Question

5G home internet keeps dropping


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I’m having a problem with T-Mobile 5g home internet that has not been resolved despite many calls in to the help line.  I’ve had T-Mobile 5g home internet for almost a month now, and the short version is that every so often the gateway drops the network.  When I say “drop the network,” I mean to say it throws everything off of the Wifi that it’s broadcasting, and anything plugged in via ethernet says “no network found.  (To elaborate this point, cell phones switch to cellular data because wifi is gone for them, and computers hardwired into the gateway think that they are no longer plugged into anything.)  Turning off the gateway and turning it back on resolves the issue, but doesn’t prevent it from happening again.  Whatever is happening doesn’t seem to affect our connection speed/strength when the gateway IS providing signal to devices in the home, but due to the nature of our work, we need a connection that won’t just disconnect randomly.  

 

To address this, T-mobile has so far run a bunch of tests on their end, and seem to have ruled out a tower issue (which makes sense, as the tower shouldn’t have anything to do with whether or not the devices on the gateway’s wifi or ethernet connection get thrown off of the network.)  They’ve sent me a replacement gateway, which is experiencing the exact same problem (3 times in the last 36 hours, in fact).   I’ve noticed that the device gets pretty warm, so I set up a computer case fan as a cooler to force air through the device, thinking that perhaps it’s an issue with the device overheating.  However, while the gateway is notably cooler than it was without the fan, it has not prevented the issue from persisting.  The last thing that I can think to do (and my most recent attempt at resolving this issue) is to plug a router into the gateway via ethernet, and allow the router to handle the wifi/connections w/ devices in the house, and to disable wifi from the gateway all together.  Maybe the gateway is simply too overburdened with connections and gets somehow overwhelmed and shuts down, and having the router handle the “heavy lifting” of taking care of all of the individual device connections will resolve it?  I don’t have a great deal of faith that this will fix the issue (as the gateway also kicks ethernet things off of the network when it experiences this problem), but I’m running out of options/ideas of what to do in order to just get a stable, constant internet service.   

 

Is anybody else having this issue, has anybody resolved this issue, or does anybody have any advice or feedback regarding how I might get this resolved so that I can get back to having stable internet?


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Unfortunately you aren't the only one having these issues. A quick search on this site will show you how many others are experiencing connection drops, speed issues, and general dissatisfaction with T-Mobile's Home Internet service. 

 

This thread discusses the overheating issue, but since it hasn't fixed your problem, it probably won't do you any good. 

There is another thread that talked about connecting the gateway to a router like you talked about toward the end of your message. From what I remember reading, that may not be the solution you're hoping for either. If I can find that thread, I'll link if here too. 

 

I know this hasn't helped any, and I wish someone who actually works for T-Mobile would address these concerns. From my experience, constant pestering has gotten me further up the chain-of-command to voice my complaints, but even that hasn't gotten me any closer to resolving my own issues. Not trying to discourage you, but if you have any other internet options, you may consider switching.

T-Mobile's Home Internet push, particularly to rural Americans with no alternatives, has been plagued with issues, ranging from inadequate service, gateway device problems, and unethical billing/benefit practices. It's a mess, and if T-Mobile actually cared about its customer base, they wouldn't roll out a service with so many issues. 

 

(Here is the link I referenced before https://community.t-mobile.com/other-devices-11/alternative-router-for-home-internet-service-need-bridgemode-33531)

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If you can't get any help from T-Mobile's support staff, take your complaint to the FCC (see my signature for a link to their complaint department). If the FCC accepts it, they'll forward your complaint to T-Mobile who has to respond to your issues. I'm still in the middle of my own complaint without much change in T-Mobile's behavior, but it did give me a chance to speak with someone from T-Mobile's Office of the President. Still waiting to see the results of my pestering, but if they think they're going to blow me off that easy, they're underestimating the stubbornness of a pissed off consumer, haha. 

