So I moved last winter, and at the new place we were finally able to ditch Comcast and get gig fiber internet (yay!). But where they put the entry point, and therefore where the router/modem is setup, is in one corner of the house.
Which means we use wifi for everything, and the actual speeds are about the same as we had with Comcast cable internet. Well, that was good enough, so ok. To get better speed, we’d have to run CAT cable through the house, and having both finished attic and basement, that wouldn’t be easy/cheap. We’d have to move furniture and bang through and then patch up walls and stuff. Someday maybe, but we’ve got more important stuff to deal with for now.
So the tech’s theoretically better, but in practice about the same.
Except it’s actually a little worse in the nice weather months of the year. Because the router’s in a front corner, and we often spend time on the side or back deck, where there is little to no signal. Until recently, I’d just turn off wifi and use my phone’s 4G there. But that no longer works.
I’d like a mesh network, but they’re expensive, so I got a cheap wifi extender for now. It does work, but it’s annoying. Devices automatically switch between the router, the extender, and cell data - sometimes. And the switching interrupts whatever you’re doing. And sometimes they switch to one that isn’t a good signal, so you have to manually switch it to another one.
I was using Virgin Mobile for my phone, but they got merged into Boost, and about a year ago I upgraded to a new Boost phone, the Samsung A32 5G. Which was nice because they then warned us we all needed to switch to a 5G phone to keep getting coverage. And I got to keep my $35/mo unlimited rate.
But despite their bogus coverage maps, there’s never been 5G here. And now, for the last couple weeks, I’ve had almost no cell service at all. I can’t call family in another state, and my wife can’t even call me from the same room.
I know a couple of other people, who had Google Fi, and had the same problem. Phones worked fine (but only on 4G) until one day they just had no signal. And Google just said “well you’re on our 5G coverage map, so you must be covered.” They both switched to Verizon, and haven’t had complaints since.
So now, after about 18 years with Virgin (now Boost), I have to switch carriers. And since my year-old phone isn’t transferable to Verizon, I have to buy a new phone.
I think the carriers are phasing out and shutting down their existing coverage/towers in the mistaken belief that their 5G maps somehow magically make it real, when in fact they are just a graphic made up by marketers that has no bearing on reality.
Why in 2022, with all of our tech advances, are these things are still so crappy?