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170 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 204526 5-Oct-2016 17:12
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I'm frustrated with the way in which Spark and also a large portion of other Telcos do their roaming. The fact that pretty much every data connection on "4G Roaming" is VPN back to home base in NZ. This introduces serious reliability issues which I've noticed the last 3 times I've been in the USA including right now, over the past 6 months here on and off.

 

The connection ends up consistently being "worse than satellite" in my opinion. Connecting to a New York server from California introduces nearly 1 second of latency. When trying to load a page for something from a US based server as you would reasonably expect to do while in the US can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute depending on how many objects the site has from various different locations and how many threads the browser does. 

 

It's completely atrocious and I'm surprised I haven't found that many complaints about it. There are benefits of course being routed back to NZ under your home provider, mobile portals work for Spark for example without authentication under the old way of doing things. This no longer is applicable anymore however because your forced to login to my spark whether you come from the account device or not so this is no longer of any benefit.

 

Mobile calls use the roaming carrier to make calls I just wish that roaming data would do the same. It's a sub class level of service that you are expected to pay a premium for (I tend to do 1GB for $50)

 

Lastly I would add that the service is often unreliable and cannot be depended on, google maps takes forever to load along with Uber and sometimes your not sure if the data is actually working so have to flight mode in and out.

 

I'm going to upload a few images below showing some trace routes to an NYC located server just to show path:

 

 

This is an example of ping time to the NYC server which is "Worse than Satellite" 

 

 

Worth mentioning is the appalling latency just back to NZ based servers as well is around 650ms round trip.

 

I'll sign off with one final note - AT&T native SIM is around 220ms to NZ and of course around 40ms to New York, yahoo loaded in 5 seconds using developer mode on the browser monitoring network resources and 1 minute 45 on Spark Roaming on AT&T.

 

Time is of the essence when travelling, needing to book taxis, find directions - it's a complete nightmare under the current spark service offering and this is 3 recent US trips worth of reporting going into this post.


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  Reply # 1646049 5-Oct-2016 17:17
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This is how 100% of mobile roaming always has, and continues to operate. It is essential that roaming works this way because it would break *lots* of things.

 

I have however heard some speculation that Vodafone are looking at local off-load but there are massive challanges that go with this, and things that will break which is why it has to be carefully managed. There are only a handful of carriers and networks globally doing this right now.

 

I've been on Vodafone for 10 days in the US and have had no issues with roaming about from the poor performance of US networks. Mobile data has been my connection of choice due to the unbelievably crap Internet in hotels here.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1646055 5-Oct-2016 17:26
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Youre grateful that it works like this when in china tho.





Richard rich.ms

 
 
 
 




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1646070 5-Oct-2016 17:44
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Vodafone working on local offload would be useful. I use Vodafone on my work device and I've found that to be much more reliable at least it consistently works, on personal though unfortunately Spark is great at home and not really that great abroad.

 

From an experience perspective if it's a long trip I tend to forward my calls to a US based SIM and use VOIP to call outbound with my mobile as my caller I.D - then you get a robust data connection and still can remain in touch with the world.

 

I've considered even in future leaving the personal phone at home as iMessage now forwards SMS to any other apple devices and you can reply too! and it directs the phone back home to send the SMS. 

 

 




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  Reply # 1646073 5-Oct-2016 17:49
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richms:

 

Youre grateful that it works like this when in china tho.

 

 

Hahaha - Certainly agree here.


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  Reply # 1646076 5-Oct-2016 17:56
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' Break Out ' roaming it's called, posting this while walking to Souel tower but few weeks in Europe $5 daily roaming 'was awesome and purchased data bundles for the other countries zone2 that did not have $5 daily roaming




Ex JohnR VodafoneNZ 17 years 4 days



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  Reply # 1646086 5-Oct-2016 18:24
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Yeah I read a couple of articles on it - one from Nokia stating that LBO is the best architecture in the LTE world considering LTE is completely IP based already. 

 

Another from F5 saying the technology has been there for around 10 years just not highly consumed as it's easier to just connect to the IPX backbone between carriers. 

 

My background is enterprise network environments and some of the carrier terminology is foreign to me but the reading has certainly been interesting. I hope at some point our NZ carriers progress this more customer centric approach as a roaming model in future. I realise there are negotiations to be had with various mobile carriers but certainly starting with high volume roaming destinations like Australia and USA would be fantastic. 


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  Reply # 1646353 6-Oct-2016 08:33
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The biggest issue is that it will break lots of things. There are also lots of other things that need to be factored in - private APN's for example need to route back to NZ, and it's also been pretty common for some companies to deploy security policies limiting traffic from VF IP ranges for staff who roam.


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  Reply # 1646445 6-Oct-2016 10:48
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Tuikapo:

 

 

 

I've considered even in future leaving the personal phone at home as iMessage now forwards SMS to any other apple devices and you can reply too! and it directs the phone back home to send the SMS.  

 

 

I've been doing this consistently for about just over a year. NZ SIM in an old iPhone at home and local SIM in my current iPhone while away. It is easy to break, but it's a good little work around for iOS users if you can source a second iPhone to leave at home. 

Am aware of the whole roaming inner workings, but have to say Spark hasn't been great over a variety of countries lately - sessions stalling and just loosing connections.


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  Reply # 1646713 6-Oct-2016 15:19
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At the end of the day there is reliance on the local carrier to provide coverage, capacity and speeds. Quite simply put NZ is pretty spoilt for 4G speeds and experience.

 

http://i.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/72546604/nz-has-the-fastest-4g-speeds-in-the-world & http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3432500/Want-speed-mobile-holiday-Report-reveals-just-55th-fastest-4G-speed-world.html

 

That said, I would encourage you to report any issues you do have so they can be investigated with the carrier partners, there are a lot of things at play here and they can't fix what they don't know about.

 

 




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  Reply # 1647927 9-Oct-2016 12:06
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Just an update - 716ms round trip back to San Francisco 2.5mb/s on AT&T and around 10 'drop outs' of Connectivity where I have service 4G and no internet.

Using equivalent AT&T local SIM I got 40ms round trip and 30mb/s at the same location.

The only reason I'm keeping track of this is to continue reporting to Spark. Roaming costs a premium and the offering is inadequate.

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  Reply # 1647976 9-Oct-2016 13:41
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profrink:

Tuikapo:


 


I've considered even in future leaving the personal phone at home as iMessage now forwards SMS to any other apple devices and you can reply too! and it directs the phone back home to send the SMS.  



I've been doing this consistently for about just over a year. NZ SIM in an old iPhone at home and local SIM in my current iPhone while away. It is easy to break, but it's a good little work around for iOS users if you can source a second iPhone to leave at home. 

Am aware of the whole roaming inner workings, but have to say Spark hasn't been great over a variety of countries lately - sessions stalling and just loosing connections.



Now if this worked for calling too it would rock!

Personally I'm planning to just use airplane mode with phone off and wifi on. WhatsApp lets me can AND message anyone (who has it) via wifi, after just registering locally. Will use the wife's phone to take a local sim and 'hotspot' the data if out of wifi signal...

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