Do I really need a Smartphone?

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:12 pm

I don't know why yours takes so long. Is the cellphone the very first phone you have configured in your GV? It almost sounds like it might be trying to ring another phone first (GV can try them in turn).

Hmmm. I had a google voice number several years ago when I first heard about it. At that time you had to apply and wait. I never used it and a while back google notified me it would be canceled. It might still be lurking somewhere though. Could that be involved somehow? It was a completely different google voice number than the new one I just set up. I have 3 different gmail accounts so I think I'll search them all to see if that old google voice number is still out there somewhere.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:37 pm

Q1. Security of the hotspot connectivity

What do you do to secure your hotspot connectivity (besides restricting usage to HTTPS servers)? Hotspotshield is a popular free Android app. Is it a good choice, or there are better ones?

A tech-savvy friend says that he prefers paying for a cellular service to the risks of free hot-spots. I am interested in comments.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:42 pm

Q2. Using a smartphone to tether a laptop

A friend says that the Verizon network allows him to use a smartphone as a hotspot to which he can tether his laptop. The AT&T network does not allow him to do so. He speculates that this function may be turned off by AT&T in the phones they provide. There is also a question whether AirVoice could (would) block tethering capability over AT&T's network.

I am interested in any experiences with this. This would be particularly useful if I decided to forgo free WiFi and only used cellular networks in the U.S. and abroad.

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby ogd » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:06 pm

VictoriaF wrote:What do you do to secure your hotspot connectivity (besides restricting usage to HTTPS servers)? Hotspotshield is a popular free Android app. Is it a good choice, or there are better ones?

HTTPs only is a very good idea. The app sounds reasonable, though you are trusting a third party with your connection (mostly: their reliability). In general, I would not bother with VPN unless I was in a shady place (e.g. China or Russia), or it was an entirely open hotspot as opposed to the ones where you get a code from the register. I'm seeing the former less and less. When I'm in such a place I use my work VPN, though my home router can also do it. A secured hotspot protects you from the other customers, but not from the provider of the connection.

VictoriaF wrote:A friend says that the Verizon network allows him to use a smartphone as a hotspot to which he can tether his laptop. The AT&T network does not allow him to do so. He speculates that this function may be turned off by AT&T in the phones they provide. There is also a question whether AirVoice could (would) block tethering capability over AT&T's network.

I am interested in any experiences with this. This would be particularly useful if I decided to forgo free WiFi and only used cellular networks in the U.S. and abroad.


With a Nexus you can use hotspot as much as you want since there's no carrier software to prevent it. That said, the provider has ways to tell that unencrypted traffic is a tethered laptop rather than a cellphone, and I've heard stories of people being charged the hotspot fee as a result. The subcontracting operators like StraightTalk are said to be the most vigilant about this and they'll kick you out. When I had T-mobile without a hotspot allowance I would start a VPN before anything else to hide the traffic from them (demonstrating the point above about protection from the provider). But now, the new T-mobile plans include 500MB free hotspot, more than enough for my use because I do high bandwidth stuff like listening to music on the phone itself not the laptop, so all's well.

No one will give you truly unlimited hotspot because they're afraid you'll use it as substitute for a home network connection. Not unreasonably, I'd say.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:17 pm

ogd wrote:When I had T-mobile without a hotspot allowance I would start a VPN before anything else to hide the traffic from them (demonstrating the point above about protection from the provider).


ogd,

The connection you are describing was as follows:
T-Mobile cellular network (TM) <===> smartphone (SP) <===> laptop (LT)

In this environment:
TM <===> SP was a regular cellular network providing data services
SP <===> LT was a VPN.

Did you have to configure VPN on the SP ("server") and on the LT ("client")? If yes, what software did you use and how difficult was it to configure it?

Thank you,

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:23 pm

ogd wrote:The subcontracting operators like StraightTalk are said to be the most vigilant about this and they'll kick you out.


I checked this out with respect to AirVoice and found a relevant discussion in howardforums.

In July 2012, people in Howardforums wrote:Q. anyone tried tethering on airvoice?
...
A. As for tethering , Air Voice gives you 500 megs or one gig with no strings attached. No throttling, no penalty for how you use it. You bought the gig, you can use it any way you want. The only downside to this is that if you go over, it is expensive to buy add on data from them at this time...


Currently, the most expensive AirVoice service is $55/month and it provides unlimited voice calls and text messages, and up to 1GB of web use. The $40/month service allows up to 500MB of the web use. With the $30/month service, data is available only with a cash card.

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby ogd » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:36 pm

VictoriaF wrote:T-Mobile cellular network (TM) <===> smartphone (SP) <===> laptop (LT)


Victoria: we have to add the site you're connecting to into the mix:

LT <===> SP <====> TM <====> WWW

Your goal is to secure the traffic from SP to WWW so that TM only sees jibberish and it's not able to tell it's "dekstop-style" traffic. If it's HTTPs already, all's good. A VPN works like:

LT <===> SP <====> TM <====> VPN server <====> WWW

The connections LT-SP and SP-TM are generally secure already.

