LTE vs 3G signal strength (AT&T)

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
507
109
so, i know this has loosely been discussed elsewhere, but being the scientist that i am, i hope to get more data points.

in general, i've been finding LTE signal to be much weaker than 3G at my home and work which means my calls are much less reliable unless i turn off LTE. sort of inconvenient to keeping turning LTE on an off manually, but that's what i've started doing.

anyway, i would appreciate added data points to what i paste below. if you call

*3001#12345#*

it puts you phone into "field test mode" and your "bars" become a number in negative db signal strength.

at work / home (my two data points), i have found

LTE: -109db / -104db
3G: -90db / -84db

these numbers of course fluctuate, but you get the picture. this translates to typically 1 bar at home and work on LTE, and 4-5 bars using 3G/4G.

what are you guys experiencing?

(both of these locations are in the SF Bay Area, CA)
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
507
109
thanks for the check in.

i continue to find that in general LTE signal is lower than 3G in many places. there are a few exceptions (i've stopped looking) but i think it basically speaks to a lower density of LTE towers.

thankfully, i got our microcell working again at home and my phone, even with LTE on, seems to select the microcell.

at work, i've resigned myself to daily switching off LTE to make sure i have better voice coverage (i have good wifi at work)...i have to remind myself to switch back to LTE for my commute home where the speed difference is huge (except for the few shadow spots on my train ride)
 

joeshmo2010

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2009
556
1
Seattle, WA
Your LTE signal strength has no affect on your ability to make and receive calls because LTE is not used for voice. Anytime the phone is used for a call, the LTE reverts to HSPA+.
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,269
1,319
Sorry to bump an older thread, but in locations that have low LTE (say 1 bar) but much more 3G/4G (say 4-5 bars), how many bars does the iPhone show in the top left? :confused:
 

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
507
109
Your LTE signal strength has no affect on your ability to make and receive calls because LTE is not used for voice. Anytime the phone is used for a call, the LTE reverts to HSPA+.
while i thought what you wrote was true, that has not been my experience. when LTE is active and i am showing "low bars" (1-2) i get unreliable voice service. if from the same location, i switch off LTE, i often get a stronger signal and much better voice quality with LTE disabled.

weird, i know...and of course anecdotal. but it has happened often enough to me that i choose to switch off LTE when i know i need to make/receive calls in a low LTE signal area.

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Sorry to bump an older thread, but in locations that have low LTE (say 1 bar) but much more 3G/4G (say 4-5 bars), how many bars does the iPhone show in the top left? :confused:
not sure i understand your question. in my experience, it shows a stronger signal most of the time when LTE is turned off. (ie, it shows "more bars" or as i previously posted, a much higher Signal)
 

wgr73

macrumors 6502a
Oct 31, 2005
684
29
New Mexico
Great thread! I will test and add data to your thread.

If I don't live in an area with LTE, is it possible for me to turn LTE off? I can't seem to even find it in the options menus
 

FSMBP

macrumors 68020
Jan 22, 2009
2,492
1,347
Great thread! I will test and add data to your thread.

If I don't live in an area with LTE, is it possible for me to turn LTE off? I can't seem to even find it in the options menus
Yeah, just go SETTINGS, then GENERAL, then CELLULAR and turn off LTE.