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SignalCheck - Android app to monitor your 2G/3G/4G LTE signal strengths


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9 hours ago, Jeffrey_J said:

@mikejeep I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before, but on my Pixel 5 SignalCheck Pro would not be running when I check my phone in the morning. It happen multiple times until I changed the setting for battery optimization to "Not optimized" for the app. And that was about 7 days ago.

I have had the Pixel 5 for 17 days now and I had the Pixel 2 before.
And I looked at the Pixel 2 settings and it has battery optimization set to "Optimizing battery use" for the app.

It happens on my Pixel 5 sometimes as well, but I believe it also happened on my Pixel 4 shortly before I upgraded. I've been trying to track it to see if it's crashing at some point, or if something is killing it off. My crash analytics are showing that Android 11 is causing a surge of new force closes, so my guess is it's related to the new OS. Disabling battery optimization is a requirement for more and more apps, and I'm afraid it's getting close to that point for SignalCheck.

I've going through the crash reports to see what I can resolve, but many are obscure and point to system processes and nothing directly related to SignalCheck. There is one crash that points to one part of my code (which was never a problem until Android 11), so I am testing a new approach for that to see if it resolves the problem.

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Hello all, I have been visiting S4GRU for quite some time, and one of the most common issues I see popping up is confusion from users--especially when they first get 4G LTE devices and/or LTE service

It's here! It's here! It's finally here! No, not the Android 4.4.3 update due today.. but it's almost as cool: SignalCheck has received it's long-awaited update. Pro version 4.24 has been pushed out t

The most anticipated software update of your life is finally here.. SignalCheck 4.261 has been released into the wild! It has been pushed to Google Play and should be available within the hour. This i

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Hello folks!

I bought SignalCheck Pro today, mainly because I wanted signal strength information on my status bar.
I installed the app, and started looking at preferences, to choose the format I want to appear in the status bar, so I pick "Signal Strength (dBm)".
Then I realize the information never change, unless I open and close the app.
The timestamp and other information also don't change when the app is running in foreground.
I tried the option "Use Stale Data Workaround", but it didn't solve the problem.

Another free app called "Cell Signal Monitor" is working flawlessly in my device, but the signal strength character font in status bar is too small, and there's no option to change, but the fact it is working as intended, proves the problem is not with my phone or my system.

I can't even get my money back, because for some strange reason, the refund option in Google Play Store here in Brazil is not available for this particular app.
I really hope there's a solution for this problem, because the app looks really good, and I don't want to lose my money.

My setup:
Moto X Play 2015
Android 7.1.2 (rooted)

Thanks in advance!

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11 hours ago, RegiOween said:

Then I realize the information never change, unless I open and close the app.

The timestamp and other information also don't change when the app is running in foreground.
I tried the option "Use Stale Data Workaround", but it didn't solve the problem.

Hi there, welcome to S4GRU! Glad that you found the forum. I replied to your email last night a few minutes after you sent it with some troubleshooting questions. I know there are many SignalCheck users with Moto devices on Android 7, so we should be able to get things working for you. If you didn't receive my email, shoot me a private message on here and we can communicate that way. Thanks!

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Hey Mike, quick question about the PLMN that SignalCheck reports. I am currently connected to a tower which just got the 312-250 PLMN (see screenshot) but SignalCheck is reporting it as 310-120. I don't know if this is a Samsung and/or T-Mobile thing where they change the PLMN before reporting to the system or what. I just know if I wanted to find the 312-250 PLMNs, not being able to see them or alert on them in SignalCheck makes it a LOT harder. 

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1 hour ago, PedroDaGr8 said:

I am currently connected to a tower which just got the 312-250 PLMN (see screenshot) but SignalCheck is reporting it as 310-120.

So far this seems to be the case across many models and device variants.

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6 hours ago, PedroDaGr8 said:

Hey Mike, quick question about the PLMN that SignalCheck reports. I am currently connected to a tower which just got the 312-250 PLMN (see screenshot) but SignalCheck is reporting it as 310-120. I don't know if this is a Samsung and/or T-Mobile thing where they change the PLMN before reporting to the system or what. I just know if I wanted to find the 312-250 PLMNs, not being able to see them or alert on them in SignalCheck makes it a LOT harder. 

I can't remember if I posted it here or elsewhere, but Android reports PLMN IDs several different ways. Right now, SCP uses the one reported by the cell you are connected to. Back in the day, I chose this ID because it proved to be more reliable than the other methods.