It's your choice whether to run the "client" VPN endpoint on the laptop or on the smartphone. I'd prefer smartphone, just so TM doesn't see some accidental browser refresh from the laptop before you put up the VPN. Also, VPN from the smartphone is useful for other reasons (hotspots you don't trust). I used the VPN software built into my phone. It's very easy, but you need access to a VPN server, which is one reason why the apps might be nicer if you don't have that already.

VictoriaF wrote:In July 2012, people in Howardforums wrote:
Q. anyone tried tethering on airvoice?
...
A. As for tethering , Air Voice gives you 500 megs or one gig with no strings attached. No throttling, no penalty for how you use it. You bought the gig, you can use it any way you want. The only downside to this is that if you go over, it is expensive to buy add on data from them at this time...


That's very nice of them, it sounds like you don't need to worry about it much.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:53 pm

Q3. International rates using local SIM

I checked the two countries I will be visiting in the near future.

Features of the $19 SIM in Slovakia:
- Make calls: from $0.49/min
- Receive calls: FREE
- Connection fee: $0.35
- Send text messages: $0.69
- Receive text messages: FREE (on Global number)
- Prepaid Data: $0.49/MB
- Credit: $10 included in the SIM price

Features of the $49.95 SIM in Spain:
Initial credit:
- €9.00 Euros
- FREE local calls
- 400 minutes of international calls

Calls within Spain
- Free incoming
- Free outgoing
- €0.15/connection per outgoing call

International Call Rates
- Free incoming
- €0.01 per min outgoing
- €0.29/connection per call
- Text / SMS Rates Free Incoming
- €0.28 per message outgoing local
- €0.71 international

Data/Internet Rates
€0.30 for 10MB of 3G speed data connectivity per day

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:03 pm

ogd,

So your VPN is not between the smartphone and the laptop, but it is between the smartphone and some server on the Internet. Who provides that server?

Thank you,
Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:22 pm

Q4. Maximum data rates of the U.S. MVNO providers using the AT&T network

Here are come selected rates:
- AirVoice - $55 - 1GB
- Black Wireless - $60 - 2GB
- good2GO Mobile - $55 - 1GB
- H2O Wireless - $60 - 2GB
- Jolt Mobile - $60 - 1GB
- Pure TalkUSA - $43.95 - 1GB
- Red Pocket Mobile - $60 - 2GB

Each provider also offers some number of voice minutes and text messaging allocations. Here, I was particularly interested in the maximum monthly data rates.

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby ogd » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:58 pm

VictoriaF wrote:ogd,

So your VPN is not between the smartphone and the laptop, but it is between the smartphone and some server on the Internet. Who provides that server?

Thank you,
Victoria


My work is one option. My home router is another. Or an app like hotspotshield has its own servers.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:52 pm

Just a heads up on PureTalk. They have the cheapest 1G plan but they don't cut you off when you've used that up. Instead you get charged for the overage, which is a little pricey. If you go with them, you'll have to keep close track of your monthly data useage. AirVoice just cuts you off -- I know because it happened to me. On the 500MB plan you actually just have 400MB before they cut you off. Then you have to call customer service and beg for the other 100MB. Sort of a nuisance and don't know why.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:55 pm

ogd wrote:
Browser wrote:As soon as you guys solve the phone # = SiM issue, can you get to work on the "GV lag" issue? I still can't figure it out. The called phone using the GV number doesn't start to ring until the fourth ring of the calling phone. Then I only get 2 rings on the called phone before the calling phone gets kicked to voicemail, and then there are no more rings on the called phone - a total of 2 rings before I have to pick up to avoid the caller being kicked to voicemail. If this is going to happen every time somebody calls my cellphone on the GV number it will effectively be unusable. Help me!!!

I did a quick test with my GV. So there is indeed an extra ring that the cell phone does not get, maybe 3 seconds or so, and it sounds a little different than the rest, like you're ringing two different phones (which I guess you are, in effect). I'd never noticed this before. Still, it's only one and the cellphone does get a good 20 seconds plus of ringing after that.

I don't know why yours takes so long. Is the cellphone the very first phone you have configured in your GV? It almost sounds like it might be trying to ring another phone first (GV can try them in turn).

The delay explanation you found on the internet is different, I think, it has to do with outgoing calls through GV -- your phone has to tell the GV dispatch (or whatever it's called) who to actually dial. For incoming there should be no internet involved.


Perhaps it has to do with the additional time necessary for the signal to travel to yet another tower before bouncing to your provider's tower and then to you? Some physicist here might tell me that is ridiculous, but I'm just speculating. I once had two phones with different providers for a few days and noticed a slight voice delay when I called myself from one phone to the other and that is what I attributed it to. Ultimately the physics are interesting but don't really matter...what matters is if the problem is or is not correctable, and that you should be able to find out on a GV forum.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:54 pm

Perhaps it has to do with the additional time necessary for the signal to travel to yet another tower before bouncing to your provider's tower and then to you? Some physicist here might tell me that is ridiculous, but I'm just speculating. I once had two phones with different providers for a few days and noticed a slight voice delay when I called myself from one phone to the other and that is what I attributed it to. Ultimately the physics are interesting but don't really matter...what matters is if the problem is or is not correctable, and that you should be able to find out on a GV forum.

