Friday, September 2, 2016

Verizon's LTE Advanced - Where's the Beef?

We were impressed with Verizon's announcement on August 29th about their launch of LTE Advanced in 461 markets across the country. Verizon claims its customers can get up to 50% faster speeds with LTE Advanced, so we ran a few tests in Chico, which is one of the 17 California markets included in the launch. Based on the few comparison tests between the Samsung Galaxy S6, which is included in Verizon Wireless' list of supported devices, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0, which is not, the results seemed to be tied. It turns out there are several variants of the Samsung Galaxy S6, and I suspect the model we have does not support LTE Advanced.

Summary of results:

Here's the of California markets where Verizon claims to have launched LTE Advanced. More to come on this topic as we figure out if there really is a boost with LTE Advanced....
  1. Bakersfield
  2. Chico-Oroville
  3. El Centro-Calexio
  4. Eureka
  5. Fresno
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Merced
  8. Modesto
  9. Redding
  10. Sacramento
  11. Salinas-Monterey
  12. San Diego
  13. San Fran.-Oak.-S.J.
  14. San Luis Obispo
  15. Stockton
  16. Visalia-Porterville
  17. Yuba City-Marysville

Thursday, September 1, 2016

CalSPEED testing in Rural Japan

While touring the Kansai region with my daughter last week and the week before, I ran a few speed tests on various muni WiFi networks. I’m surprised to see MOS hitting 4.0 for some of the tests despite pinging servers on the west and east coasts of the U.S.

1. City of Nara
Capital during the Nara Period (before the capital moved to Kyoto in ancient times), Nara claims to have the world's largest wood building, which houses a gigantic Buddha, Todai-ji. The speed test was run on a municipal network from a guesthouse in town. Deer roam freely through the main park, and you can buy "deer biscuits" for the equivalent of $1.50 to feed them.

Nara speed test (municipal WiFi)
City of Nara, south of Kyoto, Japan

Photo with "Sento-kun," the controversially creepy-looking town mascot.

Deer biscuits - "Awful for people"

2. Shirahama
Shirahama is one of Japan's three largest onsen (hot springs) resorts. The name means "white beach," and as you can see from the photo, the sand is white and the sea is turquoise blue. Because of its proximity to Osaka, it's a popular weekend destination. WiFi in Shirahama is available publicly and is paid for by the Wakayama Prefecture government.

Shirahama speed tests (municipal WiFi)

Shirahama is located on the southern coast of the Kii Peninsula