3G iPad on the road - PA to FL

Discussion in 'iPad' started by reckless2k2, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. reckless2k2 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 10, 2008
    #1
    I wanted to share my experience with the 3G iPad on a road trip from Philadelphia to Orlando last week.

    A LARGE majority of the time I spent on EDGE and performance just wasn't acceptable. The ipad needs 3G or better to work effectively while on the road. Luckily, I have a Clear Spot 4G+ and was able to connect to 4G and 3G through my trip.

    I would recommend that anyone traveling with an iPad to have a similar device as the AT&T network obviously is not up to snuff.

    SIDE NOTE: 3G in the Disney Resort area was horrible in general. When I looked around, EVERYONE had an iPhone so I guess the network is burdened greatly.
     
  2. Seamaster macrumors 6502a

    Seamaster

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  3. reckless2k2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Uummm...Regarding the iPad or the iPhone?

    From the iPad perspective, I was explaining that road travel with a 3G iPad is not great using AT&T. Those flying to and from major cities probably won't have an issue because most major cities are 3G covered by AT&T. It really depends on your use but I was endorsing MiFi type devices considering your travel requirements. 99% of the time I'm in an area with 3G so I have no problem with my AT&T service.

    As far as the iPhone, I'm sure EVERY iPhone user in the Disney Resort area was experiencing the same sluggishness. A carrier switch is not in the cards if you live in the US at this point. The iPhone is carried by AT&T. Duh. So if you don't want an iPhone, then you do have a greater carrier choice. I saw quite a few cell phones while in Disney and the iPhone was overwhelming. Most of the phones were AT&T phones if not an iPhone. Go figure. Again, your phone is a consideration of where you operate. Generally, I'm in an area where I have no 3G problems. I'll consider another carrier if the iPhone is carried by another carrier.
     
  4. Mudcrutch macrumors member

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    Mar 5, 2008
    #4
    Switch to Verizon. Mobile 3G hotspot. They are selling iPads and advertising using them on their network.

    Not hard.
     
  5. Seamaster macrumors 6502a

    Seamaster

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    #5
    That's unfortunate for you.
     
  6. tnick777 macrumors regular

    tnick777

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    #6
    No go to sprint and get the 4G MiFi.

    They have the iPad case too...
     
  7. Zcott macrumors 68020

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    Oct 18, 2009
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    Belfast, Ireland
    #7
    Really this thread isn't about your iPad 3G, but your service provider. For the record, my service provider is great.
     
  8. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #8
    Ironic, I just took a road-trip up to the Allentown, PA area (from southeast VA) and was amazed at how much 3G coverage AT&T had lit-up along US-13 (on the extreeeeeeeeemely rural Delmarva peninsula) since my trip last Christmas.

    FWIW, your recommendation would be of more value if you posted the general route you took on your PA to FL trip.
     
  9. ClutchThese macrumors 65816

    ClutchThese

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    #9
    probably 90% I95.
     
  10. gloomcookie1 macrumors regular

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    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Coral Springs, FL
    #10
    Yeah, the title is a little confusing, although I'll say that if you have a 3G iPad you'd like to know how the service is along with the device since it's sold that way.

    I have the wifi iPad and it was great on my trip from Florida to Tennessee to Los Angeles, to West Virginia to Savannah and back to Florida. I'll grant you especially around the mountains of West Virginia that 3G can be hard to come by as I was on Edge alot with my iPhone.

    But the iPad was being handed back and forth between my son and wife the whole trip and really made it that much better.
     
  11. Mudcrutch macrumors member

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    #11
    Yes, see? Yet another option!

    Although if you are looking for coverage Sprint isn't going to be for you. And 4G coverage is going to be way worse.
     
  12. Don Kosak macrumors 6502a

    Don Kosak

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    #12
    I recently did a trip with a WiFi iPad from Boston, MA to Pittsburgh, PA (around 650 miles, or about 1000km for my European friends.)

    We took turns driving, and the iPad really helped pass the time. I'd sync up some news feed apps, and Evernote at each rest stop. (The Massachusetts and New York turnpikes both have free WiFi at the rest stops.)

    I was thinking about getting a 3G or 4G tethering device, but I really never really spend that much time away from WiFi, so it didn't seem worth it.
     
  13. reckless2k2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I live right off 95. I took 95 all the way to 4. Simple. 3G dropped off on AT&T at some point in VA. You ca verify it right on their map. I figured that 3G would be all the way down 95 to say the least. I was surprised it wasn't.
     
  14. reckless2k2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I don't need anyone to recommend a carrier. I wrote this specifically saying that AT&T is not great in this situation.

    I have a Clear Spot 4G+ and that worked for me better than AT&T. That was my point. Verizon or Sprint users welcome. I said this is a better option than a 3G iPad using AT&T in this situation.

    It's like someone getting mad that 3G won't work when they bought it in an EDGE area. It's like people just want to AT&T hate for the sake of hating. AT&T works great in my home area. I tend to use the Clear Spot more though because I get 4G in my area that's SOOOOO much better than 3G. And I'm not bothering to pull off at WiFi hotspots to use my device. I prefer truly mobile all the time.
     
  15. leomac08 macrumors 68020

    leomac08

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    #15
    So basically your telling us AT&T 3G coverage on the east coast sucks sometimes!
     
