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Debate on whether you should offload smartphone data on WiFi, even though you pay for "unlimited"

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My home dsl is 3 meg. My wimax speeds are typically 4-10 in the areas I frequent. LTE will likely be better than alot of people can get for their home connection.

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My home dsl is 3 meg. My wimax speeds are typically 4-10 in the areas I frequent. LTE will likely be better than alot of people can get for their home connection.

 

It will not be a better option. LTE is unlimited for smartphone data only. Sprint LTE cannot be used for someone's home ISP. The network can't support it. Sprint caps tethered/hotspot usage. Expect them to start cracking down on unauthorized tethering on the new network.

 

Robert via Samsung Galaxy S-III 32GB using Forum Runner

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My home dsl is 3 meg. My wimax speeds are typically 4-10 in the areas I frequent. LTE will likely be better than alot of people can get for their home connection.

It will not be a better option. LTE is unlimited for smartphone data only. Sprint LTE cannot be used for someone's home ISP. The network can't support it. Sprint caps tethered/hotspot usage. Expect them to start cracking down on unauthorized tethering on the new network.

 

Robert via Samsung Galaxy S-III 32GB using Forum Runner

 

I'm just guessing here, but I think what that meant was instead of moving over to wifi, letting the phone stay on LTE at home. That is what I do. We do have wifi, but LTE is light years faster than my home internet connection. I do use it for tethering if I need a fast connection, but only occasionally, and I am using the hotspot plan from Sprint, so I am careful to not use too much.

 

In other news, very good post! I wish I had known all of those things when I first started reading this site.

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I just guessing here' date=' but I think what that meant was instead of moving over to wifi, letting the phone stay on LTE at home. That is what I do. We do have wifi, but LTE is light years faster than my home internet connection. I do use it for tethering if I need a fast connection, but only occasionally, and I am using the hotspot plan from Sprint, so I am careful to not use too much.

 

In other news, very good post! I wish I had known all of those things when I first started reading this site.[/quote']

 

Yes, I can see how I could have misread that now.

 

Robert via Samsung Galaxy S-III 32GB using Forum Runner

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I'm just guessing here, but I think what that meant was instead of moving over to wifi, letting the phone stay on LTE at home. That is what I do. We do have wifi, but LTE is light years faster than my home internet connection. I do use it for tethering if I need a fast connection, but only occasionally, and I am using the hotspot plan from Sprint, so I am careful to not use too much.

 

this.

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this.

 

No, no, not this. Every time you keep your smartphone on EV-DO or LTE at home while you have Wi-Fi, the Baby Jesus cries.

 

While that may be a humorous exaggeration, it contains more than a kernel of truth. Folks, some of you just do not get it. You have to offload. Or you have no justification to complain about slow speeds. Sprint cannot offer unlimited data and competitive speeds unless most subs use relatively little data and/or offload to Wi-Fi. That is part of the deal.

 

So, if you have Wi-Fi at home and are not offloading, you better have a really good reason why. Otherwise, I would like to punch you. And "LTE is faster than my home broadband connection is not a 'really good reason why.'" You do not need greater than 1-2 Mbps on your smartphone for any legitimate purpose, bar none. If you want Sprint to maintain unlimited data, then offloading is your responsibility.

 

That may be tough, but sometimes you people need some tough love to set you straight...

 

AJ

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No, no, not this. Every time you keep your smartphone on EV-DO or LTE at home while you have Wi-Fi, the Baby Jesus cries.

 

While that may be a humorous exaggeration, it contains more than a kernel of truth. Folks, some of you just do not get it. You have to offload. Or you have no justification to complain about slow speeds. Sprint cannot offer unlimited data and competitive speeds unless most subs use relatively little data and/or offload to Wi-Fi. That is part of the deal.

 

So, if you have Wi-Fi at home and are not offloading, you better have a really good reason why. Otherwise, I would like to punch you. And "LTE is faster than my home broadband connection is not a 'really good reason why.'" You do not need greater than 1-2 Mbps on your smartphone for any legitimate purpose, bar none. If you want Sprint to maintain unlimited data, then offloading is your responsibility.

