Jump to content

  •  





* * * * * 3 votes

Sprint LTE launch market connection issues

Posted by S4GRU, in Author: Robert Herron 18 July 2012 · 31,598 views

Sprint 4G LTE Network Vision Devices Issues
Sprint LTE launch market connection issues by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 12:59 PM MDT


As many of you already know, the ability to connect and keep connected to LTE signals in Sprint's launch markets has been problematic for Sprint customers.  What's going on?

Here at our forums at S4GRU, we have been busy talking with our members and trying to figure out the issue since LTE markets started going live last Thursday.  Some members were able to connect early and often.  Some had problems and were able to eventually connect.  Some have been unable to stay connected.  Some have never connected, even standing right next to a live LTE site.

We have now complied a lot of data from our members and have drawn some observational conclusions.  There are two main issues, connecting to LTE can be a challenge on some devices (especially the EVO LTE), and the signal thresholds are not optimum to keep connected to LTE before getting pushed back to the 3G EVDO network.

I am in a confirmed LTE area with a strong signal but cannot connect

Some LTE devices just do not want to connect to LTE.  With the EVO LTE, some of our members have complained that they even stood next to a confirmed operating LTE site and the 4G icon would not appear.  For most of these folks though, cycling from CDMA/LTE mode, back to CDMA only mode and then back to CDMA/LTE mode forces the phone to look for a LTE signal.  This has worked for most people I have talked with who have an EVO LTE and know they are in a strong LTE signal area.  This also seems to help some other LTE devices sometimes.

There most likely is an issue where these devices are not scanning for LTE service like they should be.  When you go out of CDMA/LTE mode and then come back in, the first thing the device does is scan for LTE service.  Hopefully, Sprint will get an OTA out that fixes this issue soon.

I can connect to LTE but it goes back to 3G EVDO

Other members have discussed how they can connect to 4G LTE, whether automatically or by forcing it (as described above), but it goes back to 3G EVDO.  They cannot keep a Sprint LTE connection.  This may happen right away, or this may happen as they drive down the road, or after they pick up the device.

By the best we can tell, this is being caused by the LTE signal thresholds programmed in the device(s).  When your device is in CDMA/LTE mode, it seeks LTE first.  If it finds LTE, it should connect, but if it doesn't have a strong enough signal, it shunts the user off to 3G, sometimes in seconds.  The devices have a minimum LTE signal programmed in them (it appears to be somewhere in the midrange and could be slightly different between devices).

If the LTE minimum signal that is programmed is maintained, the device stays connected to LTE, no problems in most instances.  So if you have a strong LTE signal after you connect, you will most likely keep it.  However, if you have a midrange LTE signal, you will likely get bumped back down to 3G EVDO if you should move farther away from the signal, or maybe even pick up the device.  Most devices will drop a few dBm of signal when being held, and it could be enough to move you back down to 3G.

If you have a weak LTE signal, then you are almost doomed.  You will not likely be able to stay connected to LTE for very long and most likely be shunted back to 3G pretty quickly.  An exception to this we noted is if you are also in a weak 3G area.  But if you have a strong 3G signal and a weak LTE signal, you are most likely not going to be able stay connected with the current thresholds programmed.

What can Sprint do?

I know this is very frustrating for most of you.  We all want it to work flawlessly.  But this is part of the process.  Sprint needs our constructive feedback so they can make changes.  There are drawbacks to being early adopters.

That is the point of this article.  To wrap up some meaningful and thoughtful feedback from our members into a single comprehensive piece and give to Sprint for them to work on.  As well as educate our members and readers into some of the information we have been able to determine.

Sprint, please work with your OEM's right away on OTA's to adjust the thresholds for keeping LTE signals, as well as addressing the cycling through CDMA only mode to get devices to make initial LTE connection.  One key point that I hear over and over again is that LTE customers would rather have a weak LTE signal than a strong 3G signal.  Weak LTE still performs better than even good 3G in most instances.