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@jdt254 already linked to my overheating post.  Even with two cooling fans running when I was using the built-in wi-fi I would still lose my connection every few days.  Offloading the wi-fi to a dedicated router helped me get an 18 day uptime.  I think I managed to crash it last night with a solid upload and download running at the same time.  I’m also only getting a 4G connection.  If you’re getting 5G speeds it may run even hotter.  I would definitely switch to a dedicated wi-fi router though.  Rebooting twice a month is much better than rebooting twice a day.

Constantly drops. I changed from the white gateway to the 5g round black gateway hoping to get away from the disconnecting issue...I still disconnect from the internet for extended periods a day, multiple times a day. 
 

The app shows that all is well and connected to the internet but that is not the case. This internet is very unreliable and frustrating. I have to manually reload several of the devices that get kicked from the internet. 

I will be forced to cancel the service if this continues...confidence in the TMOBILE products is deteriorating.

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Yes the tech support for their home Internet service is terrible and the biggest problem I have is that they can’t speak English clearly so you can’t understand what they are saying to you. But if your having problems with the service I would recommend that you try a router and if that doesn’t work My only suggestion then is to try a different service for home Internet. For me I can about 300 to 350 for download and about say on a good day Upload 40 to a low 20.

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So as a quick update, I’m still running a case fan under it (and it DOES seem cooler), and I now have turned off the WIFI from the gateway, relying on two ethernet cords for connection (one for my router, and the other for my smartthings hub).  It has, unfortunately, failed again in less than 24 hours.  The tech I was talking to is supposed to call me back at some point about possibly trying a new SIM card, as well as report back about what the engineering team is finding, but I’m starting to lose faith pretty quickly that I’ll find something that’ll work for me. 

 

18 days of uptime is pretty amazing @jdt254 .  If I could get to that, I’d probably just restart the thing once a week just to be sure that we don’t get intermittent faults at times that would impact our work, but at this point, I’m not clearing 24 hours even with a case fan and a router handling the heavy lifting of my home network.  

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I would to have this that maybe it’s not the device that is having problems but maybe possibly something could be blocking the signal from the tower to the router or maybe the tower is having problems with getting the signal to the router.

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@Fredreed they have run tower tests a number of times, and have stated all is well with that, and the device consistently shows 2-3 bars of signal. Would a tower signal blockage kick devices off the wifi/Ethernet network?

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It’s possible that there could be a blockage coming from the tower but if that’s not the problem then it could be something else causing the signal to be blocked. If you tried everything like all possible locations In your house then the only other thing it can be is something has to be blocking the signal. What you could do is take your device to your friends house in your location and see If they get the same problem if so then you would know that something is wrong in your location and t-mobile needs to investigate It further.

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I’ve not tried it in other parts of the house, because where it’s at seems to get the best signal.  I’m not sure it’s realistic to test it at another person’s house, as we need the internet to work and the fact that it works fine 99% of the time makes it tough to catch the 1% of the time that it doesn’t.  (Said another way, if I brought it to another location, I’d have to commit to leaving it there for at least several days to see if it it stays up or not.)  

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well that brings it back to something has to be blocking the signal or causing the signal to be weak and whatever It is causing It who knows. If there’s nothing wrong with the tower it has to a blocked signal or something has to be causing the signal to become weak.  I’m sorry but I’m out of ideas except that but good luck.

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@Fredreed I unplugged it again and did another walk around the house.  Aside from one spot in the house that I get four bars about 5% of the time, and 2 bars the rest of the time, I think it’s in the best spot.  Whatever’s happening seems to be getting worse, as I’m now up to my fourth crash in two days.  

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I don’t think that your router is the problem I suspect that something in your area  is causing this problem and I would call T-Mobile and ask them to send out a tech ASAP to take a look at your problem in person.

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@Fredreed I’m still on hold waiting to report this again.  I’ve asked a number of times what they’re going to DO to fix this, and asked more than once if they’ll send somebody out.  I think I’m about a phone call away from cancelling, as this is eating up too much of my time.  I don’t understand how my cell phone can have a constant internet connection, but a device that’s much simpler can’t.  

