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Intermittent Three Data Connection Fixed...of Sorts


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A few months ago I got a new phone (work upgrade, Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini >> Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge) but I have been very disappointed with the mobile data connectivity with Three. Works fine everywhere else except where I am right now! The symptoms are dropped packets (e. g. ping), web sites time-out, streaming video and voice is interrupted. Bandwidth is actually fine when it's working e. g. 8-9Mbs using HSPA+.

 

So I called Three technical support and, to cut a very long story short, they told me there is nothing more they can do: put up or shut up :(

 

So I researched the problem and the reason for the interruptions was because I am smack in the middle of three Three mobile masts and as soon as signal dips in one, the phone flips over to the next. During this transition, I lose a packet or two. The more it does this, the more I lose.

 

Unfortunately, I can't access the internal antenna test point on the Samsung Galaxy S6 so can't connect it to my external antenna but I have found that if I keep the phone vertically orientated and pointing towards the very slightly closer mast, the mast flipping stabalises.

 

Not quite what I should expect to have to do but I get unlimited tethered data with Three so I really wanted to fix this rather than switch to an alternative provider.

 

Just thought I'd share this tip if anyone else is having similar woes.

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We had a similar situation a few years ago - our service provider brought a new base station on line a fair way from us but the area was everso flat where we lived. The signal then became very variable as the phone couldn't decide which base station to access.

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Do you have 4G at your location? If so there may be a setting which allows you to specify 4G preferred.

 

If the phone is flipping between sites it tends to suggest you are on a weak signal as once above a threshold the phone should not move until it falls by a hysteresis level. Equally you could be putting a strong signal onto the first site and it is selecting the wrong sector and 'thinks' it can move you about.

 

Go into Settings>About phone and look at the signal strength. If it is below -100dBm then it is likely a weak signal problem, but if it is above about -90dBm then it is a strong signal problem. There is little you can do about the former, but the latter can be helped by finding some method of screening the phone. I suspect it is the former.

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Do you have 4G at your location? If so there may be a setting which allows you to specify 4G preferred.

 

If the phone is flipping between sites it tends to suggest you are on a weak signal as once above a threshold the phone should not move until it falls by a hysteresis level. Equally you could be putting a strong signal onto the first site and it is selecting the wrong sector and 'thinks' it can move you about.

 

Go into Settings>About phone and look at the signal strength. If it is below -100dBm then it is likely a weak signal problem, but if it is above about -90dBm then it is a strong signal problem. There is little you can do about the former, but the latter can be helped by finding some method of screening the phone. I suspect it is the former.

If you have a number of sites that cover the area with no single dominant cell, you can end up with what's called non dominance. This creates a problem for your phone in that in effect it can't decide which cell to hook onto.

Sometimes certain makes/models of phone are more susceptible to poor reception than others, so always worth checking out antenna performance on the phone compared with others. There used to be surveys of these, but they are less common nowadays as manufacturers tend to not publish these in front of their competitors.

If you are on three, it may be with downloading the three in touch app, as that will allow you to make/receive calls/texts using your wifi

The network issues are not three specific, and apply to every network out there.

Edited by milkymarsh
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He's got a data problem, not a voice problem.

 

3 intouch routes your voice calls over wifi rather than the mobile network. you shouldn't have a data problem if you can use a wifi network.

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He's got a data problem, not a voice problem.

 

3 intouch routes your voice calls over wifi rather than the mobile network. you shouldn't have a data problem if you can use a wifi network.

Dave

The data packet transfer will be be same issue, as if the phone can't decide what cell to lock onto then it will keep bouncing between sources. The OP will also probably notice his phone battery burning through a bit quicker than normal, as the phone will be hoping its transmit/receive power to compensate, but obv that can only go so far.

From that, I make it that the OP doesn't have wifi and is relying upon the phone network for everything, voice and data

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Dave

The data packet transfer will be be same issue, as if the phone can't decide what cell to lock onto then it will keep bouncing between sources. The OP will also probably notice his phone battery burning through a bit quicker than normal, as the phone will be hoping its transmit/receive power to compensate, but obv that can only go so far.

From that, I make it that the OP doesn't have wifi and is relying upon the phone network for everything, voice and data

That's what I was trying to point out - obviously not ever so well - He doesn't seem to have wifi, or doesn't want to use it because he's got oodles of data in his mobile contract so 3-intouch wouldn't solve his problem. If he had wifi then he wouldn't have a data problem. He doesn't appear to complaining about a voice problem

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Thanks for the contributions, chaps. Quite correct, no wifi here but mobile coverage is very good (arguably, too bloody good!). Signal strength switches between -56dBm and around -76dBm, never weaker than -80dBm.

 

No 4G with Three here unfortunately, have connected my mifi (separate device) to 4G via EE. My phone did connect to 4G in Manchester the other week and speedtest. net gave me 72Mbs download! That's faster than most home broadband! Can't wait for Three to upgrade.

 

It's been pretty stable since positioning the phone per my original post. ..as soon as I move it, it starts switching again. Not ideal, but, tbh, I generally tether anyway so no bother right now. It was driving me up the wall before though!

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Thanks for the contributions, chaps. Quite correct, no wifi here but mobile coverage is very good (arguably, too bloody good!). Signal strength switches between -56dBm and around -76dBm, never weaker than -80dBm.

 

No 4G with Three here unfortunately, have connected my mifi (separate device) to 4G via EE. My phone did connect to 4G in Manchester the other week and speedtest. net gave me 72Mbs download! That's faster than most home broadband! Can't wait for Three to upgrade.

 

It's been pretty stable since positioning the phone per my original post. ..as soon as I move it, it starts switching again. Not ideal, but, tbh, I generally tether anyway so no bother right now. It was driving me up the wall before though!

Glad improved. The signal bouncing around is due to non dominance, but I would have thought that at -56 db you were virtually on top of the cell! Seriously, if you were getting that level of signal you should not be getting non dominance issues, so it could potentially be an issue with the phone,
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I must admit, this never happened on my old phone, mind you it didn't support HSPA+ and the switching does also flit between HSPA and HSPA+. Trouble is, though, it only happens here. Seems fine everywhere else. I think I'm probably stuck with the workaround.

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