iPhone 11 Pro The Moment of Truth: Cell Reception in the 11 Pro for Low-Signal Strength Areas

crouch

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 4, 2012
63
109
Hi everyone,

First of all, I just want to say that I 100% support the fact that in ideal signal conditions, the XS and 11 Pros get wonderful cellular speeds on AT&T -- I've experienced this first-hand, and I'm not here to argue that. This thread is for everyone who suffered through dropped data connections and terrible download & upload speeds in less-than-ideal signal conditions, especially those who moved to the XS from the 8+, and couldn't out why their phone didn't work as well as before. My backstory, from two previous posts:

I live in Washington, DC, and own an XS on the AT&T network. Yesterday I ran two speed tests:

Test 1 (1:31pm) 0.08 Mbps down, 0.11 Mbps up
Test 2 (10:20pm) 0.23 Mbps down, 0.02 Mbps up

This morning I walked down the street to get a coffee, and with two bars of service couldn't get any data at all. This is my second XS. I even had a service ticket open with Apple on my first phone, which had the same issues.

What's frustrating -- and this is for everyone in the "but my phone's fine!!" crowd -- is that I can walk a few blocks over and get ridiculous speeds, almost 140.00 Mbps down. But in areas with low signal strength, my phone is a brick. My 8+ with a Qualcomm modem inside never had these issues.
So I just ran two more tests, both done in the same spot as yesterday:

Test 3 (10:04am) 14.6 Mbps down, 0.12 Mbps up, call attempt successful
Test 4 (10:26am) No internet connection available, call attempt successful

On the plus side, I was able to make calls :)

My 8+ spoiled me with its ability to handle the situation :(
Well, this morning I picked up a brand new 11 Pro, and began testing the cellular connection, and the download and upload speeds. I want to preface my results by saying I'm just one person, and that your milage may vary. That said, I've been on this rodeo for awhile now: this is my third phone with the issue. Here's my conclusions:

If you're an edge case -- if you're one of the few that has experienced dropped cellular connections because of low signal strength -- upgrading from the XS to the 11 Pro will make very little difference. I'm getting 0.02 Mbps down and 0.02 Mbps up in Washington, DC, with many efforts resulting in a "data connection not found" error. My first XS did this, my second XS did this, and now my Pro 11 does this too.

If I walk a few blocks over, everything's peachy: 71.5 Mbps down and 11.8 Mbps up. As I said before, in normal signal conditions, the phone is wonderful. But if you're one of the folks in a less-than-deal area, the upgrade will not help you. Sorry folks.
 
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archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,702
1,235
Oregon
To me it sounds like you're just in a bad area which isn't necessarily a phone issue but rather a coverage issue and network saturation issue.
You really need another phone in that same area, side by side, at the same moment to know for sure.
 
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crouch

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 4, 2012
63
109
To me it sounds like you're just in a bad area which isn't necessarily a phone issue but rather a coverage issue and network saturation issue.
I completely agree my friend. What's troublesome is that this wasn't an issue with the 8+. That's where my frustration lies. I will readily admit that this doesn't affect most people, but for a small percentage, it does.

edit: more than anything, this is an antenna issue.
 

archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,702
1,235
Oregon
I completely agree my friend. What's troublesome is that this wasn't an issue with the 8+. That's where my frustration lies.
Yes, but you don't have the 8+ with you right now to test side by side? As network conditions vary moment to moment, year by year, you really need it with you right now to see.

I do have a 8+ and a 7. And 2 Xs Max's so I can compare side by side. And the Xs max gets noticably better reception than the 8+ or 7. And it's on par with my friends android phones. Yes, even in fringe areas. Maybe our networks around here are better? I don't know. But I don't have to go more than a mile to be down to a single bar. And we camp a lot so we're always in fringe areas so i've been able to do side by side tests.
 

Hazmat401

macrumors regular
Dec 29, 2017
175
225
Delaware County, Pa
To me it sounds like you're just in a bad area which isn't necessarily a phone issue but rather a coverage issue and network saturation issue.
You really need another phone in that same area, side by side, at the same moment to know for sure.
I agree about networking saturation.... DC is a densely populated place
 

crouch

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 4, 2012
63
109
Yes, but you don't have the 8+ with you right now to test side by side? As network conditions vary moment to moment, year by year, you really need it with you right now to see.
I don't, but I have a year's worth of anecdotal working-from-home dropped data connections over three different phones to prove it, which included working with Apple engineers. Also, as I said earlier, my 8+ never did this.

If you go back through previous threads, this happened to loads of people in the same situation: folks who upgraded from the 8+ to the XS in low signal areas.
 

archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,702
1,235
Oregon
I don't, but I have a year's worth of anecdotal working-from-home dropped data connections over three different phones to prove it, which included working with Apple engineers. Also, as I said earlier, my 8+ never did this.

If you go back through previous threads, this happened to loads of people in the same situation: folks who upgraded from the 8+ to the XS in low signal areas.
It could also be that something changed in the network and it's just a coincidence. Not saying it is. Just a thought.
I wonder why i'm not seeing that on my 8+ and Xs Max in low signal areas? Just different areas I suspect. Different bands? Perhaps i'm just lucky.
 

