Any way to smooth out highly variable 5G Internet speeds?

  • 17 May 2022
  • 1 reply


Now into my second month of 5G Internet service. By day, it’s a charm. By night, not good.

I am in an urban location. The rep at the T-Mobile store said I am between two 5G towers. My phone almost always shows 5G-UC


Here are speeds over the last 24 hours, from over 0.5Gbps to as low as 7Mbps on the evening  within 5 feet of my gateway (and sometimes slower by my TV about 20 feet from a new Netgear Orbi mesh satellite

The signal strength on my gateway keeps changing between 2 and 3 bars but I can’t correlate that with Speedtest app results.)

These results are not related to my wifi. I get confirmation by connecting my 5G phone to Tmobile over cellular.

The slow speeds in the evening lead to frequent pauses and time-out indicators on my streaming TV (whether on a Roku stick or an Apple TV device,

Is this all just node overload in the evening due to more home computers and streaming TVs overloading the system? Is there anything different I should be doing?


(This question is related to a previous post here.)



1 reply

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If you are between two towers do you know the 5G signals that both use? If you are between two towers and the GW signal changes from one tower to the other that might explain random disruptions when the GW transitions. It might also explain speeds being inconsistent. Sure using and testing for the “optimal server” helps see what is going on but you have to run your tests in a consistent manner to really profile the operation. 

If you have the Nokia GW or the Arcadyan GW it helps to know as the way you get the cellular signal information from the gateway becomes a factor. The cellular metrics are easily seen with the Nokia GW but with the Arcadyan they are a little more work. The mobile application on the phone may help some with the Arcadyan gateway but using a web GUI connection with the Nokia is best, in my opinion. 

One key factor you need to identify is the PCI value of the cellular signal for the 5G when you run your testing. If the gateway has a lock on the n41 channel the speeds will probably be much higher and the testing you posted suggest you are seeing an n41 frequency at times. If the PCI, physical cell identifier, for the 5G radio signal changes that is very good to know. You can use and find the tower with the PCI value to have a clear idea of which tower your gateway has a preference for. If you can locate the gateway so it has a stronger reliable signal from the n41 and a much lesser signal from the other tower then you can probably get it to be more stable with respect to the lock on the tower with the n41 channel. 

Post your metrics to the conversation and more information, i.e. specifics about the gateway model and cellular metrics and more helpful responses can be made. I have inserted the chart so you can see how the cellular signal metrics work and understand them if you don’t.

If you have the Arcadyan gateway you can get more information about the cellular signals with the following:

That is from Nater Tater’s YouTube video. He made a number of YouTube videos that are very helpful. 

You say, “My phone almost always shows 5G-UC.” See if your gateway also connects to a cell with the same PCI value or another. There are a number of possible reasons for the inconsistent results but it will take time and some careful profiling of the information to actually pick it apart to have a better idea. Maybe you have done quite a bit and have information about tower locations and cellular metrics, etc… but posting what you know/learn can help as users can then offer more helpful suggestions.