 

That may be tough, but sometimes you people need some tough love to set you straight...

 

AJ

 

This, that, and the other thing. Unfortunately, those are relatively legitimate excuses compared to some of the others that I've read.

 

Just out of curiosity, why wouldn't you use your wireless at your house?

 

Just out of principle...I feel I shouldn't have to...that's part of what I pay Sprint for.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2

 

To which I responded:

 

What about power consumption/battery life?

 

 

When I have a choked data connection, I'm wondering how many people there are in my area that could just as easily be on a Wi-Fi network that I'm either not in range of or don't have the password to. Once the novelty of having an LTE connection wears off (also after a day or two), I'll be on Wi-Fi wherever I can again.

 

After finding a test tower last month, I performed about 20-25 speed tests. On LTE, that came out to over 600MB. In less than an hour. That put things into perspective for me.

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No, no, not this. Every time you keep your smartphone on EV-DO or LTE at home while you have Wi-Fi, the Baby Jesus cries.

 

While that may be a humorous exaggeration, it contains more than a kernel of truth. Folks, some of you just do not get it. You have to offload. Or you have no justification to complain about slow speeds. Sprint cannot offer unlimited data and competitive speeds unless most subs use relatively little data and/or offload to Wi-Fi. That is part of the deal.

 

So, if you have Wi-Fi at home and are not offloading, you better have a really good reason why. Otherwise, I would like to punch you. And "LTE is faster than my home broadband connection is not a 'really good reason why.'" You do not need greater than 1-2 Mbps on your smartphone for any legitimate purpose, bar none. If you want Sprint to maintain unlimited data, then offloading is your responsibility.

 

That may be tough, but sometimes you people need some tough love to set you straight...

 

I have to call BS on this argument.

 

First, unless you are offloading onto some sprint sponsored wifi, the wifi bandwidth you use has to be paid for by someone. If you are using your home wifi, that bandwidth is being paid for by you and your isp. News just recently about cox and re-rolling out capped bandwidth on their cable network. ATT already caps their dsl, and no doubt other major internet providers are considering the practice, at least until if/when the FCC steps up and starts putting pressure against tiered/capped internet.

 

If you are using someone else's wifi or the various free wifi hotspots at restaurants and other establishments, the applies there, you are offloading what should be sprints bandwidth on to someone else network and it pushes the cost from sprint to whoever you connect with.

 

I pay my sprint bill same as anyone else, and we all pay for the service to be used anywhere and anyhow within the terms of service.

 

Offloading is NOT MY responsibility, it is SPRINTS (or whomever you have contracted service with). As I said, if sprint hosts wifi spots that sprint phones can connect to and offload sprint cellular data to sprint wifi network, thats fine.

 

Anything else is someone else paying for the privilege of offloading data that would otherwise have to be carried by sprint.

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I respectfully suggest that the comments about whether it is morally right or wrong to use LTE when Wifi is available have hijacked a useful technical thread that was created for solid, expository reasons. Perhaps a mod could break them off and transfer them to a separate thread.

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I have to call BS on this argument.

 

Nope, you are full of BS. Do you understand anything about shared resources? I suggest that you research the tragedy of the commons.

 

http://en.wikipedia...._of_the_commons

 

Offloading is NOT MY responsibility, it is SPRINTS (or whomever you have contracted service with).

 

Yes, it is your responsibility to offload if you understand at all how wireless networks are shared resources (see above), want to maintain unlimited data, and care to have competitive speeds. If all you want to do is take advantage of an untenable position (so called "unlimited data") that Sprint has had to put itself in to remain viable against oligopolistic asshats VZW & AT&T, then you suck, and your unnecessary data suckage is apt to drag Sprint down again. So, if you want to remain with Sprint and want Sprint to succeed, you ironically work against your own long term interests by not offloading to Wi-Fi. And that is a shame.

