Failure of Verizon LTE on the New iPad

I had high hopes for Verizon and their LTE network when I first unboxed my new iPad. I knew the LTE spec could be as high as 20Mbps down and 10Mbps up — but I’d settle for half of those numbers.  I’d read reports that people were getting LTE speeds in NYC of 10Mbps down and 6Mbps up and I’d love to be able to live that fast on the web.

Unfortunately, my initial tests in Jersey City were lousy, and yesterday, I did some informal LTE testing around Bryant Park in New York City.  You’d think at 6th Avenue and 40th Street you’d have a saturating LTE signal from Verizon.  Here are the results of my first, dismal, test:  Two Verizon LTE bars and 1.7Mbps down and 1.47Mpbs up.  Ugh.  That’s miserable 3G territory!

I waited a minute and decided to run the test again.  This time the results were slightly better, but not as-advertised LTE speeds:  Three bars of Verizon LTE and 2.78Mbps down and 1.29Mbps up.

The Verizon LTE bars kept flickering.  I did some web browsing.  The pages loaded okay.  I received several error messages that the “network could not be found” — meaning Verizon had dropped the LTE connection — and my iPad asked me if I wanted to join a WiFi network instead.

When the LTE signal returned, I did another test:  Two Verizon LTE bars and 4.20Mpbs down and 0.60Mbps down.  We gained a bunch one way and lost a bunch of speed the other way.  What unreliable and unpredictable madness!

I waited 20 minutes and decided to run another test:  Three Verizon LTE bars and 2.30Mbps down and 1.20Mbps up.  Not great numbers.  Really disappointing numbers, actually.

I immediately fired another test and recorded those speeds:  Three Verizon LTE bars, 3.91Mbps down and 1.29Mbps up.  Is anyone else bothered by the unpredictability of these numbers?

This morning, back in Jersey City, I decided to try another Verizon LTE speed test only to find my iPad had defaulted to Verizon 3G instead of LTE and the connection numbers were embarrassing:  0.46Mbps down and 0.76Mpbs up.  Ooof!

I don’t know if my new iPad is a lemon — I know some WiFi-only models are being re-“captured” by Apple — but my wife’s iPad shows the same dismal LTE connection speeds, so I’m guessing we’re just dealing with rotten Verizon LTE service in Jersey and Manhattan that, we hold thumbs, will continue to get better instead of progressively worse. Notice I said I was “holding thumbs” and not my breath.

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