The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Internet

  • 20 August 2022
  • 3 replies


The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Internet

Dr. John Watson

I am Dr. John Watson, the longtime companion of Sherlock Holmes and chronicler of his great cases. I would like to now relate to you the mysterious case of “The Disappearing Internet”.

It was not long ago that a very distressed woman came to see us in our Caldwell Court Villa (we moved to The Villages, Florida to get away from the cold and fog of London). She related to us a very strange case that I am now going to relate.

Recently this woman had decided to once and for all “cut the cord” so-to-speak, and get rid of her domineering and sadistic cable company who for years had been milking her of money with annual fees increases and new charges. She obtained through a keen salesman from T-mobile a brand new 5G box that would provide her wirelessly with all of her streaming and internet needs. Being characters permanently locked in the 19th century, we had to look up just what 5G, streaming and the Internet even was. To our utter astonishment we discovery that a new technology called 5G had been invented to give faster speeds, stronger signal , and bandwidth (meaning it could carry more signal) than the previous 4G standard. It would also require no additional equipment and could be placed anywhere in the house as long at it got a good signal. It was also half the cost of her hated cable company. Such is the miracle of this 21st century technology.

All was well for the first month that she owned it providing her with promised speeds of over 120MBS on average. But then she began to notice that without warning he connection would drop at almost precisely 8:30 am and 9:30 pm. Her box showd very good signal strength, and on her tablet, it would show strong network connect, but no internet. Her TV also went dark and indicated there was no network connection. She went on to relate that if she simply waited long enough her internet would mysteriously return to normal.  

Holmes, who had been listening intensely to all this simply muttered “curiouser and curiouser” – come Watson, the game is a foot let’s check this out!”

A short Uber ride to her residency we were show to mysterious box marked “T-Mobile 5G gateway” and all the devices she has connected to it. “Amazing!” shouted Holmes “that one little box can provide signal to so many things!” Taking out his tablet (not the writing kind) he started an “app” called “Speedtest”.  It tested to see what download and upload speeds were being delivered.  The time being 8:15 am, the test showed a healthy download speed of 179mbs, and upload at 40mbs. We then sat back and waiting till the clock struck 8:30 am. Almost immediately a strange spinning ball appeared on her internet connected TV before displaying the message “Connection too slow” or “Internet Not Connected”.  Indeed another speed test simply failed to even perform. After about 10 minutes and a reset it showed download speeds of only 21 and upload speeds of 29 with a latency of over 500.

“Watson shouted Holmes hand me your mobile!”. Dutifully I handed over my mobile also on T-mobile and Mr. Holmes ran the same test on it which showed very similar results. He placed a call  to inspector Lestrade and it went through perfectly. Lestrade had long ago given up police work and went to work as a technician at T-mobile in their tech support division.

“Lestrade here!” he chimed, “just what seems to have your knickers in a knot now Mr. Holmes!”

“I’d like to know if there have been and outages in our area?” asked Holmes

“None that I show here, perhaps try resetting your device again” offered Lestrade.

After performing that operation the results still showed similar results.

“Have to tried moving the box to a new location?” suggested Lestrade

Dutifully we did this showing no change

“Well Mr. Holmes, the device has probably gone bad. I’ll request a replacement for you if you like”.

“We’ll do no such thing!” quipped Holmes, “We will simply wait and see what happens.”

Sure enough after 20 minutes or so we again ran the test. This time it showed a marginally improved 48ms download and 33mbs upload speeds and the latency had dropped to 45.

“Most interesting!” said Holmes who was buried in thought.

Repeating the test several times we noticed similar results but the latency seemed to jump all over the place.

Mr. Holmes then launched another “speed test” app and this one showed even lower up and download speeds and higher latency.

Suddenly Mr. Holmes’ disposition changed to a dark and troubling nature. “When you have eliminated the impossible, all that remains must be the answer! It would seem Dr. Watson that our evil nemesis is BACK and up to his nefarious tricks!” he exclaimed.

3 replies

Userlevel 1

Started out good. After a few months I can only get decent service in the morning. After 12 noon  it workds intermitently. The last rep said there was nothing they could do and was ready to cancel my account. I had to  stop him because I need internet service. I'm retired and it's my only connetion. I can't afford to go back to cable, so I guess I only have internet in the morning, sort of like third world style.

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

On TMO plans those categorized as Heavy Data Users are prioritized last on the network after exceeding the relevant threshold for the current billing cycle.

T-Mobile Home Internet customers receive the same network prioritization as Heavy Data Users without the threshold and are therefore always prioritized last, I believe. I’d suggest the symptoms you’re experiencing are due to patterns of daily congestion and high utilization in your area. TMO home is at the bottom of the heap during congestion and heavy usage periods.

As more and more users come on board, thin gs just get worse for everyone without capacity being upgraded.

I’m sure that many in the Villages have the Magenta Max 55+ plan - it’s at the top of the priority chain. Find someone with that plan and compare speeds on their mobile hotspot and turn on HD streaming to see how streaming works.

In my area, even Magenta Max 55+ has steadily degraded as more users come on board. It’s still decent if I go out the highway and pick up better upgraded towers but that’s not practical for home use unless living in an RV.

It’s all covered and buried in the word salad at:

The new TMO Home Internet Lite plans are better in this regard but it’s not really unlimited and once you blow through the data threshold you’re severely slowed down for the remainder of the billing cycle.

IMHO, the Magenta Max 55+ Single Line plan at HDMI output - usually higher end phones like Galaxy S22 since you can stream direct to the TV (I use Samsung’s DEX) without hitting the plan’s 40 GB hotspot limit


What seems strange is that these outages always seem to be,around the same time. They either drop the connection completely or slow down to single digits with latency of 500 or more. Then just as mysteriously the connection creeps back to around 30 or 40. I just can't seem to account for this.