I'm having the same problem.  The first month we had no issues.  We had great service and connection quality.  For the last two weeks we have had a lot of problems without changing anything.  Throughout the day we reset it the unit more than hourly.  Our phones have great signal but the internet unit drops out.  It's very disrupting and if it persists, we will need to change providers.  We will get service from the provider that give us good service.

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So after another hour and 45 minutes on the phone, it was another “turn it off and back on,” more promises that they’re going to fix it right away, and yet another mention that the engineering team should get back to me about it very soon.  It’s pretty obvious that they don’t really know what the problem is, and may not be capable to fix it at this time.  I suspect I’ll have to pursue another ISP if I want stable internet.

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@jtheiss Forgive me if I missed it but what does a speed test show when it’s working?

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@jlillard it fluctuates. Anywhere between 60 and 220 down, and 8 and 35 up.

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It sounds like you’re getting a 5G signal which might mean your device is running even hotter...especially if the signal is not the best.  Someone linked to this YouTuber before but he’s got a lot of great videos on this device.  This one shows that adding some weather stripping can cool the device even more.

There are several other videos that cover getting a better signal.  I remember him saying that some people get a better signal with the device on its side.  What I’m remembering for your scenario is that in one video I believe he talked about covering the device with aluminum foil in order to block your device from connecting to a particular tower or signal.  I’m wondering if you could use that technique to block the 5G signal and stick with a 4G signal instead.

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Well, it's now disconnected for the 3rd time today, which is a record. I have a 12v computer case fan that's running 24/7 in attempt to cool the device, and I can't imagine trying to intentionally lower the speed of the modem to try to get it to cooperate. As it is, we don't do online gaming or 4k streaming, so it's not like we're even really pushing it to perform. I guess T-Mobile 5g isn't quite ready to roll out in our area, which is very unfortunate as our area is otherwise ruled by a monopoly by spectrum. 

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I think it's a thermal issue, and that's likely why T-Mob hasn't fixed it. My gateway had required a reboot almost daily. It behaved similarly to other accounts here in that my connection speed would drop to almost nothing (say 400kbps down) which to a person used to over 50mbps would look like a hard crash, but I haven't seen that yet. My best speed is 60mbps down and I'm delighted if I can sustain 10. Per speedtest, when the problem manifests I see a slight increase in latency but a massive increase in packet jitter, sometimes approaching a full second. Rebooting the gateway clears this condition. Now, thanks to a couple of astute posts here, I decided to test the heat theory. Placing a hand over the unit during normal operation I didn't detect much heat coming out, but when I placed it over an A/C duct directly beneath the sill it had been on, I felt a gush of almost hot air come out the top. This is extremely suspicious and tells me that the convective cooling the EE's had counted on isnt happening.  My gateway hasnt required a reset since i moved it to the top of that a/c vent 4 days ago. There's probably a good reason the installation manual mentions not placing the gateway in direct sunlight and I wonder if the manual's been edited in that regard. I hope others here will replicate and report the heat test. Perhaps then T-Mob will stop stonewalling this issue.

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Yeah, I still suspect it’s possible the issue was heat related.  The one person I talked to at Tmobile that was most helpful (“Haley”) suggested that putting a fan on it is her #1 suggestion, and was surprised when my setup w/ fan didn’t resolve the issue.  My gateway (well, both as I was sent a replacement within the first couple of weeks) was out of direct sunlight, sitting in a 3d printed stand which really forced air through it w/ an attached PC case fan constantly on high, and the issue still persisted with complete loss of function multiple times a day.  Despite the fan, I could still feel a small amount of constant heat coming off of the top of the unit, so I question what kind of poor design is happening as no modem/router/cell phone I’ve ever had has shut down due to heat quite like that… I really question if actually COOLING the unit (ie, colder than ambient air) is the only way to make it viable due to the design, or putting it in a basement where air is naturally cooler (but signal would be poorer).   For me however, I ended up sending it back and signing up with a competing ISP.  I hope Tmobile gets their stuff together, as I’d love for some healthy competition to show up in neighborhoods without any other options!

