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Network Congestion

  • 25 August 2023
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I would like to know if there is a way to modify the home internet gateway to run with 4g data rather than 5g? Yes a bit backward question I know, but the T-Mobile home gateway I have is clearly suffering from oversold 5g network congestion at the cell tower. There are just too many 5g devices being serviced and not enough capacity. I have been on the phone with tech service now for hours over several days. All of my equipment works amazingly well. The techs are even able to boost the speed of the gateway to levels I am really surprised by. The problem is those levels drop significantly a couple hours after ending the call. My wife has an older phone with 4g speeds. She turned it into a hotspot and it works very well and consistent. So my conclusion is the gateway is struggling to break though and maintain speeds on a 5g tower that just cannot service the demand. I would like to switch the gateway to 4g if there is any way that can be done. I tried logging into it, but I do not see a setting to do that. Unfortunately if I cannot find a dependable solution, we will be going back to Xfinity which is going to really demoralize me. I really do not like that company, but their internet was consistent. 

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Best answer by formercanuck 25 August 2023, 16:47

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I would look for service from another provider as T-mobiles towers are allegedly over used creating slower speeds.

 

Do you live in an area that does not have internet service providers or you branded to T-Mobile and love throwing money away for mediocre service?

Try Starlink

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I have multiple options for internet. I had Xfinity for many years. I was sick of their super expensive costs, but I have to admit they were dependable. Starlink would not work out to be the best for what is offered for my location. I am not far from the 5g cell site. That’s what kills me. Speeds when humming along are super fast for the price T-Mobile charges. Problem is I do not believe the network congestion can be overcome unless T-Mobile upgrades their cell site. Which I do not think will happen. Thank you for the suggestion. 

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Tbh, the gateways run both 4g lte and 5g… and at the same time (5g NSA mode).

You're more than likely a victim of deprioritization.  Check the stats values on your Tmobile gateway for the advanced metrics for signal on both 4g lte and 5g

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OK. can you elaborate? That makes sense. What advanced metrics would I look for and what does that mean?

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I have multiple options for internet. I had Xfinity for many years. I was sick of their super expensive costs, but I have to admit they were dependable. Starlink would not work out to be the best for what is offered for my location. I am not far from the 5g cell site. That’s what kills me. Speeds when humming along are super fast for the price T-Mobile charges. Problem is I do not believe the network congestion can be overcome unless T-Mobile upgrades their cell site. Which I do not think will happen. Thank you for the suggestion. 

I live in Chandler and I went to a local Cox store to see if they had any special offers. The sales person offered me 2 years for $65 a month including a tower.

As for phone service my data suffers when I'm at home because there's multiple large apartment complexes near me so I stay on wifi when I'm home. At work by Sky Harbor the speeds are usually 300 up and 20 down.

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Using the TMobile Home Internet app,  select the ‘More’ tab at the bottom, then ‘Advanced Cellular Metrics ‘

By default,  you'll see 4g LTE. Each field givesna description.   At the top of the page, you can also select 5g metrics

 

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Thank you for the response and information. I am pretty resigned to the conclusion I will have to return the gateway and re-establish my Xfinity account. The metrics show good/bad values which I am unable to alter or improve. My research concludes exactly what has been said. I believe I am being throttled by T-Mobile and de-prioritized. The T-Mobile array is not far from my home, and I get good signal. The tech calls result in wild speeds when they remote in, but drop back down less than an hour later. I do not see my work order ticket resulting in T-Mobile adding capacity to my area anytime soon. It was a nice experiment with potential. T-Mobile just isn’t ready to provide this service in a stable manner. Thank you all for your assistance in learning. 

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I have multiple options for internet. I had Xfinity for many years. I was sick of their super expensive costs, but I have to admit they were dependable. Starlink would not work out to be the best for what is offered for my location. I am not far from the 5g cell site. That’s what kills me. Speeds when humming along are super fast for the price T-Mobile charges. Problem is I do not believe the network congestion can be overcome unless T-Mobile upgrades their cell site. Which I do not think will happen. Thank you for the suggestion. 

I just got done with me FCC complaint. T-mobile told me that our area towers are over congested and they have no plans to add towers to fix the poor/no connectivity. 

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Yea. I don’t see any changes being made to improve things. 

