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Trying to predict what LTE coverage will be like in my area...


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I'm in the St. Louis area, where Sprint will hopefully get LTE someday. My house has a low 3G signal (one to two bars normally, and sometimes no signal in the basement) with decent 3G speed (just got 548k down, 509 up).

 

So I have three questions:

 

1 - Assuming I'm within Sprint's LTE footprint, does my current 3G signal tell me what kind of 4G signal I'll have? If I have a low 3G signal, does that necessarily mean my LTE signal will be low?

 

2 - As a follow-up, what IS the typical range of both a 3G and LTE site? Is one significantly better/farther than the other?

 

3 - Finally... from my research, it looks like generally, Sprint's LTE footprint is larger than its WiMAX footprint. Is that generally the case? Is Sprint's LTE coverage area likely to be greater than its WiMAX? I sure hope so, as I live just a few miles outside of their WiMAX zone. :-)

 

Thank you!

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lte will be rolled out to pretty much the entire 3g sprint coverage area. Anywhere that gets 3g, will get lte as they are upgrading the entire network.

 

1) it doesn't really. since NV will be replacing towers existing equipment with new multi-mode equipment capable of serving multiple frequencies, and 1x, 3g, lte. The new panels are supposed to be more efficient, so potentially around 10% or so better signal. Also once the nextel frequencies are migrated over to all towers coverage will improve even more.

 

2) since 3g/lte are going to be served at every site, it comes down to the propagation of the particular frequiences and the power/configuration of the particular tower, but all other things being equal 3g will have a slightly further range than lte.

 

3) wimax is built on clearwires towers, which in most cases are completely different than sprints. LTE is actively being deployed and increasing every day, wimax coverage pretty much has not changed significantly in over year or more.

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I'm in the St. Louis area, where Sprint will hopefully get LTE someday. My house has a low 3G signal (one to two bars normally, and sometimes no signal in the basement) with decent 3G speed (just got 548k down, 509 up).

 

So I have three questions:

 

1 - Assuming I'm within Sprint's LTE footprint, does my current 3G signal tell me what kind of 4G signal I'll have? If I have a low 3G signal, does that necessarily mean my LTE signal will be low?

 

2 - As a follow-up, what IS the typical range of both a 3G and LTE site? Is one significantly better/farther than the other?

 

3 - Finally... from my research, it looks like generally, Sprint's LTE footprint is larger than its WiMAX footprint. Is that generally the case? Is Sprint's LTE coverage area likely to be greater than its WiMAX? I sure hope so, as I live just a few miles outside of their WiMAX zone. :-)

 

Thank you!

 

Dedub gave a pretty good answer, but here is some additional information.

 

1. If you can see your signal strength either on the debug menu or the status menu, if you have a signal of -95dBm, you will generally have a strong enough signal to receive LTE when it goes live. Also, when the equipment is replaced, most locations will see about a 1-5dBM signal improvement. Next year, when Sprint starts deploying LTE on the 800 SMR spectrum, you will see great improvements in coverage and building penetration. But that's a good 6-8 months off, at least.

 

2. The range of a site is highly dependent on the site location, geography, and population density. In more populated regions, or geographically challenged regions, sites are often set to cover very small areas, sometimes as small as a few blocks. This is to maximize capacity rather than range. In rural locations, sites are configured for coverage rather than capacity, and can cover 10 miles or more from the site in optimal conditions.

 

3. Sprint is converting every tower over to the new 3G and 4G networks. It won't be like WiMax which was only deployed in population centers, and it won't be like Verizon with throws LTE on a couple towers to spread a thing blanket over the region and then moves on. Sprint will do every tower (with a tiny number of exceptions, none in the STL area that I know of) which means generally everywhere you have 3G, you will also have LTE. It will take some time, but it will be great when it's finished.

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Very good info, guys. Thanks!

 

@nahum365 -- Do you know what a consistent 3G signal of something like -95 would translate into in terms of LTE speeds? Obviously those speeds can fluctuate, but at what point would a stronger signal (-90, -85, etc) be good enough to get all that LTE would offer?

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Very good info, guys. Thanks!

 

@nahum365 -- Do you know what a consistent 3G signal of something like -95 would translate into in terms of LTE speeds? Obviously those speeds can fluctuate, but at what point would a stronger signal (-90, -85, etc) be good enough to get all that LTE would offer?

 

A signal of -95dBm RSSI would translate into speeds just a bit faster than 3G. Probably 1-5mbps down and .5-3mbps up.

Between -90 and -80dBm RSSI, you'll probably see you speeds go from 5-15mbps, and a signal better than that, you'll be seeing 15+ under good conditions.

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Awesome. And if I average a 3G signal of -95 now, were you saying you would expect that to possibly improve a little bit with the upgrades? Possibly a bump of 1-5 dBm?

 

This is interesting stuff!

