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How fast are the cellular data and Wi-Fi speeds at the Summit?

Updated, July 11 | Added Sprint; Added Wi-Fi test in Echo camp 


Everything’s bigger and better at the 2013 jamboree, even the Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

Early reports from staff members on the ground indicate impressive Wi-Fi data speeds for all, and impressive cellular data speeds for AT&T and Verizon customers. This goes a long way toward legitimizing all that talk about this being the most-connected jamboree ever.

But how fast is fast? Here’s the early scoop: 

Speed for Wi-Fi networks, which can be accessed by smartphones on any carrier, laptops, tablets, and other connected devices, range from 8-20 Mbps for downloads and 7-25 Mbps for uploads. Nice.

A staffer with AT&T reported excellent 4G LTE speeds, averaging around 20 Mbps down/5-7 Mbps up. A Verizon user had similarly solid 4G LTE speeds, around 20 Mbps down/3.5 Mbps up.

Sprint, apparently, doesn’t have cell towers in close range. Two separate Sprint users have reported getting just one bar of service at the site, with cellular data speeds around 0.10 Mbps down/0.02 Mbps up.

My sources are still asking around for empirical data from staff members on other carriers, such as T-Mobile. I’ll update this post if and when I hear from those folks. (If you’re already onsite, run a data test and send me a screenshot. Be sure to include where you were standing at the time.)

See screenshots from AT&T and Verizon staffers below, but keep in mind these are just anecdotal reports taken this morning from two individuals standing near the Summit Stadium (the area known as the arena at past jamborees).

That’s an admittedly small sample size. Your experience will vary based on your physical location, your phone’s capabilities, and load levels — aka the number of Scouts and Venturers simultaneously trying to tweet out a picture of themselves soaring down the zip line.

But it’s nice to know the data pipeline is wide and vast as we prepare to formally open the 2013 National Jamboree in just a few days.

Wi-Fi test, standing near Stadium:

summit-speedtest-wifi

AT&T 4G LTE test, standing near Stadium:

summit-speedtest-att

Verizon 4G LTE test, standing near Stadium:

summit-speedtest-verizon

Wi-Fi test, standing in Echo camp:

summit-screenshot-wifi-2

55 Comments on How fast are the cellular data and Wi-Fi speeds at the Summit?

  1. Mike Landi // July 10, 2013 at 9:28 am // Reply

    Reblogged this on Westmoreland-Fayette 2013 Jamboree and commented:
    Internet Access at the Jamboree!

  2. Although this performance is impressive, I can’t help but bring up the fact that in Youth Protection Training and, most likely, many council’s rules, use of cellular phones at camp is prohibited. This is, after all, a scout function in a camp-like setting. I assume that this is going to be for staff and adult leader use only? Not trying to be a downer or anything, but it goes to show how connected we are and need to be, even when we don’t want to be.

    • Hi Bob,

      While we can debate the use of cellular phones at summer camp, I just confirmed with the Youth Protection director here at the BSA that there is no Youth Protection prohibition against cell phone use. Unless, of course, the cell phones are being used for illegal purposes.

      As for the jamboree, that’s a special time, and technology has been woven into many elements of a Scout’s/Venturer’s experience. If he or she has a phone, he or she is going to want to bring it to enhance the jamboree experience.

      • Bryan, you are correct…YP does not specifically prohibit it, but does stress the concern about “inappropriate use”. I have not checked in detail with our council, but as a unit, our troop prohibits Scouts from bringing any form of electronics on a campout or to summer camp. Our preferred camp is deep in the Adirondacks in NY, where cell phone service is spotty at best. SO we tell them not to even bother.

        To everyone else…what’s with the thumbs down ratings?!?! My comments had and continue to have the best intentions for our youth in mind. I was incorrect on the rule…I admit it. But I applied our own policy to my comment, which supports the intention of the YP statements.

        • Bob, I guess there are a lot of people who want to post on Facebook and Twitter while at camp. My message got a lot of thumbs down as well!

