Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 27

Thread: Testing reception in a rural area, best phone?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    48
    Feedback Score
    0

    Testing reception in a rural area, best phone?

    ATT put equipment on Viaero's (regional) towers in much of NE, so, as of around mid last year, they are in the area. Around December-January, I did limited testing. I used an old factory unlocked Moto G4 Play (lacks some bands), and a new factory unlocked '20 Moto G Stylus. I used Cellmapper for a few weeks, drove around (limited). "My" tower is 6 miles from the yard, there are some trees, next tower is about 15 miles from my yard, opposite direction. I saw bands 2, 4, 14, 66. In my yard, and anywhere with the least bit of a tree, and in every building, signal worse than -110dBm, and it wouldn't lock on enough to make phone calls (for some reason signal strength of "14" didn't seem much better than the others). Also, several miles of dead spots along the highways. I was almost wondering if they weren't "fully on" yet. I know it's 6 miles, but was wondering if a different phone/device would help? I'd like to do some more testing. Don't care to spend a fortune on something. But, what I'm wondering is, based on the way it was working, if that sounds "normal"/like a lost cause. Lots of variables, I know. Right next to the tower I got about 50Mbps (comparing to about 15-20Mbps from Verizon), Cellmapper showed two bands in the notification area, guessing CA. 1/2 mile from the tower signal dropped to about -90dBm. It's a microwave supplied tower, doubt there are a handful of people on it, population density averages about one to two a square mile.

    I do have an old Wilson DT4G booster, but the ATT tower is in the opposite direction, didn't get around to testing that. Pretty sure I could get it to work with a booster, and much better with tree removal (which would be dozens of cottonwoods), but if it doesn't work outside, with even a tree or two in the way, I didn't see much point. I had used the regional cell carrier on the same tower, so I know how ~1900MHz works at least. I'd like ATT as a backup (plus access to more data plans, no installed internet available here besides satellite or cellular), and I'd like to be able to make calls behind trees (instead of no service). Verizon towers are only band 13 here, and the one I use is 13 miles away. It works "everywhere" without the booster (better with, of course). I know it's a different frequency, I was just "hoping" for better when the ATT tower is so much closer.

    Thoughts? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Eastern Missouri
    Posts
    699
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T, T-Mobile
    Feedback Score
    0
    Former NE resident here and still follow the developments in my former home area closely. The buildout on Viaero towers continues but even to this date isn't 100% complete with a few here and there still yet to go online.

    I've tested in rural parts of eastern Nebraska (during as well as before the buildout) with several LG devices and even in vehicle they've held on to more distant or weak signals well. AT&T is counting on these sites going out nearly 10 miles in some directions, which will at least provide basic coverage to reduce roaming, but isn't going to have excellent speeds and may drop off completely on the wrong side of hills. Still, I've seen roaming on Viaero and US Cellular taper off considerably since the buildout got going. The LG K30 is one of the ones I use for testing and it's nothing fancy but it gets solid reception, although no band 30 or expanded 66 (just the band 4 subset). I would consider that or similar if you are looking for an inexpensive phone that gets good reception. Granted, it won't be a good phone in other respects such as updates, support, basic quality. I don't have much experience with modern Motorola phones though my mother-in-law did have one a couple years ago, I think the G4 Play, and it seemed to have weaker than average reception.

    As far as more expensive phones go, my sister in the Omaha area has a Note 20 (AT&T) and says she gets signal everywhere, even out in remote camping/fishing areas, where her phone is the only one getting service (including ability to stream) while companions with iPhones have nothing. She's also getting 5G in places, though sadly does not run CellMapper to log where.

    If your contributions to CellMapper are the ones I'm thinking of, then there are a couple sites that were brought on in your area after you recorded, but that part of the state is still a bit too sparsely built out. Campbell, Guide Rock and Riverton have been added for example, but there are still going to be gaps where coverage even in towns is weak. Fairfield in southwest Nuckolls County looks to be one such spot. And don't even get me started on places not too far outside Lincoln like Friend and Dorchester for example. Even after the Viaero overbuild is complete, AT&T is still going to need to continue to identify places that need colocation with VZ/USCC or outright new tower builds.
    Active CellMapper user (since 2014). Happy to answer any questions anyone may have about networks in the western Midwest and parts of the Mid-South.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    6,395
    Feedback Score
    0
    Can't help but think you'd get more pertinent responses (unlike mine) if the writing was concise.
    I will be Judged on how I helped the poor, sick & others in need; strangers & loved ones alike.