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Awesome. And if I average a 3G signal of -95 now, were you saying you would expect that to possibly improve a little bit with the upgrades? Possibly a bump of 1-5 dBm?

 

This is interesting stuff!

 

Possibly yes, I haven't been able to personally test it, but the new equipment is supposed to improve the signal up to 20%, which is really rather marginal, but something is better than nothing. However, inside of your house (assuming you have wifi) the signal shouldn't matter, as your wifi will be more reliable, and you'll have better results using that then relying on the network.

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Very good info, guys. Thanks!

 

@nahum365 -- Do you know what a consistent 3G signal of something like -95 would translate into in terms of LTE speeds? Obviously those speeds can fluctuate, but at what point would a stronger signal (-90, -85, etc) be good enough to get all that LTE would offer?

 

I would say 5-7Mbps. I can get a -118dBm RSRP signal here at home with an airplane mode toggle, and speeds are barely above 1Mbps. At church, I get right around -95dBm RSRP, and speeds are around 6Mbps. Tower (best guess) is around 2.5 miles away.

 

EDIT: Please notice my dBm readings are not equivalent to Dkollerwx's. My phone reports signal in RSRP, and he was talking RSSI. Read the post below for clarification.

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I would say 5-7Mbps. I can get a -118dBm signal here at home with an airplane mode toggle, and speeds are barely above 1Mbps. At church, I get right around -95dBm, and speeds are around 6Mbps. Tower (best guess) is around 2.5 miles away.

 

dBm RSSI or RSRP? Makes a difference. A signal of -95 dBm RSRP (which is what your phone probably reports LTE in) is a pretty good signal. A signal of -95 dBm RSSI (which is what a ~ -118 dBm RSRP converts to) is a very weak signal. I hope that makes sense. Your phone probably reports 3G or 1x in RSSI, but LTE in RSRP.

 

See this post for more about signal strengths: http://s4gru.com/ind...ignal-strength/

 

AJ would be able to explain it better.

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dBm RSSI or RSRP? Makes a difference. A signal of -95 dBm RSRP (which is what your phone probably reports LTE in) is a pretty good signal. A signal of -95 dBm RSSI (which is what a ~ -118 dBm RSRP converts to) is a very weak signal. I hope that makes sense. Your phone probably reports 3G or 1x in RSSI, but LTE in RSRP.

 

See this post for more about signal strengths: http://s4gru.com/ind...ignal-strength/

 

AJ would be able to explain it better.

 

I'll fix that post. I didn't realize you were talking RSSI.

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I would say 5-7Mbps. I can get a -118dBm RSRP signal here at home with an airplane mode toggle, and speeds are barely above 1Mbps. At church, I get right around -95dBm RSRP, and speeds are around 6Mbps. Tower (best guess) is around 2.5 miles away.

 

EDIT: Please notice my dBm readings are not equivalent to Dkollerwx's. My phone reports signal in RSRP, and he was talking RSSI. Read the post below for clarification.

 

It's highly variable the speeds you will get with a weak LTE signal. Signal quality and sector load being huge factors with the signal strength. At -95dBm RSSI (-120 RSRP), I once hit 7Mbps. But most of the time, it was between 0-3Mbps at that strength in my Waco and Wichita Falls testing trials. Maybe 20% of the time getting greater than 3Mbps. It varied drastically by device, as well. I don't think I ever hit above 3Mbps on the EVO LTE with a very weak signal.

 

Robert

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I had a couple of interesting occurrences, but keep in mind this is with my EVO LTE, so these might be related to the connectivity issues.

 

Sitting at a bar last week between 9:30 and 11:00pm, I noticed that my phone was randomly switching between 3G and 4G. Looking at the RSRP/RSRQ values, it would either hover between -111/-8 and -107/-7 or between -93/-20 and -95/-20. While it was on 3G, I tried switching to “LTE only” mode and did the airplane mode dance, but couldn’t get it to connect.

 

I recently began getting LTE at work (X-D), but mostly just around my desk. At my desk, I typically see values around -107/-7 RSRP/RSRQ, respectively. I usually lose the signal as I go deeper into my building. For grins, I switched the phone to “LTE only” mode before going to a room where I always lose signal. The phone held on, hovering at around -120/-20 with speeds of 3.5 to 4.6 Mbps down and 1.2 to 3.9 Mbps up. However, while still in this room, I switched it back to the standard “CDMA + LTE/EvDo auto” mode and couldn’t get LTE to connect again, even after cycling through airplane mode. “LTE only” mode didn’t let me reconnect, either.

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I have never been able to connect to a signal weaker than -118dBm RSRP no matter what I do. However, in LTE only mode, you can keep signals worse than -118 RSRP. But if you lose it, you probably will not be able to regain it until you get to a stronger signal.

 

Robert via Samsung Note II via Tapatalk

 

 

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