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What seems to be a simple task just ended up to be a cram exam for the FCC mobile cellular frequency assignments and packet compression technologies. But after the end of my very long weekend that I should have been painting I can say I may never look at an FCC publication again.

How to select your SmartPhone

Read First:

I'm am going to help you select your Smartphone based on it's technical specifications and not how it looks or it's size. That personal touch is up to you, I'm just going to give you my opinion and technical advice where I feel many don't look. 
You might also notice that I'm only interested in GSM systems. 
This is because of the portability of GSM and the fact we can have better technologies and those technologies are shared globally. Other technologies that are offered by Sprint and Verizon are fine but offer only localized solutions. 

The Locked or Unlocked phone issue. 

  • You'll find discussions that it increases the value of your phone. (Correct)
  • You'll find websites that offer you unlock keys. (Correct)
  • You'll find after you pay a website to unlock your phone you could have done it for FREE. (Also Correct)

The Network Frequencies you need. (Short Version)
Tech Note: LTE in the USA is very, very, very rare in that the LTE frequency bands are 700Mhz and 1700Mhz. But, if you're interested the spees of 4G are on your 3G networks called HSPA and HSPA+.
Understand that LTE is not a standard it's a Slogan. "Long Term Evolution" Kind of like a company saying LTS for "Long Term Support" they are promising to build on what they have. (I think)

2G: 850Mhz, 900Mhz, 1800Mhz, 1900Mhz
3G: 850Mhz, 900Mhz, 1900Mhz, 2100Mhz
4G: 700Mhz, 1700Mhz (Bands are held by carriers but not all active.)

Higher Frequency (Mhz) cleaner the data and faster the data.
SCAM ALERT!! >> 3G:TD-SCDMA 1880-1920/2010-2025MHz is for CHINA ONLY!!
I found a retailer in the US selling the TD-SCDMA Xiaomi Mi3.
IT WILL NOT WORK on our GSM networks. I hope the one reseller I saw from Chicago is taken offline soon.

Network Types: WCDMA (International) 

Data Types: GPRS, EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+ (EHSPA), DC-HSPA+

Data speeds are about 12.5Kpbs to 42Mbps. 

Common carriers in the USA: 

  • AT&T Mobility (GSM 2G, 3G HSPA+)
  • T-Mobile (GSM 2G, 3G HSPA+)

FYI: I will be exposing you to allot of information so take it easy reading. 

I will also link my reference material and my findings.
I will be promoting Asian products solely for the reason the USA has no electronic manfacturering and design plants for this type of competitive marketplace. 
You might get the impression I do not like the US phone system.
Good, because I don't. Just look at a the prices, services of today and look at what their were 50 years ago. Price Per Minute 1943 compared to Price Per Minute 2013 dropped by $0.08 on average for long distance calling. (Resource, McComb MS Library 1943 Phonebook.)

If you think this is going to be easy you are either and FCC employee or you know me very well.

I can draft a 100 page manual on how to boil water and add 50 additional pages leading up to the index.

I'll attempt not to do that here but you as a consumer and as a technician need to know what they (the corporate players) are doing.

First of all, Free Anytime Upgrades, twice a year upgrades, no long term contracts all have simple common paths.
The systems that are offering these upgrades are expanding and technoloy you carry today may not work next month for their pockets. It's important to get everyone over to 4G even if the 4G is 3G on Steriods and HSPA.

The faster you eat up your data plan the faster you'll change to a more expensive data plan.

Two figures you should see: 192Kbps and 756Kbps, that's what my audio and video steaming consumes while listening and watching.

You might think this is easy to do. 

Just pick the phone you like and away you go. 

It is if you don't travel or don't need to know much about what makes you connect to the internet and your office network. 

But, if you need to know you are at the best possible levels then you should learn about your phone like the realy Radio Frequency fan you are.

Let me start with Mhz, Bands, FCC and the other junk we need to talk about. 

The base to make a VOICE call: (Very slow data like an old dialup) 

2G/2.5G - GSM/GPRS/EDGE: >> 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

The Speed to transfer data: (Like a good DSL but not like Cable)

3G - UMTS/ HSPA:

T-Mobile: (US): 850/ AWS/1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps
AT&T: 850/1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps
Sprint: 1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 14.4 Mbps

3G - CDMA:
800/1900 MHz for Sprint

The Speed to transfer data: (Like a FAST DSL Slow Cable)

4G - CDMA:
Verizon: 800/1900MHZ
UMTS/HSPA 1900/2100MHz
GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz
LTE 700MHz (Band 13)

The Speed to transfer data: (Like a to fast for DSL but Like a FAST Cable)

4G - LTE: (Long Term Evolution)
T-Mobile (US)/ AT&T: 700 MHz and AWS band (1700Mhz)
Sprint: 1900 MHz

Here's the terms: (You can WikiPedia.Org the long versions)

2G: I've seen this as a 12.5Kbps.
2.5G: never experienced this yet.
3G: Most of the Baton Rouge area, something like 0.750 Mb/s or 750 KB/s upload and about 1.2Mb/s or 1,200 KB/s downloads.