        • @John — this gets blurry because as opposed to “the old days” when perhaps a camp newspaper or other publicity arm would take control of “broadcasting” news/events of the day (even at camp), now EVERYBODY can have his own printing press/broadcast station, etc. thanks to the Internet/social media.

          But to all I would say, is it really that important that everyone be able to tweet, facebook or otherwise post the absolute latest “news,” photo of a big fish caught, thoughts about tentmates or the weather, etc.?

          Maybe, maybe not. Maybe this is a concession that jambo isn’t truly a traditional camping event but rather more of a vacation or carnival. No arguments from anyone there.

          But not everything has to be “broadcast” out, or home right away by everyone. That’s what this has the potential of happening (how could one stop it with handhelds encouraged?) Unless, that is, you would be the type of Scout leader who would drive Johnny into town in order to call his parents to tell them he was “all right” when he got homesick during a weekend campout. That’s what a lot of this gets down to. A time and place for everything.

        • Ooops. Meant the last as “@ James.” Sorry!

        • @John, yes, completely understand, and interestingly my profession is technology, I write a lot of these apps! I just don’t see how this enhances the Scouting experience right. Perhaps I will at some point, but change for me means improvement, not change for the sake of change. I guess I don’t see how a campout is improved upon with facebook and twitter posts.

        • I returned to this post this moring to see that my rebuttal of my previous post also received negative response. On June 27, there is a blog post, linkiing back to a Scoutcast, speaking of technology being a blessing and a curse to units. Am I among the very few that feel we could do without technology once in a while. We want our kids to be involved in Scouting to get them off the couch from in front of an Xbox, or away from their iPods or phones, and realize that there were more exciting and interesting things to do before the internet. I may be only in my mid 40’s, but back in my day (LOL), I would spend 16-18 hours a day outside during the summer. Only time I came home was to eat, if that. We found things to do, played games, hiked, biked. Call me old fashioned, but Scouting is meant for the boy to interact with their environment directly, not through a touchscreen.

        • Bob, your points are relevant for camping. This is a Jamboree – different situations entirely.

          The best way to communicate quickly with 40k people is to use the latest technology. That’s why there is a Jamboree app.

        • Bob, unlike traditional camping at Summer Camp or High Adventure, wireless and technology capabilities are heavily integrated into the experience at the Jamboree.

          There are several apps that have been created for participants, youth and adult, to optimize the experience. One is an app that gives participants the ability to pull up maps of the venue, see schedules of events and other features that helps disseminate information in near real time. A valuable tool! Not appropriate or even useful for Summer Camp where things tend to be a little more static, but a great resource for a Jamboree.

          The second app is a Patch app that has been advertised on this site and the Jamboree site. Jamboree patches with a QR code on the back can be scanned and data about them can be pulled up (quantity made, manufacturer, etc.). Probably not the best resource, but still a cool app that provides information to youth actively engaged in patch trading.

          While using photography equipment or other apps/features on phones to harass, intimidate or violate the rules/tenets of scouting is still prohibited (and something that should be actively monitored), there are significantly more appropriate uses for the phones/technology than there are inappropriate uses in a dynamic and evolving environment like the Jamboree.

          I think some people are probably giving you a “thumbs down” because of your application of what your troop does and the attempt to apply that policy/guidance to a much larger group dynamic in a different environment. While I agree wholeheartedly with your statement/comments in the context of a Troop dynamic at summer camp or troop campout, this is a different experience with different rules and represents a convergence of traditional camping with modern technology in a wholly integrated experience. I can’t give you a thumbs down on this because we may have differing opinions. It’s why we post here…to share knowledge and sometimes agree to disagree.

      • One clarification here is important, I think. I’m pretty sure Youth Protection guidelines prohibit cell phones with cameras (i.e., most any cell phone) in bathrooms and shower houses.

        • You’re right on that, Michael. Thanks for that important addition.

    • Jacqueline // July 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm // Reply

      Ok wait if your talking about no cell phone use why in the world does the jamboree have an app for on site use?..with schedules and reminders… I think I missed something…

      • The “no cell phone use” arguments are only arguments, not official BSA policy. If you’ll check the Jambo site, there are plenty of official promotions of technology at the Jamboree.

