Sunday, December 13, 2009

Verizon: FAIL

Well, that was a short adventure. On Wednesday, I stopped into a Verizon Wireless Store and picked up a Mifi 3G pocket router/modem. It's small, it's neat looking, it's easy to configure.


Over the next few days, I spent some varying amounts of time trying to get online with the thing. It connects fine, but after a few minutes, the connection would always get really slow. Looking at its web interface I would find that it dropped down from EVDO (3G) coverage to 1XRTT, the slower, older data connectivity standard. All EVDO modems seem to support this, and it's not uncommon to "fall back" to the slower level of service if the modem can't find a 3G connection.

The problem is, it keeps doing this, over and over, even in a supposedly "good" coverage area like Chicago. I couldn't find a setting to prevent it from connecting to the 1X network (I'd rather have it drop the connection), and it seems to stay on this slow link, even when it could go back to EVDO.

My hours of use all went like this:
  • Fire it up. Online with 3G/EVDO.
  • 10-15 minutes later, why did it get slow?
  • Oh, we're on 1XRTT.
  • Power cycle the modem.
  • Reconnect. At 3G/EVDO speed.
  • 10-15 minutes later, why did it get slow?
  • Oh, we're on 1XRTT.
  • Power cycle the modem.
etc...

To Hell With That. My current Sprint modem is better than that is. I don't know if it's the specific Verizon device, or if my home is in a dead spot in Verizon 3G coverage. Don't know, don't care. I need it to work, and since it doesn't work, I returned it today and canceled the service.

My Verizon retail experience was superb. Both trips to the Verizon Wireless store were easy and quick. Staff there is polite and friendly, and I found that hugely positive. But, if they can't keep me online, there's not much chance of me being able to be a Verizon customer.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

Thank you for airing your experience with Verizon. I thought I might sometime switch to them for nationwide coverage, since Cricket goes dead about 100 miles out of Chicago or St. Louis- they still don't have really broad coverage.

However, Cricket is great in town. I have no problem getting online anywhere in Chicago or St Louis with my 3G EVDO modem, and all in all, it is the best internet connection I have ever had, better than Comcast or RCN cable, or AT&T's dsl. Very fast, very reliable, very good signal, no problem downloading or uploading anything I want, for $35 a month.
It is only bad for people who travel frequently, since Cricket is not well established and doesn't cover a lot of places.