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3G and Wifi at PAX?

kdpapekdpape Registered User new member
edited August 2010 in PAX Archive
this will be my first year at pax and i'm really excited. I was wondering how good the 3G is in the show and how much free wifi there is (if any) and how consistent. I'm a big iphone and android user for twitter and blogging during the show and want to make sure i'm covered.

thanks.

any hints/tips are appreciated.

keith

kdpape on
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    BigRedBigRed Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    60,000+ people in a 2 block area = everything is going to suck

    BigRed on
    <MoeFwacky> besides, BigRed-Worky is right
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    kdpapekdpape Registered User new member
    edited July 2010
    suck for bandwidth i get - but will i get any bars and access - i can be patient - as long as there is consisten service

    kdpape on
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    ArcoArco Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I think what BigRed was trying to say is that you shouldn't count on consistent service. Don't rely on any kind of wireless or cellular service beyond basic phone calls and texts, and even those can have issues with so many smartphone users crammed into such a small area.

    Arco on
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    ukiyo eukiyo e Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Your best bet for reliable service is to turn off 3G and use the edge network. It will be super slow, but it works.

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    BigRedBigRed Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    ukiyo e wrote: »
    Your best bet for reliable service is to turn off 3G and use the edge network. It will be super slow, but it works.

    Thats what I had to do at the last prime and at East. Data was still fucked though :( At least sms kinda worked on edge.

    BigRed on
    <MoeFwacky> besides, BigRed-Worky is right
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    parabolaparabola Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    It sucks. Have very low expectations and you wont be disappointed.

    parabola on
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    ColdbrewColdbrew Down in Front Productions Lake Stevens, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yeah, WiFi is totally fucked. It works, but that's about it.

    I personally have never had a problem with cell service, sms, 3G, etc. I've even successfully used walkies around PAX, at Prime last year and at East earlier this year, and didn't have problems there either.

    Coldbrew on
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    MrBartokomousMrBartokomous Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I generally had no problems on EDGE last year. Wifi was hit and miss at the best of times.

    MrBartokomous on
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    WormdundeeWormdundee Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    You'll probably be able to make phone calls. Don't count on anything else. As I mentioned in another thread, last year I received a text 2.5 days after it was sent.

    Wormdundee on
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    kdpapekdpape Registered User new member
    edited July 2010
    cool - thanks all

    kdpape on
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    RCars2RCars2 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    While a good bunch of you are on AT&T i have Verizon and the last 2 years 3G was usable.....but just. Ran a couple speed tests for giggles and was only getting about 0.75 mbps. Better than nothing but still not great.

    RCars2 on
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    trickycooljtrickycoolj Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    AT&T was fairly unreliable last year as well. Some calls, fewer SMS, no data. As mentioned if you can force down to EDGE it was the better bet, but my phone often got knocked below EDGE on GPRS a few times. Not only is PAX going on, but Bumbershoot (3-day, multiple stage music fest) is also happening down the street. The network was so overloaded I couldn't get 3G to work at home in North Seattle. Always have backup methods handy: paper/pen, printed map, printed bus schedule or pre-set group meeting time and place.

    I do recall a mention last year (after the fact) that if someone contacts AT&T and mentions there's a giant convention of people prone to heavy gadget use they can deploy a temporary tower to help ease the burden. Not sure how much truth there was to that.

    trickycoolj on
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    DreamwriterDreamwriter Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Last year (on AT&T) I had no real 3G issues except in the exhibition hall. Everywhere else I was always able to browse the web. Never tried making a call or sending a text/MMS though...

    Dreamwriter on
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    RCars2RCars2 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I do recall a mention last year (after the fact) that if someone contacts AT&T and mentions there's a giant convention of people prone to heavy gadget use they can deploy a temporary tower to help ease the burden. Not sure how much truth there was to that.

    What you are speaking of is something called a micro cell and the building owners would have to request the installation of something like that. What the micro cell does is put several small access points in the building and ties them to a fiber connection to dump into the AT&T network.

    Now the reason that the WSCTC doesnt have one of these is because of contracts and costs. I asked my older brother who is a director at AT&T mobility and what he advised me of the process (and he didnt specifically mention the WSCTC but he was speaking in general about how this works) is that the building owners and AT&T enter a contract where the costs of installation and operation are split between both parties. It is up to the building owner to determine how they wish to pay for such costs but the fees themselves are not cheap.....at all. As such most parties wish for AT&T to cover all the costs since its AT&T's network, which in some cases they will negotiate those terms. Where it gets sticky though is most building want to then share in the profit from the calls on the microcell since its in their building on their own fiber line. The problem comes with dealing with different plans on every phone (especially unlimited plans) and different costs on each and ultimately AT&T would loose their butts many times over as a result.