    • So there’s even a jamboree app for both IOS and Android. It has photos and contact info for everyone in your jambo unit, your schedule will be downloaded to it, it shows locations of food, toilets, vendors, activities and it be used to collect contact information from other attendees by either bumping the phones or scanning the barcode on their IDs. Doing that gives you their picture, contact info etc.

      Also, Jambo will officially launch of Patchscan, an app to track patches by scanning a q-code label. Some officially licensed BSA patches will have a q-code going forward. Scanning the q-code will give a picture of the patch, who made it (i.e. council), how many made, etc. All jambo patches were supposed to have the q-code sticker, but some do and some don’t, even from the same manufacturer.

      • The requirement to add the Q-code was done after some of the councils had their patches made hence the reason why some have them and some don’t. It’s a cool app…I’ve tried it on a few patches already.

  3. Let us know if you hear about T-Mobile! Thanks for posting.

  4. Jim Hegarty - A330 ASM // July 10, 2013 at 9:39 am // Reply

    Will there be wired access? Sorry to say it looks like I may have to bring some work. Faster connection speed means less time away from Jambo activities.

    • I don’t know of any wired access and wouldn’t count on it.

    • I think if you are on staff and you work for certain groups like IT, HQ (that building probably has drops), or the radio station, you may be able to find a network drop. Or, you can do what I did and you can go to bestbuy and buy a wireless network card for you laptop. They make usb ones as well.

  5. Earl Binder - Greater St. Louis Area Council, New Horizons District ADC // July 10, 2013 at 10:15 am // Reply

    Bryan, these speeds are indeed impressive – today. I sure hope that the wifi and cellular networks can maintain these speeds under load – after all, right now only staff are banging away on these networks. I hope they hold up once everyone is there. I wish I was able to be there!

    • I’m sitting in my tent at Jambo now and have consistently had 20meg download speeds throughout the Jamboree.

  6. I have to agree with Bob here. I know there is a big “connected” push, and this is jambo is advertised as such, but it seems that we are connected enough. One of the big points of Scouting is to get kids *away* from the city correct? IMHO, leave the devices at home. Plenty of time for that later.

  7. Ditto the comments about Scouts not needing their electronics (cameras, OK, but let’s be realistic as to what else phones then will/could be used for). There’s a time and a place for everything. Summer camp shouldn’t be extension of electronics dependency.

  8. I’m just old-school enough to have concerns about zombie scouts wandering around the magnificent facility staring at their tiny screens. On the other hand, when we rip them out of their hands they don’t react well. The compromise here seems to be, bring your phone and USE it to experience and record and report and stay on time while at the Jamboree. A Scout/Venturer without a smart phone will not be missing much (especially if s/he brings a watch!) and a participant with a smart phone will try out some cutting edge technology that should enhance the experience.

    In terms of zombie behavior, however, it’s perfectly acceptable, in my view, to require human interaction while in the campsite. And it’s imperative that the SMs have a serious discussion (on the way to the Jamboree?) about acceptable use. Head off problems before they arise. Confiscate phones if there are violations.

  9. There’s a jamboree app, and all the info we have is that Scouts can use their phones to enhance the experience – our contingent is allowing it with a strict policy against improper use, but also so the SM and ASM can reach the scouts who will be spread out in a large area. I’ve resisted it in the past but think the right approach is to teach proper use – when and for what…

    • “… also so the SM and ASM can reach the scouts who will be spread out in a large area. I’ve resisted it in the past but think the right approach is to teach proper use – when and for what…”

      Curmudgeon that I might resemble sometimes, I’ll give you that THIS is the key. Devil’s in the details …

      As I’ve said to countless others resisting technology/new innovations, these incredible cell phones of today are just our walkie-talkies of yesteryear. And who could resist those if/when given the chance to toy around with them?! Even then, however, they weren’t for everybody, all the time. Time and place for everything.

