Informational: Understanding the Network

Discussion in 'Android Tech Support' started by keiichi25, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. keiichi25
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    keiichi25 Member

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    There have been quite a few discussions with regards to the whole AT&T and Verizon Ads with regards to their network and concerns about how these ads are playing each other out.

    So let's get something a little clear on dissecting both ads for you guys to understand what is going on here.

    Verizon's Network is using CDMA Technology. It is a 3rd Generation Network Technology that only a few countries use, namely mostly North America and some parts of Central America.

    Majority of the world is using GSM Technology. This is also 3rd Generation Network Technology. Europe, Asia and other countries use it as well as North America.

    The main reason Sprint and Verizon use CDMA technology is that most of their infrastructure and their primary concerns are with the North American Continent. GSM was adopted by AT&T around 2002-2003 and they have spent a fair deal of their time trying to improve the GSM network in the US along with T-Mobile. T-Mobile is heavily invested in the European market first and have spread their wings over to the US since the late 90s til now.

    The CDMA Technology, at the time, was designed for voice or data, not both, as American phone companies are invested in their hardlines and infrastructure for the longest time and wish to maintain that. The Europeans and the Japanese, however, invested heavily into GSM technology because they simply LACKED the hardline infrastructure, and oddly enough because they have many cities older than the US to make it less practical to invest too much into major hardline infrastructure that a Cellular based communications network is preferable.

    Now there are documents, like this one from Wikipedia:

    Code division multiple access - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    and

    GSM - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Which explains this a bit better or even trounces my understand of the history of both CDMA and GSM.

    Now the one thing that also needs to be understood is that some people are going, "Well, I can prove that Verizon can do what AT&T claims they can't."

    One thing to note about all this is how you have your phone setup. The most common misunderstanding is WiFi. Many people are now hopping onto the WiFi bandwagon and setting up their phone to connect to the WiFi. This does not use the Phone's normal Cellular network to do Data. So while you can do Voice and Data at the same time, make sure you are not connected to WiFi, as that counts as an 'extra' connection that the phone can use for Data. This is important to understand for Verizon users, as this is one of two avenues to get around that. The second avenue is to make use of VOIP based applications, like Skype or GoogleVoice as those use Data to transmit voice.

    Now, the last thing that has to be understood is the infamous map argument.

    What most people don't understand with the map argument is how Verizon is presenting the map and how AT&T is presenting their map.

    If you look at this:

    http://vzwmap.verizonwireless.com/dotcom/coveragelocator/images/maps/3Gcomparison.pdf

    There is some small disclaimer text at the bottom:

    Both services, as well as T-Mobile will claim they cover the area, but as showing above here from the disclaimer from Verizon, results will vary depending on the above. To further point this out, an AT&T customer I know in my office, stated that she can only get phone calls in one part of her apartment up in the Bay Area. One place. Here where we are, in Southern California, not even in Los Angeles, she can get phone calls all over the office building.

    This could be how her place is built versus how our office building is built, or it could be the infrastructure. But as pointed out by one blogger, the only reason he switched from the iPhone to the Droid was due to his network reception. Again, this may be mostly due to infrastructure build up as GSM was only recently started its trend here in the US, but CDMA takes existing infrastructure and only improved upon an older standard.

    The important thing to understand is the necessity of what you need. In most cases, the 'need' to browse the internet and talk at the same time is not a 'deal breaker' for many people. The ads that AT&T and Apple are doing are aimed more to keep their customers with them for the benefits that their network and device will provide. Just as the droid marketing campaign is aimed to try and grab at the iPhone and AT&T marketshare by hitting on the things the iPhone and AT&T are weakiest at as well.

    And one last note - Text Messaging is not the same as sending an e-mail. Text Messaging uses a system called SMS or MMS which uses the cellular network to send small amount of data, but again, it is not the same as browsing the internet or sending/receiving e-mail.
     
  2. kbrede
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    kbrede Member

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    Could you go into this a little more? I'm not sure why "counts as an 'extra' connection" really matters if you have an unlimited data plan. Are you saying if you're on a WiFi connection, while talking, you're charged double on your phone plan?
    Thanks,
    Kent
     
  3. rkcoll1
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    rkcoll1 Member

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    OP is explaining how some people are able to use voice call and access data. They are accessing data via the Wifi connection and not using the 3G network. OP is saying to make sure wifi is off and try to access data while on a call to make sure they are comparing apples to apples.
     
  4. New2u
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    New2u DF Super Moderator

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    Are you sure about this? It was my understanding that MMS is data, and will be sent as data. SMS is sent via voice, and is why you can receive txts while on a voice call. I don't get many MMS so I wasn't sure about that.
     
  5. rkcoll1
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    rkcoll1 Member

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    Yes New2u you are right about MMS using data as i understand it. Everything I have read on the subject states that to be true. I know that i cannot receive MMS while on a call, they always pop in after i end the call.
     
  6. New2u
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    New2u DF Super Moderator

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    Well i knew it was considered data, just not that if you could receive them in call or not, that's what i was trying to clarify.
     
  7. rkcoll1
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    rkcoll1 Member

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    Was not trying to be condescending. Sorry if i came off like that. Just sharing my experience.
     
  8. keiichi25
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    keiichi25 Member

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    Well, I will be the first to admit I am wrong about that. :) Given that while I have had a cellphone since 1999 til now, I have seen very few Text Messages, let alone MMS Picture messages and even fewer while on the phone. Majority of the time, my phone was rarely used as a phone or a text messaging thing at the same time.

    More than likely, it is purely data, however, I presumed it was just basic 'over one channel' as the evolution of Cellular Data Access has evolved in such a short period of time. Hell, I couldn't read much of the Wikipedia information because it is more technical than consumer level in regards to to what CDMA and GSM is short of some of the information of where it it is primarily used.

    The basic point of this thread, however, was to stress something that seemed to be convoluted in a thread with regards to the whole AT&T and Verizon Ad War Campaign with regards to their network and the 'who is better' part.

    In all honest opinion, the better network is the one that provides the service in the majority of the areas you are going to be in with the phone you have. Be it Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile.

    Whether or not your phone can 'talk' and 'browse' at the same time is only important to a person who literally needs to do both. In most cases, we don't need to do both, but AT&T wants you to think that is important. And as most people should know by now... The point of Marketing is to get you to buy their product/service, even though you might not need it.