I realize why seeing 312250 would be useful (I have an alert set for it myself and haven't seen it). It definitely seems like T-Mobile has not configured the cell method to report this, for whatever reason. So, I am willing to add an option to use an alternate PLMN method. The app already recognizes 312250 as synonymous with all other Sprint PLMN IDs so site notes should not be negatively impacted.

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2 hours ago, mikejeep said:

I can't remember if I posted it here or elsewhere, but Android reports PLMN IDs several different ways. Right now, SCP uses the one reported by the cell you are connected to. Back in the day, I chose this ID because it proved to be more reliable than the other methods.

I realize why seeing 312250 would be useful (I have an alert set for it myself and haven't seen it). It definitely seems like T-Mobile has not configured the cell method to report this, for whatever reason. So, I am willing to add an option to use an alternate PLMN method. The app already recognizes 312250 as synonymous with all other Sprint PLMN IDs so site notes should not be negatively impacted.

Thanks Mike!

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On 12/17/2020 at 9:34 PM, mikejeep said:

I can't remember if I posted it here or elsewhere, but Android reports PLMN IDs several different ways. Right now, SCP uses the one reported by the cell you are connected to. Back in the day, I chose this ID because it proved to be more reliable than the other methods.

I realize why seeing 312250 would be useful (I have an alert set for it myself and haven't seen it). It definitely seems like T-Mobile has not configured the cell method to report this, for whatever reason. So, I am willing to add an option to use an alternate PLMN method. The app already recognizes 312250 as synonymous with all other Sprint PLMN IDs so site notes should not be negatively impacted.

Awesome be great to see!

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A huge update to SignalCheck Pro has been finished and is rolling out on Google Play right now.. version 4.64 should be available for download sometime over the next several hours. A big thank you to the Beta Crew for providing tons of feedback and helping get this release stable!

There is a long list of bugfixes and stability improvements, as well as some new features. One significant technical item to note is this is the first build targeting Android 10 since last spring. The previous attempt was rolled back because of issues with stale data on several devices; in testing, this has not been as severe. Please let me know if you experience any problems.

The full change log is available in the app (popup after updating, or anytime under Help > Change Log), or at https://signalcheck.app/change-log. Besides lots of bugfixes and force closes resolved, here are the highlights:

Added 5G-NR site notes and logging features. When a 5G cell is identified with a PLMN and NCI, a site note can be created and it will be saved in the Site Log database. If there is no PLMN+NCI (i.e. non-standalone 5G connections), a site note cannot be created and nothing will be logged.

Improved reliability of Alerts. Some alerts, especially the 5G-NR alerts, were not consistently firing. A new 5G alert for band-specific 5G connections or a custom plain-text match has been added, identical to the existing alerts for LTE. If the 5G band is not able to be identified (i.e. non-standalone connections), the "All Bands" option must be selected or it will not trigger the alert.

Added "Trail Logger" feature. The existing "Site Logger" records one entry per cell; this new log will record one entry every time the signal strength changes. This can be useful for some users, but should not be enabled when not needed -- in testing, it averaged about 900 entries per hour. If you were to leave this running for awhile, the database could get extremely large in a short period of time. There is likely some battery impact as well, however it is difficult to measure that.

Added "hits" column to Site Log. This will reflect the number of times the particular cell has been logged.

Added option to use alternate method to obtain PLMN ID. Android reports the connected PLMN via many different methods; SignalCheck typically the most reliable method, however other methods occasionally report different data. For example, T-Mobile is currently reporting some PLMNs differently; enable this option to use a different method. This is likely needed to see PLMN 312250 in the field. If your device is older or you experience issues seeing connection information with this option enabled, you may need to disable it.

Improved some system shortcut options on Android 10/11. While improved in this version, not all of these features are working on newer versions of Android due to security and access changes. Hopefully I can continue to work on this.

 

As always, please feel free to provide any feedback you may have. Thank you to everyone for your support, and Merry Christmas!

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So much for the clean slate.. there's already a bug! The "Use alternate PLMN ID" option is enabled regardless of your setting. Will get an update out later on today soon to correct that.

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On 12/15/2020 at 12:47 AM, RegiOween said:

Hello folks!

I bought SignalCheck Pro today, mainly because I wanted signal strength information on my status bar.
I installed the app, and started looking at preferences, to choose the format I want to appear in the status bar, so I pick "Signal Strength (dBm)".
Then I realize the information never change, unless I open and close the app.
The timestamp and other information also don't change when the app is running in foreground.
I tried the option "Use Stale Data Workaround", but it didn't solve the problem.

