May 19 AT 10:46 AM Nick Sarafolean 11 Comments

Coverage or speed? Defining a good network experience.


Once upon a time, there was a man named Richard. Richard was a man who traveled frequently and had to keep in contact with his employers while on the go. During one of his travels, Richard found himself in a bind; he suddenly and desperately needed to contact his employer and was in a poor reception area. Over and over he tried to acquire a signal, but just couldn’t manage it. In a final desperate attempt, Richard climbed onto the top of his moving taxi and raised his phone up to the sky in a final plea for signal. Sadly, Richard came up empty-handed, resulting in a stern lecture from his boss when he returned to the office. Thus ends the heart-wrenching story of Richard, the man without a signal.

In another dimension, we find Cassie, an average teen girl who has just taken several selfies with her favorite boy band member. After working to find her best duck face, Cassie opened Instagram, applied an extra-gaudy filter, threw in a multitude of hashtags and began uploading. Unfortunately for Cassie, she was stuck on a signal that was hovering between 2G and 3G, preventing her from uploading the photo in a timely manner. Much to the annoyance of Cassie, several of her friends managed to upload their own selfies before her. Thus ends the gripping story of Cassie, the girl who just couldn’t upload her duck face in time.

A week or so ago, I wrote up a rather opinionated article expressing the importance (or possible lack of) mobile data. The comments got rather interesting and brought up plenty of good points about. One consistent point was that between coverage and speed, most felt that coverage was more important than speed. What defines a good network experience? Is it the overall coverage? Or is it the speed of the network?

Much can be said for the importance of speedy data. It makes life a very pleasant experience. Tasks fly along with ease, and things done much more quickly with nearly-instant refreshes, quick uploads and rapid searching. Without swift data, things can get frustrating as the data stream creeps along, causing impatience to take root and bitterness to occur.

And yet, is it speed that really makes a good network?

Perhaps a network’s coverage is more important. While speedy data is certainly nice to have, perhaps those praises should instead go to coverage. After all, you can’t access speedy data if you don’t have coverage in the first place. You could have the fastest data in the world, but if it was only available in one spot, it wouldn’t be of any use if you traveled somewhere else. While great coverage doesn’t always include a top-notch speed experience, it does ensure that you’ll actually be able to use your device. Speeds may be somewhat slow, but the data will be there when you need it.

If your goal is to stream video on the go, then a quick data connection will likely be most important. But if you use your phone for things like keeping in contact at work or searching for things while out and about, then a reliable web of coverage could be a greater asset. For many, coverage is more important because of a need for a constant connection. Others, however, may prefer high speeds to an expansive network.

Now the mic is turned to you. Which is more important to you: vast, reliable coverage or speedy data? Comment away, folks.

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @Zricon15.

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