  10. Is there some guide lines or suggests being given to the Scouts about being aware of what they are posting and how it may be interpreted by others both in and outside of Scouting? Twitter and Facebook are very public facing and the media and others are watching for things that they can use as something to point at as a negative thing about Scouting. Scouts need to be aware that something that is funny because of the situation they are in, may be miss interpreted by others.
    One question no one has asked, will there be places for Scouts to charge their devices? Will they have electric in their tents or camp sites?

    • In reference to your question about electricity: there is no power in tents or in the campsite. Not even staff will have power readily available in their tents (not planned at least).

      There are official charging stations sponsored by AT&T, in 2010 they were a disaster with constant lines. I know that they tried to re-work the concept but we will see.

      • Charging stations will be easier to distribute on a Scouting base in contrast to Fort A.P. Hill where everything would be temporary, I have to think. Probably more spread out and easier to access, and besides, it could be a nice place to wait and socialize. New friends?

        Also, one shouldn’t forget about the all-mentioned personal solar chargers.

        • Based on the maps I have been given (about a year old) they have AT&T charging sites in Basecamps B, D, E (Staff), and F (venturers).

          This map does not have summit center or the other program areas so I would expect they have stations in those areas too. In fact the Boys life map shows one in Summit Center.

        • Bob Basement // July 11, 2013 at 8:49 am //

          That zero goal charger is complete junk……I purchased one from REI and used it at summer camp before my scout goes to jambo…….It takes an entire day in fantastic sun to charge it’s battery to full capacity, then only charges my phone to 20%….. After three days of usage the battery died.

          I returned it to rei……a shame BSA didn’t look into or actually use the product before recommending it.

  11. Dan Miller // July 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm // Reply

    I hope there are charging stations at the subcamps.

  12. Reblogged this on Jambo Troop 4.

  13. Please advise on two things:
    Charging station availability. This was an issue at the 2010 jambo, and I expect MORE scouts to have a need this time.
    WiFi coverage: is that only in specific areas or widespread?

  14. Those worried about too much use of cell phones at Jamboree may feel better when they realize that access to a charging station will likely be difficult to find. Scouts without solar chargers are going to be lined up 20 deep to get to an electrical outlet.

  15. Will scouts who cannot afford a smartphone feel left out here? Also, for safety reasons, we don’t allow our son to access the internet outside of home or school. Feeling a little pressured by all the Wi-Fi hoopla here . . .

    • Bob Basement // July 11, 2013 at 8:55 am // Reply

      What don’t trust your scout???

  16. http://gearjunkie.com/summit-scouting-jamboree-site

    400 wifi spots
    “Our customer is a 14- to 21-year-old youth. They are interested in hanging upside down on zip lines going 60mph with their hair on fire… while texting.”

  17. Our Jambo troop is allowing smartphones for “Scouting Activities Only.” After all, there is both a Jambo app and Patch Trading App. Not te mention all the great photo opps. As for using it for gaming, etc. that’s a no-no.

  18. Scouts have always used the resources available – technology should be no exception. Appropriateness the the key! Those who are concerned about using technology in camping environments should review some of the tools and training available, including the Cyber Chip training (http://www.scouting.org/cyberchip.aspx) and the associated NetSmartz training for adults.

    Perhaps the Cyber Chip is being offered at the Jamboree. We included the Cyber Chip as part of basic Scout training, along with the Firem’n Chit and the Totin’ Chip for all new scouts. All older scouts in our troop have also completed the Cyber Chip, as they deliver the program to the scouts.

    Direct Leaders have also completed the Cyber Chip training and are reviewing the NetSmartz training.

    • Bob Basement // July 11, 2013 at 8:54 am // Reply

      Have you actually looked at the requirements….. Not possible to be completed at the Jambo.

      • Agreed, if no prep is planned. But, this is Jambo and like Merit Badges, plan to finish it when you return home if you did not pre-plan to complete it there.

        Go there, enjoy the hype and excitement, and have fond memories to bring back home.

        The original was intended for those not interested in technology for scouts.

  19. Gary Wilson // July 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm // Reply

    Guys, appropriate use of current technology has always had a place in Scouting.

