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signal issue

Discussion in 'Droid RAZR M' started by wvdroidman, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    How can I improve my signal? Is there a radio update I can download or flash or a way to force lte?
  2. Spey
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    Spey New Member

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    Sounds like you are only looking for reported numeric Data Signal improvement ...? Are you looking to improve wireless voice (like for phone calls - 1x) or to improve the data connection (3G / 4G). There are different antennas in the phone, and various ways to turn on/off 3G vs. 4G (like maybe someone wants to turn off 4G, using only 3G for Data and 1x for voice to conserve battery because 4G uses a lot of power and also runs in background when screen is off). If the issue is related to 4G dropping/switching to 3G (because device reported dbm reading), there a a couple different answers based on circumstances you may be experiencing (example: software change could reduce the threshold at which the OS determines 4G dbm reading is not good enough and auto switches to 3G).

    Also, there is a device setting (preferred network mode) related to network connection (Global, LTE/CDMA, GSM/UMTS) that could also yield improvement based on your specific circumstances. Two Razr M's I have were both factory-default-set to Global (not best option for my circumstances).

    Sorry if this reply is too basic, and/or not direct reply to your question asking for a "radio update". I have not seen any "radio updates" since the recent OS upgrade from ICS to Jelly Bean.
  3. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    I am looking for getting 4g data. I switched it from global to cdma/lte and no improvement. Actually a few times I've went to 1x and had to turn on airplane mode then turn airplane mode off to get 3g back. Also sometimes that works for 4g for like 15 minutes they it goes back to 3g.
  4. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    I have noticed then when i put it on wifi it tends to pickup the 4g signal. Why would it do that?
  5. Spey
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    Spey New Member

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    Not sure about that (my device WiFi overrides the data connection - data signal is still indicated, but not used when connected to WiFi).

    Couple troubleshooting questions:
    1) Is the switching from 4G to 3G in an area of known strong 4G coverage?
    Keep in mind that it appears the Razr-M reports weaker signal strength than other Razr models (most likely due to the internal antenna configuration being different). So don't just assume that because a Razr Maxx, or your earlier Thunderbolt had good 4G in the same location that you should expect the same today from a different device ...

    2) When your Razr-M switches from 4G to 3G do you keep your data connection, or does it get lost?
    Razr-M should be able to keep a data connection and switch between 4G & 3G.

    3) At what signal level (dbm) does your 4G switch to 3G?
    This might help to determine if there is a hardware related problem or if it's possibly software related (my earlier post, 1st paragraph, last sentence).
    Also, keep in mind (my experience) how you hold the phone (where your hand is related to the antenna, and/or if the phone antenna is unobstructed) effects reported signal strength. I do not mean to use the phones reported dbm reading as a means to compare one phone against another, but if there is a consistency related to the reported dbm reading when your phone switches from 4G to 3G then there may be some valid troubleshooting that could point towards why it's happening.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  6. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    1: mediocre 4g area.
    2: keeps commectiom
    3: just went from 115 dbm 4g to 70 dbm 3g just now. It is sitting on my computer desk. Doesn't matter where I hold it when I do. I vary between 73 and 90 dbm on 3g.

    There are some areas I got 3g and sometimes 4g that I now get 1x on the razr m. Only visit there 3 or 4 times a year so can't check now.
  7. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    I also did notice that when I entered a strong 4g area the razr m took 5 minutes longer than my fiance's pantec breakout to go from 3g to 4g.
  8. 94lt1
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    94lt1 Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    You may consider getting a new sim card.. they're free..

    But also, I've noticed a flux in service in my area.. where I had 4g, now I have 3g.. and I even lose 3g at times.. perhaps vzw is tweaking their network.?
  9. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    I just bought the phone wednesday at best buy for free. If it is not the sim card (I live far away from a corporate store and the local premium retailercharges $10 for a new sim) then what can I do to fix the problem? Is this a known issue that will be fixed?
  10. jntdroid
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    jntdroid Super Moderator Premium Member

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    I'm afraid it's a "known" issue. The phone simply doesn't hang onto 4G as well as others. It doesn't drop data, but switches to 3G too easily. JB seemed to help somewhat, but it still would drop to 3G when most other devices wouldn't. I've seen enough threads about it here, Moto Support Forums, and elsewhere (including info on attenuation issues) that makes me think it's inherent in the device - either the software or hardware (or combo). I've also had 3 different ones myself - pre and post Jelly Bean - with similar issues. I live in a very strong 4G area as well.
  11. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    will it be fixed somehow? Knowing that it is a known issue is motorola planning to address the issue?
  12. Spey
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    Spey New Member

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    Replies to earlier questions I asked:
    wvdroidman,
    Some of the comments included getting a new SIM card (I do not understand how this could help ...?) - would be interested myself to hear why this could be ...? Phone user should be able to update their PRL manually (precluding this as a reason to install a new SIM Card ...?).
    Verizon will mail you a free SIM Card with a simple phone call to tech-support. I have gotten free-SIM Cards from both corp. stores (standard policy), and also non-corp. stores (all about how you present yourself and your situation).

