Advanced will improve the quality of the network.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...