1. StuartV's Avatar
    I just posted this in another thread about general signal strength issues. But, my issue is specific to 4G LTE, so I decided to give it its own thread.

    First of all, I would put no stock in the signal strength numbers that a phone shows. ASU stands for Arbitrary Strength Unit and I think that's just what it is. Arbitrary. And the dBm numbers are useless unless you know that the phone components that are measuring signal strength have been calibrated against a known (or at least the same) standard. Besides which, if you don't know what tower you're connected to, the numbers REALLY don't matter. If two identical phones are side by side and getting 12 dB difference, it's probably because, for whatever reason, they are connected to different towers.

    The only REAL test is whether you can get a signal. And for that, my brother and I are both not having good luck with our S4s.

    Reception for voice calls seems fine. Our problem is 4G LTE reception.

    I have an S4.
    My brother has an S4 (personal) and a Note 2 (work).
    Our dad has a RAZR Maxx and a MiFi hotspot.

    All 5 devices are on Verizon.

    At our dad's house, the RAZR and the Note 2 and the MiFi all get 4G signal (but only 1 - 2 bars) and stay steady on 4G, never switching over to 3G.

    But, my and my brother's S4s both occasionally switch to 4G and then usually switch back to 3G within a minute or so. The vast majority of the time (at Dad's house), they just stay on 3G.

    I spent almost an hour on the phone with Verizon Tech Support on last Saturday. We shut down both S4s, pulled the SIMs, and the guy manually pushed a new PRL to both phones. He said the 4G phones are supposed to auto update the PRL every time they power up, but sometimes they don't actually do it. We powered our phones back up and they were no better.

    I went to a Verizon store yesterday and got my SIM replaced (even though the one I had was already one of the new NFC ones and only a week old). Then back to my dad's. The 4G reception was no better. My brother's SIM in his S4 was one of the older non-NFC ones, so that's not the problem.

    I'm seriously thinking of trading my S4 for a Note 2 now.

    Anybody else seeing this and have any ideas on how I could fix this?
    06-12-2013 02:16 PM
  2. StuartV's Avatar
    After searching around here, I found one other that talks about seeing this same issue. The poster there said he cut down his Rezound SIM and put it in his S4 and that fixed his 4G reception problems. Has anybody else tried something like that?

    I may have to see if my dad's RAZR SIM will fit the S4. If so, I'll try swapping and see whether I can get a steady 4G signal.

    Also, just in the way of more info, it's my understanding that the S4 uses a new kind of SIM that enables NFC, or, at least, a new version of NFC with additional features, or something like that. I have NFC on my phone turned off. I don't know if that would affect 4G reception, but when I get back over to my dad's, I'll try turning NFC on, to see if that makes any difference.
    06-12-2013 02:19 PM
  3. StuartV's Avatar
    I went to Verizon after work yesterday and got a new non-NFC SIM. Then went back to my dad's house. The SIM does not appear to make any difference. My phone still wanted to switch to 3G and stay there.

    But, I did figure out one encouraging thing. I used Battery Monitor Widget to get into the Testing screen. There, I was able to change the phone from "CDMA/LTE (Auto PRL)" to "LTE Only".

    After doing that, the phone went into 4G mode and stayed there, and actually worked fine. I turned on my hotspot and connected to it with my tablet and surfed for a while, with no issues.

    This tells me that the phone's LTE reception is pretty much just as good as the Note 2 and other devices I mentioned before. It's just a software issue that is switching it to 3G mode when it doesn't need to.
    06-13-2013 09:01 AM
  4. paintdrinkingpete's Avatar
    Agree with a lot of what you're saying regarding not trusting the signal bars and such. I personally haven't noticed the same problem, but then I'm in an area with really good 4G signal most of the time (or on wifi).

    Also, it does seem that software can play a big role in radio performance. As you mentioned, the mechanisms for switching from LTE to CDMA may not be "tuned" properly, which could cause issues. Often, with new devices, these sorts of issues (if they are software related) will eventually get fixed with updates.
    06-13-2013 09:08 AM

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