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HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!

dwilliams8880 Valued Member
Currently Being Moderated

Sprint and HTC need to get on the ball.  I'm going to put together a video, in several spots of my town I can get LTE.  I've noticed that as long as I have 4+ bars it stays, but if I go to 3 or less it kicks off of LTE and switches to 3G.  This is unacceptable as a low signal LTE is still 5-8X faster than the best 3G data experience.  I am able to connect to LTE briefly, usually once I attempt to do something data related it kicks to 3G, I was able to begin a speed test yesterday and was getting 7-8 mbps down before it stalled and lost network connectivity, switching to 3G.  3G speed tests showed the same lackluster download and upload speeds we have seen for months.  The antenna threshold on the HTC EVO 4G LTE needs to be lowered to allow greater connectivity to LTE.  It just doesn't make sense to only allow users to access it when you have incredible signal strength, we should be allowed to utilize it if it is available regardless of how many bars we are getting. 

 

Also, for many unaware, the lab reports provided over at sgr4u.com for the HTC EVO 4G LTE noted a problem with the LTE antenna risks.  I quote from the lab report:

LTE device connectivity in the lab continues to be problematic due to under-defined processes and complications around provisioning and SIM UICC profiles.  Escalation in progress.

Below is a link to the lab report outlining the issue.

http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-169-evo-lte-pre-order-under-way-with-ship-dates-as-soon-as-may-15th/

 

Obviously they think that an OTA update will fix the issue.  But for me it reads that they released a phone with known problems and hope they can fix it later.  Well, now that LTE is out, it needs fixing. 

  • 1. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    halcyoncmdr123 Sprint Employee
    Currently Being Moderated

    It may not be an issue with the phone at all. The phone may be getting a stronger signal from another tower that does not have LTE on it yet, so it is automatically switching to that stronger signal, as designed. Voice signal is what determines which tower your phone will connect to. It cannot connect to Tower A for voice and Tower B for LTE data, so it negotiates for the strongest voice signal (it is a phone primarily afterall). Once all of the towers in the area have been updated with the new equipment and LTE the issue should go away. At the moment, launched markets have minimal coverage to allow users on the LTE network and to use it. They are continuously upgrading the rest of the towers in the market to the new equipment and adding LTE so coverage and service should improve over the days/weeks/months ahead until all of the tower upgrades have been completed.

  • 2. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    smotrs Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Exactly, it's based on which tower is sending out a stronger signal. Your phone will switch to the tower providing a better/stronger signal. Usually, this is the tower closest to you. You may have access to an LTE tower, but if the 3G tower is pushing a stronger signal, it will switch.

  • 3. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    dwilliams8880 Valued Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-312-sprint-lte-launch-market-connection-issues/

     

    I understand your points.  However, a lower level LTE signal trumps a higher 3G signal any day of the week.  I guarantee you most LTE phone customers would rather have a weak LTE signal than a strong 3G signal.  Early adopters are hamstringed by the LTE thresholds programmed into LTE devices. 

  • 4. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    fireguy_6364 Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    ah...but seeing as how this phone is all about saving battery life..which would croak it out quicker...the higher 3G signal or the lower level LTE? theres always a chance that the phone itself is chosing which one will keep up the battery life better.

  • 5. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    AJAstro Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have an HTC EVO 4G LTE phone in Atlanta and briefly got a signal back during the initial roll-out, then nothing. I have used sensorly, opensignal, and other apps to try and detect LTE but nothing. I finally called Sprint to complain and the representative informed me that there were no reported problems with my model phone that she had the same phone in Dallas and had no problems at all getting LTE on her device. I took my phone to the Sprint repair center in Roswell, GA where the tech rep's are just great. They checked out my phone and indicated they saw no problems with the phone and by using the MSL code could connect to LTE there in the store. However, they were unable to reproduce it working for me in the store. The tech rep. told me there was a known problem with the threshold on the HTC EVO 4G LTE, but I don't know where he got that information. He also said you had to be VERY close to the tower to get the phone to switch to LET. I also saw a Samsung Galaxy S3 in the store that was showing an LTE signal.

     

    The phone rep. called me back and told me that there actually had been an LTE problem in Atlanta that had gone unreported, but that it was now fixed, but I was still unable to get any LTE signal without using the MSL to switch to LTE only mode.

     

    I have a co-worked with the same phone. He indicated he has been able to pick up an LTE signal. We compared all of our version numbers - HW, Software, every number you can compare on the phone. His were all absolutely identical to mine.

