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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Update – Verizon’s 4G Wireless Network Stinks in Chicago’s Southwest Side AND Be

An update on the post below regarding Verizon’s much touted but lousy 4G wireless modem service for the southwest side of Chicago and its southwest suburbs (specifically, along Metra’s commuter rail service known as the Southwest line). The short update is that the 4G service also failed multiple times last night while on Amtrak’s NY to DC train in order to get to court in Wilmington, Delaware. The supposedly wonderful 4G modem was put to work as soon as the train left NY’s Penn Station, and the signal failed twice between NY and the Metropark stop. And, even when the train was sitting still at the Metropark station, the network would not activate.

There were two more drops off the 4G system between Metropark and Philadelphia. And, the modem could not even figure out that it had been dropped, so I had to trigger it to disconnect when data would not upload. Then another drop in the Philadelphia station. Also, I had to turn the VW Access Manager on and off by hand in order to connect again. Between Philadelphia and Wilmington, the signal was usually 2 bars or less, and there was one more complete drop.

Conclusion? Hold on to your 3G modem. Verizon’s people at the store near my home tell me that it no longer sells a 3G modem and instead all new customers are forced to buy a 4G modem even thoughthe service stinks, to use a relatively polite word.


An FYI for Iphone users and modem users thinking about moving to Verizon. My advice – don’t bother. Back in March, 2011, I became an Iphone 4 and modem user when I abandoned my AT& T Iphone out of frustration with AT & T’s miserable service. Guess what – Verizon is no better in my view.

For the Iphone 4, calls continue to contain lots of words that are lost, and calls completely fail with great frequency. There’s no hope of getting a call in my 31st floor office. And, that’s still happening after being sent a second phone to replace a supposedly defective first Iphone. I may bring back my reliable old Motorola clamshell and TMobile.

Meanwhile, the 4g Modem is at best frustrating. Every now and then it works very well to bring down lots of data at high speed. BUT of course that’s only part of the story. My 3G modem very seldom dropped the signal, but the 4G signal drops very frequently – sometimes 2-3 times per commuting trip on a commuter train from or to Chicago and the Southwest suburbs. I recently had a Verizon tech go through all the settings, but nothing improved. His comment was that the 4g network is not really intended for people who are moving when using the modem. Of course, Verizon’s marketing material omits that material information.

So, at least in Chicago, don’t expect "better" by moving to Verizon from AT & T, or from 3G to 4G.

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