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Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

not connecting to strongest signal

Hello. While working on another problem I found something I hope someone might explain to me and if there is a fix.

I have a Wilson amplifier system operating on 3G only. Inside our cottage I've set up two cell phones side by side about 6" apart and 24" from the inside antenna. One phone is LG on Telus and the other Moto E 2nd gen. on PM. All signal strength values and tower  identification is stored every minute and can be looked at in Excel.

The strange behavior I see is that Moto with PM SIM has a 6-8 dB stronger signal than the other phone when both are on the tower 9 km. away and 4 dB weaker when they are both on the tower 20 km. away. The tower 20 km. away has a signal about 15 db less than the closer tower.

The annoying behavior is when both phones are connected to the stronger, closer tower automatically switch to the much weaker signal and stay there. If I go to airplane mode for one minute then back to normal both cell phones reconnect to the strongest tower. Does anyone have a suggestion why this might be happening on two different phones on two different (although both operated by Telus) networks. In this area near Renfrew, Ontario the tower would be Bell.

Thank you.


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Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Re: not connecting to strongest signal - test results

Hello, I've collected much data and wanted to let you know the results:

 

Set up: A LG G3 phone ( my normal usage) and a Moto E 2nd gen. phone

1) Both phones in a wooden stand about 6" apart and 30" equidistant from my indoor Wilson amplified antenna

2)Testing each phone with PM & Telus SIMS

3) Using "OpencellID" to log data every minute for about 18 hours with each combination giving about 500-1000 data points for each combination. Less points when phone had lost service.

Results:

1) I only connect to two different towers: Renfrew at 20 km. away and Braeside at 9 km. away. As I'm right on the Ottawa river and a bay it is about 3km. across water first before crossing land to a tower. At any combination of phones or SIMs the furthest tower is 6 to 10 dB weaker (~-75 dB vs. -68 dB or -88 dB vs -78 dB)- no surprise there. All further measurements based on closest tower only.

2) The Moto E2 phone, with either the PM or Telus SIM performed 5.5 - 7.5 dB better than the LG phone and never lost service or if it did it was less than 3 minutes. It also did not switch towers often.The LG phone lost service seven times during the 18 hour period for periods of 11-241 minutes!. Big problem there - possible internal antenna weakening?

3) Telus SIM in either phone performed about 0.5 - 1.5 dB better than PM SIM but that is likely not significant due to atmospheric and other changeable conditions.

 

Thank you so much for your suggestions and help. I'll be for looking a better phone to put my PM SIM in!

Brian

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Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

Re: not connecting to strongest signal

@BGKK5153 hi you may have roaming enabled on your phones try turning it off?

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Mayor / Maire

Re: not connecting to strongest signal

@BGKK5153 are you saying that both phones will switch automatically to the further tower? Or to a weaker signal on the closer one? What happens if you put the PM phone on 3G? Thanks. Stay safe. 

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Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

Re: not connecting to strongest signal


@BGKK5153 wrote:

One phone is LG on Telus and the other Moto E 2nd gen. on PM. All signal strength values and tower  identification is stored every minute and can be looked at in Excel.

The strange behavior I see is that Moto with PM SIM has a 6-8 dB stronger signal than the other phone when both are on the tower 9 km. away and 4 dB weaker when they are both on the tower 20 km. away. The tower 20 km. away has a signal about 15 db less than the closer tower.

The annoying behavior is when both phones are connected to the stronger, closer tower automatically switch to the much weaker signal and stay there.


Each device and model will have slight different signal properties. Some phones have better signal than others.

 

As for your phone switching to a seemingly weaker signal, this may simply be a matter of a phone switching to a higher frequency due to network load balancing and capacity reasons.  There are's the concept of cell breathing that causes you to be connected to a tower fruther away or for a tower's area to shirnk during times of high network usage.

 

 

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Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

Re: not connecting to strongest signal


@shep22 wrote:

@BGKK5153 hi you may have roaming enabled on your phones try turning it off?


Roaming settings would make no differnece in Canada. Public Mobile customers can't connect to other networks.

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Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

Re: not connecting to strongest signal

@BGKK5153 try resetting the network settings. then shut your phone off for a couple of minutes then turn it back on

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Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Re: not connecting to strongest signal

Both phones are on 3G and my Wilson amplifier only does the 850 MHz 3G frequency.

Both phones are on 3G and on closet strongest signal. Then they both switch to the furthest tower with weakest signal and stay there. When I put both phones into airplane mode as one person in this forum suggested, leave it there for a minute then turn it off, both phones go back to the closest tower. As there is about a 15 dB signal improvement on the closer tower I Would expect the two phones should switch back to them automatically, or even better,  not have been sent to the weaker tower signal in the first place. Thank you for your reply

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Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Re: not connecting to strongest signal

Thank you. I've tried that without an improvement. The two phones will not stay on the stronest signal, and if there was a short period of time where the signal went weak it should have returned to the stronger signal automatically. The data I'm collecting showed a solid ~-70 dB signal one minute then ~-85 dB the next minute, and then it stayed there for hours.

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Good Citizen / Bon Citoyen

Re: not connecting to strongest signal

Thank you. I'm not sure what you meant about switching to a higher frequency. One minute the data shows both phones on 3G UMTS connected to the tower that is 9 km. away and the next minute, still on 3G UMTS, I'm connected to another tower 20 km. away.

My data collection is done by "Network Cell Info pro" and the tower's location found by "OpencellID"

 

Brian

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Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

Re: not connecting to strongest signal


@BGKK5153 wrote:

Thank you. I'm not sure what you meant about switching to a higher frequency. One minute the data shows both phones on 3G UMTS connected to the tower that is 9 km. away and the next minute, still on 3G UMTS, I'm connected to another tower 20 km. away.

My data collection is done by "Network Cell Info pro" and the tower's location found by "OpencellID"

 

Brian


When I say higher frequency, I"m referring to the phone possibly connecting to 1900MHz instead of 850MHz.

 

Also, I would say that those crowd sourced tower/site infromation can be very inaccurate. They rely on people running the app and the locations are approximated. If there isn't enough data or if no one has mapped your area out, the information won't be very useful.