    "1: mediocre 4g area.
    2: keeps commectiom"

    I would think that in a "mediocre 4G area" that you should be happy the Razr-M is seamlessly switching to 3G and holding your data signal. Sounds like things are working as they should be ...

    "3: just went from 115 dbm 4g to 70 dbm 3g just now. It is sitting on my computer desk. Doesn't matter where I hold it when I do. I vary between 73 and 90 dbm on 3g."
    Those numbers are negative numbers (-115dbm), so -115dbm is a weaker signal than -70dbm (just to make sure we are on the same page).
    -70dbm is a relatively good signal, -115dbm is a pretty weak signal.
    It sounds like from what you stated, you phones software threshold is set at around -115dbm cutoff for weak signal to switching to 3G (4G disconnect-threshold in dbm). A software revision (registry edit to the OS) is how this switching-threshold could be reset (per my earlier references).

    "There are some areas I got 3g and sometimes 4g that I now get 1x on the razr m. Only visit there 3 or 4 times a year so can't check now."
    I could be mistaken in the following comments (someone feel free to correct at any time):
    I believe you are mixing Data and Voice Signals in your comment above (3G & 4G being Data, 1x being Voice).
    I believe Verizon 1x = (single-carrier) Radio Transmission Technology (Voice Signal NOT Data).
    If you get any Data Support without a 3G of 4G Signal, I would assume this would be happening via EVDO on the Razr-M.

    "I also did notice that when I entered a strong 4g area the razr m took 5 minutes longer than my fiance's pantec breakout to go from 3g to 4g."
    I believe this would also be related to the same "software-switching-threshold" previously mentioned.
    It would help to know the reported signal strength of the 4G connection when it reconnects from 3G (this would illustrate the 4G connect threshold in dbm).
    You would then have the benchmarks to determine how the phone and software are performing (4G Connect & Disconnect Threshold).

    Two additional questions:
    What OS are you running ICS or JB (factory stock, OTA push, etc.)?
    What PRL (Preferred Roaming List - cel-tower frequencies updates) are you running (Settings/About Phone/Status)? (Should be 5-digit # begin with 1xxxx or 5xxxxx)
    If you get "stuck" in 3G again in an area of known strong 4G coverage compare your PRL# at that time to previous checks to see if device has poss. reset to a new number (I think 5x #'s are 3G only).
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  13. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    my phone says 1x in some areas now especially indoors where it used to say 3g with my thunderbolt.
    I have jellybean.
    prl 15154
    I didn't know you could update your prl on a 4g phone. Tried #22899 or was it *22899 didn't work. "a verizon wireless sim card has activated your service and updated your phone's roaming capabilities". whatever that means.
    It goes from 4g to 3g at -116dbm.
    Is it safe to switch it to a higher decible and what is the threshold for the thunderbolt?
    Lastly knowing this is a known issue will motorola adress this issue or are we stuck with the radio problems?

    Coverage map for my area http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/...pe=NEWREQUEST&zip=26062&city=WEIRTON&state=WV
    Even in areas that are dark red I am lucky I get 4g.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  14. Spey
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    Spey New Member

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    RE: previous Thunderbolt had better 3G connection than your current Razr M.
    From various postings I have read by other users, this may be typical. Possibly related to the smaller profile of the Razr M, and the fact that there are MORE antenna duties in the smaller package (Razr M runs all the antenna and radio requirements of larger Thunderbolt - plus - also has both 2.4GHz AND 5GHz WiFi antennas in smaller package - almost forgot they also put in a NFC Radio & Antenna too). The other day I was thinking/wondering if the location of the NFC antenna (on the back-side so hip-people can bump-transfer between devices ... to the awe-amazement of their iPhone brethren) is possibly obscuring the 4G/3G antenna reception. If so, and user does not care about NFC (me for one), then possibly the NFC antenna could simple be removed from the device & NFC software left de-activated. I know other Razr now also come with NFC antenna, but in larger package with more room to effectively place all the various antenna more optimally ...

    RE: prl 15154
    I would not be attempting to switch this PRL (your references related to "Tried #22899 or was it *22899" and/or possibly *228. If this were to actually take hold, I believe it would change your PRL to a 5xxxx number that would effectively set the phone to 3G mode and NO 4G (for folks who are in fringe areas of 4G coverage, and/or those who do not want the always on battery drain of 4G - on unless airplane mode).

    RE: "I didn't know you could update your prl on a 4g phone."
    It is my understanding that you can update 4G PRL (typically it's automated process when the phone boots, but there is manual update procedure if this is the problem).
    I do not think this is issue on your device because of the PRL you mention.
    Exception (previously mentioned in eariler post - if you can not get 4G in area of known strong 4G coverage, check the PRL to see if the phone may have "auto-updated" to a 5xxxx PRL). This could indicate a trouble spot to focus some attention trouble-shooting. This be be one of those device that you may want to focus on PRL updating.