Another free app called "Cell Signal Monitor" is working flawlessly in my device, but the signal strength character font in status bar is too small, and there's no option to change, but the fact it is working as intended, proves the problem is not with my phone or my system.

I can't even get my money back, because for some strange reason, the refund option in Google Play Store here in Brazil is not available for this particular app.
I really hope there's a solution for this problem, because the app looks really good, and I don't want to lose my money.

My setup:
Moto X Play 2015
Android 7.1.2 (rooted)

Thanks in advance!

Hello folks!

I'm very glad to report that my issue with failing refresh information was completely solved with the new SignalCheck Pro update.

I consider very important to highlight how attentive Mike was at trying to solve my problem, promptly answering all my messages in private, analysing my logs, and quickly fixing the problem with just one update. Top grade app, top notch support.

Keep up the great work, Mike, and congratulations for your exemplary professionalism!

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On 12/24/2020 at 11:38 PM, mikejeep said:

A huge update to SignalCheck Pro has been finished and is rolling out on Google Play right now.. version 4.64 should be available for download sometime over the next several hours. A big thank you to the Beta Crew for providing tons of feedback and helping get this release stable!

There is a long list of bugfixes and stability improvements, as well as some new features. One significant technical item to note is this is the first build targeting Android 10 since last spring. The previous attempt was rolled back because of issues with stale data on several devices; in testing, this has not been as severe. Please let me know if you experience any problems.

The full change log is available in the app (popup after updating, or anytime under Help > Change Log), or at https://signalcheck.app/change-log. Besides lots of bugfixes and force closes resolved, here are the highlights:

Added 5G-NR site notes and logging features. When a 5G cell is identified with a PLMN and NCI, a site note can be created and it will be saved in the Site Log database. If there is no PLMN+NCI (i.e. non-standalone 5G connections), a site note cannot be created and nothing will be logged.

Improved reliability of Alerts. Some alerts, especially the 5G-NR alerts, were not consistently firing. A new 5G alert for band-specific 5G connections or a custom plain-text match has been added, identical to the existing alerts for LTE. If the 5G band is not able to be identified (i.e. non-standalone connections), the "All Bands" option must be selected or it will not trigger the alert.

Added "Trail Logger" feature. The existing "Site Logger" records one entry per cell; this new log will record one entry every time the signal strength changes. This can be useful for some users, but should not be enabled when not needed -- in testing, it averaged about 900 entries per hour. If you were to leave this running for awhile, the database could get extremely large in a short period of time. There is likely some battery impact as well, however it is difficult to measure that.

Added "hits" column to Site Log. This will reflect the number of times the particular cell has been logged.

Added option to use alternate method to obtain PLMN ID. Android reports the connected PLMN via many different methods; SignalCheck typically the most reliable method, however other methods occasionally report different data. For example, T-Mobile is currently reporting some PLMNs differently; enable this option to use a different method. This is likely needed to see PLMN 312250 in the field. If your device is older or you experience issues seeing connection information with this option enabled, you may need to disable it.

Improved some system shortcut options on Android 10/11. While improved in this version, not all of these features are working on newer versions of Android due to security and access changes. Hopefully I can continue to work on this.

 

As always, please feel free to provide any feedback you may have. Thank you to everyone for your support, and Merry Christmas!

I can at least confirm the alternate PLMN displays 312-250. It triggered today for the first time when I drove by a "keep" tower. Thanks for adding this feature!

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4 hours ago, jf15219 said:

After new update, T-Mobile is now showing as Sprint 310120.

Phone is an LG v60 with a Sprint SIM card.

 

Screenshot_20201227-183643.png

I think this is the issue that Mike mentioned and which he said he is trying to fix. He intended it to be selectable based on the device, but during the update it ends up showing the second option only. 

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8 hours ago, PedroDaGr8 said:

I think this is the issue that Mike mentioned and which he said he is trying to fix. He intended it to be selectable based on the device, but during the update it ends up showing the second option only. 

Regardless, the secondary method is not reporting a correct PLMN.

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2 hours ago, jf15219 said:

Regardless, the secondary method is not reporting a correct PLMN.

If your phone and/or the cell site is reporting 310120 as the alternate PLMN then that's what the software will display. If it is an issue with the software on your phone reporting an incorrect value to his software, he can't fix that. All he can fix is the issue mentioned so that it can report the primary or alternate PLMN. 