    So in short there isnt a microcell nor will there likely ever be one in the WSCTC because its too prohibitively expensive.

    RCars2 on
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    ArcoArco Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Last year (on AT&T) I had no real 3G issues except in the exhibition hall. Everywhere else I was always able to browse the web. Never tried making a call or sending a text/MMS though...

    Yeah, the expo hall is especially brutal.

    Arco on
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    aquaoneaquaone Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I talked internally at at&t and got some info together, sent it all to Khoo. He knows who to talk to and what to provide. Can't guarantee anything... but hopefully at&t can provide a mobile tower or similar expanded capacity for the event.

    As long as you don't have an iPhone 4. :-P

    aquaone on
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    faitsfaits a panda eating cake seattleRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I had zero problems with data, texts or voice last year (or previous years) on tmobile. Friend has ATT (has to have that iphone) and he didn't even have service at all half the time. As in, couldn't even make or receive calls in the convention center.

    faits on
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    trickycooljtrickycoolj Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    aquaone wrote: »
    I talked internally at at&t and got some info together, sent it all to Khoo. He knows who to talk to and what to provide. Can't guarantee anything... but hopefully at&t can provide a mobile tower or similar expanded capacity for the event.

    As long as you don't have an iPhone 4. :-P

    That is way awesome!
    faits wrote:
    I had zero problems with data, texts or voice last year (or previous years) on tmobile. Friend has ATT (has to have that iphone) and he didn't even have service at all half the time. As in, couldn't even make or receive calls in the convention center.

    Most of my group was in the at&t no service boat last year too, even the non-iphone users. Oh well, this year we know how to deal and more of us are in BYOC.

    trickycoolj on
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    JediknightkarlJediknightkarl Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I have 4g and not too many people have that. Relatively I mean

    Jediknightkarl on
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    akjakakjak Thera Spooky GymRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I didn't have any significant issues with 3G data last year. I had more trouble on the WiFi network than cell data. Then again, I was really only checking Twitter, not doing any "hardcore" data usage.

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    BigRedBigRed Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Selling point for BYOC, dedicated internet pipe that the rest of attendees dont touch :P
    I have 4g and not too many people have that. Relatively I mean

    glhf at getting a 4g signal inside the WSCTC when you arent near a window :P

    BigRed on
    <MoeFwacky> besides, BigRed-Worky is right
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    JediknightkarlJediknightkarl Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    i know i get it in benaroya hall. :p

    Jediknightkarl on
    damn...bit my tongue....i hate that.
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    Amp300Amp300 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I was sporting an iPhone 3GS last year. Voice/SMS were spotty inside the main exhibit hall, but worked fine in the lobby and elsewhere in Seattle. Data was pretty much a no go until getting a few blocks away.

    Amp300 on
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    KyoutekiKyouteki Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure Sprint 4G won't be too congested, although I'll only turn it on when I need it, lest my battery die a premature death.

    Kyouteki on
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    thespiffyneostarthespiffyneostar Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Yeah... I tried using wifi last year there... it was the slowest thing on earth.
    it did great loading text based pages, but anything more and it would assplode...
    as for 3G I would assume it would be mediocare at best.

    thespiffyneostar on
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    Dakinggamer87Dakinggamer87 Data Center Operations Systems Engineer Silicon Valley, CARegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I finally got a smartphone so now I can test 3G and Wi-Fi in Seattle.. I bet it will be slow lol..

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    AverageToasterAverageToaster Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Kyouteki wrote: »
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure Sprint 4G won't be too congested, although I'll only turn it on when I need it, lest my battery die a premature death.
    HTC EVO's have 4G priority hence the extra $10

    AverageToaster on
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    GundabadGundabad PAX East & Unplugged Tabletop Manager NJRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Referring to potentially increased mobile coverage, there is an option beyond the microcell, which sounds like a permanent installation of a local cell site inside the convention center. AT&T has a small squad of vans that can deploy temporary cell towers for big events. I remember reading a big story about them deploying three of these custom vans around Austin, TX for South by Southwest.

    Gundabad on
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    aquaoneaquaone Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    That's what I looked into and sent info on to Khoo. Hopefully at&t doesn't give him too much run around. It would be a good PR move for the company at a relatively minor cost.

    aquaone on
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    AtomicGaryBuseyAtomicGaryBusey I put on my robe and wizard hat. Beautiful Lynnhood, Wash.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I had an iPhone 3GS last year and let me tell you, service of any kind was tough to get inside the Expo Hall. Calls would consistently drop about 1 minute in and SMS/MMS failed about every 5th try.

    That said, everyone's pretty spot on. Outside the Expo Hall 3G/Edge worked fine, if a little slower than usual. I could still bring up the EXPO Junkies PAX site in fairly short order.

