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Mobile Performance At Airports

... ROOTMetrics Mobile performance at airports Good coverage at airports can be tricky We tested mobile network performance at the 50 busiest airports across the U.S. to see what type of mobile service travelers can expect. Our findings show that you could be in for a turbulent experience, with wide variations in performance. Read on to discover some of the challenges facing carriers at airports and see how the networks performed in our testing. DAS CELL TOWER Network infrastructures Your mobile device is basically just a radio, and your mobile experience depends on your ability to transmit and receive a signal. Within an airport, your mobile signal is typically delivered by cell towers, distributed antenna systems, or cells located indoors. CELL TOWER INDOOR CELLS OR DAS Carriers can use indoor cells with antennas or a PROPAGATION Distributed Antenna System (DAS) to add capacity to the network and help alleviate some Signal propagation refers to how far a performance challenges at airports. A DAS is a frequency can travel from cell towers and how network of spatially separated antenna nodes well it can penetrate solid objects like concrete that provides wireless service within a specific walls in airports. area or structure. FREQUENCIES Cell signals are transmitted at different frequencies, depending on the spectrum your network has available. LOW FREQUENCIES HIGH FREQUENCIES Travel far and penetrate solids better. Don't travel as far or penetrate solids as well. PROPAGATION: EXCELLENT PROPAGATION: POOR Cell phone activity occurs between 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz 700 MHz 2.5 GHz Performance challenges Whether an airport uses indoor cells, a DAS, or your carrier relies solely on cell towers, there are many obstacles to navigate before your mobile experience is a smooth one. Here's why getting and receiving a signal at an airport can be tricky. ARCHITECTURE AND TOWER DISTANCES Airports can be enormous and sprawling structures, with multiple floors surrounded by dense building materials like concrete walls. Since cell towers aren't allowed on airport grounds, it can often be difficult for signals to penetrate all areas of an airport. Lower levels like baggage claim can be especially tricky. UNDERGROUND CHALLENGES Cell signals often can't reach underground areas of airports, which can make it difficult or even impossible to use your phone in some areas of airports, like on trains or at baggage claim. DAS NETWORK CONGESTION Another challenge that can potentially impact service is congestion-airports are busy places, with lots of people moving through a relatively small space and often trying to access cell service at the same time. DAS Before you check your bag, check our results. Long lines, security checkpoints, delays-airport travel is complicated enough. We tested the 50 busiest U.S. airports in the second half of 2013 to show you which mobile networks flew highest and which might leave you grounded. AT&T 36 Airport Verizon 19 ROOTSCORE AWARD TALLY July - December 2013 T-Mobile Sprint Airport traffic rankings are determined according to the total number of passengers boarding planes in 2011. RootScore Award winners are based on testing from the second half of 2013. For more detailed performance information at each airport, please visit our Airport RootScore Reports at AIRPORT TRAFFIC RANK ROOTSCORE AWARD WINNER Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) 1 AT&T Chicago O'hare International (ORD) AT&T Los Angeles International (LAX) 3 AT&T Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) 4 Verizon and AT&T Denver International (DEN) Verizon John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Verizon San Francisco International (SFO) Verizon and AT&T McCarran International (LAS) Verizon Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) T-Mobile and AT&T George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) 10 AT&T Charlotte Douglas International (CLT) 11 AT&T Miami International (MIA) 12 AT&T Orlando International (MCO) 13 AT&T Newark Liberty International (EWR) 14 Verizon and T-Mobile Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA) 15 AT&T Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) 16 AT&T Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW) 17 AT&T Philadelphia International (PHL) 18 AT&T General Edward Lawrence Logan International (BOS) 19 AT&T and Verizon LaGuardia (LGA) 20 Verizon and T-Mobile Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International (FLL) 21 AT&T Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) 22 Verizon and AT&T Washington Dulles International (IAD) 23 Verizon Salt Lake City International (SLC) 24 AT&T Chicago Midway International (MDW) 25 T-Mobile and AT&T Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) 26 AT&T Honolulu International (HNL) 27 AT&T and Verizon San Diego International (SAN) 28 AT&T Tampa International (TPA) 29 AT&T Portland International (PDX) 30 AT&T Lambert-St. Louis International (STL) 31 Verizon Kansas City International (MCI) 32 Verizon and AT&T William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) 33 Verizon and T-Mobile Nashville International (BNA) 34 AT&T General Mitchell International (MKE) 35 AT&T Metropolitan Oakland International (OAK) 36 AT&T and Verizon Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) 37 Verizon Austin-Bergstrom International (AUS) 38 AT&T Cleveland Hopkins International (CLE) 39 T-Mobile Sacramento International (SMF) 40 T-Mobile Memphis International (MEM) 41 AT&T Louis Armstrong New Orleans International (MSY) 42 AT&T John Wayne Airport (SNA) 43 Verizon San Jose International (SJC) 44 T-Mobile Pittsburgh International (PIT) 45 AT&T and Verizon San Antonio International (SAT) 46 Verizon Dallas Love Field (DAL) 47 AT&T Southwest Florida International (RSW) 48 AT&T Indianapolis International (IND) 49 AT&T Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG) 50 AT&T and T-Mobile .: ROOTMetrics RootMetrics tests mobile performance in markets and airports across the United States. Our RootScore Report series and free CoverageMap app give you insights and Setting the standard for mobile performance information tools to help you make more informed mobile decisions. Visit us at

Mobile Performance At Airports

shared by rootmetrics on Feb 11
We tested mobile network performance at the 50 busiest airports across the United States. Our tests showed that travelers could be in for a turbulent experience. This infographic explores some of the...


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