Cell Coverage

Discussion in 'CGR Site Admin, News and Announcements' started by Sara C., Mar 10, 2015.

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Do you agree with this request?

  1. Yes, this would be valuable information to know about every campsite.

    6 vote(s)
    46.2%
  2. No, keep it as is.

    2 vote(s)
    15.4%
  3. No, but at least upgrade the optional responses to include if a carrier provides 4G service.

    3 vote(s)
    23.1%
  4. Maybe, actually, I don't care. I RV for personal leisure to get away from it all.

    2 vote(s)
    15.4%
  1. Sara C.

    Sara C.
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    As more of us millennials are going full-time RV'ing, it becomes highly necessary for us to know if we will be able to get strong cell signal and data when we park anywhere for a stay. I work from my RV and require 4G-LTE data signal to keep up with my business. Your new site asks if campgrounds simply receive service for a list of companies, but that wouldn't be enough for me. I have to comb through all the reviews to see if anyone mentions getting 4G service.

    Could you make this more of a required question to answer with each review? I would love to stay at more of the state and national parks, but fear going if I can't get signal and support my living.
     
  2. docj

    docj
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    We have discussed this issue many times, but the problem is that the question would have to be answered with respect to each carrier. Furthermore, relative responses such as "the cell service was good" are not very meaningful without actual signal strength data which many users don't know how to obtain and, furthermore, quite a few users are still likely to answer this question relative to voice service rather than data.

    Therefore, we have provided the ability to insert this information in the amenities data for a park on a voluntary basis. At this time, we belive this is the best solution, but I agree we could upgrade the responses to include 4G/3G data.
     
  3. Sara C.

    Sara C.
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    Yes, even if you keep it in the amenities section, it would be so helpful to include whether people got 4G/3G data through their carrier. I come across so many RV'ers who want to sign up with Sprint or T-mobile for their competitive rates, but have no idea if they'll be covered at all the campgrounds they want to go to. For now, it seems Verizon and AT&T have a run on the RV fulltimer market, and they really know how to extort us heavy data users.
     
  4. NYDutch

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    Evaluating campground cell service is difficult to do in a way that's meaningful to anyone else. The park we're in right now for instance, we're getting a solid 4/5 bar 4G Verizon signal. The couple in the site across from us are barely getting one bar and intermittent 3/4G Verizon service. The difference is the roof mounted antenna and cell amplifier/repeater we're using that they aren't. How should we each rate the cell service here?
     
    dalsgal likes this.
  5. RLM

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    To first answer NYDutch's question about rating, I would say disconnect from the amplifier and then report strength.

    If I needed 24 hour cell service with 4G then I would invest in the system he has set up. When selecting those out of the way CGs, I do use the coverage map that my carrier provides on it's website, but it's not 100% reliable.
     
  6. docj

    docj
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    As good as NYDutch's answer is using the "bars" on a phone's screen to evaluate signal strength provides less real information than one might realize. The bars on a phone don't provide quantitative information and there's no correlation between the number of bars any particular phone will exhibit in response to an specific signal level.

    It is far better to use the signal strength information that the phone can display if one digs through its menus to find it. For many Android phones the information can be found under Settings/About phone/Status. The information will be displayed as negative dBm, the smaller the numerical number the stronger the signal. Changes of 10dBm represent a factor of ten change in signal strength. Typically, one will observe signal strengths between "minus" 80-100 dBm. Weak signals on the order of -110dBm are usable but speeds are often lower and stability is an issue.
     
  7. dalsgal

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    Hubby and I have 4G on our ATT phones at the park we manage. However not everyone gets that on their phones with the same service we have. We also show only 2 bars but we get great service. If I was camping I would use my phone and review on that only. I don't think it is up to me to do any other testing since phones, antennas, RV's and campsites may all get different types of service and connections. According to ATT they don't have the service we get in this town at all.
     
  8. Texasrvers

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    We have two Motorola Android phones that are just alike with exactly the same Verizon service (in fact, it is a shared plan) and we can be in the RV or some other place standing right beside each other and we do not get the same bars or service.
     
  9. NYDutch

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    I agree, Joel, but I think it's unlikely that most reviewers will have the technical skill and foresight to note those readings while they are in the park they will later review. There are also significant differences between various makes and models of phones regarding signal reception, with some phones being better than others of course, further muddying the waters. In my opinion, generalized "Verizon signal was strong/good/weak...", etc. statements are probably more useful to most readers than saying "I had consistent -96dB readings...".
     
  10. docj

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    I don't disagree, but the problem with even the qualitative statement "Verizon service was good" doesn't tell the reader if the reviewer is basing that comment on voice or data service. Since data service is the most important usage these days for many people then maybe what should be posted is "Verizon service tested >10Mbps on Speedtest.net"
     
  11. NYDutch

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    I agree with differentiating voice and data service at this point, but quantifying based on one of the many speed tests does not take into account all the variables from one person's experience to the next. Tower loading, network loading, etc., all combine to make speed tests too variable from one time of day/month/year to the next to be reliable indicators for someone else. They work well for assessing conditions at that moment, but the results may be completely different even a few minutes later. I really feel that a more general statement of overall service response is more useful to others. A statement like "Verizon 4G service was rock solid." from several reviewers would at least give an indication of good service, without delving into the many speed variables. Of course, once the cell carriers completely switch to VOIP voice service in the near future, everything will be data only anyway.
     
  12. HappiestCamper

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    Remember in "RV" when Robin Williams' character was searching for a signal for his blackberry? A lot of places are like this - so the guy 20 feet away may not get the signal you get. Personally, I like it when I get no signal when I'm out in the woods.
     
  13. Sara C.

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    I do like the idea of using speedtest.net to show what kind of data service you can get in a location. It would be optional anyway, so for those who depend on it, they could share theirs and hope that others will report what they got at other parks they hope to visit.
     
  14. Luvtheroad

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    Another thing to watch for: if you are camping near the Canadian border, make sure your cellphone is not using Canadian towers. If so, you could be charged roaming. A man in a Maine RV park we were staying in a few years ago found that out the hard way; he told me to determine what towers we were using before we ran up hundreds of dollars in roaming charges as he had. I called Sprint and asked what towers we were using and they were unable to tell me but confirmed that we would be charged Canadian roaming if indeed the phone was using the Canadian towers. They said the phones would use the nearest towers, no matter what country they were in. My argument that my phone was physically in Maine and as far as I could tell, Maine was still in the US and not a part of Canada didn't sway them. Not.their.problem.
     
  15. NYDutch

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    Best bet is to turn off roaming on your device if there's a possibility of hitting a Canadian tower.
     

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