If anyone from Sprint would like to reach out to me and provide any updates of what they are doing to address the problem, I would love to receive a PM, email or Direct Message on Twitter.  I will then be happy to provide an update for our members and readers.

What can we do now?

With WiMax devices, we could actually change the WiMax signal threshold ourselves.  However, we have not been able to locate anywhere in the LTE devices where that can be done.  So we are in a waiting position to see if Sprint will help us.

If you absolutely cannot connect to LTE or stay connected to LTE, you can force your device into LTE only mode.  If you do this, you will lose access to 3G EVDO and 1x services while in this mode.  But it is reversible at any time.  It requires your device's MSL code, though.  You can get your MSL code by using some apps like MSL Reader, or by using a Terminal Emulator with some models.  You can search the web for ways to get your MSL code of your particular device.  Some people can even get it from Sprint CSR's.

Once you have your MSL code, go into your phone dialer and enter ##DATA# (*#*#DATA#*#* on the Galaxy Nexus).  A menu will open and ask you to select Edit or View.  Select Edit.  Enter your MSL number.  Now in each device, there may be some variability in the next steps.  Select the Others button, then choose HDR/1X selection.  Select LTE Only mode.  Now you will only be able to connect to LTE, no 3G or 1x.  However, you will not be able to make/receive phone calls or text in this mode.  Data only.

Once in LTE Only mode, you will only be able to connect to LTE signals.  Even weak LTE signals.  And you will not have to worry about getting shoved off into 3G.  This will allow you to test your LTE, and make sure your LTE is indeed working in your device.  You could stay parked in this mode if you wanted to.  You just wouldn't be able to use the phone or text.  To restore to normal, just go back in the same way and select LTE/CDMA or LTE/CDMA/EVDO, depending on your device.

If going into LTE only mode you are still unable to connect to LTE, then you are either not in LTE coverage like you thought you were, or your device has a problem.

This is all we know at this time.  We will update with more information as we learn it.  Thank you to all who helped gather this information from the field.  You guys are what make S4GRU an awesome place!

Posted Image






A S4GRU Member just posted a thread about how to create a shortcut on the Galaxy Nexus to LTE Only mode. Here: http://s4gru.com/ind...e-galaxy-nexus/

Robert
Excellent summary of all the anecdotal test results.

The only other factor I would add is that we know that the initial rollout of LTE towers in the first markets is pretty thin as a percent of eventual coverage. Those who read this forum closely understand that, but many end users do not.

This thin coverage factor obviously would multiply the damage of the high LTE/EVDO fallback threshhold programmed into the handsets.
Im one with the problem of can't stay connected. I could have a strong LTE signal, move 10 yards and its gone. Im in Houston TX
Good article.. This is the difference between negative observations/ constructive criticism and a rant. This helps me make informed decisions because it is level headed clear and well thought out. I just disregard rants because there is no way to verify how much is fact or exaggeration.
Setting your device up with Groove IP paired with Google Voice is a great way to "get by" on LTE-Only setups if you have decent LTE coverage. All calls/texts would be handled over data. This also cuts down on call/sms usage ;)

Setting your device up with Groove IP paired with Google Voice is a great way to "get by" on LTE-Only setups if you have decent LTE coverage. All calls/texts would be handled over data. This also cuts down on call/sms usage ;)


Autoprime...great suggestion! I should have asked you before I went to print.

Robert
This is hilarious since i literally just popped over from an AC forum post where the user was screaming "I hate this phone and I hate Sprint" because she "got no 4G no more" in Chicago....(RANT)

And then I come the sanctity of sanity here and see this amazingly helpful write-up on possible "why's" and "what to do's"...

You the man. S4GRU 4 LIFE!

This is hilarious since i literally just popped over from an AC forum post where the user was screaming "I hate this phone and I hate Sprint" because she "got no 4G no more" in Chicago....(RANT)And then I come the sanctity of sanity here and see this amazingly helpful write-up on possible "why's" and "what to do's"...You the man. S4GRU 4 LIFE!