I don't get the lag when I call cell-to-cell. It's only when GV is in the equation: Cell#1-->GV-->Cell2

Interestingly, I get the lag both ways: when calling to the GV cell by dialing the GV number, and when calling from the GV cell using GV (it gives you the option of placing the call from the carrier number or the GV number). That extra link through GV must be causing the lag somehow. I'm guessing that the speed of your internet connection has something to do with that, but I'm supposedly connected at fast 3G (HSPA+) on the smartphone.

GV users already know this, I'm sure, but I just found out that GV doesn't work with the smartphone if it can't connect to the internet. One of the quirks with AirVoice is that every now and then it refuses to connect to the internet on your data plan. When using Chrome, for example, I'll get the cryptic message "Access Denied" on the Chrome screen. What the heck is that all about? I took me a few times to figure out that my smartphone is acting like it doesn't have any data connection capability.

This just happened. I couldn't place a call from the phone via GV. I couldn't figure out why that wasn't working until I then tried to connect to the internet with Chrome and kept getting the Access Denied message. I turned the phone off and on a couple times and still no joy. So I called AirVoice CS and she said she would "reset that service feature". Finally I could connect the internet again and I could also make GV calls from the phone. I'm thinking this kind of flakiness is going to be one of the prices we pay for getting cheap paygo service. C'est la vie.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:41 pm

This is kinda a longish post, but bear with me if you are interested in the problem I've been having with Google Voice on my smartphone with AirVoice Wireless service. I have the plan that includes 500MB of data per month.

In my previous post I said I suddenly could not make GV calls from the smartphone. To explain: I have a GV number linked to the AirVoice carrier number for that phone, so it can be called by dialing the GV number. I can also place calls from that phone, and when I do, I get a dialog box to choose whether I want to call using the carrier number or the GV number (That will be the number that shows up on the called phone's Caller ID).

For some reason, I could not place calls using the GV number, although I had previously done so. I also discovered that I could not connect to the internet using apps such as Chrome or Maps on that phone. That has happened before, and when it does I get the odd message "Access Denied" when trying to use Chrome. For some reason, the phone was acting as if I did not have a data connection capability. I called AirVoice CS and the data connection capability was restored, so that I could once again connect to the internet. Also, I could once again place calls from the phone using GV.

So, I concluded that you must need a data connection in order to use GV. But that turns out to be wrong. I found that out by de-selecting the mobile data traffic option on the phone and then calling to and calling from that phone with mobile data turned off, using the GV number for both. Worked fine, so obviously you don't need a data connection to receive or place GV calls.

If you've gotten this far reading this post, here's the interesting part. When I turned the data connection option OFF on this phone, I no longer have the GV lag when placing or receiving GV calls that I've been complaining about. Turn it on, the lag reappears. Turn it off, it goes away. WHY IN THE HECK IS IT DOING THAT?

The problem is, of course, that the data connection option is almost always going to be ON. And when it is on, I have a 4-ring lag on incoming calls and outgoing calls using GV. I'm surmising that there might be something kinda flakey about AirVoice data. For some reason, it seems to conflict with phone calls using GV and causes that lag. If that's the case, you are doomed to the dreaded GV lag when you are using AirVoice. I hope that's not the case, and will be looking forward to what Victoria has to say after she's gotten AirVoice up on her new Nexus and tries to use GV.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby ogd » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:08 pm

Browser, it seems you've stumbled upon a dark corner of technology :)

Two things I can think of:
Is your phone configured to make wifi calls when possible? T-mobile has that option, but it's rather laggy.
If you go to google.com/voice, is your cell the very first phone listed? before gchat and any other phone.

I can't understand what else could cause the lag, particularly on receiving calls. That should be a pure phone call, no data involved.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:02 pm

The key to solving Browser's issue is to understand how ringing is triggered in the originating phone. In the traditional telephony, the initiating phone does not start ringing until the wired network has located the destination phone and figured out whether the destination phone is free or busy.

Mobile networks use shortcuts and may start ringing the source device before the destination device has been definitively located. Browser's source network is Sprint, and the destination network is AT&T with AirVoice's overlay logic. When the call goes directly from Sprint to AT&T, the two networks use some protocol by which AT&T tells Sprint, "I found the destination device, you can now start ringing at the source."

When a call goes through Google Voice, it's GV that tells Sprint, "I am the destination device, you can now start ringing at the source." Sprint starts ringing the source device as if the end-to-end connection has been created. In the meantime, GV starts looking for the real destination, which is on AT&T's network.

The ringing on the originating device is taking place while GV is still trying to connect to and through AirVoice/AT&T. The AirVoice overlay creates additional delays, because GV "talks" to AirVoice, and AirVoice "talks" to AT&T. Note that the goals of the call setup process are not only to identify the path between the end devices, but also for all participating networks to figure out if these are legitimate users and how they will be paying for the call. Thus some databases with user records must be consulted before the call connection is completed.

Also, as a low-cost provider AirVoice may be using less efficient networks. As a month-by-month service provider, it may have a high customer turnover and a slower process for customer verification.