Other terms to learn:
GPRS
EDGE
HSDPA = High Speed Download Packet Access 
HSUPA = ...
HSPA
HSPA+
HSPA = Highspeed Packet Access

LTEHaul or LTE Backhaul news from one of the cellular manufacturers. 
Read the WikiPedia.Org articles about how our telecom giants hate this company and accuse them of everything in the book. I'm not picking sides but it sure does sound like one or more of our major cellular carriers doesn't want this group in with T-Mobile or any of the smaller players. 

I have to make sure you understand the following. 

  • KiloBit = kb
  • KiloByte = KB
  • MegaByte = MB
  • GigaByte = GB
  • TerraByte = TB

We often complain about our connection speeds and many times it's because we are not focusing on the kb to KB ratio. 

That and we don't account for overhead, CRC, hops and latency. 

Here's an example that floats around the Internet

Connecting at 512 kbps is kpbs * 1000 = 512 * 1000 = 512000 , 
512000 / 8 = 64000
64000 / 1024 = 62.5 KB/s or KBps (per Second)

We talk more today about MegaBytes download.

Don't be confused, it will get easier and once you learn it and use it to select your phone you can forget all about it. 

Today I'm selecting a new SmartPhone for a test on the T-Mobile network. 
I am purchasing the phone and need to be able to put it on the T-Mobile and AT&T networks if needed. 
So I need to find a phone that matches the 3G and if possible the 4G networks of both T-Mobile and AT&T. 

4G - LTE: T-Mobile (US) and AT&T (US): 700 MHz and AWS band (1700Mhz)
Now we need to learn the blocks that the FCC split the 1700Mhz band up in. 

Blocks D,E,F = T-Mobile, D,E = AT&T and Verizon Block F
You can see T-Mobile has more blocks and they overlap with the others. It doesn't make them better and I'll explain a bit more later.

I'm not going to mention the 700Mhz bands that were auctioned off back in 2006. It doesn't seem to have created the serious movement that was promised at the time. Actually it was to be long range slow data for rural areas. Something like one tower high in the air covering 75 to 150 miles instead of 15 or more towers to cover the same area.

Tip: Lower Frequency band > Slower Data Speeds > but > Longer Range.
It would be good for HDTV and HD Radio.

1. T-Mobile: Band 4 >  1700Mhz (1.7Ghz) AWS Blocks A-F Frequency range 1710Mhz to 1755Mhz upload, 2110-2155 download. 400Mhz separation from upload and download.

If you have never purchased an FCC license it was in the 80's easy to do. Come up with the cash and have a family member purchase it for you. Then you setup the equipment and use the license. Next thing you know it's 20 years later and your setup is worth millions. That was before big corporate figured it out. Here's a WikiPedia.Org post about the process

I'll start the phone discussion (one way) now and with that I wanted to share what one poster noted. 

AWS 1700/2100 frequency bands. 

The poster stated he contacted customer service at T-Mobile regarding the LTE services. The issue I have is the way the post was worded. AWS is associated with 3G. 
With that said, when you see HSPA+ you should not think 4G but faster than normal 3G which is what it's all about. Your phone should show HSPA+ (7.2).
You also might see HSPDA which is Highspeed Packet Download Access

I have checked around and found a couple of phone manufacturers that will work very well with the MySmallCloud systems. 

I will be linking to all the local Cellular Carriers in Louisiana that I have used. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile. 
I currently have T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon phones running. I'll retest Sprint the first of the year. I plan on using one of the phones below to test all 4 carriers to give Baton Rouge to New Orleans to Houma real coverage and data speed tests. 

  1. Xiaomi (China)
    • Xiaomi Manufacturers website.
  2. Huawei (China) (Pronounced: Wah-Way)
  3. LG (South Korea)
    • LG G2 (Best overall when comparing with others)
  4. HTC (Taiwan)

The phone list or should I say "My Wishlist". 

  1. Xiaomi MI3 (Xiao-Mi)
    GSM 850Mhz, 900Mhz, 1800Mhz, 1900Mhz 
    WCDMA (G3) 850Mhz, 900Mhz, 1900Mhz, 2100Mhz
    1. No LTE Support but if you look we in the South don't even have the 700 and 1700Mhz channels up so all of our LTE service is G3 HSPA types. T-Mobile Consumer questions about LTE G3 and Frequencies.
    2. Unlocked phone questions and frequencies.
  2. Huawei Ascend P6 (Wah-Way)
    GSM 850Mhz, 900Mhz, 1800Mhz, 1900Mhz
    WCDMA (G3) HSPA+ 850Mhz, 900Mhz, 1700Mhz, 1900Mhz, 2100Mhz
  3. LG G2
  4. HTC One

I'll post the frequencies for the LG and HTC later. But they fall in our range for T-Mobile testing. 

