LTE Building Penetration

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by El3ctronics, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. El3ctronics macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #1
    I went out last night in NYC and as soon as I entered both the restaurant and bar I went into, I lost LTE coverage and my AT&T iPhone dropped to "4G." Does anyone know if this is a result of the LTE network still being expanded or is it due to poor building penetration?
     
  2. reckless2k2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #2
    I've experienced similar as well in certain buildings. I assume it's a signal penetration issue.

    I'm on AT&T LTE. Not sure if Verizon LTE is different.
     
  3. El3ctronics thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    It's actually quite annoying. Does anyone know if there is a specific spectrum that AT&T's LTE network is on in NY that doesn't allow for it to penetrate buildings well?
     
  4. ddarko macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #4
    The problem you're having is probably site-specific. It's doubtful it has anything to do with AT&T's LTE implementation in NYC because it's basically the same as Verizon's. AT&T LTE is using the 700Mhz band, the same band as Verizon (AT&T is in the lower range, Verizon is the upper range). In NYC, it's also using 20Mhz of spectrum, same as Verizon. There's no system-wide difference between AT&T and Verizon LTE in NYC. For example, I have both an AT&T and Verizon iPhone 5 and in my apartment and in the hallways of my building on the west side of Manhattan, the AT&T LTE holds its signal better than Verizon. The differences you and I are seeing is probably caused by cell tower strength and density. In my location, AT&T probably has more cell towers than Verizon, maybe in yours, vice versa (assuming Verizon iPhone 5 would hold its signal).
     
  5. d.steve macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    #5
    YMWV between AT&T and Verizon and for where you happen to be. Not just regionally who has the 700MHz band and who does not, but where you happen to be in relation to where the towers are.

    To some extent, it will just happen to be your location, but building penetration probably is also involved. And not just lower spectrum vs higher spectrum, but building material, etc.

    I did a quick google search on 'at&t lte new york band' but didn't wade through to find out what it's using there. You can probably find out with several minutes of research.

    That reminds me: There's a brewpub in downtown Sunnyvale, CA...you know, pretty much the heart of Silicon Valley...where you lose AT&T entirely. Crazy, huh? Technology. So hard, y'know? :rolleyes:
     
  6. El3ctronics thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    Fair points but as soon as I walk outside I get 5 bars of LTE coverage. That's why I'm concerned it's a building penetration issue more than a coverage issue.
     
  7. Mliii macrumors 65816

    Mliii

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #7
    I don't pretend to be an expert on this, but I've read similar stories elsewhere online. The common consensus is that it is a building penetration issue based on a combination of factors, including cell tower location and density, construction of the building, materials used, etc. and the nature of LTE. I have some of the same problems with HSPA+ (AT&T's "4G") in some of the buildings I'm in a lot.
     
  8. apprunner macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #8
    700mhz LTE is probably as good as you're gonna get. That may mean that there needs to be a closer cell tower. Vzw just has more towers at this point so better coverage.
     
  9. ddarko, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012

    ddarko macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #9
    The point was that building penetration and coverage are related - they aren't independent variables. You can get better building penetration because coverage may be denser in the area. Density of cell towers/denser coverage allows weaker signals to be picked up. You asked if there was something inherent in AT&T's LTE that made it inherently less able to penetrate than Verizon. The answer is no, the tech and their implementation is virtually the same as Verizon's LTE in NYC. And I'll reiterate my own experience - in my apartment building, Verizon's LTE drops a lot faster and has more difficulty maintaining the signal than AT&T LTE. I don't attribute that to Verizon's LTE being technically inferior but because they probably have less cell towers in my area than AT&T. There's no inherent penetration advantage to either provider's LTE in NYC. Some places, AT&T LTE will penetrate better, others places, Verizon will be better because density of cell towers differs across the city. The story may be different in other cities where AT&T has half the spectrum as Verizon or where AT&T will roll out LTE coverage over the 1900Mhz band (higher frequency generally means less penetration because the wavelength is shorter/less powerful than frequencies in the lower band).

    Without you using a Verizon iPhone 5 in the bar you were in, it's impossible to say whether Verizon's LTE would also drop out.
     
  10. Spectrum Abuser macrumors 65816

    Spectrum Abuser

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    #10
    If you're getting five bars of LTE as soon as you step outside of a building that sets off an obvious. It's not a cell site range issue. I don't even understand how you can claim that if the OP was getting five bars right before entering the establishment.
     
  11. El3ctronics thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #11
    Exactly.
     
  12. apprunner macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #12
    I said it may be but if the building is just impenetrable, then it is what it is. If 700 MHZ LTE can't penetrate the building, then he is SOL. There is nothing inherent in LTE that makes it worse for in building penetration. Penetration is mostly a spectrum issue if there is a decent network in place
     
  13. famerdave macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    #13
    ATT LTE penetrates more for me. Downstairs (in a large building), where I used to get 0-1 bars of "3G, or 4G", but with LTE, I get 3-4 Bars.

    What sucks is, when I go to make a call, sometimes it fails, cause I have 0-1 bars of the voice service.
     
  14. chiefpavvy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    #14
    Yep. Oldest myth in the book...protocol has nothing to do with it. Building penetration is all about frequency. As LTE runs in the 700MHz bands it will have better penetration than 850 and especially 1900 networks.
     
  15. macneubie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #15
    Is normal, due to the phone automatically downgrading to 3g for voice calls (technically known as circuit switch fall back CSFB). So if your 3g operator runs at frequencies higher than 700MHz LTE, signals will significantly drop, due to higher signal penetration losses at higher frequencies.
     
  16. ek9max macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #16
    I have the same thing with my LTE. Drops to 3G inside the building. Sucks for me.
     

Share This Page