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If you're being hit due to congestion/deprioritization,  there's not much you can do.  Ive been fortunate enough to be in an area where the sector that fsces me is residential homes, and the range is < ½ mile before traffic hands off to another tower.  When i tried TMobile home internet on the 4g device,  it was good (not sure if those are available).  Using the Arcadyan before the tower was updated,  was not the best, as i hit a 5g tower (weak) on n71 + 1 mile away, and it did make service worse.

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I have multiple options for internet. I had Xfinity for many years. I was sick of their super expensive costs, but I have to admit they were dependable. Starlink would not work out to be the best for what is offered for my location. I am not far from the 5g cell site. That’s what kills me. Speeds when humming along are super fast for the price T-Mobile charges. Problem is I do not believe the network congestion can be overcome unless T-Mobile upgrades their cell site. Which I do not think will happen. Thank you for the suggestion. 

I just got done with me FCC complaint. T-mobile told me that our area towers are over congested and they have no plans to add towers to fix the poor/no connectivity. 

for what its worth...they wouldnt add more towers..they would need to do upgrades to the already existing towers to beef them up more.

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If anything .. there’s a newer model of TMHI which aggregates more bands (current = LTE + N41 or N71), newer = LTE + N41+N25+nN71 (adding N25 will help!) as well as ports for an external antenna.

From other threads .. another month.

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Funny thing, after I submitted the work order, the T-Mobile speeds increased a couple days later. Really nice speeds now. So I am going to keep the service and continue to monitor. Seems to be working well. I don’t know if the work order and service boost are related, but the timing is sure coincidental. 

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I've been calling TMobile every month since Sep to complain about congestion ever since they did work on our tower on Sep 22, 2023.


I first got TMHI in Aug 2022 and was getting 200mbs until Ian knocked out our local towers on Sep 28, 2022. They got them fixed in late Dec 2022. Between Jan 2023 and Sep 2023 our speeds came back to 90-140 mbs. Then we lost all cell signals on Sep 22, 2023. I called TMobile support and they explained tower work was being done. 
 

When services were restored we saw as little as 2mbs!! I waited a week before calling tech support as was told all had been upgraded. Then I started tracking.

I noticed we had speeds over 100mbs from 11 pm to 6am. Gradually speeds were reduced after 6:30 am. By 10 am speeds were 20mbs and by noon they were 0-2mbs. Then around 1pm they would begin increasing until by 8 pm they were back to 20mbs. Weekends are different. We are not seeing any daytime speeds drop below 30mbs on weekends. 
 

So I called support again and was told the towers were “fine” and my problems were due to network congestion.
 

I waited a month and called back in Nov and elevated again to Tech level. They ran tests, told me it was congestion and wanted to sell me a hot spot. I declined. Called in Dec. This time they explained how to reset my Arcadyan and sent some sort of refresh signal to it. Despite being noon, the speeds increase from 3mbs to 26mbs for about 20 minutes then back down to 4mbs the rest of the day. 
 

So I see where a new cell tower was mentioned, that doesn't suffer from congestion like my Arcadyan does. Can someone tell me the name of it? I would like to request that model when I call Support this month. 

 

I don't have any other options. I live in a rural area, no cable. Can't get microtowers or satellite or starlink either. I have a booster antenna in order to get the cell signal from the Tmobile tower. Tmobile is working fine except during weekdays 8am to 5pm which is when I need to be able to log in and do business stuff. So overcoming congestion with a better router seems to fit my needs best. 
 

Thanks. 

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Id try looking into Verizon or AT&T equivalent. 

Instead of a cell booster, id recommend calling TMobile for the 'newer' Arcadyan which has external antenna.   I have the older with internal,  but the tower is only 1200' away.

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We left Verizon after moving here due to no signal. Niece visited and she had no ATT signal. So that is why I switched  to TM. With TM, we had a weak signal in front yard. Going outside to talk was a pain. I added a whole house cell booster set up and it has allowed us to make and receive calls inside of our house. 
 

Thanks for info about new Arcadyan. My Arcadyan is already connected to a MIMO 4x4 external antenna directed to the strongest tower signal so unlikely the new Arcadyan will make a difference. 
 

TM needs to work on the congestion issue. Today's a holiday, heavy rain downpour and we have had 30 mbs all day. This evening it's now back up to 120mbs despite all the rain. At 5am this morning I had 180mbs. Every weekend our signal is great. No complaints there. 

