LTE to 3G Cellular Data Drop

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by josefarrugia, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. josefarrugia macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    #1
    Hi All,

    Device: iPhone 5S

    I am testing out a network which has several LTE sites scattered across the city and I noticed that at times when it's on LTE (2 bars) it would automatically switch to 3G, however, I would temporary lose Cellular Data meaning I can't surf or use any Apps (No Internet Connection). I would have to wait for a few seconds up to a minute at times before 3G resumes. At that point, the connection would be slow and things wouldn't load even though it says it's on 3G. A few minutes later it would again switch to LTE for a minute in which surfing is fine.

    I have noticed this would usually happen in low LTE signal areas in which switching would occur from LTE to 3G. The labels LTE, 3G or even E don't appear when downgrading from LTE to 3G. It's just the name of the network. I would have to wait for a quarter of a minute before 3G appears.

    On the other hand, I noticed that if I turned off LTE from the settings, everything would run smoothly and I would have a constant connection with 3G.

    There's no issue transitioning from 3G to LTE. However, I noticed cellular data drops from LTE to 3G.

    Can anyone shed some light or thoughts on this?
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    Are you testing out Sprint?

    I ask because there are some areas right now (Chicago was a disaster) where the handoff from the new equipment (LTE, fiber backhaul) to the legacy equipment (3G, T-1 copper backhaul) is causing issues (no data, dropped calls). Especially in the case where the legacy equipment is Samsung product.

    If you aren't testing Sprint, then I have no idea.
     
  3. josefarrugia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    #3
    I am actually located half around the globe, in the Philippines. LTE has been existent for around a year now specifically on the SMART Network Carrier. It's quite frustrating at times I would be on LTE using Facebook then all of sudden it switches to 3G and I temporary lose my data connection despite it saying 3G on the upper left hand corner. A few seconds later, there's no "3G" or "LTE" label, it disappears. I would have to turn off my LTE in settings, wait for 15-20 seconds and I get 3G again.

    Surprisingly, I would have a stable data connection when LTE is turned off in the settings. Does it have something to do with iOS or is it a carrier network issue (hardware related - transitioning hardware at the cell tower), something to do with transitioning from LTE to 3G?
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #4
    It's got nothing to do with your phone or iOS. It's all down to the hardware on the cellular equipment of your carrier.

    I experience exactly what you describe at work. Right now Sprint is in the middle of upgrading old 3G legacy equipment to LTE. Where I sit at work is right in a spot where based on conditions the LTE signal can be stronger or weaker during the course of the day. When the LTE signal is weaker, the 3G signal picks up and the phone switches back and forth. Sometimes I go to roaming, sometimes the entire connection drops out.

    In Sprint's case, LTE is a weaker signal overall than 3G. The tower closest to me at work does not have LTE yet so I'm picking it up from a tower much farther away. I can be on LTE with my phone on the desk, grab it, sit back and lose LTE.

    I imagine that this is probably the same type of scenario where you are. You are probably in an area where depending on your conditions LTE is sometimes stronger and sometimes not. 3G is a stronger signal than LTE and when you switch your phone to 3G only you don't lose the signal because it's been there to begin with, it's just that when LTE is enabled your phone (and mine) try to pick up LTE instead of 3G. With a weak signal this results in fluctuations that have the consequences both you and I suffer.
     
  5. josefarrugia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    #5
    I believe I have a similar case with you. What frustrates me is the cellular data drop from LTE to 3G. Interestingly, I would be in a LTE area (based on previous tests and advertised LTE sites) and I would be on 3G, however, I would be getting a slow data connection and at times no data connection despite it being displayed as 3G on the Top left hand corner next to the carrier's name.

    I would have to go to Settings and disable LTE, and things would be smooth sailing. Does it have something to do with the iPhone getting confused on what to use between LTE or 3G?
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #6
    No, it just sounds like you have a weak LTE signal. It's strong enough for your iPhone to pick it up but not strong enough to be useable. When you move to an area where the 3G is somewhat stronger than the LTE your phone switches back to 3G.

    Now, if you are experiencing this and you know that you have a strong LTE signal then I would say it's your phone.
     
  7. josefarrugia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    #7
    The LTE Signal is only around 2-3 bars. Nevertheless, it's normal for cellular data to drop (no internet connection whatsoever) during the transition from LTE to 3G, right?
     

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