MrAperture

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2017
363
356
SF, CA
When did you upgrade from the 8+? Last year? In that span of time AT&T’s network could just be that more congested.
 

crouch

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 4, 2012
63
109
It could also be that something changed in the network and it's just a coincidence. Not saying it is. Just a thought.
I wonder why i'm not seeing that on my 8+ and Xs Max in low signal areas? Just different areas I suspect. Different bands? Perhaps i'm just lucky.
Honestly, I know my situation is somewhat unique, and doesn't reflect most users' experiences. That said, for a small population of us, this was a huge issue. This thread was mostly for them :)
 

jkozlow3

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2008
868
474
I don't, but I have a year's worth of anecdotal working-from-home dropped data connections over three different phones to prove it, which included working with Apple engineers. Also, as I said earlier, my 8+ never did this.

If you go back through previous threads, this happened to loads of people in the same situation: folks who upgraded from the 8+ to the XS in low signal areas.
It could also be that something changed in the network and it's just a coincidence. Not saying it is. Just a thought.
I wonder why i'm not seeing that on my 8+ and Xs Max in low signal areas? Just different areas I suspect. Different bands? Perhaps i'm just lucky.
Agreed. Crouch - do you have an 8/8+ that you can test with TODAY on the same network? Borrow one from a friend/colleague perhaps? AT&T added their 5G Evolution crap since then - who knows if your 8+ would still perform as well today as it once did? AT&T's network is flat out garbage as it is.
 

archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,702
1,235
Oregon
Honestly, I know my situation is somewhat unique, and doesn't reflect most users' experiences. That said, for a small population of us, this was a huge issue. This thread was mostly for them :)
oh I understand. I'm just curious what it could be. If all the phones are the same and some people have issues and some don't, under similar conditions, what sorts of things could it be beyond the phones themselves? Again, just curious. I don't know enough about the towers and bands and such to be able to speculate if there's differences there.
 

dpgx81

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2017
31
13
Buffalo, NY
I've had meetings all day but so far my reception seems better tbh. 5 Bars at home where I had 3 - 4 traditionally, and 5 bars in the areas where I checked near my meetings today. I'm happy with it so far.
 
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crouch

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 4, 2012
63
109
Agreed. Crouch - do you have an 8/8+ that you can test with TODAY on the same network? Borrow one from a friend/colleague perhaps? AT&T added their 5G Evolution crap since then - who knows if your 8+ would still perform as well today as it once did? AT&T's network is flat out garbage as it is.
I don't, sorry. I turned it in last year when I upgraded to the XS unfortunately. That said, if you live in Washington, DC, and have an 8+ with the Qualcomm modem/antenna combo inside on AT&T, hit me up! I'd absolutely love to run side-by-side tests.

For what it's worth, for those of us who have been through this issue for an entire year now, which includes battling everyone saying you're wrong, prove it, one of the things we keep coming back to is antenna gain. There's a whole thread about it here. If you look at the analysis overall, the 8+ did much better than the XS did. Someone also just pulled the 11 Pro FCC antenna registration, and came up with the following conclusion: that you won't see much change from the XS to the Pro 11. Most people think it has to do with the stainless steel band running around the phone.
 
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dpgx81

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2017
31
13
Buffalo, NY
I don't, sorry. I turned it in last year when I upgraded to the XS unfortunately. That said, if you live in Washington, DC, and have an 8+ with the Qualcomm modem/antenna combo inside on AT&T, hit me up! I'd absolutely love to run side-by-side tests.

For what it's worth, for those of us who have been through this issue for an entire year now, which includes battling everyone saying you're wrong, prove it, one of the things we keep coming back to is antenna gain. There's a whole thread about it here. If you look at the analysis overall, the 8+ did much better than the XS did. Someone also just pulled the 11 Pro FCC antenna registration, and came up with the following conclusion: that you won't see much change from the XS to the Pro 11. Most people think it has to do with the stainless steel band running around the phone.
I'm not questioning anyone at all - I didn't get great reception with my XS Max + Intel Modem tbh. A lot of factors can certainly play into what you are seeing. I can understand your frustration - I also had a Note 10+ for my work line and the reception was so poor I had to return it.
 
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crouch

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 4, 2012
63
109
I've had meetings all day but so far my reception seems better tbh. 5 Bars at home where I had 3 - 4 traditionally, and 5 bars in the areas where I checked near my meetings today. I'm happy with it so far.
On the cab ride home from the Carnegie Library Apple Store, my reception and speeds were wonderful! I just picked the wrong house to live in.
 

delta0

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2018
117
29
London
Speed was very good for me and in areas where my old 6 and other half’s 7s would have nothing I had great signal. Was streaming high res video seamlessly.
 
