Is it possible to change cell towers?

Discussion in 'Android General Discussions' started by urklegrue, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. urklegrue
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    urklegrue New Member

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    I had a 4G signal but it appears they have put up a new cell tower slightly closer, which only gives a 3G signal. It is annoying me, and I wish I could tell my phone to use the other tower. I can see where they are on OpenSignalMaps. According to the Verizon map my neighborhood is in a 4G LTE area but I only get the 4G signal about 25% of the time now.

    (Usually I use wifi but my Xfinity has been acting up all week)
  2. JoshuaTucker
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    JoshuaTucker New Member

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    I'm pretty sure there is a way to turn off 3G and/or 4G but I'm not sure exactly how to do it.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  3. TisMyDroid
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    TisMyDroid New Member

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    You could put your phone in lte only mode and see if it will force it to connect to a 4g tower. I use the app "Phone info" to switch to 3g only mode when in 3g only area (actually don't really do that anymore bc it doesn't seem to have the same problem of constantly searching for 4g when there is none like it did on gb).

    To use "Phone Info"... Open app, choose "Phone information" then scroll to the down where it says "global" or "LTE/CDMA/EvDo" or whatever yours is set at and choose "LTE only."

    You probably wouldn't want to keep it set at that but it may work for your particular location.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Droid Forums
  4. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Otherwise to answer the initial question, in a word...no. The cellular towers, along with the mobile phone itself determine the next best cell tower to move to, first by the mobile phone identifying and securing an open channel on a tower with stronger signal, then the towers together command the phone to switch channels, while at the same time the towers themselves switch channels from the one on the fading tower to the one on the stronger one. There is nothing you at the phone level can do to prevent or promote switching from one tower to another except to either move farther away from the less desirable tower and closer to the more desirable tower, or to somehow block the signal from the less desirable tower and collect/enhance/increase the signal from the more desirable tower.

    The latter can actually effectively be done by creating a metal shield blocking the phone's antenna from the direction of the less desirable tower, and at the same time, use that or another supplemental shield to collect and reflect the more desirable tower's signal to the phone's antenna. You would look pretty geeky walking around with a metal shield held up behind the phone but it can actually work. In a more appropriate fashion, a "repeater" antenna can be placed on the roof with a directional "Yagi" antenna pointing at the more desirable tower, and then either a passive (cable to another internal antenna), or active (signal booster/amplifier), antenna system can be installed interior to the building that will "repeat" the more desirable signal inside and being that the more desirable signal could/would be significantly stronger than the less desirable one, the phone and towers would (hopefully) negotiate the carrier signal to be transferred to the more desirable tower. You can "force" this transition if the less desirable tower already holds the signal by switching the radio off and on (airplane mode, for instance), and in all liklihood the phone and towers will opt for the stronger signal when re-establishing the cellular connection.

    There is still no assurance that the tower with the stronger signal will be chosen, since there is the potential for the stronger tower to have all channels occupied at that moment, whereas the less desirable tower might have open channels. There is really no assurance that any one tower will be used all the time, but statistically the system will negotiate to the tower with the stronger signal if given the opportunity both to reduce consumption of power at the cell site (tower transmitter) and also from the phone.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  5. urklegrue
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    urklegrue New Member

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    Thanks for that detailed response, FoxKat! I guess I have to just chill out and wait for them to upgrade this closer tower.

    I did try the Phone Info app, so thanks for that suggestion, TisMyDroid. It didn't work though; it still showed 3G even in LTE mode.
  6. TisMyDroid
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    TisMyDroid New Member

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    Funny, guess 4g only mode is not really 4g only. I never had occasion to try it. Just 3g only. I wonder if that is only there because verizon has future plans to enable that possibility but currently do not.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Droid Forums
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