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Thread: Stronger LTE signal, slower speeds

  1. #1
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    Stronger LTE signal, slower speeds

    Over the past few days I have noticed a stronger LTE signal but the actual speeds are slower than what was getting before. My phone is the Atrix HD which only supports LTE on Band 4 and 17 but not Band 2. How much stronger is this LTE signal you ask? Well previously the signal level for LTE was at -100 but now is at -82. This is even stronger than the 4G signal at -87 and in line with the strength of the edge signal. While signal is much stronger speeds have slowed down considerably with downloads comparable to Verizon EVDO speeds.

    My theories for why speeds are slower but stronger signal may be due to the cricKet acquisition in which the network is being integrated and my phone is connecting to a former cricket LTE site that has limited backhaul or is running on a lower width channel. The influx of customers could also be causing slower speeds but I believe the former is more plausible.

    Haven't been able to make sure unless there is a way to display some type of engineering menu I would appreciate some help with that. The stock rom does lock many things down and has many problems so I am looking to install a custom rom sometime soon.

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    I don't think they are touching the Cricket network, only using it for brand recognition.

    Maybe they increased the transmit power of the tower you're connected to and more devices are connected to it now. Or they put up a new cell site/microcell nearby and are still testing it. That's a pretty big signal jump.

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    Bars are not an indication of signal quality. Once you have enough signal the rest is thrown away. Although I don't believe ATT employs it, one could actually find a strong LTE signal but only 1.4 MHz channel, yielding only around 1-2 mbps download speed. You are also sharing the channel capacity with many other users.
    Donald Newcomb

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    I may be wrong, but I believe the bars, or preserved signal strength are only a picture of the conditions between the phone and the tower. What you want is a strong signal to noise and network capacity. You can have 3 bars or .70db, but still have a great or terrible experience. Smoke and mirrors just like those battery meters, yes carriers mess with them.

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    Similar to what CA said, the signal bars just refer to the signal strength between your device and the tower. The phone is unaware of any issues that may be going on with that tower, such as load or backhaul issues.

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    In addition to the above it seems that downloads are much better when switching back to HSPA+ at 4Mbps.
    Quote Originally Posted by ssavoy View Post

    Maybe they increased the transmit power of the tower you're connected to and more devices are connected to it now. Or they put up a new cell site/microcell nearby and are still testing it. That's a pretty big signal jump.
    There are also moments when my phone would switch to the original LTE site at the same signal strength before this jump. This switch usually happens when idle and can sometimes occur when initiating a data session.The possibility of a microcell could be plausible as there is a large park nearby but capacity was never an issue before. I would have to do some field testing to confirm if this is the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    Bars are not an indication of signal quality. Once you have enough signal the rest is thrown away. Although I don't believe ATT employs it, one could actually find a strong LTE signal but only 1.4 MHz channel, yielding only around 1-2 mbps download speed. You are also sharing the channel capacity with many other users.
    This sounds like an interesting concept and I never thought the channels on LTE could be configured so low. If the signal levels can be maintained using a very narrow channel then VoLTE should be reliable enough to replace umts later. Still I don't think this is the case and a more simple case of the network undergoing some tuning which should return to normal once that is complete.

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