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30 minutes ago, PedroDaGr8 said:

If your phone and/or the cell site is reporting 310120 as the alternate PLMN then that's what the software will display. If it is an issue with the software on your phone reporting an incorrect value to his software, he can't fix that. All he can fix is the issue mentioned so that it can report the primary or alternate PLMN. 

I'm aware of these things. I was adding feedback that the secondary method is useless on the v60.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Mike!

I discovered another status bar related problem on SignalCheck Pro.
It's very common here in my poor country (this shithole called Brazil) that our internet quality goes down from LTE to HSPA+, HSPA, or in some uncommon cases, goes down even to EDGE.

Despite that problem of signal strength not being refreshed in status bar was completely fixed with the last update, if I choose "Network Type" icon instead of "Signal Strength" icon, the information related to network type was never refreshed in status bar, no matter how network type changes, or an even worse case, sometimes when internet goes off completely, SCP still keeps the last network type icon displayed in the status bar.

Open and close SCP app forces the refresh on status bar, just like the old problem with signal strength, so I see some similarities between the two problems, then maybe the solution can go in the same route as well.

Another problem I see, is that's not possible to display the two icons at the same time ("Network Type" AND "SignalStrength", because in the option "Select main status bar icon style", SCP just offers one icon or another.
My suggestion here is to use a "checkbox" instead of a "radio button", so multiple selections of icons would be possible to choose, according to user's preference.

Another suggestion is to use just "H+" (instead of "HSPA+"), "H" (instead of "HSPA"), "E" (instead of "EDGE"), and "N/A" (when information is not available) to show the information in status bar (similar to the way Android system shows this information in notification bar) since the icons on status bar are very small, so an abbreviated form would be much easier to read.

Again, if you need some more information about the issue, I'm here to help and contribute to this awesome application.

Thanks in advance!

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On 1/11/2021 at 2:46 AM, RegiOween said:

Hello Mike!

I discovered another status bar related problem on SignalCheck Pro.
It's very common here in my poor country (this shithole called Brazil) that our internet quality goes down from LTE to HSPA+, HSPA, or in some uncommon cases, goes down even to EDGE.

Despite that problem of signal strength not being refreshed in status bar was completely fixed with the last update, if I choose "Network Type" icon instead of "Signal Strength" icon, the information related to network type was never refreshed in status bar, no matter how network type changes, or an even worse case, sometimes when internet goes off completely, SCP still keeps the last network type icon displayed in the status bar.

Open and close SCP app forces the refresh on status bar, just like the old problem with signal strength, so I see some similarities between the two problems, then maybe the solution can go in the same route as well.

Another problem I see, is that's not possible to display the two icons at the same time ("Network Type" AND "SignalStrength", because in the option "Select main status bar icon style", SCP just offers one icon or another.
My suggestion here is to use a "checkbox" instead of a "radio button", so multiple selections of icons would be possible to choose, according to user's preference.

Another suggestion is to use just "H+" (instead of "HSPA+"), "H" (instead of "HSPA"), "E" (instead of "EDGE"), and "N/A" (when information is not available) to show the information in status bar (similar to the way Android system shows this information in notification bar) since the icons on status bar are very small, so an abbreviated form would be much easier to read.

Again, if you need some more information about the issue, I'm here to help and contribute to this awesome application.

Thanks in advance!

Hello Mike & forum staff!

About my last post, I figure I was wrong about the status bar refresh problem.
After further inspecting, I came to realize that SignalCheck Pro STOPPED REFRESHING COMPLETELY in my system, not just on status bar, but also on main screen.

The reason for that? I have absolutely no clue about it, because with the last update, as I gladly posted here, my initial problem was completely solved.
Again, I guess the problem is not with my system, because Cell Signal Monitor (another little free app similar to SignalCheck Pro) is working flawlessly.

I tried to uninstall, reinstall, clear the cache & data, everything I know, with no luck, so if somebody have any tip, advice, solution, whatever, I would be very grateful.

Thanks in advance!

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20 minutes ago, RegiOween said:

About my last post, I figure I was wrong about the status bar refresh problem.
After further inspecting, I came to realize that SignalCheck Pro STOPPED REFRESHING COMPLETELY in my system, not just on status bar, but also on main screen.

I tried to uninstall, reinstall, clear the cache & data, everything I know, with no luck, so if somebody have any tip, advice, solution, whatever, I would be very grateful.

