I need help understanding my "signal test" results...


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Jan 2, 2010
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***Huge Post Alert*** See the bold text for the basic questions, read the rest if you want the specific details.

Last weekend I upgraded from a Thunderbolt to a Razr Maxx. I have had the Thunderbolt since it's release date and started paying for the 4g hot spot 6 months after. For the most part I stayed connected but since the new year I had been experiencing issues with the T-Bolt hot spot dropping my laptop connection but sometimes still being able to access 4G from the phone. I downloaded Easy Tether and got good results with it. Rarely losing connection but, the USB did not provide enough charge to run it constantly and would eventually have to switch back to the wireless hotspot to get some juice.

So I contemplated a new phone for a while and finally decided to use a line upgrade to get the Droid Razr Maxx... Decent phone so far, there were some things that took some getting used to going from HTC Sense to motoBlur but, overall I am satisfied with the phone it's self... Enter 4g issues...

The week old Razr max started to drop my 4g and laptop from the hotspot more frequently then the Thunderbolt did. Also I can't remember my Thunderbolt speeds around the house but, overall it feels slower. So I decided to download Easy Tether to the Maxx in hopes that it is a hotspot software problem. No help. Still dropping 4g to 3g and sometimes nothing at all. So I downloaded FoxFi after hearing some good reviews. FoxFi does not drop my laptop but I am still losing 4g/3g for minutes at a time. That lead me to believe that I am either having a network issue or I am having a hardware issue as software didn't seem to be the issue.

I have ran multiple speed tests at my house and they range from 5mb/s down 1.5mb/s up to a terrible .44mb/s down and a .11mb/s up... At one point I even ran multiple speed tests every minute for 15 minutes strait and you can see the minute by minute up and down dips from 5mb down to .6mb down.

At this point, I figure I am far far away from the tower so I downloaded a program called OpenSignal to help monitor my 4g signal since there aren't any 4g/3g "bars" stock. Gives me signal strength, tower direction and this program also maps the location of the cell tower signal and my location on a map with a line connecting the two showing what tower I am connected too as well as the distance to the tower. According to the program I am only 1895m from the tower (just about 1.1miles). Hmm not that far away I thought. So I got in the car and started to drive towards the map location of the tower. I drove about 1/4 mile down the road and ran another speed test, 7mb/s down and 1.5mb/s up.. Hmm better. I drove to within a 1/2 mile of the tower location and did another speed test. 13mb/s down, 11mb/s up... What the hell? I am 1/2 mile from the tower and 3/4 of a mile from my house....

So I decided to start driving to my mothers house. It's about a 20 minute drive on the roads but it's on the other side of the river which is physically only a about 2.5 miles in a strait line away. The whole time I have this Open Signal map open so it shows what tower I am connected to. I get to her house, and I am still connected to the tower 1 mile away from me. Open signal says the distance is 6385m away (about 4 miles), I hit the speed test, 17.8mb/s download and 13.5mb/s upload. What the hell? Now I am 4 miles away instead of 1 mile away and I am literally getting 350% better speed by being further away? That makes no damn sense (to me). Even more ironic is the fact that the line between her house and the cell tower runs DIRECTLY through where my house is on the map...

So just to make sure there isn't lead paint in my house blocking a signal, I drive back home do a speed test inside my house an then walk outside to the field across the street and do another speed test. Both of them are in the neighborhood of 4mb/s down and 1.5mb/s up.

So it comes down to this... Why am I getting fantastic speeds a 1/2 mile from the tower, ****ty speeds by my house 1.2 miles from the tower, and super bad ass speeds 4 miles from the tower... Is this a fault of the Razr? Do I need to take it back before my 15 days? Or is this purely a Network problem and I need to light up Verizon corporate phones? I am unsure if the signal drop is related to this issue or if it is a phone issue as I didn't spend enough time at the tower or at my moms to see a signal drop.

Sorry for the huge post but, I wanted to outline EVERYTHING so far.
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Oh, and is there a way to boost my signal without spending all that effin money for a repeater? It seems like such a damn shame I would need a repeater 1 mile away from the tower.
I'm having the EXACT SAME ISSUE. I never get consistent speeds like I did with my Thunderbolt. I will elaborate if we can get someone to respond to this thread.
I'm not sure this will answer your question but here goes...Verizon uses two different types of antennas to transmit their signal. One type is a multi-directional to cover a large area but short distance and the other is more of a directional antenna but covers a longer distance. So depending on what tower your phone "hooks up" / logs on to and the antenna system employed on that tower, the resulting signal strength depicted on your phone might not make sense in relation to how far you are from the tower. Keep in mind that you may be in range of more than one tower at some locations. In this case which tower the phone logs on to is above my pay grade to explain. How do I know this you might ask...explained to me by a Motorola guru...it makes sense to me...sort of :)
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