    I learned within an hour to stay away from all WiFi at PAX. It was so bogged down with users that it took longer to load a text based webpage on the WiFi than it took to load YouTube and rich media websites over 3G. It took so long to try using WiFi that my battery lost it's charge quicker than just using 3G.

    Of course finding a charging station isn't going to be hard this year, now that I have a BYOC seat! :mrgreen:

    AtomicGaryBusey on
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    zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2010
    I'm not sure of the coverage in Seattle, but I had absolutely zero problems with my Verizon 3g in Boston for PaxEast this year. The only people I spoke to that were having issues were using at&t 3g (edge was mostly working).

    zerzhul on
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    DeciusDecius I'm old! I'm fat! I'M BLUE!Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Decius wrote: »
    OK I guess I'll need a device for Twitter. Can't use my Canadian cell phone since it's for work and I can't ask them to add American roaming for a personal vacation. So should I get an AT&T Blackberry on GoPhone for phone and data? Or is there enough WiFi in Seattle to use my iPod Touch for data and just a normal cell phone for voice?

    It really depends, if you want to use twitter for communicating yeah get a phone and either have every one send you an sms or get a decent phone with internet access. If you just will glance at it from time to time the ipod should be fine just don't expect much from it. Also att go phone seems rather expensive honestly i would look into a trac phone or others. Another option would be to buy an unlocked phone and see what sims will work with it either prepaid or gophone.

    :arrow: So in regards to this question for another thread, I might be better off getting a different provider.

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    olanmillsolanmills Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I haven't brought a smartphone to PAX in past years, but I took one to E3 this year and had perfect 3G coverage the whole time. I was surprised by it actually. Now, I don't know if that's because they set up something special for the convention like someone mentioned on the previous page, but who knows, it might work fine at PAX.

    olanmills on
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    TherosTheros Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Kyouteki wrote: »
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure Sprint 4G won't be too congested, although I'll only turn it on when I need it, lest my battery die a premature death.
    HTC EVO's have 4G priority hence the extra $10

    That $10 is, in theory, going 100% towards the cost of deployment of their 4G network. Whether or not a prioritization scheme is in effect (or could be deployed, etc etc), I do not know, given that I am not an engineer in that field... Provided there is 4G coverage, data services may be available, however, also keep in mind that PAX also has a tendency to attract attendees who own similar devices. It may be entirely possible that the concentration of EVOs is high enough to impact 4G services.

    Theros on
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    chupamiubrechupamiubre Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    olanmills wrote: »
    I haven't brought a smartphone to PAX in past years, but I took one to E3 this year and had perfect 3G coverage the whole time. I was surprised by it actually. Now, I don't know if that's because they set up something special for the convention like someone mentioned on the previous page, but who knows, it might work fine at PAX.

    Eh with e3 companies typically drop in small cell towers that are built into semi trucks. With any luck this will happen for pax i know the information has been given to the proper people lets hope it works out.

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    61Ranchero61Ranchero Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Theros wrote: »
    Kyouteki wrote: »
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure Sprint 4G won't be too congested, although I'll only turn it on when I need it, lest my battery die a premature death.
    HTC EVO's have 4G priority hence the extra $10

    That $10 is, in theory, going 100% towards the cost of deployment of their 4G network. Whether or not a prioritization scheme is in effect (or could be deployed, etc etc), I do not know, given that I am not an engineer in that field... Provided there is 4G coverage, data services may be available, however, also keep in mind that PAX also has a tendency to attract attendees who own similar devices. It may be entirely possible that the concentration of EVOs is high enough to impact 4G services.

    It would be a concern if HTC could actually get enough of them produced to worry about (I kid!)

    I'm hoping that, even if slower than normal due to traffic, 4g service will still be able to outperform 3g/wifi options at the event. If not, well, I still love my EVO.

    61Ranchero on
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    psychopezpsychopez Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So it sounds like I'll be the only one on T-Mobile, so me and my HTC myTouch will have all the lovly TMOB WIFI and 3G to ourselves. :)

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    DracilDracil Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Doesn't T-Mobile use AT&T's towers?

    But I'll be on T-Mobile as well. :P

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    faitsfaits a panda eating cake seattleRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Tmob has their own towers. They do contract with ATT and others for roaming (because their network is so tiny.)

    The way you can tell that they don't use ATT's towers is by standing next to someone with an iphone at the convention center and you have service while they don't.

    faits on
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    whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    faits wrote: »
    The way you can tell that they don't use ATT's towers is by standing next to someone with an iphone at the convention center and you have service while they don't.

    This was me during Prime last year (as the T-Mobile user).

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