Also, if you didn't notice all the phones are Android and that's so we can take advantage of some free and paid apps that my servers can support. (Apple requires over the top to develop in house or public apps.)

If you're looking at the prices of the phones you need to look around your place a bit. I figured that I have $400 in phones that are no longer used on any networks and I even put them into the "Trade In" to see if I could get a few bucks and buy up to one of the 4 phones. It's cool really cool, I purchased a phone for $50 and they offered $49.

Notes:
I had to convert mm, grams and cm to inches and pounds.
Here's my cheat list at Microsoft for Excel Convert() And here is my CONVERT() Formulas. 

General Resource, Reference and stuff I read while writing List: 

 I will explain to you in simple terms why it's best to purchase your phone and not lease it. Why it's always in your best interest to unlock your phone so you can use it anytime on any network. And why Rooting is good but not always needed if you find a good match of apps. Just learn to disable apps. 

 

 

 SnapDragon Processor Guide: (Yes, I do believe this is my next career. I feel creative talent can make this processor fit more applications than we have today.)

 

 

Start developing with the Snapdragon SDK >>

 Snapdragon 800Snapdragon 600Snapdragon 400Snapdragon 200
TierSnapdragon 800Snapdragon 600Snapdragon 400Snapdragon 200
Description Snapdragon 800 Processors are designed to deliver blazing fast apps and web browsing, visually stunning graphics, breakthrough multimedia capabilities, seamless communications virtually anytime, anywhere, and outstanding battery life for premium smartphones, Smart TVs, digital media adapters and tablets. Snapdragon 600 Processors are designed to deliver outstanding performance for today's coolest apps, fast web browsing, seamless connectivity and great battery life for mid-high tier smartphones and tablets. Snapdragon 400 Processors are designed to deliver the performance, features, connectivity and battery life that consumers expect in high volume smartphones and tablets. Snapdragon 200 Processors are designed to deliver a valued balance of performance, robust connectivity and better battery life for entry level smartphones.
Processing Up to 2.3 GHz Quad Krait 400 CPU Up to 1.9 GHz Quad Krait 300 CPU Up to 1.7 GHz Dual Krait 200 CPU Up to 1.4 GHz Quad Cortex A5 CPU
GPU Adreno 330 GPU Adreno 320 GPU Adreno 305 GPU Adreno 203 GPU
DSP Hexagon, QDSP6V5A, 600MHz Hexagon, QDSP6V4, 500MHz Hexagon, QDSP6V4, 500MHz QDSP5, 384MHz
Modem 3G/4G World/multimode LTE on select processors No modem 3G/4G World/multimode LTE on select processors 3G CDMA/UMTS/GSM on select processors
USB USB 3.0/2.0 USB 2.0 USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Bluetooth BT4.0 †
Integrated digital core
BT4.0 †
Integrated digital core
BT4.0 †
Integrated digital core
BT4.0 ‡
Integrated digital core
WiFi 802.11n/ac (2.4/5GHz) †
Integrated digital core
802.11n/ac (2.4/5GHz) †
Integrated digital core
802.11n/ac (2.4/5GHz) †
Integrated digital core
802.11n/ac (2.4/5GHz) †
Integrated digital core
GPS gpsOne Gen8B gpsOne Gen8A gpsOne Gen8A gpsOne Gen7A
Video 4k x 2k UHD video capture/playback 1080p HD video 1080p HD video 720p HD Video (30/15 fps)
Camera Up to 55MP, Stereoscopic 3D, Dual ISP Up to 21MP, Stereoscopic 3D Up to 13.5MP, Stereoscopic 3D on select processors Up to 8MP
Display 2560x2048 + 1080p and 4K external displays supported 24-bit QXGA (2048x1536) + 1080p external display supported 24-bit WXGA (1280x800) + 1080p external display supported on select processors FWVGA (840x480)
Process Technology 28nm HPm 28nm LP 28nm LP 45nm LP
Part Numbers 8974 (LTE)
8274 (HSPA+)
8674 (CDMA)
8074 (No Modem)
8064T 8930 (LTE)
8230 (HSPA+)
8630 (CDMA)
8930AB (LTE)
8230AB (HSPA+)
8630AB(CDMA)
8030AB(No Modem)
8226 (UMTS)
8626 (CDMA)
8225Q
8625Q

† Digital integrated in SoC, Analog added via additional chip

What seems to be a simple task just ended up to be a cram exam for the FCC mobile cellular frequency assignments and packet compression technologies. But after the end of my very long weekend that I should have been painting I can say I may never look at an FCC publication again.