Hello again, I see you are posting and e-mailing me the same thing, it all gets to me so you don't need to do that. I tried e-mailing you back but perhaps that's not working again. Please send me a diagnostic report from within the app so I can try to get a better idea of what is going on. You never replied to my last message; are you using a custom ROM?

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8 hours ago, mikejeep said:

Hello again, I see you are posting and e-mailing me the same thing, it all gets to me so you don't need to do that. I tried e-mailing you back but perhaps that's not working again. Please send me a diagnostic report from within the app so I can try to get a better idea of what is going on. You never replied to my last message; are you using a custom ROM?

Hello Mike!

I was posting here and also on the official SignalCheck website. Sorry for the duplicates, my bad!
I sent you a diagnostic report right now.
I'm using LineageOS 14.1 (Android 7.1.2) rooted custom ROM.

Another thing I tried was remove the second SIM on my device, keeping just one single SIM in the main slot.
I wish I could do a clean system install to make sure something isn't interfering with SCP, but I use the device as a work tool (I'm an Uber driver), so this option is kinda "overkill" to me...

Edited by RegiOween
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On 1/14/2021 at 8:51 AM, RegiOween said:

I was posting here and also on the official SignalCheck website. Sorry for the duplicates, my bad!
I sent you a diagnostic report right now.
I'm using LineageOS 14.1 (Android 7.1.2) rooted custom ROM.

Another thing I tried was remove the second SIM on my device, keeping just one single SIM in the main slot.
I wish I could do a clean system install to make sure something isn't interfering with SCP, but I use the device as a work tool (I'm an Uber driver), so this option is kinda "overkill" to me...

No worries, it just makes it easier if I'm only tracking user issues in one spot instead of multiple. I will check out your report later tonight and we'll continue chatting over e-mail.

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An update to SignalCheck Pro is rolling out now, and should appear on Google Play within the next few hours!

In addition to bugfixes, there were some other significant changes.. the full changelog is also posted at https://signalcheck.app/change-log and under the Help option in the app:

Resolved issue with alternate PLMN ID method active on LTE regardless of user preference setting.
The last update included an option to use an alternate method to obtain the PLMN ID.. unfortunately there was a bug, and the app used the alternate method no matter what the user selected. This is now fixed; if you preferred the alternate method, you will need to enable the option if you have not already done so.

Added automated in-app update functionality.
Moving forward, you will be notified when you bring SignalCheck to the foreground if there is an update available on Google Play. If there is, you are given the option to download it without leaving SignalCheck, and then a prompt will remain at the bottom of the app with a button to install it at your convenience. When you install it, the app will restart itself. Updates are still served by Google Play, this is just an alternative way of receiving them.
Depending on a number of factors, you may see the update available in your Google Play app before it appears in SignalCheck. Google Play updates its cache of available versions periodically in the background while SCP is running. When you open the Google Play app and check for updates, it forces an immediate refresh of that cache. So once a new update is released, you will not see it in the app until that cache is refreshed, either in the background or by you checking the Google Play app. In any case, I would not expect the delay to be extremely significant (the exact period of time is something you would have to ask Google).

Changed Trail Logger to skip duplicate crumbs with the same coordinates. (Pro)
Instead of continuously creating an infinite amount of trail log entries when your device is stationary and not changing cells, it will only record each cell once until the coordinates change. There is no value in using CPU, battery, and storage resources to record the same information repeatedly.

Updated selected Sprint / T-Mobile PLMN labels.
Old Clearwire labels were removed, and sites now in transition due to the merger are labeled "Sprint Keep" or "T-Mobile/Sprint". Other PLMNs remain unchanged for now.

Added option to display LTE/NR cell ID in decimal format with sector. (Pro)
A new display format option asked for by users.

 

As always, I appreciate everyone's support and look forward to continuing to make the app better however I can. Thank you!

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Hello Mike!

I installed the latest version (4.65), but my stalled information refresh problem remains the same.
What I really fail to understand, is that SCP is actually working while getting the information from my system, and the proof is that if I change the focus to another app or to home screen, and give focus back to SCP, all the info, like mobile data state, network type, signal strength, time stamp, etc. are refreshed accordingly.

There's something freakin' weird happening here, and I'm starting to think that my phone hates your app (brazilian black humour), unlike me, because I think your app is awesome, and I really wish it works as intended.

