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  • rsts11 3:47 pm on March 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cell phones, data, Electronics, internets, tweeting   

    2013 Cellular phone/data access survey 

    Hi folks,

    There are usually two places my cell carrier gets no service… on a plane, for obvious reasons, and in the convention floor at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m wondering if those of you who tried to make phone calls or use data service could comment here on your carrier, device, and any caveats you might have run into.

    Over the past couple of years I’ve tried a couple of different top of the line Android devices on Verizon Wireless… they sometimes work in the main hallway, and usually pick up when I get out onto the lower patio. Great 4G in the hotel rooms, but live tweeting from the hotel room is not as pertinent as it is from the convention floor.

    And I remember in 2009 (I think, maybe 2010) someone brought one of those ZBoost cellular extenders, where it acts as a cell “tower” inside and runs to an antenna outside. Unfortunately, I seem to recall it keeled over even we only had 750 people there… with 3500 people many using 2+ devices… no way it would work.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback on this.

    By the way… I don’t have ads on this blog, but if you found it useful and were going to shop at Amazon.com anyway, check out the Amazon link to the right. Your purchases will help with my travel accessory budget, and they don’t cost you any extra. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • dkompare 7:45 am on March 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I have an HTC Evo 3D with Virgin Mobile (via Sprint networks), and the service was pretty terrible within the footprint of the hotel. I was able to text OK in the lobby, but internet access was very spotty. On the con level in the middle of the day throughout the weekend, I often got nothing: no 4G, no 3G, no signal.

      I would guess it’s well beyond the Marriott’s control, especially with that number of people. I would imagine that the simple geography of the LAX area makes all wireless communication (beyond air traffic and emergency response) iffy. Loads of people only passing through the system, but a fairly limited number of towers and nodes due to the airport and ocean.

    • rsts11 8:29 am on March 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Derek. I do believe you’re right, at least about the Marriott not really being able to solve this.

      I’ve heard a couple of success stories with GSM (AT&T in particular) at Gally, and I know a few people were able to tweet from events… so it might be something with EVDO/LTE in that area.

    • Patrick Bishop 3:29 pm on March 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      iPhone 5, AT&T. Had no problems Tweeting, uploading short videos to YouTube while on the convention floor.

      Never tried calling out though so cant comment on that.

  • rsts11 1:03 am on January 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Any technology advice, whether cellular … 

    Any technology advice, whether cellular or modular or interactive-odular…

    1/29/11 Espaรฑa Sheriff writes in a comment:

    First thing that springs to mind that is not obvious unless youโ€™ve been there is that the LAX Marriott has crappy reception in the convention area, so donโ€™t rely on being able to get calls, text messages or 3G access while downstairs. There are some spots where it works, but popping up to the lobby or outside is your best bet.

    Very true. Last year they had a cell extender with the antenna running outside, but those are designed for 5 people, not 1500-2000.

    1/29/11 @gallifreyan notes: Bring your chargers and extra cables, if you can. If you can’t, the Fedex Office store in the hotel may have chargers at a fair price (I got mine with multiple tips for $25 last year). And ALWAYS plug in if you can. Laptop, phone, PDA…

    The hotel network service is $12.95 per day and includes local and long distance calling as well as wired or wireless Internet service. (I believe the service is limited to one device/MAC address, which means you can use wireless *or* wired but not both, without tech support nightmares.) Cellular data options (Rover/Clear/other USB or MiFi-style connections, tethering, smartphones, etc) should be usable from the hotel rooms and upstairs lobby, but connectivity in the lower level (where the convention is) may not be consistent or even usable. 2000 people with 1-2 devices each will tax even the best network.

     
    • Nightsky 6:20 pm on February 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      The nearest Fry’s Electronics is in Manhattan Beach. This is not particularly close to the Marriott, but it might be handy to know in emergencies.

      • Whomiga 4:10 pm on February 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I make a regular trip to Fry’s every year (Usually, between the time I pick up my car and when I go to the hotel) – I stopped buying certain electronics items last month and have started making notes to myself to look at Fry’s ๐Ÿ™‚

      • rsts11 3:38 pm on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Another possibility… if you know you will need something but don’t have time to get it in advance, Amazon and other online retailers will often ship to a third party address. So if you realize at 6pm on Wednesday that you need a replacement laptop charger and a case of gluten-free cereal, you could order with your Prime membership, have it shipped overnight to your hotel, and get it upon arrival on Friday.

        This has saved my butt at a couple of other places (Disney World and another conference hotel).

    • rsts11 6:28 pm on February 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Good pointer. There are also, about the same distance away, a Best Buy, Office Depot, and a bit farther, Radio Shack.

      Electronics Retailers near 5855 W Century Blvd

      But if you’re a geek coming from outside the land of Fry’s, it’s worth making a pilgrimage at least once in your life. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • eyesdelight 9:33 pm on February 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      There is complimentary wireless internet available in the hotel lobby, and I found that it was also available in and around the meeting rooms. There’s a fee to have internet access in your room, but if you’re lucky, the room might still be in range of the lobby internet.

      I also found out that sometimes in our room, my laptop could pick up another complimentary wireless network, which actually belonged to the hotel across the street!

    • oh 3:00 pm on October 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Around LA 4g and wimax are available no-contract monthly for as little as $35 from ClearWire (clear.com) often with a mifi that can be shared with up to 7 other persons. 3g no contract monthly for $5 and $0.04 per meg from truconnect.com

      verizon wireless, ATT, tmobile, and sprint all have 30 day trials of their respective mifi offering *wink*

      be sure your mobile device has installed

      XMPP client capable of OTR – secure instant text communication (sms is not-free)

      ** Jabber ID : http://Jabber.me

      Glympse — to more easily find one another, and group transit

      • oh 3:01 pm on October 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Find eating places with Waze

        http://m.waze.com

        (iOS, android, win, BB)

      • rsts11 3:40 pm on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        One thing to be aware of is that you may not get very good reception in the conference levels of the hotel. It was flaky to impossible back when we had around a thousand people there (most without mobile devices)… 3200 people with 2-3 devices each on average should make it a real challenge. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Also, for any of the no-contract services, you’ll likely have to purchase your equipment if it’s not built into your laptop already. But check return policies (or ebay for used equipment).

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