But What If 3G Doesn't Work?

from the the-difference-between-theory-and-practice dept

It’s sometimes amusing how much the wireless industry hypes up every new wireless technology that comes out. The first time I heard about GPRS, it was from someone telling me that it would be a DSL alternative and would take the world by storm. Yes. GPRS. Ignoring the dialup-like speeds, the questionable coverage and the ridiculously high latency… this person was sure it would be an effective DSL replacement. Lots of wireless technologies have promise, but actually living up to that promise is another thing altogether. So, it’s not that surprising to hear people who are now testing out some of the new 3G services out there talk about all the problems and glitches they’re facing. The hardware has compatibility problems with their computers, or causes crashes. You can’t always see the network. When you can see the network, it’s not always easy to connect to the network. When you do connect to the network you may not get the bandwidth that you were promised. When you do get the bandwidth you were promised, the latency may make everything seem much slower. That’s not to say these technologies don’t have promise — and many of them will work out the initial glitches. It’s just a good reminder that all of these wireless technologies (not just 3G) are still fairly immature, and won’t be perfect out of the box. Now, if only the industry would learn to stop giving people the impression that these technologies will all perform in the ideal way.

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Comments on “But What If 3G Doesn't Work?”

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DV Henkel-Wallace says:

Of course people know this

The reason most people aren’t early adopters is because they understand that a lot of stuff doesn’t work right, or even make sense, at first. And of course some stuff never moves beyond the early adopters!

It’s only the technodeterminist early adopters and technology vendors who don’t get this.

3G is basically a solution in search of a problem. Until that problem is found, it cannot succeed.

Keith Spragg (user link) says:

3G Testing

A lot of the carriers are using the same 3G datacards, which would explain why Mr Bailey and his cohort’s are having the same problems.

Speaking from experience of having had a 3G mobile (Nokia 7600) on Vodaphone since the service test piloted, I can say that the experience has been 90% good so far – a couple of issues here and there with limited numbers of people being allowed on the network in certain locations (South Bolton was the worst for this – the number of missed calls or ‘network unavaliable’ messages I got there was rediculous, on more than one occassion). The speed of GPRS over UTMS is just fine, and hooking it up to the PC gives me the same functionality as a Mobile card, just without all the one-up-manship involved in a 3G Data Card.

So far my only problems involving the network (Bolton aside) have involved the lack of coverage. I live in a coverage rich area (South Manchester, namely Stockport), but when areas such as Sheffield and Hull aren’t covered, it makes owning such a phone semi-pointless. Thankfully this is an issue that is already well underway to being taken care of, and new base stations are springing up all the time.

Michael Meiser (user link) says:

3G does rock

OK, a little birdy told there’s this guy who uses 3G data through his sprint phone constantly when he travels. He’s been using 3G through his sprint phone since the week it came out. About two years now!
Not just in one place either, but all over the place, because he uses it when he travels. We’re talking San Diego, Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, Northwest, Midwest, everywhere, whenever and anywhere. Not that he abuses it, but it’s he says it’s awesome when you’re riding across country on a train with your feet up, checking the email, reading the RSS feeds in your newsreader and keeping up on the goings on as some purty scenery flies by out the window.
He has been very happy with the service but he can’t talk good about it because sprint won’t get their heads out of their butts and offer it as a legitimate service and threaten people who use it with termination of service. They even tried to disable bluetooth on the Sprint Treo 650 as opposed to just facing the fact that they can’t stop people from using their laptops with their sprint phone and should legitimize the service and learn from it. I’d like to point out a pda without the ability to sync is pretty stupid and useless, but apparently sprint is ignorant to the fact as since the day their treo 650 hit the market somone released a hack to allow you to use the bluetooth to not only connect your laptop to the treo for syncing, but also to do 3G data.
My point is 3G is here. It could be sucessful, but the primary problem is cellular companies like sprint mak people buy and carry around unecissary additional devices and lock them into regid and unecissary additional plans that are sure to screw them.

One month my friend may download 100 megs worth of crap, another month nothing at all. Why would he want to carry around a whole nother mobile device and have a whole nother service plan that’s going to absolutely screw him when he needs it most.

Newsflash to sprint. DATA is not like voice minutes, it fluctuates widely. Second newsflash, if sprint would embrace their users and open up the plan to a whole lot more flexible usage we would all be hearing how tuely useful 3g is when you’re sitting at a denny’s in a small town in iowa checking your mail and catching up on business over breakfast.
Oh, yeah, the birdie also told me to tell you he enjoys using iChat AV over his 3G sprint phone, mostly because he can, and it’s funny.
Yeah so the service is real consistent with a standard 8k to 15k a second, but the real problem is latency, You don’t want to go loading web pages with hundreds of simultaneous connections downloading hundreds of little images, but you could download or send a single 20 meg email attachment pretty damn quick.


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