Legal / Regulatory & Consumer Resources

Open Internet Information

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT NETWORK MANAGEMENT

Sprint is committed to providing the best wireless broadband Internet access service experience possible for its customers. To ensure that all Sprint customers enjoy the best possible network experience, Sprint uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards. Sprint also prohibits certain wireless data customers from engaging in certain data uses. Information concerning these prohibited uses can be found in our point-of-sale materials and online in our Important Service Terms located at sprint.com.

The following Frequently Asked Questions are intended to help clarify for Sprint's retail customers what Sprint means by network management and explain Sprint's (and its providers') network management techniques and approaches.

Why does Sprint manage its network?

Sprint manages its network with the goal of delivering the best possible wireless broadband Internet access experience to its customers. Wireless network resources are not infinite. Managing the network is essential to promote the use and enjoyment of wireless data by our customers. We use reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards. Just as the Internet continues to change and evolve, so, too, will our network management practices to address the challenges and threats on the Internet.
If Sprint didn't manage its network, our customers would be subject to the negative effects of spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of the service. By engaging in reasonable and responsible network management, Sprint can deliver the best possible broadband Internet access experience of its customers.

How does Sprint manage its network?

Sprint uses various tools and techniques to manage its network, deliver its service and ensure compliance with its prohibited network use and related requirements, which are available in Sprint point-of-sale materials and online. These tools and techniques are dynamic, like the Sprint network and its usage, and Sprint may update the tools and techniques it uses. Sprint's network management activities may include identifying spam and preventing its delivery to customers, detecting malicious Internet traffic and preventing the distribution of viruses or other harmful code or content, allocating spectrum and network resources amongst customers, devices, and price plans, and using other tools and techniques to deliver the best possible broadband Internet experience of Sprint's customers.

Does network management change over time?

Yes. The wireless industry is highly dynamic. As the Internet and related technologies continue to evolve and advance, Sprint's network management tools will evolve and keep pace allowing Sprint to deliver an excellent, reliable and safer online experience to all of our customers. We will provide updates here and in other appropriate locations if we make important or significant changes to our network management techniques that impact customers.

How does congestion management work?

Network bandwidth isn't infinite. In times of network congestion, the network segment or sector impacted doesn't have enough bandwidth to fully serve all customers requesting it. The network is designed to dynamically allocate available bandwidth in a way that is fair to all users. The fairness algorithms below describe the approach. The resulting impact to the end-user experience is that the user may temporarily experience slower-than-normal data speeds until the congestion has passed.

  • On the Sprint 3G network, a third generation network that follows the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) standard, Sprint uses a proportional fairness scheduler algorithm that allocates network resources based on radio frequency signal quality and other metrics. During times of congestion, the proportional fairness scheduler algorithm ensures no one user is deprived of network resources.
  • On Sprint's 4G networks, fourth generation networks that employ the WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) standard and/or the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard, Sprint may periodically measure a user's bandwidth usage on a specific network segment or sector, as compared to the overall bandwidth usage for all users on that segment or sector. At times when an individual user is consuming high amounts of bandwidth and at the same time the overall bandwidth is being used by all users on that network segment or sector at high levels, Sprint 4G customers may experience a temporary adjustment in available network resources until the conditions for network congestion have passed.

In addition to employing fairness algorithms, Sprint may also use prioritization to prevent network congestion. Customers on devices or plans subject to prioritization management may experience throughput limitation or other prioritization policies as needed to make additional network resources available to users on higher priority devices or plans. Sprint is continually upgrading networks. These network upgrades may include revised or improved tools and techniques to manage network congestion and ensure that all users have appropriate access to the network in times of congestion.

Does Sprint employ any type of data compression or optimization on the Sprint network today?

Yes, Sprint deploys Network Optimization capabilities for video and web traffic on the Sprint Wireless Network. Intent is to improve overall user experience and increase network efficiency. Optimization improves page load times and reduces video stalling. The optimization technology eliminates wasted data transmission that results from lack of coordination between applications, network, and device, for example stopping transmission of video after a customer has stopped viewing it. It also matches media transmission quality to the capability of the device viewing the media. In addition, for customers on devices or plans subject to prioritization management, Sprint may limit streaming video throughput or put in place other prioritization policies as needed to ensure efficient use of network resources. These network management practices reduce network data tonnage, freeing up capacity for an overall better network experience for all Sprint customers.

What specific types of optimization does Sprint employ?

