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Samsung Network Vision/LTE Deployment schedule & details for Sprint's Chicago Market


S4GRU

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blog-0494387001329132662.jpgby Robert Herron

Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, February 13, 2012 - 4:19 AM MST

 

A little over a week ago, Sprint 4G Rollout Updates brought you an article with some details about Network Vision deployment in Chicago. At that time, we reported that the Windy City would receive its Network Vision in cluster deployments. In this article we expand with more detailed information on how Samsung will deploy these clusters based on new information from an internal undisclosed source close to the Network Vision program.

 

The Chicago market is just incredibly large and diverse for Sprint, with over 1,100 cell sites. Tearing down and rebuilding more than a thousand sites is mind boggling to coordinate and physically laborious to achieve. Samsung has prepared a detailed plan to get it all done by October.

 

Many of you may be disappointed and think that October is a long way out, but follow along. There will be many miles before Samsung Network Vision field techs will sleep. Samsung and Sprint are hitting the Chicago market hard and will be going non-stop until Network Vision completes the market in the next eight months.

 

The Sprint Chicago Market is Deeper than any Windy City Deep Dish

 

The sheer size and amount of work involved is the big reason why Chicago has not been announced by Sprint like the cities of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, Baltimore and Kansas City have been. Sprint thus far has been focused on releasing the names of Network Vision and LTE markets that will largely be complete by mid-year. Even though the Chicago market started slightly earlier than the already announced markets, Samsung will not be complete with Network Vision there by mid year. Although many Chicagoland residents with soon-to-be-for-sale Sprint LTE devices will be able to use the new network at that time, as each new cluster goes live.

 

The Sprint Chicago market is made up of about 1,120 sites that have been broken down into over 40 conventional Network Vision clusters and two FIT (field testing) clusters. Deployment began in November with the FIT clusters. And once field testing was completed with these, the conventional deployment began in January.

 

Two Field Testing Clusters, including some unannounced live 4G LTE action in Hammond, Indiana

 

There are two FIT's that are included in the beginning of the Chicago Network Vision deployment. These were used to test some initial Network Vision deployments. Testing all the engineering and planning that was a year in the making and to see if any anamolies occured or technical adjustments that would need to be made in the Network Vision plans.

 

The first one, the Kankakee FIT, was announced by Sprint back in December 2011. The Kankakee FIT was well publicized through the tech media. However, there was a second 4G LTE FIT in Hammond, Indiana that also rolled out over a month ago. This one has not been covered in the media, until now.

 

That's right. You've heard it here first. Hammond, Indiana has a full Sprint 4G LTE deployment active right now. Of course, without any Sprint LTE devices out there at the moment, you cannot use it. Tens of thousands of Northwestern Indiana residents are being bathed in a Sprint 4G LTE signal at 1900MHz right now from 22 sites. This 4G LTE FIT runs from Central Hammond, bleeding a little over the Illinois border and running SE all the way to Merrillville. (see map)

 

med_gallery_1_2_203157.jpg

 

What was referred to as the Kankakee FIT was really a 3G-only Network Vision FIT. Many news outlets reported these as including 4G LTE because it was assumed all Network Vision towers had LTE. Interestingly, the Kankakee Network Vision FIT did not even include the community of Kankakee, but rather was represented by 15 cell sites straddling the Indiana/Illinois border. The communities covered by the 3G Network Vision FIT include Momence in Illinois and Roselawn, Hebron, Rensselaer, Morocco and Kentland in Indiana. Sprint's reference to these in December as being in Kankakee turns out to be quite a misnomer. (see map)

 

med_gallery_1_2_634066.jpg

 

Conventional NV Rollout anything but conventional

 

Last month, Samsung began conventional Network Vision deployment. The first clusters receiving Network Vision overhauls are distant rural Chicago communities. Places where they can cover lots of square mileage per site and master their learning curve on fewer customers in a less dense environment.

 

January clusters include one near the community of Rochelle and extend to approximately a dozen sites in surrounding Ogle, Lee and DeKalb counties. The other cluster is around the town of Morris with another 20 sites spread around rural portions of Grundy, Kendall and Will counties. These are largely active now.

 

In February, Samsung endeavors to be complete with the cluster in the I-90 Tollway corridor that runs from Elgin to the edge of the Rockford cluster (between Marengo and Belvidere). March brings about the first moves into the suburbs with a cluster around the Fox Valley Mall between Naperville and Aurora, a cluster around Addison (including Lombard, Glendale Heights and Villa Park) and finishing up out in the Northwestern exurbs with a cluster in the area around Cary and Wauconda.