 

AJ

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I have to call BS on this argument.

 

First, unless you are offloading onto some sprint sponsored wifi, the wifi bandwidth you use has to be paid for by someone. If you are using your home wifi, that bandwidth is being paid for by you and your isp. News just recently about cox and re-rolling out capped bandwidth on their cable network. ATT already caps their dsl, and no doubt other major internet providers are considering the practice, at least until if/when the FCC steps up and starts putting pressure against tiered/capped internet.

 

The difference is in the marginal cost of bandwidth usage. On wifi, you're consuming a time-slice of 20-40 mhz of free-to-use wireless spectrum that affects a small area. Most of the time, you're using an otherwise un-utilized resource, making the marginal cost zero if the router is pre-existing. Then, you're using a broadband home ISP connection. Those are typically paid for with a flat fee upfront. Again, a marginal cost of zero.

 

On a cellular data connection, you're consuming a time/frequency slice of expensive, licensed wireless spectrum. Your use of it takes away its availability to be used by others on the same tower/sector as you. It affects hundreds of times more people than using wifi. The marginal cost is the reduction in speeds experienced by subscribers who don't have an offloading option. To mitigate this, Sprint has to spend more on spectrum and network infrastructure to increase site density and wireless bandwidth per site. If the cost of doing this is too much, Sprint will either get rid of unlimited data (to cut expenditure needs) or raise rates (to pay the increased costs).

 

So, yes, you did pay to use cellular data even when you have other (generally better) connectivity options, but by doing so, you're needlessly increasing social costs (putting negative pressure on the availability of unlimited data and slowing other users down) while doing little to nothing to reduce your own costs. If Wi-Fi would be a faster option and would drain your battery more slowly, than you'd be increasing your own costs.

 

Best case, it's anti-social; worst case, it's completely irrational.

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I don't think you can compare using Sprint bandwidth with using Cox/VZW/ATT/JoeISP bandwidth. You aren't paying for the same internet access.

 

It's important to remember we're carrying advanced devices nearly capable of everything a computer can do. However, my terms of service for Cox are not the same terms of service from Sprint. That is also why I'm paying Cox significantly more to access the same internet with similar speeds while at home.

 

We all agreed to these terms when we signed a contract:

Nature of our Service. Our rate plans, customer devices, services and features are not for resale and are intended for reasonable and non-continuous use by a person using a device on Sprint's networks.

...

Services are not available for use in connection with server devices or host computer applications, other systems that drive continuous heavy traffic or data sessions, or as substitutes for private lines or frame relay connections.

http://shop2.sprint....msandconditions

 

It's not Sprints responsibility to give us unrestricted high-speed access to the internet for the additional $10/mo. AJ is saying its the right thing to do, and I have to agree with him on this point alone. Not to mention, its nearly our obligation under contract to not use it as a substitute internet connection. They put wireless radios in our phones for a reason. This is why.

 

Do hotspots have a different TOS? Thats the only network-access I could see that could demand some kind of service level assurance.

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Wifi is just as much a shared resource as cellular (visit any coffee shop with wifi at peak time), and you're simply splitting the load from one shared resource to another on the pre-tense that it is selfish to utilize a service that you pay for, for it's intended purpose.

 

I am not advocating abusive/over-use, I am talking about normal use. I understand that everyone's use affects everyone else's use, particularly within the same tower/area.

 

@dmchssc its not the wifi sprectrum that is necessarily the limit, it is the bandwidth and utilization of the shared wifi hotspot dsl/t1/cable connection. If you are on your own personal wifi you don't have to share, but you still paying one way or another.

 

Also note, personally I am on wimax 99% of the time, so my own use is not putting any undue stress on sprints or clearwires available network.

 

Anyway, we may have to agree to disagree.

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So, if you have Wi-Fi at home and are not offloading, you better have a really good reason why. Otherwise, I would like to punch you. And "LTE is faster than my home broadband connection is not a 'really good reason why.'" You do not need greater than 1-2 Mbps on your smartphone for any legitimate purpose, bar none. If you want Sprint to maintain unlimited data, then offloading is your responsibility.

