Many people these days are marketed 4G left and right. 4G is no longer a technical term, but rather a marketing one. As a result, this has produced some rather audacious claims from carriers in order to justify higher prices for data plans, etc. For those not in the know, LTE was originally billed as the only true 4G solution as it was considered to be an evolution of GSM
’s 3G standard. This was drastically challenged once Sprint and Intel decided to peg WiMax as 4G even though it was not nearly as fast as what LTE 4G was promising. As a result of Sprint’s marketing and advertising, other carriers began to market their next generation of wireless as ‘4G’ even that wireless protocol already existed in other markets as 3G. The perfect example of this was the launch of T-Mobile’s HSPA+
network, which was effectively an update to a 3G standard that doubled the speed, but did not even come close to the performance of true 4G (such as LTE). This sparked many 4G debates and eventually the ITU
decided to include HSPA+ as an official 4G standard, especially since it is currently capable of 42Mbit/s thanks to Dual Carrier HSPA+.
4G/3G Coverage Map - Circle = 4G LTE Coverage - Star = Planned 4G LTE Coverage - Red = Existing 3G Coverage
Verizon launched their network in a single push by launching in 38 metropolitan ‘football’ markets. This was a very wise decision on the part of Verizon because it chose large metropolitan markets over those that were less expensive to build them in. As a result, they acquired a large amount of subscribers in a short period of time. The one thing that they and other carriers struggle with is converting their 3G customers over to the newest generation of 4G. What we are trying to do today is evaluate how effective Verizon’s 4G LTE network is and to determine how useful it is as a daily solution for business professionals as well as general users.
Our testing methodology is what we would consider somewhat unorthodox. We did not simply go test the speeds and play with the network for a few days. This review will effectively determine how robust Verizon’s network is and what kinds of issues may arise during certain usage scenarios based on performance and coverage over an entire city. We tested the network 3 consecutive times and took the average of those 3 tests. We then took those 3 tests and performed them at different times of day the same location in order to demonstrate the effects of network load. Then we took the averages of all of our tests across the entire city and determined the average speeds for the city as a whole during a certain period of time. And finally, we took all of our speeds and combined them into one average to see what the total average speed is for the City of San Diego. We used a combination of speed tests and Google maps in order to allow you, our readers, to interact with our tests and see what kinds of speeds we got in certain areas. For our testing, though, we actually used the LG VL600 USB LTE
modem connected to a Windows 7 based laptop to most accurately simulate expected performance for laptop users. As we go around using this device we will continue to update the map even after the review has been posted. If you'd like us to test somewhere, we'd be glad to do our best to help you out.
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