    In fact, the first BSA handbook in 1910 had plans on how to build a spark gap radio transmitter and receiver, which was the smartphone of its day. We on the BSA National Radio Scouting committee even had one on display at K2BSA at the 2010 Jamboree!

    So lighten up and figure out how to use the resources appropriately, as Scouting always has!

    • Apologies if I am incorrect, but I think you are confusing two things. One is the use of technology, this is not debated (at least I don’t think), in fact my career is in technology. Then there is the use on campouts and outings. I have not seen the quote in the 1910 handbook, but my guess is they do not suggest you bring the radio on an outing.

      • In fact we have often brought a ham radio to summer camp. Radio is part of the Radio Merit Badge and it has been very interesting for scouts to listen/talk on the radio during free time.

  20. Bryan, those data number for Sprint are awful. That is no “wide pipe”.

    • Right. It appears Sprint doesn’t have its own towers in the area, but AT&T and Verizon do, at least from what I’ve heard so far.

  21. If a scout has just a regular phone, not a smart phone, will it be of any benefit?

  22. Bob Basement // July 11, 2013 at 9:48 am // Reply

    Unless I am missing something here…..the charging stations take an hour or so to charge the phones….So if one charging station has 100 connections then what about the other 10,000 people in the sub camp

  23. The last jambo was also billed as ‘the most connected ever’. That was a disaster. I hope it goes better this time.

    I was a contingent ASM at Jambo 2010. With all the pre-jambo hype about being ‘the most connected ever’, we decided to reverse our previous policy, and we encouraged boys to bring their phones as a means of communication. We even published a troop phone list, so everyone would be able to contact everyone else.

    When we got to AP Hill, and tried to use our devices, we discovered that they were for-the-most-part useless. I had no signal in our camp, nor in the nearby merit-badge midway or action centers. If I stood within a few feet of the AT&T center in our sub-camp, I could get a spotty signal. Definitely not a reliable way to communicate.
    Charging was a nightmare. The AT&T charging station only worked for their favorite phones. I (and many others) had a device not compatible with their system. The charging that was available was insufficient, and some idiot decided that making it available only at limited times would help to alleviate the problem.
    Wireless internet was the only ‘connected’ thing that actually worked as advertised. I was able to connect my laptop, and post a few pictures online. Unfortunately, there was no facility for recharging the laptop, so wireless was rendered useless as soon as the laptop battery was exhausted.

    • @Scoutaholic: There’s the real rub. I believe (verizon user here) that signals will be solid. They’ll have towers, and “cells on wheels” (COWS) there like last time. I had a good solid signal almost everywhere and so did my scout (He was in the southern region, campsite 19, I was in campsite 5 helping in shooting sports). calling to “meet” when I had an off time was great.

      The rub…. batteries. Once it ran down, you were out of luck. And the “stand here and charge” is a problem…it ties people down to one location for indeterminant periods of time.

      What did work was the lock boxes, but based on the pictures I’ve seen so far from my base camp group…no lockboxes. If those were there, I’d drop off my limeade batterypack for 2 hours or so, charge it up, and then be able to charge 7-8 other devices back to full. If the lock boxes were available that would be great…assuming there are enough of them. But if the thinking, based on the photo I’ve seen, is one charging station of what appears to be 20 “bays” that you must stand beside and “guard”… waiting for an hour to charge, with a line standing there as well waiting to charge… folks…there’s a problem brewing.

      Lets ignore the scout need for a minute: 11,000 adults, many of who work, and in this day and age, right or wrong, they are expected to be reachable or to be able to reply daily to work queries. Its not the cell system that will pose the issue…its the availability of power.

      As is, I’m praying the solars we have will provide some relief along with my battery pack.

  24. Bob Basement // July 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm // Reply

    this is why my scout is bringing a number of usb battery packs 20000mah. If my math is right he and his tent mate should never have to waste any time at that charging stations….

    Well unless he wants too.

  25. ATT Placed 700 Wi-Fi APs throughout the camp as well as 10,000 Fiber miles of fiber in the ground to provide connectivity to all those AP’s and many other services.

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