Optimization is deployed for RTSP and HTTP video traffic and all HTTP web traffic. Video optimization uses four basic technologies:

  • Video Delivery Synchronization: Delivers video "just in time" to the mobile device. Intent is to eliminate network waste associated with transmitting video that isn't watched.
  • Quality aware Transcoding: Matches video quality with network conditions in real time. Optimizes video for the bandwidth available to the user. Intent is to minimize or eliminate annoying video stalling. Similar in concept to the optimization techniques already employed by sites using adaptive streaming.
  • Video Transcoding: Transcodes video with intent to optimize the video experience for the user while efficiently using network bandwidth. Eliminates video waste using techniques like replacing less efficient video codecs with more efficient ones. Optimizes video for the device the customer is using.
  • Intelligent Caching: Caches optimized video in the network to eliminate delay associated with internet video sites.

Web optimization uses three basic technologies:

  • Caching: Caches web pages to avoid delays associated with retrieval of the same internet content multiple times.
  • Text/Binary compression: Lossless compression of data and binary files using standard compression techniques supported by HTTP-compliant browsers.
  • Image Compression: JPEG and GIF compression designed to reduce the size of images while maintaining no user perceptible loss of quality.

Do device software upgrades affect the performance of my device on Sprint's network?

From time to time, Sprint may push software updates to your device to improve device features, security, and performance. These updates may include components that optimize the way your device and application on the device use network resources by, for example, managing connections between a user's wifi networks and the Sprint network or by managing the intervals at which certain background application connect to the network. Updates that manage radio resources are intended to improve performance and device battery life while at the same maintaining a high quality user experience.

Does congestion management target peer-to-peer ("P2P") or other applications or make decisions about the content of my traffic?

Sprint's terms and conditions prohibit some uses of Internet access. Sprint reserves the right to take action when customers violate these terms and conditions including blocking the traffic, slowing the customer's effective data speeds, or discontinuing a customer's service. Below is the portion of our terms and conditions that explain restrictions on data usage:

Sprint data services are provided solely for purposes of web surfing, sending and receiving email, photographs and other similar messaging activities, and the noncontinuous streaming of videos, downloading of files or online gaming. P2P and other uses that may adversely affect our network are not permitted on Sprint's network. Our wireless broadband Internet access services may not be used: (i) to generate excessive amounts of Internet traffic through the continuous, unattended streaming, downloading or uploading of videos or other files or to operate hosting services including, but not limited to, web or gaming hosting; (ii) to maintain continuous active network connections to the Internet, such as through a web camera or machine-to-machine connections that do not involve active participation by a person; (iii) to disrupt email use by others using automated or manual routines, including, but not limited to "auto-responders" or cancel bots or other similar routines; (iv) to transmit or facilitate any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, telemarketing, promotional materials, "junk mail," unsolicited commercial or bulk email, or fax; (v) for activities adversely affecting the ability of other people or systems to use either Sprint's wireless services or other parties' Internet-based resources, including, but not limited to, "denial of service" (DoS) attacks against another network host or individual user; (vi) for an activity that connects any device to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for the purpose of transmitting wireless data over the network (unless customer is using a plan designated for such usage); or (vii) for any other reason that, in our sole discretion, violates our policy of providing service for individual use.

How does congestion management impact me and my use data services?

Most customers will notice no change in their wireless data experience due to Sprint's congestion management. If a user notices it at all, congestion management will be experienced as a slowness of data speeds compared to their normal experience. The goal of congestion management is to enable users to have access to a fair share of the network at peak times, when congestion occasionally occurs. Sprint may also use prioritization to prevent network congestion. Customers on devices or plans subject to prioritization management may experience throughput limitation or other prioritization management as needed to make additional network resources available to users on higher priority devices or plans. Customers on lower priority devices or plans may also experience slowed data speeds compared to their normal experience when subject to prioritization policies.

How often does Sprint expect to use congestion management?

Because of the peaked nature of wireless data traffic, congestion management software is actively looking for network congestion at all times. When it detects congestion, the fairness algorithms described above allocate available bandwidth to the users requesting services in an attempt to provide the best possible service to all users and to ensure that no user is starved of bandwidth.
Sprint monitors how user traffic is affected by congestion management and makes adjustments as reasonably necessary to ensure that our wireless data users have a high-quality wireless broadband Internet access experience. Sprint also evaluates its overall network performance and enhances its network by adding capacity or making other network adjustments to address congestion and performance issues. For customers on devices or plans subject to prioritization management, these network adjustments may include throughput limitation or other prioritization management as needed to make additional network resources available to users on higher priority devices or plans.

How much bandwidth would I have to consume to trigger Sprint's network management? For example, how many movies would I have to download to be affected by congestion management?