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@jtheiss - I’m curious to know if both the gateways behaved identically. That is, were you running the cooling fan on both of them? Same exact failure mode, etc? Even if not, there are enough variables in any design that if the problem is with a voltage regulator, for example, many other components “could” be affected differently due to varying component sensitivities to low voltage conditions. This could lead to a difference in failure modes in something as complex as a combination gateway / wireless router. The fact that a Tech Support person offered the fan solution and was surprised that it didn’t fix the problem is significant. I’ve worked in companies where products have known and fixable design issues and management decided to ignore the issue after a cost / benefit analysis. And of course we’ve all heard the horror stories about the auto industry. Thanks for your input.

FJ

I’m having a problem with T-Mobile 5g home internet that has not been resolved despite many calls in to the help line.  I’ve had T-Mobile 5g home internet for almost a month now, and the short version is that every so often the gateway drops the network.  When I say “drop the network,” I mean to say it throws everything off of the Wifi that it’s broadcasting, and anything plugged in via ethernet says “no network found.  (To elaborate this point, cell phones switch to cellular data because wifi is gone for them, and computers hardwired into the gateway think that they are no longer plugged into anything.)  Turning off the gateway and turning it back on resolves the issue, but doesn’t prevent it from happening again.  Whatever is happening doesn’t seem to affect our connection speed/strength when the gateway IS providing signal to devices in the home, but due to the nature of our work, we need a connection that won’t just disconnect randomly.  

 

To address this, T-mobile has so far run a bunch of tests on their end, and seem to have ruled out a tower issue (which makes sense, as the tower shouldn’t have anything to do with whether or not the devices on the gateway’s wifi or ethernet connection get thrown off of the network.)  They’ve sent me a replacement gateway, which is experiencing the exact same problem (3 times in the last 36 hours, in fact).   I’ve noticed that the device gets pretty warm, so I set up a computer case fan as a cooler to force air through the device, thinking that perhaps it’s an issue with the device overheating.  However, while the gateway is notably cooler than it was without the fan, it has not prevented the issue from persisting.  The last thing that I can think to do (and my most recent attempt at resolving this issue) is to plug a router into the gateway via ethernet, and allow the router to handle the wifi/connections w/ devices in the house, and to disable wifi from the gateway all together.  Maybe the gateway is simply too overburdened with connections and gets somehow overwhelmed and shuts down, and having the router handle the “heavy lifting” of taking care of all of the individual device connections will resolve it?  I don’t have a great deal of faith that this will fix the issue (as the gateway also kicks ethernet things off of the network when it experiences this problem), but I’m running out of options/ideas of what to do in order to just get a stable, constant internet service.   

 

Is anybody else having this issue, has anybody resolved this issue, or does anybody have any advice or feedback regarding how I might get this resolved so that I can get back to having stable internet?

I’m having the same issue. I thought it was because we had too many devices (Xbox, firestick, 3 iPhones). I plan to contact T-Mobile tomorrow. 

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Yeah, I suspect that having tons of devices hooked up will make it work harder (and potentially get hotter), but in the end for me I disabled wifi all together and had two Ethernet cables connected to my router and smart things hub respectively, so connection wise it was pretty unburdened. Some people have discussed moving it downstairs or on top of an AC vent. I would highly recommend starting to take notes about when the gateway fails, when you tried different interventions and so forth. While well meaning, I dont get the sense that the folks at Tmobile can do much besides check the connection on their end and make the same suggestions you're already getting. Seems like the people that have found success have done so by figuring out how to keep the unit cool. 

 

On that note, I wonder if placing it on a timed switch to manually cut the power every overnight would also help, as it would give it 6-8 hours daily to just cool off, but in my opinion the customer shouldn't have to work so hard around a poorly designed product. 

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