 

The month of April, Samsung plans to extend deeper into suburbia expanding the Addison cluster westward into Carol Stream and Bloomingdale. April will also begin the Joliet cluster. And the month will wrap up with an expansion west from the Hammond cluster into the Illinois communities of Calumet City, South Holland, Dolton and Harvey. NV service will also be added to sites out in distant Sterling and Rock Falls.

 

Activity is scheduled to really pick up momentum in May, when a more central cluster around the Evanston/Skokie area starts to come online. Other clusters seeing activity in May include Waukegan/North Chicago, Naperville, Bolingbrook/Downers Grove and the Kankakee cluster that actually includes the city.

 

 

gallery_1_2_167402.jpg

Chicago Cluster Map. This is a color coded map showing all the sites in the Chicago metro area. Each different color represents a different cluster.

 

 

The remaining clusters to be deployed:

 

June Clusters

 

· Schaumburg/Elk Grove Village

· Aurora

· Valparaiso/Portage/Michigan City, Indiana

· Crown Point, Indiana/Chicago Heights, Illinois

· Gurnee

· McHenry/Woodstock

· St. Charles/DeKalb

· Freeport

· Ottawa/Peru/LaSalle/Princeton I-80 Corridor

 

July Clusters

 

· Rockford/Harvard

· Palatine/Arlington Heights

· South Chicago

· Tinley Park/Orland Park

· Cicero/Berwyn/Brookfield

· Oak Park/Maywood

· Wheaton/West Chicago

· Crystal Lake

· Whiting/East Chicago, Indiana

 

August Clusters

 

· Streamwood/Elgin (east of the river)

· Glenview/Niles

· Harwood Heights/Northwest Chicago (city)

 

Septemeber Clusters

 

· The Loop/Downtown Chicago

· Remainder of Urban Chicago

· Oak Lawn

· Des Plaines/O'Hare

· Northbrook/Glenview/Wheeling

· Highland Park/Deerfield

· Lake Forest/Mundelein

· Plainfield/Homer Glen

· Gary, Indiana

 

As you can see, the Chicago market is going to be a bear to tackle for Sprint and Samsung. And likely this difficult deployment will repeat itself in markets like New York and Los Angeles. When you look at the sheer numbers, it's amazing that Sprint is going to largely complete Network Vision in 24 months.

 

Oh yeah, and a little 800MHz info

 

Some of the biggest questions that many Sprint Network Vision followers ask are related to 800MHz ESMR band recommissioning for CDMA/LTE in Network Vision. Although we haven't discovered answers to all of Sprint's 800MHz mysteries out there, we can tell you that Sprint is fully deploying 800MHz in Network Vision now.

 

The entirety of the 800MHz portion of the network from antennas, radios, base station equipment...everything...it will all be in place as a part of Network Vision. It just will not be active until interference from the iDEN network goes away. Final dates to be determined, market by market.

 

Another 800MHz factoid is that not every Sprint cell site will receive 800MHz service. Part of the Network Vision program includes installing radios (RRU's) up high on the towers, directly behind the antennas. However, some sites will have to keep ground mounted RRU's for varying reasons. Sites with ground mounted RRU's will not be receiving 800MHz deployment. Since most of these locations occur in denser urban/suburban deployment environments, there will be virtually no effect on 800 coverage area in total.

 

EDITED 3/5/2012: To include cluster map.

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Any new information on how this market is doing now. I have read articles on this site saying how much of a pain it is right now. Just looking for updates, because I am sure how this area goes affects the Twin Cities and their progress.

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Any new information on how this market is doing now. I have read articles on this site saying how much of a pain it is right now. Just looking for updates, because I am sure how this area goes affects the Twin Cities and their progress.

 

We will be doing market updates over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

 

Robert

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This is my 1st post. I first want to say that this is a great site and Thank You s4gru.com for your hard work and dedication to providing detailed information!!

 

I was due for an upgrade and just couldn't continue using the Samsung Intercept any longer so I purchased the Galaxy Nexus 4g LTE. I have been watching for updates and anxiously waiting for LTE in the Fox Lake area, which has extremely poor 3g speeds where I live.