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dpgx81

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2017
31
13
Buffalo, NY
On the cab ride home from the Carnegie Library Apple Store, my reception and speeds were wonderful! I just picked the wrong house to live in.
I know your pain there, we must be right between 2 cell towers where we live, as soon as we leave our immediate neighborhood, reception has always dipped to 1 - 2 bars (usually 1) and we often drop reception in the area until we hit the fringe edge of this tower, then it jumps back up to 5 bar when it reconnects. Also on AT&T
 
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missbing

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2015
349
611
I've had the same issues with the Xs and I'm with Verizon. I have horrible coverage in certain parts of my office and it's, especially at my desk. I had the X and iPhones before that with no reception problems. When I got the Xs, 95% of the time my calls would fail while at my desk (only works through Bluetooth). I still have this issue on my Xs and hoping I don't have the issue with the 11 Pro.
 

Velin

macrumors 65816
Jul 23, 2008
1,471
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Hearst Castle
I've had the same issues with the Xs and I'm with Verizon. I have horrible coverage in certain parts of my office and it's, especially at my desk. I had the X and iPhones before that with no reception problems. When I got the Xs, 95% of the time my calls would fail while at my desk (only works through Bluetooth). I still have this issue on my Xs and hoping I don't have the issue with the 11 Pro.

Solution for you, I copied my response from another thread:

If so, there is a solution for you, especially on Verizon. You can purchase a 4G LTE Network Extender, which plugs into your router and is a true 4G mini cell tower right in your home. The network extender isn't one of the lame "repeaters" that tries to amplify far-away cell towers (which usually don't work). Nor is this a glorified router for terrible wifi calling. The Network Extender is true 4G LTE signal, which will give you full bars and excellent call quality, routing your LTE call through broadband and out to the Verizon network.

Further, the best thing you can do is turn wifi calling off, especially if you have this type of LTE network extender. Wifi calling generally is terrible. But 4G and LTE calling is usually pretty great. And I can confirm this particular device from Verizon is really excellent, full bars, crystal-clear call quality, no drops.
 

Renho

macrumors 68000
Sep 15, 2014
1,815
576
SR, CA
Hi everyone,

First of all, I just want to say that I 100% support the fact that in ideal signal conditions, the XS and 11 Pros get wonderful cellular speeds on AT&T -- I've experienced this first-hand, and I'm not here to argue that. This thread is for everyone who suffered through dropped data connections and terrible download & upload speeds in less-than-ideal signal conditions, especially those who moved to the XS from the 8+, and couldn't out why their phone didn't work as well as before. My backstory, from two previous posts:





Well, this morning I picked up a brand new 11 Pro, and began testing the cellular connection, and the download and upload speeds. I want to preface my results by saying I'm just one person, and that your milage may vary. That said, I've been on this rodeo for awhile now: this is my third phone with the issue. Here's my conclusions:

If you're an edge case -- if you're one of the few that has experienced dropped cellular connections because of low signal strength -- upgrading from the XS to the 11 Pro will make very little difference. I'm getting 0.02 Mbps down and 0.02 Mbps up in Washington, DC, with many efforts resulting in a "data connection not found" error. My first XS did this, my second XS did this, and now my Pro 11 does this too.

If I walk a few blocks over, everything's peachy: 71.5 Mbps down and 11.8 Mbps up. As I said before, in normal signal conditions, the phone is wonderful. But if you're one of the folks in a less-than-deal area, the upgrade will not help you. Sorry folks.
5G will make ur bad areas much better! It’s almost here
 

jpapa1086

macrumors newbie
Sep 20, 2019
5
11
Hi everyone,

First of all, I just want to say that I 100% support the fact that in ideal signal conditions, the XS and 11 Pros get wonderful cellular speeds on AT&T -- I've experienced this first-hand, and I'm not here to argue that. This thread is for everyone who suffered through dropped data connections and terrible download & upload speeds in less-than-ideal signal conditions, especially those who moved to the XS from the 8+, and couldn't out why their phone didn't work as well as before. My backstory, from two previous posts:
Can you please keep testing the phone and report back to us? I have a qualcomm iphone x and im trying not to have the same issues I had with the XS/XS max
 

Strelok

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2017
1,224
1,399
United States
Sadly I don’t have any real areas to test this with right now. For now the 11 Pro is getting 4-6x the speeds as my 8+ did at home, which is kind of weird maybe it’s a band Verizon uses here that my 8+ doesn’t have.
 
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jpapa1086

macrumors newbie
Sep 20, 2019
5
11
Sadly I don’t have any real areas to test this with right now. For now the 11 Pro is getting 4-6x the speeds as my 8+ did at home, which is kind of weird maybe it’s a band Verizon uses here that my 8+ doesn’t have.
I expect the speeds to be higher due to the 4x4 Mimo. A lot of people are wondering about signal strength in low signal areas. That’s the big one
- - Post merged: - -

I've had the same issues with the Xs and I'm with Verizon. I have horrible coverage in certain parts of my office and it's, especially at my desk. I had the X and iPhones before that with no reception problems. When I got the Xs, 95% of the time my calls would fail while at my desk (only works through Bluetooth). I still have this issue on my Xs and hoping I don't have the issue with the 11 Pro.
please keep us posted!!
 
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