And the helpful and peaceful comments we received the past 5 days are what allowed me to put this all together into one cohesive thought. If our site was run into the ground by the ranters, we would never be able to try to sort through the details and provide the info our members and readers need.

Thank you for your affirmation.

Robert
Thanks Robert. This was indeed a very helpful and thoughtful article. Really does help knowing what is really going on.

I appreaciate what you do here and wish to apologize for my prior misplaced comments. While they may have been true, this was the wrong forum.
New member here in Houston, Tx (Bellaire area) with HTC EVO 4G LTE with the latest updates (& waiting on new root to come out). My experience has been 3G with intermittent 4G with it falling back to 3G if I move the phone around.

I have been experimenting with settings this evening through "Elixir 2" (Donation Key Version) app in the menu: “Information - Telephony - Turn WiMAX (4G) on - Set preferred network type”. By setting this option to “LTE, CDMA” my phone stays locked to 4G/LTE and the phone receives calls. Using “RadioOpt Traffic Monitor Plus” my speed has been in the following ranges; DL: 2100-9710 & UL: 800-1500 Kbit/s. Ping of 40ms typically. I’m fixing to leave for work for a month in Canada and will not be able to experiment but will be following with interest.

Mark
Sometimes I think it would be helpful for carriers to identify early adopter phones and explain to customers what that may mean exactly. Maybe even set up some special forums on their web pages for a little hand holding and such. It may not cost much but may go a long way. Carriers should really stop treating smartphone like feature phones.

New member here in Houston, Tx (Bellaire area) with HTC EVO 4G LTE with the latest updates (& waiting on new root to come out). My experience has been 3G with intermittent 4G with it falling back to 3G if I move the phone around.I have been experimenting with settings this evening through "Elixir 2" (Donation Key Version) app in the menu: “Information - Telephony - Turn WiMAX (4G) on - Set preferred network type”. By setting this option to “LTE, CDMA” my phone stays locked to 4G/LTE and the phone receives calls. Using “RadioOpt Traffic Monitor Plus” my speed has been in the following ranges; DL: 2100-9710 & UL: 800-1500 Kbit/s. Ping of 40ms typically. I’m fixing to leave for work for a month in Canada and will not be able to experiment but will be following with interest.Mark


This is great info. Thanks for sharing!

Robert
Good info Robert. This is what I am experiencing on good signal and verge signal which connect in and out of LTE and 3D which makes my surfing so unbearable. This is early adopter for sure. I didnt expect to be in this mess. I dont advice anybody getting a LTE phone right now unless you like this.
Thank you for this post and this blog, it assuages my "why can't I get 4G up and running!?" on my EVO 4G LTE and confirms I am not the only one who is having the strange "if I cycle between 'CDMA Only' and 'CDMA/LTE' enough, I can connect for about 2 minutes in my home suburb of Roswell, GA" problem.

This blog is now keeping me from running into a Sprint store and harrying the poor reps. I'll be patient, expect a slow build of availability over the next couple of months, and keep an eye out for an OEM update. In the meantime, many thanks to anderml5 for the note about Elixer2... which gives me the "set the mode to this only" so I can actually force my phone to look for LTE only when I am in a tinkerin' mood.
There is FAR more than this going on.. 3/4 of what you plotted as live in Houston is NOT live at all.
same for Sprints maps..
the ONLY place in Houston I have been able to find a LTE signal is up in Copperfield and it works perfectly.. moves in and out of service and connects to it as primary.
anywhere else and it's completely dead.
Ive been up and down I-10 all the way from katy to downtown and into the galleria.. all these areas are shown as massive coverage.. and yet we got none..

I'm pretty miffed about this rollout so far.. My GF has the ATT S3 and I'm flat embarrased to even use mine as half the time my data connection is worse than my GS2 was. at least it had full wimax coverage down here.

the truth is most of the towers flagged as being active just arnt broadcasting LTE.
It is alright. We are early adopters. We are all beta testers for Sprint. They should give us free service. Just like Dish have to pay me to watch TV or I dont watch any of it.. :-) Just be patient.
i have the evo I am not having any connection issues in a strong signal area. I am rooted using latest mean rom/ with rom tool box presets set to mild.

