Question

Upload speeds much faster than download speeds

  • 22 December 2021
  • 10 replies
  • 277 views

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So I recently switched to T-Mobile Home internet since it advertises good speeds and no data caps. When I first set up the gateway, I was shocked. Speeds were blazing fast. I was consistently getting speeds between 70mbps and 170mbps. This went on for roughly 6 weeks, and then the service became completely unusable. Speeds were consistently below 1mbps and on a good day I could make it into the teens. I called customer support just about every day trying to sort things out, but got nowhere. I finally got a call from an engineer who said, "I should expect varying speeds based on my location" and closed out my case. Not a single person can tell me why everything worked so well but then tanked. I then called and had them send me a new gateway device. I set it up and speeds were again in the 60-100 range for about 2 days, and then went back to being unusable. I then started to notice that most tests showed my upload speeds to be significantly higher than my download. I also set up a fan to rule out overheating which has made little to no difference. Today, I decided to see if my signal could be the issue, so I drove to the base of the 5g tower in my city plugged in my gateway with full bars of connectivity and ran a speed test. My results showed my download speed at 2.62mbps and my upload at 59.3 mbps. I ran the test several times over about a 30 minute period on both mine and my wife's phone and got very similar results on every single test. I'm holding out for Starlink and will be abandoning TMobile as soon as possible if they can't resolve this issue, but in the mean time, I would like to know if anyone has any ideas as to why these speeds are so backwards or possibly have suggestions for things I can do to try to fix the issue myself.


10 replies

Userlevel 4
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I’m puzzled by the 2nd gateway working well for a while unless maybe you were getting another tower or something? But you did a smart thing to try going up to your nearest tower and finding something was wrong with the download when you were getting 5 bars close to it. I mean that sounds like a tower problem. If I were in your place, facing the more expensive Starlink, I’d have a look at a tower map, and see where the next closest tower is, and get on the side of your house where that is, either outdoors or with the gateway in a window facing that tower. If you can pick that up at all, you might do well trying an external antenna. Otherwise you’re don’t have options, given that TMO can’t verify that there’s anything wrong with the tower.

When troubleshooting these issues, it’s worth paying attention to the band(s) you are on, and the metrics in the dropdown arrows when both Overview and Status are selected in the left column of the GUI at 192.168.12.1

Do you know if you were on the same band(s) when the trouble started as you were when the speeds were good for your first weeks?

I understand that you used the gateway when testing near the tower and had your phones on wifi, but are they TMO phones by any chance and when the gateway went so slow, what were your phone speeds at home not through wifi?

Also, to absolutely verify it is that specific tower, you can take your gateway near another tower and see what speeds you get there. I find the ookla 5G tower map online the easiest to use to find other 5G towers in the area.

Varying speeds is one thing, but you are right in that speeds shouldn’t be varying down to unusable, and I think of that as anything below 30. I’m 5.1 miles from the tower and get 200 to 400 down, and 30 to 45 up on combinations with the mid-frequency n41, like B2/n41 and B66/n41. Before this, my best choice was 7/1 speeds on DSL. I’m very lucky to get reliable service at these speeds for the last 6 months, but one big thing in my favor is almost nothing between me and the tower in the way of obstructions. Another is not a crowded market as far as number of customers on the tower.

I’ve only called customer service once, as my secondary signal went out and my speed dropped to like 50. But the guy was very helpful and told me it was a problem at the tower and there was a ticket out to fix it, and it had been reported by others. A problem like yours should be something that is reported by others also. Even though they in effect said, we’ve done everything we can do, if you call in the early morning hours, you can always get straight through and they’re not busy then, and I would just tell them what you did with the gateway to test your tower. They should appreciate your initiative and understand that shows how much you want TMHI to work for you. 

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Thank you for your reply Timsw. To answer a few of your questions, I'm unsure of the bands that were being used previously. Our phones are AT&T, so not on the same network. They also generally get 10-20 mbps on the AT&T network. The other closest tower is about 15+ miles away where as the one I drove to is about 3.75 miles away. I can see the tower i went to from the 2nd story of my house. I've considered getting an external antenna, but if having full signal still only gets me 2.8mbps an antenna isn't going to do much is it? My little Texas town refuses to move technology past 1999 so I'd love TMHI to work. I was so happy my first month with T-Mobile, but since then have been so irritated... I'll give them a call tomorrow and see what they say.

Userlevel 4
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So you’re in a little one TMO tower Texas town. Right, antenna won’t help. You had good speeds for that far away. I was trying to help one guy here who was really close to his tower with terrible speeds and I told him to go look at it. He did and the antenna array was pointed in the opposite direction from his house. If only all people’s problems could be so easy to pinpoint.

That’s good to have those sight-lines from the 2nd floor of your house, and good gateway placement also.  

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Just got off the phone with customer support. I gave him all of the information I’ve written out here, and he just said that my area has a lot of network congestion and that what I’m experiencing is normal. He had me run a few speed tests and I was consistently getting less than 1 mbps  down and almost exactly 24 mbps up on every test and he said that he would try to lock me on to the tower that is further away (which I advised against) and call me back tomorrow. I’m very doubtful any solution will come of this.

When you say you used a fan, you don’t mean you pointed a room fan at your trash can (router), correct? You mean you used a little computer fan, and either forced air up thru your trash can from the bottom, or put the fan on top to draw cool air up and through, correct?

 

https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwjnnZW8qKv1AhUQoLMKHa8UAwkYABADGgJxbg&sig=AOD64_1f9_FcjW9q7OUg2ZmacGz1LEf6BQ&adurl&ctype=5&ved=2ahUKEwjh2oW8qKv1AhWso3IEHYNjDTkQvhd6BAgBEE0

 

 

 

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Yes. I have a computer case fan underneath the gateway on a riser blowing cool air up through the unit. Similar to the picture, but without the 3d printed part.

Hello, 

Hope you are fine if you are in  little one TMO tower Texas town then antenna won’t help. I am Facing same issue. Your speed is good. That’s wonderful to have those sight-lines from the 2nd floor of your home, and good entrance positioning likewise. Thanks 

Regards 

Andrew Sam

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I'm thinking at this point that its all a congestion issue. A few nights ago, I woke up at about 2am and decided since I was up to test my speeds. I tested it 4 times over about 10 minutes and consistently got speeds of 70+. Next morning however, I was back down to my usual 2.5. I just don't get it...

I too have a congestion problem. Great speeds at 5 AM, 10AM to 8 PM, not so much. What I don’t understand is why is a congestion problem our problem and not theirs. If they don’t have the infrastructure to support the customer base shouldn’t they be aware of the issue and do something to correct it? If the new gateway doesn’t do anything to improve the problem I’ll likely drop the service.

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Don't get your hopes up. I'm on my third gateway and this last time I swapped, there was literally no difference at all in speeds. I thought I read somewhere that t-mobile only allowed a certain number of customers per area to avoid network slowdown, but I can see thats obviously not the case. $50 per month is a great price for am internet service, but I'm willing to pay a little more for reliable and more importantly usable speeds. The other day I tried to stream some music while working around the house and my songs were buffering... if I can't even stream music without interrupts, what exactly am I paying for. I signed up for starlink in April, so hopefully I'll be getting a satellite soon. $100 per month doesn't seem too bad, especially if I'm getting 3 digit speeds. Hell, I'd settle for 20 mbps at this point. 

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