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June 12, 2006, 1:56 am
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I'm currently preparing to compare a number of broadband wireless
providers in some meaningful way to make an empirical decision on
coverage and performance. We're looking at Verizon, Cingular, and
I realize that true coverage and performance testing involves a lot of
sophisticated tools and hardware that the carriers use, but that isn't
a practical option. We'll be initially subscribing 400 units, so at
$59 a pop that's a $285k investment per year - so picking the best
carrier in our area is important.
I'm wondering if anyone has ever undertaken such a task, and if so,
what software/hardware you used to do it? At a very basic level I
considered running three separate laptops in the same vehicle, each
pinging the same host, and then analyzing the results of a good, long
drive test by looking at latency and packetloss. These seem like the
easiest and most practical measurements for sustained testing.
Throughput is, of course, a major issue as well, so I considered
stopping in 20 or 30 random locations and doing a throughput test on
Ideally I'd love to be able to record signal strength (RSSI) and BER
at 1 second intervals on each, but I don't think that's an option.
So, any additional suggestions or pointers toward software/hardware
would be greatly appreciated.