How many times have you been to a major event—something like a football game or Comic-Con—and noticed that no matter what you do, no matter how many bars your phone says it has, you're unable to send or receive data? We're guessing it's happened to you more times than you'd like to recall. To help alleviate the stress, app maker SwayMarkets decided to figure out exactly why it happens.
So...why? It's pretty simple, acutally. Whenever a large group of people gather in one area, everyone is fighting for access to the same wireless cell site. If too many people attempt to gain access, the site will get bogged down and crap out. SwayMarket's founders took three iPhones, one from Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T, and went to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game to see how each responded using the compay's CarrierCompare software. The results were surprising.
The iPhones from Sprint and Verizon stopped working, while the one from AT&T kept chugging, albiet much, much slower than usual. The good news is that wireless carriers are working on solutions. Instead of relying on cell towers, some companies are testing small atennas that can be deployed around heavily populated areas to increase cell coverage.