 

I can only conclude TM is deliberately throttling what the Arcadyan is capable of receiving during the hours of 9-5 on working days, M-F.  I would think the engineers could figure out how to lessen work day congestion so we can get more than 0-4mbs. TM received federal money to improve rural Internet access and for that I very grateful. However if we can't use the internet to communicate online during normal M-F business hours then rural access remains a significant problem in the US. 

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the booster runs off your home net correct? or do you have TMO home net as well?

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I don't know what you mean by home net vs TMO home net. I have ONLY ONE home wifi network. It’s the SSID of the Arcadyan Router sent to me by TMobile Home Internet (TMHI). It sends out a signal both over ethernet and over wireless to allow my devices to connect to the Internet.

The Arcadyan is connected to an external MIMO 4x4 antenna to boost the the Arcadyan’s ability to receive a signal from the TMobile transmitter on the tower (about 2 miles away in town). The MIMO is mounted outside of the room where the Arcadyan is set up. The MIMO antenna’s wires run through the wall and feed into the Arcadyan. 

In addition to the TMHI set up I have TMobile cellular service on my iPhone. I added a Wilson Whole House Cell Booster system. The Cell Booster Antenna is mounted on a 20 ft high antenna pole. The cell booster antenna’s wire feed in through the attic and down into a room that has a powered device that then boosts the signal into the home’s various rooms.  

If I turn off the Cell Booster unit (wired into its own antenna) then I have no indoor cell phone signal. No bars, just a display saying “no service”. When turned off, if I enable the iPhone setting to use “wifi” (off the Arcadyan) then I sometimes can get one bar but the phone is incapable of receiving calls. If I try to make a call it sometimes rings, sometime doesn't. If it does ring through the caller cannot hear me and the call drops rather quickly. 

I can disable the iPhone setting to “use wifi” and that doesn't affect my ability to make or receive calls as long as the cell phone booster is powered up. When the TMHI is down, my cell phone still works.

If I turn off the Arcadyan and use my cell phone as a “hot spot” in my house (under TMobile’s Magnenta 40GB plan) it is useless. It’s not strong enough for other devices to use. In other words, I can’t use a Chat on a website using my iPad connected to the iPhone’s signal. Website pages take 4 minutes to load, or perhaps never load. 

If I use my cell phone as a “hot spot” in town, the signal is strong enough to share with my iPad. I can chat, download, upload, stream shows, etc. So I know my problem isn't my devices. The problem is the signal strength that I am able to get inside my home. Hence my need for 2 outdoor external antennas- one for the Acadyan and one for the cell phone.

I understand its congestion and beyond my control. 

For the most part I can get things done during non peak hours. What I can't do is use the Arcadyan’s SSID home internet on weekdays between 9am-5pm to do things on my computer or iPad. Things like check email, log into an account, reset passwords, download transactions or chat with support. For example, I’ve been trying to type into this window 3 times. The connection keeps dropping. It finally came up to 2.18mbs so hopefully this post will go through now.

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You may want to post some of the metrics from your Arcadyan device, especially when you're having issues.  Rsrp,  CQI and SINR values can help debug.  When i had TMHI before my site was on 5g, and picking up service from +1 mile away, sinr, rsrp and cqi were all over the place.  Even now, sinr will drop on n41 from 14 to 7 during peak hours.  While indoor i might hit +550Mbps in the middle of the night, it might struggle for 400Mbps during peak hours.   If my signal was poor, all of those numbers would drop.

It is part from signal (more use = poorer sinr/cqi) and then the obvious deprioritization on TMobile home internet

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Not sure metrics will helpful to this discussion. They are always poor in regards to signal power from transmitter and they are always “good to excellent" in regards to quality of signal received. 

We are rural, behind a state forest of pine trees and according to the current TMHI page my address is listed as “not available” for TMHI. However, it was eligible at one time back in Aug 2022 and since we had no internet and no other options was worth a try. Thrilled back then as we had 200-380mbs until the Monday after Ian hit. FEEMA and contractors came in and congestion dropped it to bewteen 4-12 mbs 24/7 for 4 months. 
 

But since you asked, during today’s 8am speed test resulting in 40mbs, the RSRP on band b2 was -101. The RSRP on band n41 is -97. It's now 10am and speeds dropped to 11mbs. The RSRP is -102 on b2 and -101 on n41. The SINR was 6 and now at 7. The CQI was 10 at 8am and still is 10. 

