Question

Upload speeds much faster than download speeds

  • 22 December 2021
  • 16 replies
  • 1646 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.


16 replies

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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. 

Your story is almost the same as mine:  great speeds for 6 weeks and then down to 1mbps after that.  It starts about 4pm everyday and gets worse as the evening goes on.  We have everything off the wifi network except the Roku and still can’t watch tv streaming on YouTubeTV.  Forget watching sports.  I called customer service and they say they are working on the towers at night and it’s congestion or some other BS.  They took off $25 the first time and then the whole $50 this month.  One CS rep was honest enough to say that this won’t be fixed till August!  I’m going to have to go back to cable internet because we can’t watch tv or use the laptop at all in the evening.  I’m also on my second gateway and my speeds at night are 1-5mbps dl, but upload is from 50-70mbps.

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Hey, at least you've got a fallback plan. My only other option here is hughesnet... I've been scouring the internet looking for any other options, but as it stands, I'm ready to just use a hotspot until I get my starlink satellite... it's literally just a waste of money at this point, as the service is completely unusable... really wanted things to work out, but it is what it is.

I’ve got kind of the same problem, but reversed. From about 11:30am-7:30pm MST daily, my speed drops significantly. The download I can live with, it’s still better than what I was getting from CL. The upload however, it’s in dial-up range. Which causes problems. I can’t stream anything. 

I’ve chatted with them several times through FB Messenger. They keep wanting me to reset or move my gateway around. I’ve already done all of that, my gateway is in the best place. I can see the tower from my bedroom window. One even wanted me to disable my anti-virus because of the old myth that it slows things down. Yeah, not happening. Another kept mentioning Magenta. Which has nothing to do with me.

Had another asking how many devices I had connected. Which doesn’t hold water because the speeds fluctuate with the same number of devices connected at all times.

I think what it boils down to is that they’re de-prioritizing Home Internet but just won’t admit it.

I have to agree with gpmaz. They should fix the congestion problem instead of having us jump through the same useless hoops every time.

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.

They're throttling your account. I've unfortunately been with them for 25yrs, and I get 20mbs download no matter where I am (I live in a city that's completely covered deep red 5g).  When I call it will go back to semi normal speed, but within an hour it's back to 3g speed. They're ripping a certain percentage of senior citizens customers bandwidth off thinking they're stupid.  At least that the only thing makes any since.n. They're an evil evil corporation but said to much. Already. 

Even with 4 bars on my gateway, it still depends on location. Daytime congestion speeds on the home wifi as well as my 5g phone, both erratic and low, nights are better. On my phone at home, <20 at times. 2 miles away 10 minutes later the phone hit more than 400! T-Mobile now merged with Sprint, and the tech I spoke to said they are now in the process of converting Sprint 4g towers to 5g, so it will get better in time. So Sprint is already losing it’s 4g service this year. Won’t be long where our 4g phones will go the route of 3g. Obsolete...just like the drawer full of “collector’s items” I already have.:rofl:

I read this on the Tmobile site regarding how home internet users are classified. If you go to to the open internet page: https://www.t-mobile.com/responsibility/consumer-info/policies/internet-service

Look for this heading: What speeds and performance can T-Mobile-branded Broadband Internet Access Services customers expect? Where are these speeds available?

Read: “Additionally, we prioritize network data by plan and brand to deliver a range of customer choice points at great values.  Data for customers on most T-Mobile-branded plans (and for customers on Sprint-branded plans while using the T-Mobile network), is prioritized before the data of customers on Essentials plans and Metro by T-Mobile or Assurance Wireless-branded plans.  Mobile internet plans offered after December 12, 2020 with 30GB or more data per month, and Project 10Million and some other education-focused mobile internet plans, are prioritized next.  The vast majority of customers on T-Mobile-branded, Sprint-branded, Metro by T-Mobile-branded, and Assurance Wireless-branded plans receive higher priority than the small fraction of customers who are Heavy Data Users on their rate plan, who are prioritized last on the network after exceeding the relevant threshold for the current billing cycle.  T-Mobile Home Internet (available in select locations) customers receive the same network prioritization as Heavy Data Users, but should be less likely to experience congestion because the equipment is stationary and available in limited areas.  “

 

[a "Heavy Data User" is defined as a customer using more than 50GB of data (100GB of data for new Magenta plans activated beginning February 24, 2021) in a billing cycle. ]

 

So, what this reads to me is Home Internet Users are classified as Heavy Data Users (after they hit 50GB) and are then prioritized last on the network. So, if you live in a congested area or a small town with most people using Tmobile tower as their cell provider, you’re going to be last in line after hitting 50Gb. They really should make it clear that while the internet is unlimited you will be deprioritized during any congestion. If you are in a town with multiple providers and not many people use Tmobile, you likely won’t have issues. Otherwise, you might look into using a third arty reseller for Tmo LTE internet. It will cost quite a bit more but I think they have the data allottments raised much higher than 50gb before deprioritization.

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