So why turning off the data plan solves the problem? Sprint, Google, and AT&T are interconnected in different ways, using different technologies. Perhaps, when data is off, the networks establish a connection using the control planes of the cellular and traditional telephony, which are very fast. When the data plan is on, the call setup information is sent over packet networks that are more prone delays and retransmissions.

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby halfnine » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:25 pm

I have a google voice number that I ported over from my cell phone years ago when I left the USA and no longer had a need for a USA cell phone. I also have a SkypeIn number (for the USA) that I use. I have never tried forwarding my google voice to the SkypeIn and then forwarding it to foreign SIM. Due to time changes I am not sure that most of the time I would want to. But it sounds like an interesting idea and I'll try to give it a test in the next few days when I have time. I also have a SkypeIn number (in another country). Although, it would appear it shouldn't make a difference which SkypeIn number I use, I'll give that a try as well as that could have some use as well if I was to spend a few months in a country where I could just pay for a temporary SkypeIn number.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:54 pm

VictoriaF wrote:The key to solving Browser's issue is to understand how ringing is triggered in the originating phone. In the traditional telephony, the initiating phone does not start ringing until the wired network has located the destination phone and figured out whether the destination phone is free or busy.

Mobile networks use shortcuts and may start ringing the source device before the destination device has been definitively located. Browser's source network is Sprint, and the destination network is AT&T with AirVoice's overlay logic. When the call goes directly from Sprint to AT&T, the two networks use some protocol by which AT&T tells Sprint, "I found the destination device, you can now start ringing at the source."

When a call goes through Google Voice, it's GV that tells Sprint, "I am the destination device, you can now start ringing at the source." Sprint starts ringing the source device as if the end-to-end connection has been created. In the meantime, GV starts looking for the real destination, which is on AT&T's network.

The ringing on the originating device is taking place while GV is still trying to connect to and through AirVoice/AT&T. The AirVoice overlay creates additional delays, because GV "talks" to AirVoice, and AirVoice "talks" to AT&T. Note that the goals of the call setup process are not only to identify the path between the end devices, but also for all participating networks to figure out if these are legitimate users and how they will be paying for the call. Thus some databases with user records must be consulted before the call connection is completed.

Also, as a low-cost provider AirVoice may be using less efficient networks. As a month-by-month service provider, it may have a high customer turnover and a slower process for customer verification.

So why turning off the data plan solves the problem? Sprint, Google, and AT&T are interconnected in different ways, using different technologies. Perhaps, when data is off, the networks establish a connection using the control planes of the cellular and traditional telephony, which are very fast. When the data plan is on, the call setup information is sent over packet networks that are more prone delays and retransmissions.

Victoria

Wow. That is a brilliant and impressive explanation. I was going to explain it in terms of electronic gremlins that are out to get me because I've offended them some way in the past. :annoyed

I've played around some more and am still getting the repeatable pattern that when data is OFF on the phone there is just a one ring delay when it is called on GV, which is about what I get when I call mobile-to-mobile without using GV. When data is ON, I get a 4 ring delay, sometimes even 5. What this seems to amount to is the GV is pretty useless with AirVoice. I'd have to leave data OFF as the default to receive GV calls. If you have this same experience, I'd be most interested in the confirmation. I'm postponing my plan to port my Sprint number over to Google, since GV seems unworkable right now. Too bad. I'll probably have to port it to AirVoice instead. I'd try contacting AirVoice about this, but I have the feeling nobody over there would know anything or it would be unlikely I'd manage to end up talking to someone who did.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:37 am

Browser wrote:
GV users already know this, I'm sure, but I just found out that GV doesn't work with the smartphone if it can't connect to the internet. One of the quirks with AirVoice is that every now and then it refuses to connect to the internet on your data plan. When using Chrome, for example, I'll get the cryptic message "Access Denied" on the Chrome screen. What the heck is that all about? I took me a few times to figure out that my smartphone is acting like it doesn't have any data connection capability..


If it only happens with 3G, it is possible you are getting throttled. I got messages like that on ST after, for instance, listening to an entire podcast on 3G and then trying to load another, or do anything else on the net. If I waited x minutes, it would allow me access again.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:47 am

You could just bite the bullet and decide it is not worth having your calls forwarded by GV. Given all the complications people here are experiencing, I think that will ultimately be my decision. I use GV a lot to make outgoing calls from abroad. But rather than deal with all this, I think I would prefer just to keep my important contacts aware of my number (if I have one) abroad than to have it ported, and if I lose my domestic number just apply for another one when I return.

By the way, I don't know about AirVoice, but with ST, if you have your own (non-st proprietary) phone, if you want to maintain it you have to use at least their $45 plan...the cheaper plans don't work. I didn't know that when I signed up.

Still, the "unlimited talk/text/data" feature is worth it to me, just to avoid the hassle of counting minutes and megabytes, as was the case when I was with Verizon. It makes life a lot simpler.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:05 am

ogd wrote:Browser, it seems you've stumbled upon a dark corner of technology :)

Two things I can think of:
Is your phone configured to make wifi calls when possible? T-mobile has that option, but it's rather laggy.
If you go to google.com/voice, is your cell the very first phone listed? before gchat and any other phone.

