Sure, there are plenty of network study’s going on and claims of supremacy just waiting to handed down, but there is something that is hardly every measured in the RootMetrics or other cellular studies… That is how well a network performs from place to place – when you drive across town, or worse yet, when you walk around the corner. These two screen shots are of the FreedomPop Diagnostic App. The faster one, coming in at a blazing 26.99Mbps on the Sprint SPARK network was done just seconds, and feet, after the first one that registered 2.89Mbps download speeds on the same network. Literally feet apart, the network dropped nearly 25Mbps.
Unfortunately, so many networks that lack coverage end up talking about network speeds instead. Sure a 50Mbps download rate is amazing and fun to enjoy, but honestly, even Netflix doesn’t need that kind of bandwidth to run smoothly. In fact, most streaming applications need a stream of around 3Mbps to run smoothly, which means that other 47Mbps is just hanging out waiting for you to finish your movie. What is more important than speed is the overall coverage saturation that your network offers. Do you lose signal from block to block? Does it work well in one part of town, but you have horribly slow data in other areas? Carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint immediately point to the fact that they are faster than AT&T and Verizon. Verizon and AT&T say they are more reliable. It’s like driving down the freeway. When you get stuck in that rush hour backup, would you rather have a NASCAR race car or a fully loaded Bentley?
The Ferrari may be nice if you ever need that 50Mbps download, and the day may come when you do, but by that point, your little 25Mbps Bentley has already arrived at the party since it didn’t drop your download 5 times due to a building being in the way. There is much more to coverage than speed. Make sure you test drive your network regularly to see how well it really performs, not just how fast it is. Chances are, if you find a bad area, you can notify your carrier and they can try and fix it for you.