Since congestion management is dynamic and works in real time, the answer depends on a number of factors including overall usage, time of day, whether the customer device and/or plan is subject to prioritization, and the number of customers trying to use wireless data on a given tower. First, the local tower must be approaching a congested state before congestion management algorithms activate. On the Sprint 3G CDMA network, the proportional fairness scheduler algorithm ensures no one user is deprived of network resources.
On the Sprint 4G network, when a user is consuming high amounts of bandwidth and the overall bandwidth being used on that network segment or sector is being used at high levels, Sprint 4G customers experience a temporary adjustment in available network resources until the conditions for network congestion have passed. Just as on our 3G network, users during peak congestion might find certain high data usage applications, such as streaming video, could be temporarily interrupted to ensure that other users have access to the network.
The point of the technique is to deliver the best overall online experience possible. The technique should help ensure that customers get their fair share of bandwidth resources to enjoy all that the Internet has to offer and that includes surfing the web, reading email, downloading movies, watching streaming video, gaming or listening to music.

How will customers know they are being managed?

In general, users won't know when congestion management algorithms are being used. Wireless networks are shared resource networks meaning that customers on a specific cell site share the available bandwidth at the site. Congestion management algorithms are active in the network 100 percent of the time to allocate available bandwidth to users in a way that benefits all users on the network.

Does congestion management apply to both Sprint 3G and 4G services?

Yes

How does congestion management relate to the various monthly data usage thresholds?

They are two separate issues. Congestion management works to optimize the experience of all users in the congested area. It works independent of any caps or overage charges that may apply based on the user's price plan and monthly usage.

Does Sprint give priority to any customers, devices, or plans?

Sprint's network is designed to dynamically allocate available bandwidth in a way that is fair to all users. Sprint also reserves the right to alter the priority of customers, devices or plans on the Sprint network. Customers on devices or plans subject to prioritization management may experience throughput limitation. Throughput limitation makes additional network resources available to users on higher priority devices or plans. Sprint reserves the right to initiate additional prioritization management policies on plans and devices subject to prioritization at its sole discretion as needed to allocate network resources to higher priority devices or plans.

Do Sprint labeled products such as Sprint Football Live or NASCAR Sprint Cup MobileSM have precedent over other applications?

No. They are treated just like any other data application on the network and traffic from these applications is subject to the same congestion management controls as any other Internet traffic.

Does Sprint discriminate against particular types of online content?

Sprint strives to deliver to its customers access to all the lawful, legitimate and non-infringing content that the Internet has to offer. However, we are committed to protecting customers from spam, phishing and other unwanted or harmful online content and activities. Sprint uses industry standard tools and generally accepted best practices and policies to help it meet this customer commitment. In cases where these tools and policies identify certain online content as harmful and unwanted, such as spam or phishing websites, this content is usually prevented from reaching customers. In other cases, these tools and policies may permit customers to identify certain content that is not clearly harmful or unwanted, such as bulk email or websites with questionable security ratings, and enable those customers to inspect the content further if they want to do so.

Does Sprint employ network security practices in addition to congestion management techniques?

Yes. Sprint uses normal industry security practices to protect the Sprint network elements from unauthorized access and attack.

Does Sprint have rules regarding the attachment of devices to its network by customers?

Yes. Only Sprint-approved devices may be used on the Sprint network.

Where can I find additional information regarding the performance of Sprint's networks?

Information concerning Sprint's coverage and network performance can be found on sprint.com on our coverage tool which can be found at: sprint.com/coverage. Information on the speed of our network can be found at: sprint.com/en/coverage/support/important_coverage_info_popup.shtml

Other Customer Information Relating to Sprint's Broadband Internet Access


Where can I find additional pricing and other terms and conditions for Sprint broadband Internet access?

Sprint's terms and conditions, including guidelines on such topics as service plans, activation procedures, data usage and dispute resolution, can be viewed at the bottom of all of our online shopping pages. Terms and conditions also can be viewed here: sprint.com/termsandconditions.
Detailed information on all of Sprint's broadband Internet access service plans for phones, broadband cards, laptops, tablets, mobile hotspots, and more can be found on Sprint's online shopping pages at: sprint.com/plans.

What is Sprint's policy for online privacy?

Sprint is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers. Sprint's Privacy Policy describes how Sprint may collect, access, use, or disclose your personal information while using our products or services. You can find Sprint's Privacy Policy and other relevant privacy information online at: sprint.com/privacy.

What should I do if I have a question or concerns related to my Sprint broadband Internet access?

For questions that are not answered on this page, Sprint customers may contact customer care at 888-211-4727, by dialing *2 from your Sprint phone or by any of the methods listed on our customer service contact page located at: sprint.com/contactus. For information on resolving disputes with Sprint, please review our terms and conditions under the heading "Dispute Resolution" located here: sprint.com/termsandconditions.