I can't understand what else could cause the lag, particularly on receiving calls. That should be a pure phone call, no data involved.

With due respect to Victoria's wonderful technocryptic explanation, I'm giving the Genius of the Year award to ogd for this one. I decided to check into this one more thing mentioned by ogd. I found that Google Chat was checked in addition to the phone as a forwarding destination and unchecked it. Hallelujah! That did it! For reasons unknown, when data is set to ON on the phone, I get the ring delay when Google Chat is checked in GV setup. It doesn't cause a ring delay when data is set to OFF on the phone. Obviously, the solution to the ring delay mystery is to make sure you have Google Chat unchecked in GV setup. I don't even know what the heck Google Chat is! I only have the one phone designated as a forwarding destination in GV setup. I don't know if the ring delay will reappear if another phone is added, since I don't currently have another one to add. Thank You OGD!
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:09 am

Browser wrote:I was going to explain it in terms of electronic gremlins that are out to get me because I've offended them some way in the past. :annoyed.


The electronic gremlins are also a factor. As I described earlier, a lot of work is taking place on the background before your call is connected. The efficiency of that background work (called "control plane") depends on how many networks are involved, how the connectivity between these networks is provisioned, and how efficient each of these networks is. I am speculating that the control plane may work better in more populated areas. Google is based in Mountain View, and thus they probably serve that area very well. Even if they use servers elsewhere, when they test networks they are more likely to do it from home. If Google employees experienced something similar to what you do, they probably would have fixed it.

AT&T is headquartered in New Jersey, and that's where they have not just most of their staff but also major operating facilities. I suspect that not only New Jersey is served well by AT&T, but also other providers such as AirVoice connect to AT&T in New Jersey or near-by. The Internet traffic is commonly exchanged at Internet Exchange Points (IEPs), especially between minor and major carriers. On the East Coast, Metropolitan Area Exchanges, MAE-East IEPs, are located in Vienna, Virginia; Reston, Virginia; Ashburn, Virginia; New York, New York; and Miami, Florida. MAE-West, in addition to being a sex symbol, is a group of West-coast IEPs located in San Jose, California and Los Angeles, California.

You have offended the gremlins by not living in any of these locations.

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:16 am

Browser wrote:
ogd wrote:Browser, it seems you've stumbled upon a dark corner of technology :)

Two things I can think of:
Is your phone configured to make wifi calls when possible? T-mobile has that option, but it's rather laggy.
If you go to google.com/voice, is your cell the very first phone listed? before gchat and any other phone.

I can't understand what else could cause the lag, particularly on receiving calls. That should be a pure phone call, no data involved.

With due respect to Victoria's wonderful technocryptic explanation, I'm giving the Genius of the Year award to ogd for this one.


Next year I will try harder.

Browser wrote:I decided to check into this one more thing mentioned by ogd. I found that Google Chat was checked in addition to the phone as a forwarding destination and unchecked it. Hallelujah! That did it! For reasons unknown, when data is set to ON on the phone, I get the ring delay when Google Chat is checked in GV setup. It doesn't cause a ring delay when data is set to OFF on the phone. Obviously, the solution to the ring delay mystery is to make sure you have Google Chat unchecked in GV setup. I don't even know what the heck Google Chat is! I only have the one phone designated as a forwarding destination in GV setup. I don't know if the ring delay will reappear if another phone is added, since I don't currently have another one to add. Thank You OGD!


After you have unchecked Google Chat, you stopped experiencing a ringing delay even when your data is ON?

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:21 am

Right. The dreaded ring delay is gone when GC is unchecked, even when data is ON (well actually I get a 1-ring delay which I think is the "normal"). I just hope it doesn't reappear and that I'm not being duped by those gremlins again. Also, the delay is gone going the other way -- from the smartphone with the GV number back to the Sprint cellphone via the GV app on the smartphone
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby ogd » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:13 pm

Yay! I'm happy for you Browser. I think GV was trying to find you on the chat network, which is cheaper (data only). I've never tried it, but it might be another option for using GV abroad.

VictoriaF's explanation was reasonable too, there is another phone exchange in the mix.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:26 pm

I'm nominating Victoria for the Silver Medal. I think she knows whereof she speaks. Insightful, profound, but OGD wins in the actionability category and therefore takes home the gold. :beer
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:46 pm

Browser wrote:I'm nominating Victoria for the Silver Medal. I think she knows whereof she speaks. Insightful, profound, but OGD wins in the actionability category and therefore takes home the gold. :beer


As they say, "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice, there is."

Cheers,

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby wander » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:53 pm

Browser wrote:What do people do with these things that they can't live without?

Checking email is a breeze and instantly with smartphone, information is at my fingertips.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:55 pm

Browser wrote:I'm nominating Victoria for the Silver Medal. I think she knows whereof she speaks. Insightful, profound, but OGD wins in the actionability category and therefore takes home the gold. :beer


By the way, can you nominate someone else for the Silver Medal and give me the Bronze? Studies show that Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners.

