CES: Root Wireless CES Report And Results On Carrier Networks

Posted on 15. Jan, 2010 by in BlackBerry

Root Wireless is doing some amazing things with carrier coverage data. Now you can check your wireless network’s performance in your neighborhood. Root Wireless is an unbiased, independent provider of objective collection and analysis of data gathered from actual off-the-shelf smartphones. Through Root Coverage and Root Mobile, comprehensive reporting on the wireless carrier network performance is now available. They recently ran some tests at CES in Las Vegas and came out with some interesting results. With 110,000 geeks in Las Vegas they wanted to see how each network performed under the load. I have to say I was a bit surprised with the results. Follow through the jump for the full report, and information on getting data collected in your neighborhood.

Wireless Data Network Performance: CES 2010

120,000 CES 2010 Attendees Put Wireless Data Services to the Test

Record attendance at the 2010 Consumer Electronics gave Root Wireless an ideal opportunity to test the performance of the carriers’ data services, as crowds grew large at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a chance to simulate service challenges that happen when data networks become congested with heavier than typical traffic demands. To test network capacity, Root Wireless conducted several tests including speed tests that are designed not to determine absolute maximum speeds, but rather how each of the networks perform for smartphones users who are downloading data in real-world conditions. The testing commenced during the pre-show build-up, charting network performance as CES attendance increased through Friday, January 8.


Loading its proprietary Root Mobile™ crowdsourcing application on smartphones purchased off-the-shelf from each of the ‘Big Four’ carriers, Root Wireless conducted stationary tests at a fixed location immediately adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, constantly running Root Mobile from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., January 5-8. The linear tests determine data transmissions speeds, cell tower hand-off rates and network connection failures, as monitored and reported by Root Mobile. It is noteworthy that the findings differ from others data transmission speed tests conducted using PCs, precisely because Root Mobile is engineered to determine wireless consumers’ real-world experience using smartphones, not PCs. Also worth keeping in mind: Results reported here are local to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Root Wireless network mapping software has confirmed that all network performance is local; it varies from neighborhood-to-neighborhood, from service provider to service provider.

CES Findings: Growing Crowds Dramatically Slowed AT&T’s Data Service; Verizon’s Service Remained Consistent

As determined by scouting conducted by Root Wireless in December 2009, each of the carriers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon – provide competitive data services in greater Las Vegas on any given day. The first day of testing at the Convention Center, Tuesday January 5th, largely each of the wireless networks performed as they routinely do in Las Vegas: AT&T and Sprint recorded the fastest downloads at the Convention Center. Verizon Wireless’ download speeds were a bit faster than its previously recorded performance, and T-Mobile’s network ran on par with results recorded in December.

Results changed on Wednesday the 6th: AT&T’s data service fell from the fastest to the slowest. Sprint provided the fastest download speeds, but its service was slower than the day before. Verizon’s download speeds also slowed. However, T-Mobile’s service improved its performance.

Verizon’s download speeds rebounded on Thursday, providing the fastest service chart1

recorded that day. Sprint’s network slowed further, placing it second, just ahead of T-Mobile. Thursday, AT&T service again recorded the slowest download speeds.

Verizon’s service remained the fastest on Friday January 8, improving on its performance recorded Thursday. Download speeds slowed further on Sprint’s network, though it remained the second-fastest service. T-Mobile’s performance remained consistent with its results recorded the two previous days. But AT&T’s download speeds slowed dramatically on Friday.

Summary Observations

Over the four days tested, AT&T’s rank fell from first to last.

The first two days, Sprint’s data service provided faster service than recorded in greater Las Vegas in December. Then its download speeds slowed each of the following two days. Nonetheless, its service was among the fastest recorded Wednesday – Friday.

T-Mobile’s service never recorded the fastest download speeds, but it provided consistent performance day-to-day.

With the exception of Wednesday, Verizon Wireless outperformed its results recorded in December, and Verizon provided the fastest downloads on Thursday and Friday, presumably the show’s most congested days.

About Root Wireless

Root Wireless records and reports objective data that charts carrier network performance using off-the-shelf smartphones, results reported right down to the level of specific neighborhoods. The Root Wireless charter is to provide a standardized, objective performance mapping service that helps consumers choose the service and smartphones that are best for them. Root Wireless gathers network performance data using commercially available smartphones equipped with Root Mobile, its proprietary crowdsourcing application that runs unobtrusively in the background as a service on RIM, Android and Windows Mobile smartphones.

Root Wireless does not work on behalf of any of the carriers. Its goal is to provide individual consumers with detailed network performance information personalized to the specific neighborhoods where they most often use their service. The Root Wireless initial findings have confirmed that there is no one ‘best carrier’. Which service works best depends on where a consumer actually use their phones. The Root Wireless performance mapping service is currently available in 15 major metropolitan markets; Root Coverage maps are accessible at http://reviews.cnet.com/coveragemap/.


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