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  1. #1
    Feed Bot CU-News's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    Inside the Verizon Wireless Test Car - PC Magazine

    SAN DIEGO – Geeky vehicle spotters are already on the lookout for the Google Street View car. Now keep your eyes peeled for a white van with a bunch of things stuck to the back windows—the Verizon Wireless test car.
    At the CTIA Wireless trade show today, I got a tour of one of Verizon's test vans, the vehicles they use to monitor not only their own coverage but their competitors' networks, too.
    That means going to the stores to buy Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and even Cricket and MetroPCS modems and phones – and paying a lot of overage fees as Verizon's test software pumps data through their competitors' networks day after day.
    "We pay what normal consumers pay," laughed Tom Badger, director of network system performance for Verizon's southern California region. "We're some of our competitors' best customers."

    The test cars's core mission, of course, is to check Verizon Wireless network quality. The data the cars collect doesn't get posted up on Verizon's public coverage map, which just displays a binary level of coverage or no coverage. But the carrier uses the data to decide where to focus its resources.
    In the back of the van, there's a pair of metal boxes with phones inside them. The phones, running on each of the major wireless networks, are hooked up to a PC through their USB ports and tasked with making phone calls. The calls are then recorded by a PC through the phones' headphone jacks. Meanwhile, the USB modems churn away tacked to the back window of the van, uploading and downloading large and small files via HTTP.
    The carrier has five cars driving around southern California, part of a larger fleet that's on the road every day. Mostly, they trawl metro areas based on population-related "census criteria," Badger said, but rural areas also get occasional trips. The Imperial Valley outside San Diego gets checked twice a year, for instance.

    With the coming of 4G, Verizon's in the process of upgrading its network testing kits, the carrier said today. That means buying 4G equipment to parallel the 3G setups in the cars. The car I saw was testing Sprint's and Verizon's 3G and 4G networks as well as T-Mobile's HSPA+ 21 network, but wasn't yet hooked up to AT&T LTE.
    Verizon doesn't release its network testing results, but don't worry: we do. Our Fastest Mobile Networks tests aren't quite as comprehensive as Verizon's, but we do drive around the country in a car full of phones with specialized software assessing data speeds. Check out our most recent results in our
    Fastest Mobile Networks 2011 package



    Last edited by avenue; 10-13-2011 at 11:31 AM.
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  3. #2
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    avenue's Avatar
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    May 2011
    New Jersey

    This is interesting. I wonder what type of testing Cricket does.

    Those who have seen Cricket vehicles, were they mostly for advertising, or was some testing equiptment involved?



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