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CES 2010: Root Wireless Tracks Carrier Coverage and Speed, Helping You Choose the Carrier Best For You

By Kevin Michaluk on 13 Jan 2010 07:51 pm EST
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Apologies in advance for the background noise in this video -- it was loud as heck at ShowStoppers at CES 2010 -- but it's worth working through the sound pain so you can hear what Root Wireless is all about. With coverage maps all the rage in carrier commercials these days, Root Wireless is on a mission to make these maps more than lip service, by creating them off from real world user data. How do they do that? By letting users install a small Root Wireless app onto their location-aware device which runs in the background, collecting data on carrier signal strength and network data speed, and reports it back every so often to Root Wireless who compiles the info into useful data for consumers and other stakeholders (I think carriers themselves are pretty interested in what Root Wireless is up to as it can help them identify and fill in network gaps). 

Be sure to watch the video above and check out rootwireless.com for more info. The service is still in beta phase, but you can register up to become a beta tester. They're looking for smartphone enthusiasts to get this app loaded and put it to good use, so let's help them out. The more users running this on their phones, the better the service will be! Cool stuff, huh?

Reader comments

CES 2010: Root Wireless Tracks Carrier Coverage and Speed, Helping You Choose the Carrier Best For You

20 Comments

Only problem with iblipped is that it does not get updates regularly anymore.

Loved the program and the concept but I think it just became to much to maintain.

I still have it installed on my phone and use it when I am road tripping.

the problem with these programs is they tend to drain the battery as they are transmitting data to the servers.

it's a neat idea. but not at the cost of battery drain.

These type of programs do use some additional battery, hard to say how much this one uses.

I mainly use this when I am traveling to a new area of town or road tripping, either way I have a charger in my car so I just plug it in when I am going to do mapping.

Have not tried this one out yet but plan on it. Coverage can suck in areas of North and South Dakota and it would be great to know where the dead spots really are.

I use Blips and GPS Tracker, if you set the radio to transmit every couple of seconds your battery time is obviously going to drop.
When using it to map coverage (Blips)in the car leaving it plugged in isn't an issue.
Setting the app to update every 1800 seconds (30 minutes) for tracking (GPS Tracker) on a full charge gives me a full 24 hours before the battery is down to one bar.

Would an app like this compromise the security of the device? In other words, would this app have the ability to transmit info that is in your berry to Root Wireless that should not be sent?

I've never seen any software like this, and will check those mentioned above also, but this would just be perfect from actual user standpoint vs vague carrier comments. Very useful!

I always thought it would be nice to have a service which rented you a device that would have radios for all of the major carriers and a data logging program similar to what is used with Root. You would carry this with you for a week or so and when you are done you could get a report showing which carrier has the best coverage or data speeds in your area.

This sounds like an app to hold our carriers accountable for their coverage, or the lack thereof. However, if it slows my browsing or drains my battery significantly I'm dumping it.

Just a few bucks for a boom mic that clips onto your camcorder will make a world of difference. I'm just saying.

I loaded it and it keeps telling me to turn on GPS, it is turned on, not sure what else to do, it wont give me any info because of thr GPS glitch. If it does not work how can I remove it, there isn't a delete option on the BB button for this app.

Hey wfromme, which BB do you have? The App is fairly simple to remove. However since you are using a very early release, so issues might arise. Speaking of that, can you tell me also the version number?

-Kevin
Director of Product Management | Root Wireless

Here at Root Wireless we’re pleased to see all the interest in our project on this thread, and we’d like to add some information that we hope you’ll find helpful.

Our Beta program is just now ramping up and we encourage anyone interested to visit our site and sign up to try out our Root Mobile software when it’s ready. The link to register is right on our home page at http://rwww.rootwireless.com. We don’t advise installing any software directly from other links found in the blogosphere.

Several comments have expressed a concern about battery life impact, which is certainly understandable when considering monitoring software that runs in the background. Please be assured that a top engineering priority for us in developing the Root Mobile app has been to have a negligible impact on the battery life of the mobile device. When Root Mobile runs in the background it is not monitoring the network all the time, it is instead just sampling periodically in order to minimize battery use. If you want to initiate intense continuous testing for a period of time, however, you can. This is useful if you want to map coverage, for example, along your whole commute to work.

We look forward to having you all joining our Beta program and trying out Root Mobile for yourself in the very near future.

-The Root Wireless Team