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Consistently Low Signal Strength

Discussion in 'Android General Discussions' started by iceisles, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. iceisles
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    iceisles New Member

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    I live less than a half-mile from the cell towers and both of my Droids consistent report very low signal strength...usually -90 to -100 dBm. Is there any reason for this? I've done the *228 thing numerous times and reboot the phones fairly often, to no avail. For the life of me, I can't figure out why my signal is so low? I stood right next to the tower last week and was able to get -60 dBm, and I wish that were the case at home, which is literally down the road. It's not like I live in the middle of a canyon or anything.

    I'm hoping the 2.1 update (whenever it may come) will help, but until then, any ideas you can offer would be most appreciated. Thanks for your help.
  2. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 New Member

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    I assume you're hoping for more than a recommendation that you set up a tent next to the cell phone tower. :)

    But let's start with basics. Can you confirm that the lower signal strength is affecting your call quality? If it isn't, I suspect that VZW won't be especially sympathetic. And I've noticed on a number of occasions that my signal strength appears to be low without affecting my call quality.

    Assuming you are experiencing a significant degradation in call quality compared to (a) being away from home traveling about and (b) next to the cell phone tower, I'd suggest you contact VZW and keep hounding them until you can get to someone who can check the cell tower, itself. From your description it sounds as if the problem may not be in your phone but in the performance of the tower.

    P.S. I strongly suspect their first reaction will be to tell you that you need a signal amplifier at your home. If I were you I would resist that recommendation. At a half mile over what you describe as flat terrain you shouldn't need an amplifier.
  3. iceisles
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    iceisles New Member

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    Yeah, I'd like to avoid setting up a tend next to the tower, if possible. :)

    My call quality is often muffled and certainly not clear. I can understand the other party (and vice versa), but there's definite room for improvement. When I called VZW about this issue, they said they could hear me fine and did not see any problems in my area. Imagine that. Problem is, the majority of my calls do experience suboptimal call quality, and since I can get a great signal next to the tower, there must be an issue on their end.

    Like you said, a half mile over flat terrain shoudn't be an issue.
  4. LtKen
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    LtKen New Member

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    Try swapping phones. If you're less than 30 days out, VZW shouldnt have a problem giving you a different phone. Just explain to them what's up.
  5. iceisles
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    iceisles New Member

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    I may do that. My wife I both have about 20 days left to do so. I just wish VZW would do more than say "Everything looks good here" like a broken record. I'm no engineer, but my gut says they have an issue to investigate in my area.
  6. LtKen
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    LtKen New Member

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    Wait, so are both of you having problems?
  7. iceisles
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    iceisles New Member

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    Yes, same signal strength readings and generally muffled call quality, unless we go for a walk and call within very close proximty of the tower.
  8. LtKen
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    LtKen New Member

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    Then there might be something wrong with the tower, and you may be SOL...

    Have you tried a different cell? Next time you're a few miles from home, see what the call quality is like.

    Not sure if VZW has an executive level customer support, but I've always had good luck with notoriously unhelpful companies by going this route.
  9. iceisles
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    iceisles New Member

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    Never had a problem with my previous LGs - always full bars and crystal clear signal strength. I may have to call upper level support, as the usual CR route is making me sound like I'm an idiot.

    Do you think it would be a tower issue if my previous cell phones had no issues whatsoever?
  10. LtKen
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    LtKen New Member

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    It **could** be... It could be the phone with that specific tower, there are a number of things it could be. You should really try a different cell so you can be sure.
  11. iceisles
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    iceisles New Member

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    I'll do that. I know there have been some call quality concerns with the Droids (not everyone), so it would be nice to figure out where the problem stems from.
  12. LtKen
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    LtKen New Member

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    Yeah, if it was just one of your phones, then I would say it's the phone, but since it's both.... That's too much of a coincidence. Get back to us when you experiment. Good luck.
  13. hookbill
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    hookbill Premium Member Premium Member

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    I'd most definitely call Verizon and have them do a ticket before trading in the phone. More then likely it is a problem with the tower. It will probably take about 4 days but the problem will be fixed. I had the same problem and it wasn't my phone.

    You said you get a good signal away from your home, correct? Then it's not the phone. Have Verizon take a look for you.
  14. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 New Member

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    Yes, it could be a cell tower issue even if you haven't had problems or others don't have problems with "dumbphones." In my experience, odd as it sounds, some dumbphones have much better reception on weak signals than the droid.

    And yes, try escalating your complaints. It might help if you report that there is a problem with the tower, not with your phone. Did some consulting with cellphone firms a few years back and though I'm no expert I do know that problems can exist with towers that the carrier doesn't detect independently or without a visit to the tower. (At least that was the case five years ago.) I helped design an application for a carrier that captured complaints and related them to cell towers to determine a pattern of complaints around a particular tower for that very reason.

    I would think the technology has improved over the last five years but I wouldn't be surprised if VZW still can't independently test individual towers.
  15. iceisles
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    iceisles New Member

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    Well, I have an update for you all. VZW looked into this quickly and said that there is a problem with the tower that's been known for "some time". They said the tower is listed as "trending", meaning that its signal can fluctuate quite a bit since it's in a "problem area". I'm not sure what's problematic about my area, as I don't live in a giant hole or the middle of the ocean.

    What really gets me is that they acknowledged the problem, and after inquiring about what was being done about it, they said "At this time, there are no plans to work on this tower." So, either that means there will be maintenance on it one day, or I may be SOL.

    Either way, I have a tough decision now. I love the Droid for everything it is, minus my poor call quality from home. Unfortunately, that could be the one and only dealbreaker unless I get some better answers.

    What are your thoughts? Is there any hope for me?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  16. hookbill
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    hookbill Premium Member Premium Member

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    I find that to be a totally unacceptable answer. Escalate it. Tell them where you stand on it.

    I don't see Verizon allowing an entire area to have a bad tower with "no plans" to fix it. Keep pushing. PIA for sure, but you're in a contract with them. They owe it to you.
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