Mobile Networks Finish the Boston Marathon with a Reasonable Performance

Weathering a mixture of sun, wind, rain, and large crowds along the 2019 Boston Marathon race route, Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) completed their own marathon of mobile network performance testing during the prestigious race. Of particular interest was measuring how well the mobile networks managed the surge in connectivity and social media traffic from the half million spectators that were expected to attend this popular event.

Overall, the mobile networks finished the race with a OneScore of 76 – a C in terms of network performance. An average performance, although not as high as last years Boston Marathon score of 86. GWS Event-O-Meter also recently recorded OneScores of 87 and 70 at MLBs Opening Day at Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium respectively, 66 for last months Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and 77 for New Years Eve in Times Square.

The networks were able to hold their own during the marathon even with thousands and thousands of fans actively engaged in social media throughout the race, said Dr. Paul Carter, CEO and founder of Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. (GWS). Its clear that the network operators are strongly competing in their own head-to-head race to 5G deployment; we can see the improvements and additions in advanced features in Boston over last years marathon – edging the networks closer and closer to the 5G finish line.

This report marks the fourth GWS Event-O-Meter for 2019, a measure of network performance at popular events nationwide and a barometer for how American consumers experience wireless connectivity when networks are trying to accommodate heavy traffic. The GWS Event-O-Meter is based on the companys OneScore evaluation process, a measurement of overall performance that takes into account voice, data, video, coverage, and reliability metrics based on customer experience.

Event-O-Meter Key Findings at 2019 Boston Marathon:

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GWS performed testing along the marathon route including each mile marker and the area around the finish line as well as the Boston Marathons Fan Fest. The mobile networks scored a 76 out of 100 for overall performance at this popular event.

GWS results also revealed the following while testing:

  • Nearly 100 percent of calls were completed successfully
  • Data-related tasks, like web browsing and uploading posts to social media, also saw success rates of nearly 100 percent.
  • Video uploads took about 12 seconds (not as fast as other major events recently tested by GWS).
  • Photos and selfie uploads took about 6 seconds (similar to video uploads, not as fast as other major events recently tested by GWS).

GWS testing also revealed that all network operators deployed advanced features such as two, three, and four channel carrier aggregation as well as 256QAM (a higher order advanced modulation technique). In addition, GWS saw a high rate of voice over LTE (VoLTE) calling and significant usage of LTE multiplexing techniques (i.e., 2×2 and 4×4 multiple-input and multiple-output) particularly with 2—2 MIMO. In fact, on average, carrier aggregation was used over 80% of the time by operators during GWS network stress tests; similarly 2×2 MIMO was used two thirds of the time by operators. The net result was that these improvements enabled operators to reach reasonably high throughputs during the network stress tests; for example, AT&T and T-Mobile throughputs both averaged 51 Mbps while Verizon averaged 35 Mbps and Sprint 34 Mbps(for Sprint this represented a 46% increase in speed and AT&T 33% over last year).

Methodology

GWS network testing specialists collected along the entire Boston Marathon route and conducted testing at each mile marker as well as the finish line area, and also at the Boston Marathon Fan Fest at Copley Square. SwissQual QualiPoc on Samsung Galaxy S9 collection devices were used to measure the performance of the Tier 1 mobile networks. Just over 13,000 voice and data samples were collected and compiled into a single OneScore, resulting in a combined overall event experience measurement on a scale from 0-100.

About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Global Wireless Solutions has set the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Its proprietary OneScore network ranking combines high-level network testing data with real-world network usage scenarios to make the results of testing relatable and easy to understand. Working with some of the worlds largest wireless network providers, GWS offers high-quality network data and engineering analysis through a suite of benchmarking products, services and OneMeasure diagnostic apps that include drive, venue and in-building testing. At last count, GWS has driven 12 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.

Brittiny Long
Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.
[email protected]