    RE: "It goes from 4g to 3g at -116dbm."
    Device switches to and from 4G at -116dbm?
    I watched signal strength on my Razr today in areas of good to moderate 4G converage (ranged from -82dbm to -108dbm with no switching out of 4g).
    As I sit here typing in location I do not typically get 4G & is typically very weak 3G I've got 4G.
    Moving around and obscuring device from cel-tower in various ways I got the following readings:
    4G -107-115dbm 2-bars & -116-128dbm = 1-bar
    Actually got device down to -133dbm with 1-bar before switched from 4G to 3G then also lost 3G into 1x.
    Device would not register 3G or 4G (somewhat typical performance because coverage is very weak here).
    Switched device into "airplane mode" (turning off data radios), and switched back on, and 4G signal pops up at -110dbm (same as it was in same location earlier).
    In my mind this seems like explainable and acceptable behavior to me.

    RE: "Is it safe to switch it to a higher decible and what is the threshold for the thunderbolt?"
    Switching threshold for the Thunderbolt is a good question. Maybe someone with active Thunderbolt could respond (my daughter will not be home from college again till next month, I will try and remember to check her Thunderbolt then).
    I think the real question here is does the Razr M actually not receive signal as strongly (as say the Thunderbolt), or is it a matter of how the device signal is calibrated in the software. If the problem is that the device does not pick up signals as well, then focus probably should be on hardware improvements and/or software that can "enhance" the signal strength in the device. If on the other hand, the problem is that the signal is picked up ok but that the software calibration is set so as to switch from 3G to 4G prematurely then it would seem a simple registry edit to effectively change the switching threshold might be in order. Reasons the threshold may be set artificially low could include like to save battery, or make sure that the transition back and forth is seamless without dropping data connection. Considering the Razr M is a new device (and that packing in the secondary WiFi 5GHz radio & antenna - significant reason for my purchase of Razr M), I would think Motorola would error on the side of making sure the switching between 3G & 4G happens without dropping data signal for a fraction of second (so hopefully on the conservative side, and maybe room for future improvement via simple software update ...).

    RE: "Coverage map for my area http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/C...IRTON&state=WV
    Even in areas that are dark red I am lucky I get 4g."

    You are reading that map to show 3-levels of red (3G, 4G Extended, 4G Coverage), correct (not just 2-levels of red)?
    When I zoom in your push-pin, it's in 4G Extended and near border of 3G.
    It took me a little bit of time to asses the zoom levels in my area map coverage, and to see detail that actually illustrated detail down to 4G outdoors vs. inside buildings. The map where I am is fairly consistent with the coverage I experience in with my primary Razr M.

    I am not advocating that the Razr M has superior 4G Data coverage. I did not select this device for 4G. My priorites - dual-band WiFi and the small form factor, along with 4.3" screen that looks great and exterior support for SD-Card were all high on my priority list. Oh, lets not forget somewhat minimal overlay onto the OS.

    Hopefully, some of this makes sense and can be of help to you trouble shooting perceived and/or real problems (and differentiating between).

    Regards,
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  15. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    Would motorola have to issue new phones to fix the signal issue or can it be fixed by software. I don't get 4g until close to the pennsylvania border with the razr m. Should I be getting some 4g here where I am now?
  16. Spey
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    Spey New Member

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    I would bet any odds Motorola is NOT going to "issue new phones". Depending on the specifics of problem, software can help as already discussed. JB OTA has already made improvement to 4G connectivity on my device. Further software enhancements (specific to the Razr M could help further as described above).

    RE: "Should I be getting some 4g here where I am now?"
    As I commented above, if you are located where the push-pin is on the map-link you provided then, you are in 4G Extended Network Coverage Area. So, NO you are not in an area where I would expect to get 4G all the time, and would expect 4G switching to 3G to be normal, and depending on line-of-sight obstructions with towers I would also expect to sometimes loose 3G for periods.
    Below is the quote direct from the map-link you provided related to your push-pin placement (you are not in "Dark Red area" of the map):
    ** Access the 4G LTE network within the Verizon Extended Coverage Area; certain conditions may cause your service to connect to 3G in this Area.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  17. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    Thing is at wal mart which is in the dark red I can still even only get 3g. Even in the parking lot. What else can I do to improve reception? Would changing that variable you were talking about help or would it make things worse?
    If there is a hardware fix what would that entail or would we just have to accept this problem?
  18. jntdroid
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    jntdroid Super Moderator Premium Member

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    Is this your first LTE phone in your area?
  19. wvdroidman
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    wvdroidman New Member

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    I had the thunderbolt which seems like it got a better signal than the razr m. I am trying to get the razr m to get as good as signal as the thunderbolt. That is why I am trying to think of ways to get a better signal. Would a signal booster work or changing the thresh hold work?

    I only get 2 bars 3g most of the time here where with the thunderbolt I got 4 to 5 bars here most of the time.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  20. jntdroid
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    jntdroid Super Moderator Premium Member

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    If your experience with the Thunderbolt was better with regard to reception, then my recommendation is you exchange it. My personal opinion (based on my experience with a few different M's, lots of forum correspondence on various forums, etc) is that it's a combination of hardware and software and will never fully be resolved. As worried as you are now trying to make this work better, it won't get much better in a timely fashion.
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