My signal loss has come is weak to mild areas.
I have found that changing the settings to cdma/lte only instead of cdma hdr lte only makes a big difference.
In these weak lte areas i can keep an active lte connections for hours that ranges from 2mbps down in peak times to about 8mpbs in off peak it average about 4 mbps down. Sometimes when it does drop in the cdma lte only settings it goes back to cdma hdr lte and I have to switch it back to pick up a signal in my house again.
Hopefully there will be an OTA update for the EVO pretty soon.
I just found this, its very technical but it shows the values that are taken into account when switching from LTE to EVDO and back. I hope this helps someone find where its located. Looks like were searching for: ThreshServingLow
http://lteuniversity...-do-to-lte.aspx
EVO 4G LTE : I live in the NW Houston metro area. I have found LTE in only one location with any area to speak of. 1960 near Fallbrook drive gives me near 13 mbps down and near 4 mbps up. All other areas I have only 3G coverage.

"Once you have your MSL code, go into your phone dialer and enter ##DATA# (*#*#DATA#*#* on the Galaxy Nexus). A menu will open and ask you to select Edit or View. Select Edit. Enter your MSL number. Now in each device, there may be some variability in the next steps. Select the Others button, then choose HDR/1X selection. Select LTE Only mode. Now you will only be able to connect to LTE, no 3G or 1x. However, you will not be able to make/receive phone calls or text in this mode. Data only."



I could not locate these settings in evo lte,as it does not have an "others" selection or anything I have found that has the ability to put it on LTE only, but I did make the below changes to the HTTP and RTSP ports and proxy's and am seeing somewhat better 3g throughputs (by better i mean - before changes i was getting 200-600k DL and 100-200 UL, after change have seen consistent 600k DL and 400 UL, with some testing reaching 1+Mbs DL....)


Once you have MSL and enter it and reach the EPST page:
select Advanced
select RTSP/HTTP Setting
(make note of current configs)
change RTSP proxy IP to 0.0.0.0
change RTSP proxy port to 0
change HTTP proxy IP to 0.0.0.0
change HTTP proxy port to 0

After changes are made reboot device.

these are reversible if you don't achieve desired results

Hope you find improvements
Just curious, it seems that a lot of people have EVO LTE and that required some OTA update. Out of the 4 Sprint devices that are LTE capable: LG, HTC EVO, Nexus, and S3, I am curious whether you see any patterns on these connection issues. Reading all the rants, I don't recall anyone having issues with the LG Viper LTE for example (but maybe that's because no good geek here would be caught with the Viper). :-)

I'm trying to understand whether on these connection fails, there are any patterns that are device dependent. Just curious.

I just found this, its very technical but it shows the values that are taken into account when switching from LTE to EVDO and back. I hope this helps someone find where its located. Looks like were searching for: ThreshServingLowhttp://lteuniversity...-do-to-lte.aspx


my suggestion is to post this info and the question about the signal drop to the 4GLTE forums and see if a dev can dive into this and apply to a custom ROM. My first go to guy for the EVO4GLTE would be mikeyxda as his MeanROM (my 3D daily driver) really dives down into his ROMs and puts out a helluva product. If anybody can unravel it, it's him.

Just curious, it seems that a lot of people have EVO LTE and that required some OTA update. Out of the 4 Sprint devices that are LTE capable: LG, HTC EVO, Nexus, and S3, I am curious whether you see any patterns on these connection issues. Reading all the rants, I don't recall anyone having issues with the LG Viper LTE for example (but maybe that's because no good geek here would be caught with the Viper). :-) I'm trying to understand whether on these connection fails, there are any patterns that are device dependent. Just curious.

The OTA for the EVO wasn't listing any changes for LTE radios. it was mainly for wallet and wifi fixes... but you never know.