Join Date: Mar 2012
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My "Network Optimization" experience...
This is going to be long, but I want to share my experience, and it's kinda nice to know I'm not alone, as I haven't found any other threads where this was actually happening to someone else...I upgraded to a 4G phone as soon as the Thunderbolt came out, so I've never experienced throttling on my phone, but I do have an aircard that I'm about to eat the ETF on, just because Verizon has made it unusable. I live less than 2 blocks from one of 5 or 6 towers that serve my town and the surrounding smaller communities. I am in a small town, less than 20 thousand folks here...less than 60 thousand in the whole county. I'm also in Arkansas. And as much as I like to think we aren't a bunch of backwoods dumb hicks, to say that would be false. The facility I work for looked for an IT assistant for 6 months before I came along, if that tells you anything. So, there aren't a lot of "power" users around here. Using my phone, either through speedtest.net app, or tethered to my computer, I usually get around 85-110 ms ping, 2-2.5 down and .8-1 up. The 3G network zips here.
In September, Netflix stopped working. It would play a few seconds, buffer, play a few seconds, buffer. I logged into my account and noticed "Network Opt" as one of the features on my aircard line. I immediately started using my phone's hotspot instead of the MiFi card, and it streamed fine.
I tested this from then until last month. Network Optimization becomes a "feature" on my data line at 9 GBs. It's never more, it's never less. It always hits at 9 GB. I suspended it without payment until that feature rolled off, speeds back, and no buffering, soon as it hit 9 GB again, buffering again. I suspect this threashold is 3 GB for phones.
To test the robustness of the network, I took my ThunderBolt, ReZound (another line on my acct), and a computer connected to the MiFi (with network optimization)....All the phones hit over 2 MBPS, all at the same time, while the MiFi went up and down before a final reading of .6 MBPS. Doesn't matter if it's early morning, or late at night, middle of day, the fastest it will hit when "Optimized" is .8 MBPS.
I even drove over to the river (we're located near Mississippi River) to the rural tower after 11 p.m. one evening. My phone got close to 3 down, the aircard spiked up to almost 2.8, then bam bam bam, got .6.
I know that the network in this area is NOT congested. Especially a tower sitting in the middle of a field. Seriously, this tower is in a field, by the river. There isn't a house within a couple of miles of the site on either side of the river, so I KNOW this tower doesn't have a load. It doesn't even have a potential to reach more than a couple hundred people, very rural people.
Network Optimization would be fine if it weren't for the fact it's an outright lie. True, they may not kick you off 3G entirely, or throttle you down to 128k like ATT or T-Mobile, but it's still full time, always there/always on throttling, not just on congested sites. So it's not entirely fair.
I know it's true that wireless bandwidth does have a "limit", but it's much higher than any of the wireless companies want us to believe. The problem with it is, the wireless companies don't want to spend a precious nickel to upgrade their 3G networks, and instead slow us down or force us to tiered plans that make no sense for anyone but the wireless companies bank account.
I came from Alltel, I was with them since 1998. After the inital hiccups, I was happy with Verizon service until this...
And to the comment above regarding total bandwidth of LTE and EVDO, EVDO doesn't split 3.1 MBPS among all users, that is the maximum throughput per channel, maximum throughput of LTE Release 3 (Version that VZW and ATT are using) is 100 MBPS dn/50 MBPS up over a 10 MHz channel, though the fastest I've personally gotten on my device is 54 down and 26 up.