I sent you another diagnostic report in the new version, to help you "find a cure", and please, don't give up on me...

Thanks in advance!

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      Due to the enormous dependence my business has on accessing data in a mobile environment, plus the great increases in data speed available with 4G LTE, this makes getting access to 4G LTE imperative to me. I depended heavily on the Sierra Wireless data devices when I started this business 7 years ago for my source of a reliable method of mobile data transmission. This relationship continued on until the release of the original Hotspot with the 4G service in my area.
      At one point, I was so displeased with past models, that I had sworn I would never buy another Sierra Wireless device as long as I live. This conclusion was reached after having numerous issues with previous hotspot models. There were so many problems that it seemed as if the device was never even tested on the networks it was to be used on. Also Sprint actively blocked reviews of the device, likely to not hinder sales in spite of the problems.
      My need for a new device with both WiMax and LTE capability outweighed my outright dislike of Sierra Wireless products. I proceeded against better judgment, and the Tri-Band modem was ordered even though the possibility of getting a substandard unit once again was always at the forefront of my mind.
       
      On with the show
       

      The official part number of the Tri-Band Modem is 803S. Along with the modem, I also ordered the SSX7077-V desktop cradle. I had to dig through a lot sites to find the information necessary to make this decision for my business. Much to my surprise, even though I was told the cradle was not available yet, I got a Sprint telesales person who was able to use the part number and find they had it in stock.
      Upon arrival I unpacked the unit and cradle...while holding my breath. The device that came out of the box was a pleasant departure from the previous Hotspots I had owned. Above is a picture of the device as it was shipped with all components. There was a small user guide as well but to get the real instructions the user guide must be downloaded from Sprint.
       
      Gone was the one piece blow molded plastic case which allowed no air circulation and caused the prior Hotspots to overheat quickly. Although the display is still too small for my aging eyes (it is actually the same display size as prior units) the change to the case makes it much easier to see in the interior of my van where the device will mostly be used.
      In this picture of the front you can see that there is a new button arrangement as compared to the older Hotspots. Also in the picture is the USB cable for use with the charger or to connect a computer, the AC to USB adapter, the battery and the battery cover. I opened the cradle, which was surprisingly inexpensive, and was delighted to find an additional AC to USB adapter which meant the cradle could be left in place without having to move the adapter around.
      As you look at the modem from the side you can see the antenna ports (the covers are open), the USB connector in the middle and the slot for the memory card. The round hole just right of the left antenna port is the reset button for the unit.

      Here is the same view with the battery and cover installed. Notice that the SD card slot is covered by the
      battery cover.
       

      The opposite side has two switches. The one on the left is a WPS setup button while the one on the right is a slider to mute the unit.
       

       
      The unit sits nicely in the cradle and looks to me to be a solution to help keep the USB port for the charger/interface cable from failing. This has been a major issue with the prior Hotspots. The case of the unit also helps support the USB port to take some of the load off of the circuit board.
      It took quite a bit of digging on the Sierra Wireless site to find out that the antenna ports are for the 4G WiMax band only. The cradle contains 2 5dbi omnidirectional antennas to allow full use of the WiMax network architecture.
       
      Initial testing

      The initial testing of the unit looks promising. The antennas in the cradle for 4G WiMax actually seem to get 3 – 5dBm gain in all conditions tested. The new unit has the ability to search the other bands for signals while staying connected. This allows less downtime between band changes. I notice a lot less disruption when switching bands.
      This unit has better reception on 3G and 4G WiMax than the previous hotspots and even the U600 USB modem I use as well. 4G WiMax is able to connect quickly even at 10% and the cradle has improved stability of WiMax and decreased ping times. For a short time I had access to Sprint 4G LTE as they were testing the towers in my area. The speeds were incredilbly faster. A 10% 4G LTE signal averaged 8.12Mbps download and 1.85Mbps upload. An 80% signal was able to get 35.8Mbps down on my best test and 22.1Mbps up.
      The upload speeds was very unexpected, and much higher than Sprint LTE smartphone devices have reported. This is likely due to much stronger transmit capabilities of the hotspot. I also discovered that when the modem is tethered the cable limits the bandwidth to approximately 20Mbps total speed. It will be interesting to see how it works in the 12 to 14 hour days of hot Houston Weather.
       
