Verizon Wireless and the LTE Network…

I realize that we’re all human, however for technology services I tend to offer service providers with a pretty high level of scrutiny.  Over the past few months I have been trying out the Verizon LTE offering. For those of you not familiar with LTE it stands for Long Term Evolution. It’s a technology similar to GSM which is used world wide for cellular communications technology. Verizon Wireless recently has been upgrading and augmenting their network to add in LTE on top of its CDMA or Code Division Multiplex Access (what Sprint also uses as their core 3G service provider).

Nevertheless, last December a few days after the LTE network in Northern Virginia went live I went to my local Verizon Wireless store and bought a PanTech UML290 device outright. As an early adopter I realized that it potentially could be a bumpy road of sorts. Little did I know though that it would be a bumpy road of continual disconnects and frustration.

In January 2011 I called the Verizon Wireless help desk (note I’d called them in December as well) to discuss the issue I was seeing to ascertain as to whether it was just my modem sporadically having issues, or if it was more an enterprise issue.  While the technician did not admit to it being an enterprise wide issue, he did say that it seemed that a node I was connecting to at the nearby cell tower which was providing service was having a problem. Therefore, whenever I attempted to use the modem and it selected said node, an “at cause” event would occur.

This event would not disconnect the modem, but rather would cause it to essentially have the traffic shaped to it become negligible. In other words, I could ping other sites using ICMP, or I could perform DNS lookups, but anything that required communicating and retrieving web based resources where data packets were transferred was effectively zero. Pretty cool technology right?

So I was told that a ticket would be opened and that I would receive a ticket number that was associated with this incident. Once the ticket was opened the network engineers that work on Verizon’s network would investigate the node, physically checking the tower and replacing the component that was broken.

I have yet to receive that ticket number over a month later. Further, this issue is not isolated to just the tower near my residence but seems to be prevalent throughout the Northern Virginia area.

I’m not quite certain what Verizon is doing to correct these issues, whether it’s a software issue with the VZAccess Manager or an actual networking issues, but three months later and it’s still not allowing for connectivity greater than ten minutes (there have been some sessions that have actually lasted longer, but they’re few and far between).

Perhaps someone from Verizon Wireless will actually read this, perhaps it is just words entered on the Internet that will be disregarded.

If you’re thinking of using Verizon Wireless for it’s LTE network with lightning fast speeds, be wary that you may also be in for a bumpy road. While it’s incredible fast, it is unstable.

Maybe Verizon Wireless was lacking the funds to complete the network and figured that suckers like me would be their “investment funding” in the sense that we could get on the network but would be disconnected shortly there after and using our service fees they can use it as a cost recovery of sorts as well as a stabilization fund to fix the problems.  Seems unacceptable to me.