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:42 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Browser wrote:I'm nominating Victoria for the Silver Medal. I think she knows whereof she speaks. Insightful, profound, but OGD wins in the actionability category and therefore takes home the gold. :beer


By the way, can you nominate someone else for the Silver Medal and give me the Bronze? Studies show that Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners.

Victoria

Is that because silver medalists are clearly losers who expected to win, but the bronze medalists probably didn't think they had a chance in the first place (haven't read the link yet)? The power of expectations. How about awarding you both the silver and the bronze? Then you'll be a bronver medalist or maybe a sronz.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:53 pm

Browser wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Browser wrote:I'm nominating Victoria for the Silver Medal. I think she knows whereof she speaks. Insightful, profound, but OGD wins in the actionability category and therefore takes home the gold. :beer


By the way, can you nominate someone else for the Silver Medal and give me the Bronze? Studies show that Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners.

Victoria

Is that because silver medalists are clearly losers who expected to win, but the bronze medalists probably didn't think they had a chance in the first place (haven't read the link yet)? The power of expectations. How about awarding you both the silver and the bronze? Then you'll be a bronver medalist or maybe a sronz.


Very good, Browser! Now, I have even more confidence that you--and your medalists--will solve all the problems in the (smartphone) world. I cannot possibly accept both medals; your team needs all the (good) members it can get.

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:34 pm

Q5. Checklist of applications for getting started with Android.

Here is my preliminary checklist for getting started with Android. These are functional applications useful for most people. They are free, except as noted.

1. Antivirus
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... irus&hl=en

2. G Cloud Backup
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... loudbackup
‎http://www.itworld.com/mobile-wireless/360032/download-free-g-cloud-backup-app-android-devices - instructions

3. Skype
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... ype.raider
http://community.skype.com/t5/Android/F ... m-p/211358 - User forum

4. VPN - Hotspot shield
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... .vpn&hl=en - recommended by CNET and other publications.

5. Gmail
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... android.gm

6. Browser
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... oid.chrome - Chrome
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... la.firefox - Firefox

7. Google search
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... ksearchbox

8. YouTube
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... tube&hl=en

9. Kindle
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... zon.kindle

10. MP3
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... mp3p&hl=en - MePlayer

11. Adobe
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... obe.reader

12. Wikipedia
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... .wikipedia

13. Dictionary
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... dictionary

14. File management
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... rhmsoft.fm - File Manager

15. Translations
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... .translate - Google translate
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... pmtappfree‎ - Online Translator (highly rated)

16. Notes
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... note&hl=en‎ - Evernote
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... epad.notes - InkPad‎

17. Photographs ($2.99)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... cameraZoom - Camera Zoom

18. Maps
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... .apps.maps

19 Encryption
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... .sse&hl=en - Secret Space Encryptor (SSE) - Password Manager, Message (Text) Encryption and File Encryption

20. Google keyboard
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... thod.latin

----------

If any important functions are missing in this list--or better applications for the listed functions exist--please let us know. Thank you,

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:42 am

I was just thinking about this new phenomenon, where people seem to talk more ABOUT their phones than ON them.

When we all had landlines, I don't ever remember talking ABOUT my phone. EVER. "Hey, what kind of phone do you have?" "I simply love my new Bell Princess Phone"- and I found that if you replace the speaker with a Western Electric 3" Megatweeter it eliminates the tinny quality. It's just two wires....anybody with a soldering iron can do it in 15 minutes. Last night my sister played her Buddy Holly 45s through it and I felt like Buddy was right there playing his strat in my ear......"
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:39 am

Memo to smartphone owners - watch your back. In the news lately that 1.6 million smartphone owners had their phone stolen last year, often by getting knocked over the head while using it in public. Apple is now going to include a "kill switch" in iPhones so a stolen phone can be permanently disabled. Enjoy the toy -- but be careful out there...
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby beanstock » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:48 am

One downside of most apps is you have to allow them to gain access to all sorts of info from your phone to be able to use them. They are in a way malware/adware.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:02 am

beanstock wrote:One downside of most apps is you have to allow them to gain access to all sorts of info from your phone to be able to use them. They are in a way malware/adware.

That's probably why they are mostly free.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:48 am

Browser wrote:
beanstock wrote:One downside of most apps is you have to allow them to gain access to all sorts of info from your phone to be able to use them. They are in a way malware/adware.

That's probably why they are mostly free.


Yeah, but they are such seductive little suckers. I'm not too worried about my phone apps....I suppose they might be able to get my number and sell it- more than that happens whenever you use a credit card I would guess- but I'm willing to pay the price for all the convenience it is buying me. What astounds me is how people use their REAL NAME on social media like Facebook, download a bunch of apps that do little more than send your friends a cyber-beer or something, discuss intimate details of their personal and work lives, and don't get the potential impact on their future.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Epsilon Delta » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:51 pm

protagonist wrote:I was just thinking about this new phenomenon, where people seem to talk more ABOUT their phones than ON them.

When we all had landlines, I don't ever remember talking ABOUT my phone. EVER. "Hey, what kind of phone do you have?" "I simply love my new Bell Princess Phone"- and I found that if you replace the speaker with a Western Electric 3" Megatweeter it eliminates the tinny quality. It's just two wires....anybody with a soldering iron can do it in 15 minutes. Last night my sister played her Buddy Holly 45s through it and I felt like Buddy was right there playing his strat in my ear......"