 

A couple weeks ago, Sprint was working on the tower behind our shop, Aquaholic's Performance Marine on Grass Lake Road in Antioch. I did not get a chance to talk to the technicians so I'm unsure what they did or if any equipment was changed. However, I did take a picture of the top of the tower (below is a link to the pic). Looks like my area is in the same cluster as McHenry and is scheduled to be deployed in June :) Can't wait to get some LTE speeds on my phone. Hoping this also increases the signal strength in the area I live.

 

http://s1138.photobucket.com/albums/n525/webercook/?action=view&current=IMG_20120605_200114.jpg

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This is my 1st post. I first want to say that this is a great site and Thank You s4gru.com for your hard work and dedication to providing detailed information!! I was due for an upgrade and just couldn't continue using the Samsung Intercept any longer so I purchased the Galaxy Nexus 4g LTE. I have been watching for updates and anxiously waiting for LTE in the Fox Lake area, which has extremely poor 3g speeds where I live.A couple weeks ago, Sprint was working on the tower behind our shop, Aquaholic's Performance Marine on Grass Lake Road in Antioch. I did not get a chance to talk to the technicians so I'm unsure what they did or if any equipment was changed. However, I did take a picture of the top of the tower (below is a link to the pic). Looks like my area is in the same cluster as McHenry and is scheduled to be deployed in June :) Can't wait to get some LTE speeds on my phone. Hoping this also increases the signal strength in the area I live.http://s1138.photobu...0605_200114.jpg

 

Thanks for your post, photo and update of what's going on in your area. Looks like NV panels have been installed there at the top of that site. Signals improve up to 20% in Network Vision towers. They will improve even more once 800MHz is deployed and you have a 800MHz capable device.

 

Robert

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Robert--I was wondering if there was/is an interactive Chicago Cluster map. Basically just like the map above, but interactive.

 

Thanks!

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Robert--I was wondering if there was/is an interactive Chicago Cluster map. Basically just like the map above, but interactive. Thanks!

 

Yes. We have many Network Vision schedule maps in the Premier Sponsor section. Here is the link: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/1043-network-vision-site-schedule-map-chicago/

 

More info about becoming a Premier Sponsor: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/page/index.html/_/announcements/s4gru-member-ranks-and-groups-r20

 

Robert

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I live in the area south of Hammond, and have been looking for 4G on my new Evo for the past week. I was pleased to see it show up a couple of times the last 2 days...yesterday morning very early, and for just a few minutes at about 5:30 this afternoon. I did quick speed tests when 4G was active and saw everything from 4M up to over 9mbps while on 4G, which is much better than my DSL at home. Robert, it obviously is working...how long might this on again/off again pattern continue until they fire it up for good? Your article indicates they've had it up and ready in Hammond for quite a while now...

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I live in the area south of Hammond, and have been looking for 4G on my new Evo for the past week. I was pleased to see it show up a couple of times the last 2 days...yesterday morning very early, and for just a few minutes at about 5:30 this afternoon. I did quick speed tests when 4G was active and saw everything from 4M up to over 9mbps while on 4G, which is much better than my DSL at home. Robert, it obviously is working...how long might this on again/off again pattern continue until they fire it up for good? Your article indicates they've had it up and ready in Hammond for quite a while now...

 

Hammond was a Samsung FIT. So it is an active test area for Samsung and Sprint. I am unsure when the testing will end. Likely soon.

 

The signal is constant in your area. When it appears, it is no longer being blocked. When it goes away, it's back in blocking mode. I hope for you it ends sooner than later. But I do not have more details than this at this time.

 

Robert

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C/U is part of the Central Illinois market for Sprint. There is a lot of work going on in the Sprint Central Illinois market. In the short term there are a lot of backordered T1's that are finally coming in to help until Network Vision backhaul is complete later this year.The problem with T1's is that they do bring relief when first deployed, but a lot of people who stopped using the network because of poor performance will jump back on quickly and degrade the additional T1's back down.There is no substitute for fiber and microwave backhaul.

 

maybe this might be a sign of 4g LTE around the central illinois area my service started dropping calls within the last week and i called sprint about it and talked to a tech. which then transfered me to his manager (just like they do all the time) but the manager said that he was sorry about all the network problems i was having and told me that there are doing some work on a few towers in the Peoria/Washington area due to the network vision updates, don't know if he feeding me a line of bull**** but they did issue me a 30 dollar credit on my bill until December and a free repeater, then he said you will love the new service when they get it online, so i hoping this tech isn't lying to me but i'm not gonna hold my breath because sprint has lied to me in the past

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