      First week in the field
      The Tri Band Modem got pressed into service a little quicker than planned, as my main unit went down with a bad transmission and the U600 USB modem with a Cradlepoint that was in this unit appears to have been damaged by the wrecker’s radio which runs on the edge of the WiMax frequency at 5 watts. The units have been sent in to determine cause of failure and for repairs but I think next time I will make sure all electronics are powered off before getting that close to a transmitter (OUCH!!).
      I am running the same routes in a rental van with the Tri-Band Modem that I normally use the other units on. There is less downtime in the signal gaps I am familiar with and areas where I have had signal problems in both 3G and 4G WiMax are much improved. I have yet to encounter any more 4G LTE signals but am looking forward to the service coming online soon. The unit seems to be running hotter than I would like with a fully charged battery but is actually cooler that the previous Hotspots. The temperature is supposed to soar over the next few days without the cloudiness we have had this past week. So it will be interesting to see if the overheating problems of previous models still occur.
       
      Week 2 – The True test
      The unit is getting worked really hard this week with temperatures outside up near 100 degrees. The GPS is useless with this kind of sun load as the unit will overheat if left in direct sunlight (as the instructions state) in about 20 minutes. The good news is that this is about twice as long as my original Hotspot will last. How anyone can make a unit that requires a clear view of the sky for GPS but can’t handle sunlight is beyond comprehension. A quick check of the Tri-Band’s temperature specs shows that the unit is only rated for 95 degrees. The prior Hotspot was rated well above the century mark but couldn’t even handle 90 degrees for any length of time. The crappiest laptop on the market will handle 105 degrees plus all day long. The true test will be my afternoon calls when the temperatures are high. Battery life has been about 8 to 9 hours which is far better than the prior Hotspots.
      The unit started overheating one afternoon. I can’t say I’m a bit surprised at that, but what is surprising is that it will run steadily as long as the air temp is below 98 degrees. This is a first for Hotspots as they always overheated well before the rated temperature spec. The bad news is the crappy overheat shutdown doesn’t turn off the unit before damage starts to occur, nor does it turn the unit off completely.
      Removing the battery cover seems to help air circulation and overheating some. The button lights are flickering after one overheating but the unit seems to be working fine other than this. It will be interesting to see what happens when it really gets hot here.
      According to the specs 4G LTE takes the least amount of wattage to run so it may not overheat as fast when using 4G LTE. I had the chance to try the modem in the old school 3G EVDO mode as one of my locations is 40 feet underground and that is all that is available at this location. I shut the unit down after 30 minutes as the unit was so hot you could barely handle it even though the temperature underground is around 70 degrees. I would not recommend trying to use this for any length of time if you want the Tri-Band to not overheat!!
       
      My Opinion
      Although Sierra Wireless has made some major improvement in the 3rd generation Hotspot, this is still a unit for the casual user. It is not designed to handle heavy use or outdoor summer temperatures for any length of time. It will be going in my climate controlled cabinet to protect it from the heat next week. I will let you know how it works when the temperature stays below 85 degrees. The improvements in connectivity, reception and stability are worth the investment. As long as you know and adjust your usage for the limitations of the unit.
    • By pyroscott
      Sprint Nextel revealed their second quarter 2012 corporate earnings in a conference call to their investors today and S4GRU was covering for news on Network Vision.
      Network thinning of the iDEN network is complete, taking 1/3 of Nextel towers off air. The Nextel network was built to support 20 million subscribers, but was only supporting 4.4 million subscribers, so it could easily be thinned without [much] noticeable change in street coverage. Sprint also converted 60% of the Nextel subscriber loss into their Sprint subscriber base. Interestingly, they stated that Verizon has been the biggest poacher of subscribers leaving Nextel, grabbing 50% of former subscribers in the last 4 1/2 years. In that same timeframe, Sprint has grabbed 25%, AT&T 20% and T-Mobile 5%.
       
