Review of Sprint and Innovative data on St Thomas USVI

This is a short review but I figured now that I have moved here I might as well explain a little about the internet that I have experienced so far.

I’ve been here for a month.  Currently I have access to 500kb down and 500kb up DSL from innovative at the condo rental in Mahagony Run.  I also have access through my Sprint EVO 3D phone.  I use the hotspot fairly regularly.  My wife uses an iPhone for work and let me tell you that phone is a PIECE OF SHIT.  Scratchy, more dropped calls than my sprint phone and data is just as hit or miss.

I don’t want to take too much time going over exact numbers because there are a few other options on the island.  To start with, I want to begin with Sprint access.  Phone reception can be a challenge with the mountains.  I don’t expect this to change much.  However, I did get a Sprint femtocell that should help with the reception. Albeit, it doesn’t always work as advertised.  There is no “4G” here for sprint.  Instead, we get the old standby EVDO.  Occasionally, it works great.  When I mean great, the data speed is the same as the mainland..for a few minutes.  Every few minutes you get this 30 second pause where no data is flowing through.  Another issue I run into is with the 3G data.  I need to turn the mobile network off and on every days on my phone other-8 minutes it would pause to buffer.  Sometimes it felt like it would take a few minutes to buffer.  Needless to say, my 1 hour tv show took longer than an hour to watch.

The brightside to all this is Sprint actually works better on the island than it did for me in Richmond, VA.

Now quickly on to Innovative DSL.  When you go from 30 megs down and 2 megs up to 1/2 meg down and 1/2 meg up you sure learn the word patience.  When we first got here it worked horribly.  Constantly needing router and modem reboots.  I also have this issue with google.  Anything google whether it is the search page, a domain on google or their ad network doubleclick that loads on other web pages.  It hangs an takes forever to load.  In the past week these issues have improved somewhat but have not completely gone away.  I have started to use Bing more for my searches because it is faster.

The reasons for the constant reboots are probably numerous.  However, I think I can narrow it down to 2 possibilities.  Either the modem and router were overheating or that they hate the humidity.  Humidity was much worse the first half of the month.  I think it is a combination of both.  I have always kept something underneath my router to let airflow on the bottom of it.  This time, I have set it on its side and made sure nothing was close to it that could trap heat by it.  This seems to help greatly.

Here is another negative for Richmond, VA and a positive for the Virgin Islands.  I get consistent pings playing my games.  They are higher but I am also located a few thousand more miles away from the severs I play on.  I don’t get the pauses like I did with Comcast.  In fact, I can watch netflix or hulu with no buffering issues!  The quality is at its lowest setting but it at least works.

I work remotely for living and my remote support software of choice is teamviewer.  It works extremely well.  I have absolutely no complaints.  Skype also works flawlessly.  In fact, it works better than it ever has for me on Comcast (atlanta and richmond) or even Time warner (milwaukee and austin).  Ofcourse, the crazy low speeds is a killer when downloading images and other fairly large files.  What I do to offset this is I try to do my file transfers at night or when I know I won’t be home.  Today, I am writing this post through my Sprint hotspot from the beach while my laptop at home downloads the latest iOS development kit.

When we move,  I think I will be sticking with DSL.  It looks like I can get 1 down and  1 up and it is very consistent.  They do have wimax here but I have read stories about inconsistent speeds and bad pings.  I also need the low pings for VoIP.  I have seen speedtests posted somewhere.  They were not pretty.

I thought that I read about cable internet eventually coming to St Thomas.  I don’t know when this will happen.  So keep in mind that there are always tradeoffs when choosing beautiful places to live versus a high tech city.  I won’t mention anything about the weekly power outages.