I remember my Grandmother talking about her fancy-pants neighbors who had a two-party line or even, gasp, single line service, rather than the normal 4 or 8 party line.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:20 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
protagonist wrote:I was just thinking about this new phenomenon, where people seem to talk more ABOUT their phones than ON them.

When we all had landlines, I don't ever remember talking ABOUT my phone. EVER. "Hey, what kind of phone do you have?" "I simply love my new Bell Princess Phone"- and I found that if you replace the speaker with a Western Electric 3" Megatweeter it eliminates the tinny quality. It's just two wires....anybody with a soldering iron can do it in 15 minutes. Last night my sister played her Buddy Holly 45s through it and I felt like Buddy was right there playing his strat in my ear......"

I remember my Grandmother talking about her fancy-pants neighbors who had a two-party line or even, gasp, single line service, rather than the normal 4 or 8 party line.


An 8-line party line was a technology marvel in comparison to the smoke signals, and no one ever talked on the smoke signals. We came a full circle, or rather, made a spiral. The app store for the smoke signals was pretty barren.

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Seoulseeker » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:44 am

No, you don't need one, and neither do I, but mine pays for itself many times over saving me time with good directions, saving me money by helping me make informed decisions, saving me money by allowing me to comparison shop on the spot, improving my experiences by allowing me to use spare moments to catch up on reading, learn more when visiting a new place, or discover something new that is just around the corner that I would otherwise never have known about. At the end of the day this is something only you can answer though.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:28 pm

VictoriaF wrote:An 8-line party line was a technology marvel in comparison to the smoke signals, and no one ever talked on the smoke signals. We came a full circle, or rather, made a spiral.

Victoria


It was a forward-thinking precursor to Facebook. Way ahead of its time.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:33 pm

Update on AirVoice Wireless. Just drove from Phoenix to KC and found that the service can be a little spotty when travelling. Noticed I didn't have service when I stopped at Santa Rosa, NM, right on I-40. Don't know how long it had been unavailable since I had last used the phone in Gallup, NM. Didn't get a signal again until I got to Texas on SR 54, nearly 150 miles or so. Lost it again while in the Oklahoma panhandle on SR 54. I also noticed that I had a weak signal in several areas which probably would have precluded using Nav or other data services had I wanted to. These are low population areas, but are on well-travelled highways, so I have some concern about it. With prepaid you have no roaming so you're stuck with one service provider's towers (in this case AT&T). That's one of the drawbacks of prepaid. If you plan to travel a lot, especially in low population areas, I'm figuring prepaid may not cut it. I guess one of the advantages is that you can quit the service if you don't like it. I'm guessing that all the prepaid GSM providers like AirVoice are all going to be the same, but don't actually know. The only alternative is expensive contract services that permit roaming.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:03 am

Browser wrote:Memo to smartphone owners - watch your back. In the news lately that 1.6 million smartphone owners had their phone stolen last year, often by getting knocked over the head while using it in public. Apple is now going to include a "kill switch" in iPhones so a stolen phone can be permanently disabled. Enjoy the toy -- but be careful out there...



1.6 million across the world? Or in the USA? In the USA makes sense....that would probably mean one out of every hundred or so people get their phone stolen. Then again, I wonder what percentage of people get their wallet stolen.

I was really happy to carry a $20 phone in Venezuela last winter- friends with good iPhones. Galaxies, etc were getting them stolen all the time- often snatched out of their hands while they were using them. And airline officials were stealing loads of them out of bags- so never pack them.

It's a toss-up....the functionality of a quality smartphone when traveling is great and revolutionizes the whole travel experience, since they can be used as maps, gps's, e-readers, tour guides, restaurant guides, communication tools, cameras/vcr's, translators, dictionaries, media centers, computers, etc all in one pocket device. I downloaded an app yesterday that performs high quality translation of spoken words into 160 languages. But it all comes with definite tangible risk.

There are apps that will lock the phone, pinpoint the location of the phone, and sound a loud alarm when a thief tries to use the phone. That is helpful if you lose your phone. But if stolen I doubt that many are recovered.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:12 am

Browser wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Browser wrote:I'm nominating Victoria for the Silver Medal. I think she knows whereof she speaks. Insightful, profound, but OGD wins in the actionability category and therefore takes home the gold. :beer


By the way, can you nominate someone else for the Silver Medal and give me the Bronze? Studies show that Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners.

Victoria



If true, that's pretty fascinating. I wonder if that finding is robust, and how that study was done....sample size etc....