       
      On the Network Vision topic:
      4 additional cities will launch, including Baltimore, by the end of August.*Edit* Cities were disclosed VIA press release following the conference call. They are:
      Baltimore, MD Gainesville, GA Manhattan/Junction City, KS Sherman-Denison, TX  
      Over 2,000 sites are currently online with 12,000 sites to be online by the end of the year
      Network Vision towers are seeing 10-20% additional voice minutes usage per tower, overnight after activating Network Vision. This will equal roaming savings for Sprint, and ESMR will only increase that savings.
      CEO Dan Hesse confirmed that Sprint will be releasing the Motorola Photon Q "in the very near future." It will be a QWERTY slider "with robust business and consumer features." It will also be sporting world phone capability.
      Several hundred Network Vision sites are waiting for backhaul, and will turn on when the backhaul is installed, several hundred more sites have birds nesting on them and Sprint won't be able to turn them on until the birds leave, according to the conference call.
      Sprint sold 1.5 million iPhones during the quarter, even though other carriers saw slowing of sales with rumors ramping up that the new iPhone would support LTE. 40% of the iPhone sales were to new customers. They also stated that iPhone customers require less customer support and are expected to churn less than customers on other phones.
      Mr. Hesse confirmed that Sprint is not looking to change plans in the near future.
      Things are looking up for Sprint. This quarter saw their highest ARPU and their lowest churn rate to date. They posted a larger loss than Q1, but beat their revenue goals for Q2. For more detailed financial information, check the source link below.
       
      Source: http://investors.spr...spx?iid=4057219
      http://finance.yahoo...-141200985.html -Thanks to S4GRU sponsor marioc21 for finding this link!
    • By lilotimz
      Ericsson RRUS31 B25 + RRUS11 B26
      These are the newest and greatest remote radio units to come from Ericsson. 

      The new Ericsson RRUS31  B25 should be fairly distinctive compared to the earlier RRUS11s and now the RRUS12s being deployed by ATT and Verizon. One of these new RRUS31s can do the job of two earlier RRUS11s thus reducing deployment costs for Sprint and complexity in deploying new sites and making it easier for users to spot as there are now 4 jumpers coming out of one RRUS31 rather than two from each RRUS11 that Ericsson originally deployed. 

      All future deployments will be utilizing the new Ericsson RRUS31s. In addition Ericsson are sending crews to their original deployments and swapping out older RRUS11s for these new RRUS31s due to the aforementioned fact that one RRUS31 can do the job of 2 RRUS11s. Weight savings will be significant at sites where there are 4 or 5 RRUS11 B25s that can be replaced by one or 2 RRUS31s. The Ericsson RRUS31 deployment project is known as the 65 Mhz Project. 

       

      Ericsson RRUS11 B26 top and RRUS31 B25 bottom

       

       
      Ericsson High Capacity / 4x4/2 MIMO Deployment
      Note the additional antenna + PCS radio.
      Previously Ericsson utilized additional PCS radios and used RF combiners for high capacity setups where they utilized three or more PCS radios. This new setup will utilize a completey new antenna + radio set just like Samsung and run 4x2 MIMO on the LTE antenna / radio set. 
       

       

       

       
      Ericsson RRUS11 B25 [EOL'd] and B26
      A standard Ericsson Network Vision 1.0 site with 3 RRUS11s where two are dedicated to PCS and one to SMR.  

      This type of setup is no longer deployed or utilized in new sites. Existing sites will be slowly converted to newer RRUS31 B25 via the Sprint 65 mhz project. 


       
      Ericsson NV high capacity site [EOL'd]
      3 or 4 PCS RRUs are present for a total of 4 or 5 RRUS11s per antenna. 


       

       

       
      Close up of Antennas
       

       
      Ericsson cabinets 
      (center)



      All credit to those who took the photographs. They know who they are!
       
  • Posts

    • The real question will be the effect on the upcoming 2.5 EBS auction.  T-Mobile might be able to get very good prices with almost no implementation costs for much better service in small cities and rural areas.
    • What was the previous 600Mhz antenna?
    • Auction 107: Hit $80.9B.   Now going to enter the assignment phase where bidders can bid on specific spectrum blocks. Wonder how fast this will get online this year.  TMobile's head start with 2.5GHz is gonna get challenged.  I could see them taking the lead in wireless tests in 2021 but then the gap close in 2022.   Auction 108: Three blocks.  49.5, 50.5 and 16.5MHz. I wonder how heavy TMobile will buy here. It'll sorta clean up their holdings and I could see down the road if they don't bid they have to invest more time keeping interference out of the current existing white-space. Likely at least secure entire counties they already own a partial license in. Everything about 2.5 is such a mess.  
    • So very interesting find , at my home The 5G upper layer indicator was turned off on certain LTE bands, but still has NR connected. It was on a Band 30 5 mhz one tower, a Band 30 10mhz chunk on another, and my home tower the Band 2 5Mhz chunk now has no indicator on. I am wondering if they are maybe configuring the the tower for DSS NR band 2
    • Seems to be the norm in many markets. They're replacing nearly all existing antennas on sites here in New York too. 
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