Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

Summary: The Verizon 4G LTE network is still down and with the new Droid Charge launching later today, the timing is not good for consumers.

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It has now been over 24 hours since the Verizon LTE network went down and those with the ThunderBolt, Charge (see James' hands-on coverage), or LTE hotspot are experiencing major outage issues. I posted on how to perform a temporary 3G fix on the ThunderBolt, but this is not comforting to me as an owner of a ThunderBolt that already has a non-working WiFi hotspot utility. I understand that LTE is new, but the delays in rolling out the ThunderBolt may be coming back to bite us consumers who jumped on the first Verizon 4G device.

I read the following on the Verizon Wireless Twitter page:

We have determined cause of 4G LTE issue & are working with major vendors to restore connections. Details as they come.

So it appears this was not a planned LTE upgrade, which would have been great for me if it fixes my major ThunderBolt issues. If it was planned, then Verizon failed at notifying customers first. Their statement makes it sound like a surprise though and now that LTE across the nation has been down for over 24 hours, it is not encouraging that the fix will be that easy. They never posted any of the "details as they come" so all of us Verizon customers are left in the dark and ThunderBolt users are left on slow 1xRTT data.

The ThunderBolt is the first Verizon device to use their new network technology that allows 3G/4G and voice at the same time, like what we see on T-Mobile and AT&T GSM networks. It appears that using this network poses some issues though as the ThunderBolt cannot switch to the older 3G network and thus goes all the way back to 1xRTT (aka EDGE on GSM networks). This switching failure may also be what is contributing to my WiFi hotspot problems as the LTE network experiences connectivity issues.

The timing for the downed LTE network is not good with the Droid Charge set to go on sale later today. Without LTE, new buyers won't be able to do much with their device and 1xRTT is not a connection that will make buyers happy. It seems LTE may be ahead of its time, much like Honeycomb on the Motorola Xoom that is supposed to get LTE in the next month or two.

UPDATE: There are still no details from Verizon (I did send a note to my PR contact), but I noticed that the intended 3G connection (not that "fix" I posted about) is back up at home. I don't have 4G at my house to verify that LTE is back up, but I am seeing reports of it coming back online after about a 24 hour downtime.

UPDATE 2: Verizon sent out a note confirming LTE was back up, but this lame response was all I received when I asked what happened and is it preventable so it won't happen again:

  • Our 4G LTE network is up and running. Thank you for your patience.
  • Our network engineers and vendors quickly identified the issue and solved it.
  • Customers using the ThunderBolt have normal service.
  • Laptop users with USB modems may need to re-connect to the network when moving between 3G and 4G. This will continue to improve.

So this just tells me something happened, they found it and fixed it, and that service is restored. Can it happen again? Is there a solution for the ThunderBolt so customers can use 3G with it the next time LTE goes down?

Topics: Networking, Hardware, Mobility, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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18 comments
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  • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

    Wasnt this expected.. I got burnt with sprint overdrive and knew this was coming.
    Anyway even if 4G works - most sprint/verizon guys turn it off to save battery power.

    Whenever someone is down for a long time - we should ask if its not something else ?(eg Sony Playstation)
    ncst100
    • No wonder Apple did not rush to 4G/LTE: it will not unfold fully until 2013

      @ncst100: ... if Apple would join LTE club right now, then it would kill the network since iPhone is the scale that it can not handle -- even on this tiny test-mode area where LTE is (was, for now) available.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

        @denisrs

        You know this, how?
        PMC-CON
      • LTE area not tiny at launch and growing

        @denisrs Stop with the lies.
        otaddy
  • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

    My TB was down (either no data or 1X) for about 24 hours. As of this morning (28 Mar) I'm back to 4G, we'll see if it sticks around. Very frustrating.
    bgoodson@...
    • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

      @bgoodson@... My TB was down (1x only) for almost 24 hours but is back up and working fine.
      Athens888
  • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