     

    This would tend to indicate to me that perhaps this is not a threshold issue unless phones with the same HW rev numbers (003) and SW versions would end up with different thresholds.

     

    Other difference is that my phone is in an Otterbox, his only has a screen protector.

     

    I have also been told that it's only a "handfull" of the HTC EVO 4G LTE customers that have seen this problem and that has been repeated on the Sprint forums.

     

    I am starting to wonder if there is/was a quality control problem with the phones. Either a marginal antenna chip, marginal connections to antenna (cold solder joints, etc...) that could be at the root of this and without some pretty serious diagnostic equipment to hook up the phone to, it will be very hard to determine what is causing this problem.

     

    Does anyone know how to translate a HTC EVO 4G LTE serial number into a build date? HT25DS......

     

    Version Information:

    Hardware version: 003

    Software version: 2.13.651.1 71ORD

    Android Version: 4.0.4

    HTC Sense version: 4.1

    HTC SDK API level: 4.24

    HTC Extension version: HTCExtension_403_1_GA_22

    PRI Version: 2.45_003

    PRL Version: 25006

    Kernel version: 3.0.8-01680-gb6402b4

    Baseband version: 1.12.11.0809

    Build number: 2.13.651.1 CL99866 release-keys

    Browser version: WebKit/534/30

  • 6. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    smotrs Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    The way I see it, if the phone isn't being blanked by an LTE signal the way it is with the 3G signal, it's probably not gonna switch to LTE.

  • 7. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    halcyoncmdr123 Sprint Employee
    Currently Being Moderated

    dwilliams8880 wrote:

     

    http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-312-sprint-lte-launch-market-connection-issues/

     

    I understand your points.  However, a lower level LTE signal trumps a higher 3G signal any day of the week.  I guarantee you most LTE phone customers would rather have a weak LTE signal than a strong 3G signal.  Early adopters are hamstringed by the LTE thresholds programmed into LTE devices.

     

    This is true and is exactly how it will be... once LTE is fully deployed. At the moment not all towers have LTE deployed on them so the phones will drop the LTE signal for a stronger 3G signal because that CDMA signal is the one that also provides voice, they are phones after all. The phones are designed to maintain the strongest connection available to them, at the moment that may be a 3G CDMA signal instead of a 4G LTE signal if the 3G tower has not been upgraded yet.

     

    Once LTE is fully deployed on all of Sprint's towers this issue will disappear entirely. At the moment because LTE is still being deployed there are going to be coverage gaps, holes, issues connection and staying connected, etc. as the towers are being upgraded and deployed.

     

    The alternative is for Sprint to not turn on LTE at all until 100% of towers in an area are upgraded. I'm sure you wouldn't want that instead.

  • 8. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    AJAstro Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    Sprint rep had me clear phone data cache and do a factory reset.  Seemed to help, phone switched to LTE, but after I reinstalled my apps, it quit switching to LTE.  Confirmed the tower I was connected to had a strong LTE signal, was within 1/4 mile of tower.

     

    Tried airplane mode switch, no good.  I am starting to wonder if an application is somehow interfering with LTE.

     

    I may try another reset, then load apps one at a time and test.  Sprint/HTC should be paying me to QA their stuff!

  • 9. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    jazzyone57 Valued Member
    Currently Being Moderated

     

    This is true and is exactly how it will be... once LTE is fully deployed. At the moment not all towers have LTE deployed on them so the phones will drop the LTE signal for a stronger 3G signal because that CDMA signal is the one that also provides voice, they are phones after all. The phones are designed to maintain the strongest connection available to them, at the moment that may be a 3G CDMA signal instead of a 4G LTE signal if the 3G tower has not been upgraded yet.

     

    Once LTE is fully deployed on all of Sprint's towers this issue will disappear entirely. At the moment because LTE is still being deployed there are going to be coverage gaps, holes, issues connection and staying connected, etc. as the towers are being upgraded and deployed.

     

    The alternative is for Sprint to not turn on LTE at all until 100% of towers in an area are upgraded. I'm sure you wouldn't want that instead.

     

    How about a third option?  It seems to me that if the phone has a CDMA only mode it should also have a "Prefer LTE" mode where towers with a usable LTE signal are preferred to stronger CDMA signals.

  • 10. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    AJAstro Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    In my case, it has nothing to do with limited deployment and halcyoncmdr123 is incorrect in that some phones will not connect standing next to an LTE enabled antenna.  I just tried it.