Definitely, coming in last is more exciting than coming in next-to-last. It gives you comical barroom bragging rights. In some sailing races, the sailor who comes in last is awarded the "cook's trophy" (assumption being he was more interested in cooking and eating than in tweaking his sails). A friend of mine came in next-to-last in the Newport, RI-Bermuda race, out of, I think, hundreds of boats. I was astounded that he didn't just slow down to win the trophy. I certainly would have. (Then again, the guy who came in last may have been fiercely competitive and slowed down even more).
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:28 am

Browser wrote:Update on AirVoice Wireless. Just drove from Phoenix to KC and found that the service can be a little spotty when travelling. Noticed I didn't have service when I stopped at Santa Rosa, NM, right on I-40. Don't know how long it had been unavailable since I had last used the phone in Gallup, NM. Didn't get a signal again until I got to Texas on SR 54, nearly 150 miles or so. Lost it again while in the Oklahoma panhandle on SR 54. I also noticed that I had a weak signal in several areas which probably would have precluded using Nav or other data services had I wanted to. These are low population areas, but are on well-travelled highways, so I have some concern about it. With prepaid you have no roaming so you're stuck with one service provider's towers (in this case AT&T). That's one of the drawbacks of prepaid. If you plan to travel a lot, especially in low population areas, I'm figuring prepaid may not cut it. I guess one of the advantages is that you can quit the service if you don't like it. I'm guessing that all the prepaid GSM providers like AirVoice are all going to be the same, but don't actually know. The only alternative is expensive contract services that permit roaming.


The service may have been just as spotty if you used AT+T in those remote areas. I think I get comparable phone service with Straight Talk on AT+T as my friends on AT+T contracts. I think I have have calls dropped perhaps slightly more often than when I was on contract with Verizon when I drive in rural Vermont, but that is to be expected because Verizon has a wider network of towers than AT+T..

In addition, the MVNO's don't allow you to roam on other carriers' networks, so it makes sense that coverage will suffer to a degree on MVNO's, especially in remote regions. I've been on Straight Talk since last summer (minus 5 winter months) and I haven't found it to be a serious problem.

If you want to test your data speeds, you can download a free app called "Speedtest". My download/upload speeds on whatever ST uses (3G? 4G?) in my home measured, surprisingly, equivalent to, or even a little faster than, my Verizon Wifi speeds (over 6 Mbps down, about 1.3 Mbps up). But I could barely get any coverage where I went to vote yesterday- about 50 Kbps down- effectively useless. I have no idea how often that happens.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:31 am

An aside....what I like best about the Galaxy vs the iPhone, is when you send an email, automatically appended at the bottom of your message is the following line: "Sent from my galaxy". Zaphod Beeblebrox would have appreciated that.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:07 pm

If you want to test your data speeds, you can download a free app called "Speedtest". My download/upload speeds on whatever ST uses (3G? 4G?) in my home measured, surprisingly, equivalent to, or even a little faster than, my Verizon Wifi speeds (over 6 Mbps down, about 1.3 Mbps up). But I could barely get any coverage where I went to vote yesterday- about 50 Kbps down- effectively useless. I have no idea how often that happens.

Well, I just did that. There is an app called Speedtest and another one called Speedtest.net. I used both and they disagree somewhat. When connected via a home WiFi cable internet I got around 5-6 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up also. But when connected via AirVoice data my download was a whopping 9 Kbps and upload around 15 Kbps. The connection speed that is displayed on the phone is HSPA with 5 bars, which is as good as it gets with this service, based on my experience so far. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about HSPA+ connection speeds:
HSPA+ provides an evolution of High Speed Packet Access and provides data rates up to 168 Megabits per second (Mbit/s) to the mobile device (downlink) and 22 Mbit/s from the mobile device (uplink).

I'd say that speedtest.net (and speedtest too) are showing speeds considerably short of this. I don't understand these results. The speeds shown are so slow they would be useless. What gives here?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:28 pm

By way of further information, the data setup on the phone allows you to select GSM only or WCDMA preferred/GSM. I played around with this and found that GSM only is slower than the WCDMA/GSM setting. This appears to be the reason why:
WCDMA vs GSM
WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiplexing Access) and GSM are two technologies that are used in mobile telecommunications. The difference between these two is that GSM is a 2G technology and WCDMA is a part of the newer 3G group of technologies.

http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-wcdma-and-gsm/

Apparently, GSM is 2G only, while WCDMA is 3G. I can get the H symbol displayed on the phone next to the bars when WCDMA/GSM is selected, but only E (Edge) when GSM only is selected. I was assuming the H symbol meant that I'm getting HSPA+ speeds, but maybe it only means that I'm getting "High" speed, which is actually just normal 3G.

Just did a further search and came up with this:
Those symbols both refer to the speed of the cellular data signal. The 3G has a minimum speed of ~350 kbit/s while H, which stands for high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) has speeds of 5.8 mbit/s to 672 mbit/s. HSDPA is the newest high speed offering for data plans from ATT and TMobile. E, which is the EDGE network, has transmission rates ranging from 500 kbit/s to 1.6 mbit/s. G networks.

Perhaps someone can put this all together and explain what is going on with the data connection speed on this thing.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:35 pm

Upon further testing with speedtest.net and speedtest apps, the speedtest.net app seems to have gone belly-up and won't run on the phone data connection. It indicates there is a "network communication issue". It works OK with WiFi. I like that app because it gives more info, such as the locations of the towers and their distance from you. The speedtest app is working OK and now indicates a download speed of about 18 kbps. and upload of about 2.3 mbps. on H data connection. Download speed seems kinda slow doesn't it?
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