    What really gets me is how people worry so much about different devices like iPhone4 supporting 4G on Verizon when their network isn't even set up yet and is still in the rolling out phase. There will be issues that come up but the more things go to the "cloud" the more attacks will be placed on servers in the cloud and in return more downtime as well as personal information being stolen. I've lost count of how many times now I've been warning people that going to the cloud is a nice addition but not solution. Imagine it this way... Say you have a company of 100,000 people working for you, everything is in the cloud... When that server takes a dump or gets DDoS or hacked then 100,000 people are sitting in the water with nothing to do. With applications on machines there is no need for network reliance aside of maybe email from an exchange server. On the other hand you will still be able to work and get reports done and not dump the whole 100,000 in a single shot. Also with the lack of privacy amongst other things why not have your data safe and local and have the cloud as a backup option or vice versa. Also with the half baked wanna be software and offerings from companies like Scroogle which do nothing but collect your data, ideas and personal profiling information cram ads down your throat just to use something like MS Office offerings from 1993. Also in their clause they state any ideas you may have they can rightfully take advantage of as their own among other things that just don't sit right and that also applies for Google for Business offerings (even government would have to accept) which I feel is part of the reason why Government avoids using Google. I still remember the Verizon sales rep trying to push me into the thuderdump every other sentence as I asked for any information or release dates for Windows Phone 7... Very bias Verizon with GHemroid crap. I may be a little paranoid but at the same time let us not forget that chance favors the prepared mind. I don't trust Google and Apple seems to be following in a similar path with data harvesting. I cannot say MS isn't doing the same but it doesn't appear to be quite on the same level not disregard for its user base. I'm considering leaving Verizon anyway since they seem not to care for their customers nor their inquiries regarding service as well as desired phones. When I walked into the AT&T store they were polite and not pushy, maybe I was just lucky with the store I went to. At least they have WP7 as does T-Mobile and if anyone says hey it was made for GSM first well also understand that Sprint has WP7 for over a month now as well and they are CDMA/4G like Verizon and Sprint is not having any issues... Verizon knows they are on top so they feel like they can dictate more and just expect their customers to bend over and take it. I feel Verizon could use some help in the customer service department as well as listen a bit more to user demands... That is a brighter future for a good company opposed to how they are currently running things. I'm getting to the point of just having a regular phone with text and if I need the internet I will use my desktop or laptop or netbook for that as the screens are larger and the machines are also capable of running a full fledged OS with any application I want on the fly without the need for a network unless I need to get online which WiFi is almost everywhere (coffee shops, airports, ect). Who is really going to work on an excel spreadsheet on a tiny screen with only touch support? I like the idea of the iPad but would prefer tactical response. Everyone says get a keyboard but at that point I may as well just get a nice netbook all in one piece device.
    audidiablo
    • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

      @audidiablo

      Get a blog.
      PMC-CON
    • yawn..................

      @audidiablo
      otaddy
  • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

    According to our local news the LTE network went down due to damage from the storm in the mid-south area.

    How 'bout let's not get so upset over our data network for our phones when the same storm system that killed your precious 4G also killed over 100 people in Alabama. Some priorities, please. :-(
    babyboomer57
    • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

      @babyboomer57

      Inquiring minds might want to know how storms in the south affected the LTE service in Seattle?
      DNSB
      • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

        @DNSB So ask Verizon. I just relayed what I heard on the news, I didn't give them the information. You do realize, however, that it takes hardware to transmit/receive/relay signals over the air. It isn't magic like the iPad.
        babyboomer57
    • Maybe you should be skeptical

      @babyboomer57 I wouldnt trust much of anything reported on the local news.
      otaddy
    • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

      @babyboomer57

      Ah, the joys of modern education. I heard something on TV so it must be true despite what common sense might tell me. It does take hardware but are you trying to claim that Verizon concentrates all their LTE equipment to cover the continental US in that small area? Given that Verizon uses a mix of equipment from two vendors, a single point of failure in one geographical location seems unlikely.

      But then your whole argument that we should not get upset about the Verizon outage due to the deaths in the US south is a fine example of a logical fallacies. Whether post hoc ergo propter hoc, fallacy of the single cause, ignoratio elenchi or another.

      Much like those stories a few weeks back connecting all sorts of items to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan whether that natural disaster could have any causative connection to the item.

      So again, what is the logical connection between mid-south storms and an Verizon LTE outage in Seattle. Not you relaying a talking head's words -- an appeal to false authority, btw, so yet another logical fallacy.

      I knew those hours with the debating club were going to come in useful someday!
      DNSB
  • Some tolerance is ok...

    Holy cow but our expectations have soared since the early days of motorola flip phones, eh?

    I have a thunderbolt, love it at 3G and really love it at 4G (with an upgraded battery).

    As consumers, our options are to have telecoms go back to how they used to roll out products and networks--years instead of months. Personally, I'll take months. Just the fact that the telecoms are taking some risks is shocking enough...
    nocplace_jack
  • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

    Adn to think a Verizon rep tried to sell me an LG Thunderbolt yesterday........
    Garreth49
  • Ironic

    It's kind of ironic to see that Verizon is having network outages; I remember back in the days of Bell Atlantic Mobile that they had ads saying that "a mobile phone is only as good as the network it's on." (Then again, this was back in the days when they still had James Earl Jones in their ads).
    Third of Five
  • RE: Verizon's LTE is super fast, but not if it stays down and out

    Non issue.
    james347