  • 11. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    halcyoncmdr123 Sprint Employee
    Currently Being Moderated

    Many times the LTE connection you will have will be to a completely different tower than the 3G signal you are getting. The signal bars show you neither 3G EVDO or 4G LTE connection, they only show you 1xRTT voice connection. Without looking directly at the raw RSSI or RSRP signal levels you cannot compare one signal to another directly, and even then because of technology differences they cannot be directly compared apples to apples. In addition, In many cases you could be getting a very weak 4G LTE signal that is on the verge of dropping out, whereas the 3G signal is solid.

     

    Also many times the LTE connection will be blocked from connection even though it is actively being broadcasted by the tower. Until a tower has been completely upgraded and accepted by Sprint from the OEM that is upgrading the equipment, LTE most of the time will be blocked from connection when it isn't being actively tested. This is wwhy many times you may get an LTE signal in an area and then it will disappear, back and forth over a period of time if the tower is being worked on.

     

    Because the rollout is nowhere near complete it is extremely likely that people could be connected to a close 3G site (say 1/4 mile away) and a further LTE site (say 2 miles away). The LTE signal would be dropping out so it would drop from LTE back to 3G, and if it was unstable the phone would prefer the stable 3G signal over an unstable LTE connection that is likely to break and cause data corruption or loss.

     

    As for an LTE preferred option, that is already the way it is. If there is a strong enough 4G LTE signal for the phone to use it will prefer that automatically if you have LTE enabled. Only if that signal is being lost or non-existent will it drop back to 3G CDMA. Setting it to CDMA only turns off LTE entirely on the phone so it won't do anything realated to LTE. There is no option for LTE only because then you would be unable to use the phone, as a phone or text either.

     

    In addition your phone when it turns on generates a hash that it uses to authenticate on the network and determine a number of different things. This is why power cycling your phone or toggling airplane mode will potentially get a 4G LTE signal. The phone loses the record of the connection to that tower at that time being unstable so it will connect, after prolonged use it bay revert back to 3G CDMA for the exact same reasons it did the first time.

     

    Lack of consistent coverage is going to be the reason 99% of the time that a phone will not connect or stay connected to an LTE enabled tower at this time. Not to mention any complications that may occur simply from an entirely new networ structure being deployed. Propogation characteristics of LTE vs EVDO and differences in antenna downtilt and distance are going to cause inconsistencies between the different connections as the network is being upgraded. The towers are upgraded with the panels adjusted to the final position they need to be after all of the upgrades are complete. This will cause coverage holes and dead areas for LTE in some areas due to the differences in signal propogation. Once all towers in an area are upgraded you are much more likely to be connected to the same tower for EVDO and LTE connections, and the connection differences will be negligible.

     

    Add to that the addition of 800Mhz spectrum being refarmed from the shutdown of the Nextel iDEN network that has begun. Once that shutdown is completed next year that spectrum will be reassigned to both CDMA and LTE and will allow better signal propogation and building penetration compared to our current 1900MHz frequency.

  • 12. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    jazzyone57 Valued Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    halcyoncmdr123 wrote:

     

     

    As for an LTE preferred option, that is already the way it is. If there is a strong enough 4G LTE signal for the phone to use it will prefer that automatically if you have LTE enabled. Only if that signal is being lost or non-existent will it drop back to 3G CDMA. Setting it to CDMA only turns off LTE entirely on the phone so it won't do anything realated to LTE. There is no option for LTE only because then you would be unable to use the phone, as a phone or text either.

     

     

    Pefect.  Somewhere on here I read that LTE selection is based entirely on 1x signal strength and that it why 3G towers were often selected even when LTE was available.  I'm glad that's not the case.  If the 4G signal is usable it should be selected.

     

    Thanks for the clearification.

  • 13. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    AJAstro Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    I was looking at the RSSI and RSRP values as well as the tower CID/lac/type using g-mon software.  I expect the tech rep I have been working with will be able to confirm this tomorrow.  Was showing -115db (which I understand is sort of equiv to -95db or so on g3)

     

    So, I have to still have to politely disagree with halcyoncmdr123.  I will post a detailed log file tomorrow.

  • 14. Re: HTC EVO 4G LTE needs lower LTE antenna threshold!
    AJAstro Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    Forgot to note, all of my results are from outside with line of site to a tower I was told by sprint representative was complete and accepted.

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