CNETTV : 4G Networks - How they're Tested

Description : 

Based in the Seattle area, a few miles away from Microsoft, a small company called Root Metrics (formerly Root Wireless) is a data company dedicated to helping improve your Mobile experience. They’re finding ways to use Technology on your Smartphone so that the carriers hear your concerns, can make smarter decisions on how to upgrade their Networks, and connect with consumers. 

They’re gathering accurate, trusted data that helps you find the Products and Services that best fit your unique needs 

They send out some testers called scouts to independently test carrier networks, and they do it using little more than a Garmin GPS unit and a briefcase full of phones.

Inside the briefcase, one phone per carrier runs through the battery of tests. Every 5 minutes, the phone tracks calls, upload and download speeds, and texting. 

After the weeklong-testing period (or longer,) RootMetrics crunches the data. Twice a year, the company compiles a larger report on the health of each Network around the Country.

Together, the scouts that form the backbone of the operation clock 20,000 hours of testing and calculate information from 100,000,000 data points in a single year. Network testing is serious stuff. 

It takes about a month for RootMetrics analysts to crunch the numbers and compile them into meaningful reports. Free reports appear online every six months for consumers, and the numbers also feed into free apps that you can download for Android and iPhone

In addition to drawing from RootMetrics' database, the apps also combine crowdsourced results from phone owners' real-time tests.

Revenue comes from syndicated reports that the device-makers and carriers buy. The four major national carriers are all RootMetrics clients, and use the tests to compare their strengths and weaknesses against their competitors. 

"We offer carriers the opportunity to see what they get in terms of network performance and signal strength," said RootMetrics' Doehne.

In the future, RootMetrics plans to move into device-specific tests, perhaps for individual tablets, and may license their testing software directly to phone-makers and carriers so they can perform their own in-house testing using some of RootMetrics' methods. The Company also partners with 3rd parties like CNET, to provide interactive coverage maps.

More than ever, a carriers quality, especially 4G data speed is very critical in choosing one provider over another. Companies like RootMetrics although they're not the only ones in the game, offer a useful Service to consumers seeking independent information about carrier performance in their cities and towns.

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*by andreascy*