I’ve tracked the metrics many times daily in the past. For the most part, the SINR increases as high as 12 when mbs speeds are high and can go down to 3 when they are quite low. The CQI remains steady at 9-11. 

Does the lowered SINR (poor signal) refer to network congestion or to deprioritazation or to both? Not that it really matters, since there's nothing else I can do on my end to improve them. 

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Being behind trees is something that doesn’t help much.  I’ve had service for ~1 year, and did notice that my service SINR/RSRP does take a ‘bit’ of a hit during summer months of a few db.  There aren’t many trees, but during summer, they have a lot of leaves (won’t have that with pine).

SINR here on LTE can drop to ~4dB at times, and up to 14 on LTE B2.  5G n41 is more stable, with SINR around 7.4 to 12.  If I move the device outside, LTE SINR can reach over 20, and n41 can reach around 18.  I’ll be a polling cron on the device to map metrics

RSRP doesn’t change too much, but is typically in the -98 to -103 dBm on LTE B2, and around -103 to -105 on n41.

Middle of the night metrics can be a little better, but in general performance can gain about 100Mbps.

SINR is basically anything that can degrade signal - whether it is congestion from many users or external ‘noise’.  Being rural, I wouldn’t expect too much traffic on the signal (i.e. too many users), but I don’t know the area or what kind of backhaul there is.

Oddly enough, when T-Mobile first deployed 5G  in San Simeon, CA, it was on a T1 (T-Mobile provided that in a written statement to California PUC).  Speed on cells were < 500kbps, with a few hits above 1Mbps.  SINR was …. 30, and RSRP was -57dBm, distance was ~500’.

It was blamed on … congestion, which was partially true.  It was congested because T-Mobile pushed 5g traffic through a T1 circuit.  Once updated, it hit +300Mbps.  Now with n41, its hitting +1400Mbps on a Samsung S21/S23.  

If anything else will help, the newer Arcadyan model has carrier aggregation on 5G carriers + LTE.

in my case, n25 is great on the mobile … however, existing Acradyan kv-21 doesn’t support n25, or 5g aggregation (i.e. no n41 + n41 or n41 + n71, or n25 + n71 combos).

If the SINR is poor on … n41 (likely), n25 could help.  As more bands are switched over … this will help.

Similarly the newer Arcadyan model has ports for antenna build in.

As far as backhaul/deprioritization … I can’t help on that one.  Also, it still doesn’t affect my area (yet!).

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I was just contacted by a local company who offered free installation and 1 mo free service for a microwave dish receiver off their transmitter. They got new equipment with a federal grant and they recently set it up to point directly towards our subdivision across the river from their transmitting station. Supposedly will have 25-50mbs 24/7, unlimited and no congestion or throttling. 
I've scheduled the install for Tues. Crossing my fingers it will give us daytime internet.

Will see how it compares over the next few months to what I an getting with TMHI. 
 

BTW, for Pines are one of the highest rated trees for signal blocking despite having no leaves. 

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Awesome.  Competition is good.  There's no contracts or termination/install fees.  Ive kept Spectrum as a back (cheapest plan) , as i need service for work

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TMO has absolutely oversold their home Internet. My service was great for 1 year- slower speeds than Cox, however, the connection was very stable. Over the past 3 months we have ZERO internet from 5 pm until about 10 pm. Called tech support,, the matter was escalated and they are going to call me back. A Supervisor even called me because I am a 20 year customer. What are they going to do -- it is either add more towers or remove customers!

My family members have demanded we go back to Cox. SuperBowl is coming up and the men in my house are not happy so 15 minutes ago I reconnected Cox and am just reconfiguring a few things..

I wonder what will happen with TMO. If you think about almost every new initiative they undertake ends because of issues on their end --TV, their original prepaid card, their TV portal, their box. their home router for calls etc --the list goes on and on.

I work from home and cannot deal with Internet that does not work.

The pricing is great which is what attracted me and for just about a year it was good and now went back to Cox and got a good deal. I took the price comparable> The option.I used to have the Ultimate and if anything good came out of this I now know that the slower speeds of 100 down work just fine. I never got anything over 25 with TMO and when it worked it was fine.

 

My prediction for TMO moving forward -- heavy throttling and new pricing options with data caps

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