Carrier AT&T LTE network so slow compared HSPA+.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by BlueMoonForever, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. BlueMoonForever macrumors 6502

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    Sep 2, 2012
    #1
    In Setember 2012 I remember being blown away by how fast AT&T's band 17 network is. I was averaging at least 45mbps down during the day. Now I'm struggling to hit 1mbps. The good thing is the HSPA+ network is really blazing fast, but still. LTE is suppose to be a better technology. For this particular LTE screen shot I was at the store and did this in the parking lot. The tower that my house feeds off is probably the worst.

    I am curious what is AT&T's answer to LTE advanced?

    I am using an Apple iPhone 5.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. samven582 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I agree. ATT LTE service is really pathetic these day
     
  3. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Yeah. Boy do I wish I could go back to 2012 because the speeds then were amazing!!!
     
  4. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

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    #4
    It's called congestion. No carrier is impervious to it. VZW/TMobile are having these exact same problems.
     
  5. vigilant macrumors 6502

    vigilant

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    Dallas, TX
    #5
    These speeds all vary on area, and etc. Here is what I'm showing from iPhone 6 and iPad Mini 3[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  6. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    You would think with all AT&T's resources that they would be able to properly manage it.
     
  7. Rigby macrumors 601

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    #7
    It's not just a question of managing it. Radio spectrum is a limited resource. To reduce congestion in densely populated areas, AT&T either has to buy more spectrum or deploy more (and smaller) cells, i.e. install more base stations. They and the other operators are constantly working on both, but it takes time and (a lot of) money.
     
  8. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000

    swordfish5736

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    #8
    Maybe an iOS update would help :p


    Do you always have a weak LTE signal?
     
  9. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

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    Nov 23, 2011
    #9
    For the most part I'd say your observations are correct. However, the HSPA+ vs LTE jump wasn't for speed, it was the technology. They both have the same practical speed, but LTE is far better latency and overall reliability, so the user experience is much better. If you have 2mbps of LTE vs 2mbps of HSPA, things will "feel a lot snappier" .... but the actual download speeds are the same if both are 2mbps.

    Either way, yeah it seems like AT&T rolled out the network, and as more and more people jump on they're not upgrading the backhaul. They probably have an acceptable threshold as to what they consider acceptable speed for the average user.

    Though in all fairness... 6mb or 60mb on a mobile device isn't going to make any difference really unless you're using the phone as a personal hotspot or running a torrent client or watching a whole lot of downloaded HD content (most of which these days is optimized to run at 1mbps when streaming so streaming doesn't make a difference on 6mbps vs 60)
     
  10. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #10
    Depends on location.
    Not every place is the same.
     
  11. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

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    Nov 23, 2011
    #11
    Has nothing to do with spectrum, nor the cell\base station, you're just taking buzz words you've read elsewhere.

    The speed he's experiencing is 100% of a result of backhaul saturation, nothing more.

    If you have a 10mbps cable internet connection on a wifi router at home, and you have 1 user connected, they're going to get a great experience. Connect 40 and that user experience might diminish because 40 are sharing 10mbps instead of 1. No router you install will make that user experience significantly better for the 40 people because the issue is the backhaul (the fact the router only has 10mbps going into it).

    Get the facts. Do some research. I know sites like this throw around buzzwords, and it's okay to want to be helpful and repeat them, but you're wrong. You should learn how the technology works instead of just throwing out comments which are inaccurate.

    The bottom line is in many areas AT&T is not keeping up with the backhaul to continue delivering the speeds it did when the LTE network was younger and had far fewer users. Not surprising given AT&T's past in cities like San Francisco and New York. They're crooked, and won't make changes to up the user experience until it's so bad the media latches on and advocates for the consumer.
     
  12. Zaft macrumors 68030

    Zaft

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    #12
    I have to be honest I'm getting better speeds on sprint then on att. My mom is on att and I'm usually faster. This is nyc.
     
  13. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    What does the version of iOS I am running have to do with anything?

    No, most of the time my LTE signal is strong and speeds still don't break 6mbps down.
     
  14. vigilant macrumors 6502

    vigilant

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    #14

    In general you are correct.

    All of the carriers needed to overhaul their hardware. Verizon and Sprint more so then AT&T and T-Mobile.

    From my personal experiences in Dallas I can say that it does appear to be that the backhaul rules all. I know people with Sprint and T-Mobile that seem to struggle with full signal strength compared to Verizon or AT&T.

    From everything I've read LTE is a far more elegant solution for sending data wirelessly then HSPA+. What appears to be the issue in general is that even though the radios are at a site maybe updated for LTE there isn't enough backhaul bandwidth to meet everyones expectations.

    It seems like to me that LTE is updated plumbing that shows how each carrier may skimping on data to the tower.

    ----------


    The version of iOS could mean a lot actually depending on the age of the device. The cellular radios run off of firmware (baseband) that gets updated with OS releases.

    Updates to the baseband can give your phone access to network features that weren't provided by the carrier at launch. Could be as simple as supporting additional frequencies, or updated information for how to access the carriers network.
     
  15. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I didn't know that. It's an iPhone 5 running iOS 6.0. I never upgraded it. Though doesn't the ATT iPhone 5 only support LTE bands 4 & 17?
     