 

Those of us that are "responsible" see the reasoning in this, and practice it anyway. Unfortunately, the other 47% will feel entitled, and will lead to eventual tier plan changes for us all.

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I'm sorry. My home WiFi network is not a shared resource. It runs on shared spectrum, but that network is not shared within the confines of my home, and no one has access to it without committing a felony.

 

Robert via Samsung Galaxy S-III 32GB using Forum Runner

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feel entitled

 

 

Yes. I feel entitled to use the service I pay for. :blink:

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Wifi is just as much a shared resource as cellular (visit any coffee shop with wifi at peak time), and you're simply splitting the load from one shared resource to another on the pre-tense that it is selfish to utilize a service that you pay for, for it's intended purpose.

 

You seem to understand that they are all shared resources, but you’re not appreciating the degree to which each one is shared or how sharing affects their capacities.

 

I am not advocating abusive/over-use, I am talking about normal use. I understand that everyone's use affects everyone else's use, particularly within the same tower/area.

 

@dmchssc its not the wifi sprectrum that is necessarily the limit, it is the bandwidth and utilization of the shared wifi hotspot dsl/t1/cable connection. If you are on your own personal wifi you don't have to share, but you still paying one way or another.

 

Yes, if you are paying regardless of whether you are on your own Wi-Fi or cellular connection, but do you think that cost between the two is the same? I’m not referring to the amount that you’re paying for each service; I’m referring to the cost to the infrastructures in terms of load and availability.

 

Also note, personally I am on wimax 99% of the time, so my own use is not putting any undue stress on sprints or clearwires available network.

 

Anyway, we may have to agree to disagree.

 

I’m confused by this statement. WiMAX is licensed by Sprint through Clearwire. There are both Sprint and Clearwire customers using that service, so wouldn’t you be putting undue stress on BOTH providers if you had a Wi-Fi connection available?

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@dmchssc its not the wifi sprectrum that is necessarily the limit, it is the bandwidth and utilization of the shared wifi hotspot dsl/t1/cable connection. If you are on your own personal wifi you don't have to share, but you still paying one way or another.

Yes, but wi-fi access-points tend to have much more available bandwidth per person than cellular connections. 10 mbps divided between users in a 20m radius vs 30-40 mbps (in Sprint's case) divided between users in each sector of a cell with a radius of several kilometers.

 

Also, it still doesn't cost anything to use your own connection. You've already paid for it. You'd pay for it regardless of your decision to use wifi or not on your smartphone. There's no additional cost for you, but social costs are reduced.

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I work in telecom, I understand to a great degree the differences in costs of shared resources. Further, I'm a stock holder of both sprint and clearwire. If I thought for a second that my (or even nationwide aggregate) use of 3g/4g data use instead wifi offloading at home had an overly negative affect then I might agree. But I don't.

 

If wimax/lte ever got the point where it performs like sprints current 3g service, then all of you may have a point.

 

The reality is that currently, the wimax, and ostensibly LTE, have sufficient resources to not require the use of wifi offload, now or for the immediate near term future, especially in areas where load is not over concentrated (such as stadiums/concert venue's/etc).

 

I pay for sprint service to provide data for my phone. If I use some other service to provide data for my phone, should I continue to be billed by sprint?

 

It is the principle of the matter, if you pay for a service you should be able to use said service within the terms of your contract, and the contract provider should be providing the services within the contract. Without guilt or ridicule from the moral high ground. No more, no less.

Edited by dedub
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I work in telecom, I understand to a great degree the differences in costs of shared resources.

 

If wimax/lte ever got the point where it performs like sprints current 3g service, then all of you may have a point.

 

The reality is that currently, the wimax, and ostensibly LTE, have sufficient resources to not require the use of wifi offload, now or for the immediate near term future, especially in areas where load is not over concentrated (such as stadiums/concert venue's/etc).