  16. mgamber macrumors 6502a

    mgamber

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    #16
    AT&T is poor at best and doesn't exist at all in a lot of places between Richmond and Jacksonville. I drove down I-95 last march and the plan was to watch the US & Canada olympic hockey game using Slingplayer on the iPhone. Shortly after passing Richmond 3G disappeared and didn't appear again for the rest of the day. In fact, I think AT&T totally disappeared in the Carolinas and were replaced by some other carrier. If I had any car trouble I would have been screwed. Fortunately I had a laptop that had a Verizon modem and while Verizon is slower than 3G when you have good reception, it worked just fine and I was able to watch the game on the laptop until we stopped in South Carolina for the night and I watched the end of the game on the room TV. It wasn't until we neared Jacksonville that AT&T returned and shortly after that 3G returned. I should also add that Verizon is excellent at my PA home, too, while AT&T sucks so hard I had to buy a repeater just so be able to make phone calls from home. AT&T insists they put up a new tower in my area and I should have good reception and refuse to believe me when I tell them no, that's not what's actually happening. I'm pretty sure the "dropped call" things from their own app ends up in the trash because they claim to have no record despite my having sent dozens of them.
     
  17. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

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    #17
    I've recently had to make a trip similar to yours, from the DC area to Orlando. I agree with you that it's too bad that so much of the travel is not 3G and it's just too hard to get anything done on the iPad while you're on the road in those areas where 3G doesn't work...and there are surprisingly large areas along that route where it does not work.

    But...I'm still happy with the iPad because where I usually live, work and travel, I usually have a perfectly decent 3G signal when I'm not on WiFi. Around DC, out to Winchester, up to Baltimore, all over Prince William and down even to Culpeper, there's a decent 3G signal.

    :)

    But you're definitely right about that particular route!
     
  18. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

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    Oct 13, 2010
    #18
    If you're jailbroken have a look at an application that is simply called SIGNAL. It shows you exactly what tower you're connected with, and shows you all possible nearby arrays with the signal strength of each array that can be seen by your device.

    It's pretty good ammunition if you want to have a fight with AT&T, and it's decent information to have, regardless.
     
  19. Seamaster macrumors 6502a

    Seamaster

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    #19
    Why bother? Find a better network and stick their SIM in. Voting with your wallet, they call it.
     
  20. mgamber macrumors 6502a

    mgamber

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    #20
    I thought about downloading that app and so on but I'm done with AT&T. What finally did it was being able to buy a microcell at a local AT&T store only to find out it wouldn't work. I called AT&T support who said they had no idea why it didn't work but they'd look into and get back to me. Six weeks later they called to tell me it wasn't available in my area and never would be and you can only return it within 30 days. So, you know, ****** 'em. I ended up buying a zBoost GSM/PCS repeater for $300 so I can at least make phone calls.

    Riiiight. Unless you can waive or pay for that pesky ETF on all three lines that's pretty obnoxious.
     
  21. nixiemaiden macrumors 6502a

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    Daytona Beach
    #21
    That isn't an option in the US. There are only two major carriers that use SIM cards in the US...AT&T and t-mobile. And first off t-mobile's 3g coverage is a lot worse than AT&T and second off it operates on different bands so if you use one of their sim cards in your iPad, you will only ever get edge speeds.

    The only provider here that has decent 3g coverage for traveling is Verizon...I have Sprint and have good experiences along the east coast...however I hear out west it sucks. To get mobile broadband from them you either have to tether your phone or pay for a mifi.
     
  22. mgamber, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010

    mgamber macrumors 6502a

    mgamber

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    #22
    At this point I don't really care about sim cards or the iPhone. A phone is a phone. I have an iPhone, a Blackberry, an Android phone and I'm sure I'll be getting a new Windows phone to replace my Fuze as soon as they're available and they're all good phones that do at least what I need from a phone. But I'll be damned if I pay AT&T an ETF because their map is an alibi and their coverage sucks.

    BTW, it didn't start out this bad around here. 2 1/2 years ago when I bought my first iPhone coverage wasn't bad. I couldn't make a call from the basement but I could upstairs. A year later I could send text messages but if I needed to make a call I had to pull out the sim and put it in the Fuze. That option disappeared with the iPhone 4 and the microsim. Now I have to use a repeater and directional antenna in the attic. I wonder when they start telling me that it's continental drift?
     
  23. George Knighton macrumors 6502a

    George Knighton

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    Oct 13, 2010
    #23
    Well. At least we have choices.

    You can either get Verizon and have better coverage, or you can get AT&T and have a faster 3G system.

    There's no substitute for researching ahead of time if AT&T has good service where you regularly travel, work and live. I did that, so I am still happy with AT&T 3G coverage despite the fact that I have to verify that I've personally experienced what the original poster complained about: Along much of the I95 corridor, you just don't have coverage, or have only EDGE GSM Voice coverage.

    But I've only had to drive that route once in the past few years, and most of us will hop on a plane to travel that great a distance.

    It seems to me we just need to make sure the service we're buying works where we need for it to work, that's all.

    Hell, if I lived and worked in Richmond instead of the metro DC area, I might be on SprintPCS. :) Sprint have a great system in the Richmond area, but totally suck in the home counties where I live, and they don't do well in metro DC.

    I'm not aware of any carrier that does everything everywhere all the time. Verizon comes the closest, but hop onto Howard Forums and have a look at all the people who complain about Verizon!
     

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