  16. vigilant macrumors 6502

    vigilant

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    #16
    AT&T LTE network so slow compared HSPA+.


    I couldn't tell you specifically offhand. What I can tell you for a fact is that baseband improvements come in OS updates.

    For example, I am running iOS 8.2 latest beta on all my devices and not iOS 8.3 beta because it has non-reversible baseband updates. If I go to 8.3 while it's in beta and something doesn't work well in the OS or the baseband my phone is stuck until the next release.

    The baseband updates can really vary greatly.

    One additional note, if you are back on iOS 6.0 your network performance would probably improve by some measure by updating.

    There isn't a guarantee to as much you would perceive it though.
     
  17. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I'd upgrade, but im not a fan of the iOS 7 UI. Not too mention iOS 8 would significantly slow my phone down. It flies on iOS 6.

    I just wish my LTE speeds weren't crap.
     
  18. vigilant macrumors 6502

    vigilant

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    #18

    Hard to really say how it would potentially affect you. For me personally the stuff iOS 7 brings is actually pretty responsive, and elegant. But I also have mostly modern-ish hardware in my household.

    Many people like to disparage new things because it gives a poster some attention. iOS 7 and 8 seems to be running well in my household in general. My blind mother in law uses an iPhone 5c without any performance issues. My mom and hipster brother got iPhone 5c's last year and I've never heard a complaint.

    I'll tell you personally I dropped AT&T because their wireless network is a joke in major cities. I don't think your issue has to do with LTE vs. HSPA+. If I had to guess I'd say you live in an area that has a higher saturation of users now as oppose to before.

    I know in iOS 8 you can actually disable LTE completely and just use 3G (HSPA+).



    TLDR: Carriers suck, it's probably AT&T but you may be able to disable LTE. iOS 7 and 8 performs well for me in general.
     
  19. BlueMoonForever thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    I can disable LTE in iOS 6 just fine. That's what I do. LTE is almost always toggled off.
     
  20. vigilant macrumors 6502

    vigilant

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    #20
    If LTE is turned off and you are still having issues then it's almost definitely a carrier level issue. I'd imagine that AT&T hasn't provided enough additional bandwidth to meet customer demand.

    Once LTE is off you should be falling back onto HSPA+.
     
  21. solodogg macrumors 6502

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    Oct 28, 2011
    #21
    I've been complaining about this for a year in my home market, but i'm starting to notice that the issue is following me now wherever I travel. This time last year, no matter where I traveled, AT&T LTE was much better than HSPA+, and I could regularly hit over 10mb downstream on speed tests. In the last month, I have traveled to Louisville, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, and all markets are HORRIBLY slow.

    Downtown Indianapolis at Circle Center mall gave me 20mb speeds, but everywhere else was well below 5. Busch Stadium in STL gave me 50+, but move less than a mile away, and back below 5mb. Most everywhere I went in Louisville was below 3mb. Evansville (home town) can't seem to break 2-3mb anywhere in the city limits now, where previously the west side of town was ok.

    I have been in contact with AT&T numerous times about this issue, and was originally told back in October of last year that updates were coming in April this year. Now, i'm being told that in May and September of this year, they will POSSIBLY consider an update. This is a 5x5 Band 17 and 5x5 band 4 market, with only a hand full of band 4 sites even running. Both spectrum and backhaul are limited like crazy.

    I have tested Sprint and Verizon against AT&T, and both blow them out of the water in every location I've traveled to. The lowest I have seen on VZW anywhere I've been is 8mb, and that was in a heavily populated area. Most of the time, VZW is 20+, and can regularly hit 40-50. Sprint has seen as low as 2-3mb, but when it's that low, AT&T was sub 1mb in the same location.

    I think it's time they get their act together, and do something about this. Otherwise, I suspect Sprint will join VZW and start robbing their smart phone customers rapidly. Seriously, how is it that VZW was able to flip a switch and enable VoLTE, but AT&T can't? VZW has great backhaul on most every tower out there, not AT&T...
     
  22. vigilant macrumors 6502

    vigilant

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    #22

    Excellent post. This is exactly why I jumped from AT&T 2.5 years ago.
     
  23. shenan1982 macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

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    Nov 23, 2011
    #23
    Still missing it a bit. Signal bars don't mean speed of access. You can have 1 bar and if the backhaul is good and tower utilization is low, you could get 20 mbps.. whereas if you get 5 bars, and you're on a tower a lot of people are connected to, you could get 0.5 mbps. I wish they'd get rid of the bars all together. It should have an indication that it's either connected or it's not. Bars were good indicators of your service quality on older devices before IP became the way voice and data were transmitted, but it's just a silly and unnecessary piece of information to have on the screen now really, and it just causes misinformation and misunderstanding with users.
     
  24. vigilant macrumors 6502

    vigilant

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    #24
    The bars can be worthless. It's another variable in the larger problem.
     
  25. Rigby macrumors 601

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    #25
    I actually work in this field. Do you?
    And you know this how?
    I know it's popular around here to hate the carriers, mostly with people who have no idea about the complexities they are dealing with. Carry on.
     

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