 

I pay for sprint service to provide data for my phone. If I use some other service to provide data for my phone, should I continue to be billed by sprint?

 

It is the principle of the matter, if you pay for a service you should be able to use said service within the terms of your contract, and the contract provider should be providing the services within the contract. Without guilt or ridicule from the moral high ground. No more, no less.

 

How are things in the land of How-it-should-be-is-the-way-it-is? It’s been a while since my last trip.

 

Let’s take this to the extreme and see what would happen if everyone adopts your mentality. Everyone thinks that, since they pay for Sprint’s service, they shouldn’t need to use their own Wi-Fi (despite the fact that they also pay for it…whatever) out of principle. It’s a good thing that people never ride bikes for transportation when they’re paying for car insurance.

 

In the case where they’re within range of a shared public spot, like Starbucks, they still think that, out of principle, they shouldn’t take advantage of a FREE service being offered to them because they’re paying for something already. You would be wise not to accept a ride from a friend if you have your own vehicle; automakers need to learn to meet the demand of consumers to such a degree that nobody would ever need to share a ride.

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If my dsl performed better than my sprint 4g I would likely use it.

 

If I did not have 4g, and was stuck with sprint 3g, then I would likely choose my dsl or whatever was available that provided the better service.

 

Same for any free wifi spots. In the majority of cases of my particular use, I use whatever performs the best at that particular location and time.

 

I don't feel guilty one bit for utilizing my 4g service instead of latching on to any random or personal wifi spot.

 

Not to mention, you have no idea what kind of security a public wifi spot may or may not have, or what kind of user tracking they keep on your access.

 

Using a public wifi hotspot without a vpn is like, well I think you can figure it out.

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I respectfully suggest that the comments about whether it is morally right or wrong to use LTE when Wifi is available have hijacked a useful technical thread that was created for solid, expository reasons. Perhaps a mod could break them off and transfer them to a separate thread.

 

Good idea. Done!

 

Robert

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No one should be using the LTE network if they are concerned about data security. Seriously. Neither are secure networks and both are shared resources.

 

Robert

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I'm on the side of "I pay for it, I should be able to use it" side. Especially since I've paid for LTE (well LTE phone and 4g data) since April and have yet to see it! (joking therehaha) Anyway, this was why I left ATT. First it was "you have to buy this data plan with your iphone 3g." So reluctantly, I forked over the money for unlimited data. Next, it was "if you upgrade to the Atrix 4G, you will retain your unlimited data and have 4g speed." So since I was lured in to buy unlimited a while back, I felt entitled to use it unlimited. Never tured on wifi. Then the caps came after I used 2 GB of data. So pissed off, I continually downloaded / uploaded a 1GB file until sprint launched the Galaxy Nexus. Ending the month with 10GB of data used while "capped". Slowing the speeds really helped there, huh.

 

Personally I understand bandwidth is a limited resource, but when I was forced to get unlimited, I think it's fair to say that it's not my problem they can't handle the capacity. I'll probably have wifi on when LTE launches here, but I'll only connect at MY HOME. I'm not going to connect a personal device to work's wifi or remember when I'm at mcdonalds/starbucks/jiffy lube or whatever.

 

A side note... you guys do realize in the contract you signed, Sprint still reserves the right to "pull an ATT", as I like to call throttling. So maybe that'll change your mind about using it as an ISP at least.

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No one should be using the LTE network if they are concerned about data security. Seriously. Neither are secure networks and both are shared resources.

 

Your home network connection isn't any more secure than LTE, and if you think your home connection isn't part of a shared resource, then you should tour a colo someday (I have no doubt that you, Robert has though).

 

The whole internet is a shared resource.

 

Usage from any connection anywhere can affect any other connection from somewhere else if the cross paths somewhere on along the route, or heck even if they don't.

 

Bickering about wifi offload is irrelevant, people are normally going to use whatever best connection is available to them.

Edited by dedub

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