    Visible (Verizon) UTT & Unlimited Data $25/mo
    Liberty Wireless (T-Mobile) UTT 07.26.21
    T-Mobile Gold Rewards $10yr exp 01.05.22
    Truphone (AT&T) every 180 days by 07.04.21

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    4,415
    Device(s)
    Note 10+
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T
    Feedback Score
    0
    Have you checked to see if you are in between sectors? That will definitely have a negative effect at 6 miles away. If the site was just recently turned up, it may not be fully optimized yet. Also, it may not be as high as the vzw site.

    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    48
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by joelwnelson View Post
    Former NE resident here and still follow the developments in my former home area closely. The buildout on Viaero towers continues but even to this date isn't 100% complete with a few here and there still yet to go online.

    I've tested in rural parts of eastern Nebraska (during as well as before the buildout) with several LG devices and even in vehicle they've held on to more distant or weak signals well. AT&T is counting on these sites going out nearly 10 miles in some directions, which will at least provide basic coverage to reduce roaming, but isn't going to have excellent speeds and may drop off completely on the wrong side of hills. Still, I've seen roaming on Viaero and US Cellular taper off considerably since the buildout got going. The LG K30 is one of the ones I use for testing and it's nothing fancy but it gets solid reception, although no band 30 or expanded 66 (just the band 4 subset). I would consider that or similar if you are looking for an inexpensive phone that gets good reception. Granted, it won't be a good phone in other respects such as updates, support, basic quality. I don't have much experience with modern Motorola phones though my mother-in-law did have one a couple years ago, I think the G4 Play, and it seemed to have weaker than average reception.

    As far as more expensive phones go, my sister in the Omaha area has a Note 20 (AT&T) and says she gets signal everywhere, even out in remote camping/fishing areas, where her phone is the only one getting service (including ability to stream) while companions with iPhones have nothing. She's also getting 5G in places, though sadly does not run CellMapper to log where.

    If your contributions to CellMapper are the ones I'm thinking of, then there are a couple sites that were brought on in your area after you recorded, but that part of the state is still a bit too sparsely built out. Campbell, Guide Rock and Riverton have been added for example, but there are still going to be gaps where coverage even in towns is weak. Fairfield in southwest Nuckolls County looks to be one such spot. And don't even get me started on places not too far outside Lincoln like Friend and Dorchester for example. Even after the Viaero overbuild is complete, AT&T is still going to need to continue to identify places that need colocation with VZ/USCC or outright new tower builds.
    I had a couple Tracfone branded/Verizon LG phones (both flip and smart), had luck. Always liked them, too bad they are quitting. Someone else suggested Samsung did pretty well in fringe areas. Just about everything works with Verizon here, so I haven't had to look into testing much. And pretty much nothing worked with Viaero in a lot of places out here, my only other reference. Haven't decided on budget yet. Branded phones are cheap, but I don't like them missing bands, the ones ATT offers miss some (like 66 in some cases, if it's ...important). For support, might go for unlocked. Handier to get one I can use with Verizon if it doesn't work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by zapjb View Post
    Can't help but think you'd get more pertinent responses (unlike mine) if the writing was concise.
    Always been long-winded, always will be, but I think my subject was fairly concise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joeybutts View Post
    Have you checked to see if you are in between sectors? That will definitely have a negative effect at 6 miles away. If the site was just recently turned up, it may not be fully optimized yet. Also, it may not be as high as the vzw site.

    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk
    That tower is about 6 miles in one direction, the next tower is about 15 miles in almost exactly the opposite direction. The way it was working in my yard, I wondered if it was at full power. I know the high frequencies wouldn't be good in any case, but I'd think I'd at least see 14 a bit better? Maybe? I waited ~6 months to test, but it might not have been enough.

    No hills, I can see both the 6 ATT/Viaero and 13 mile Verizon towers from my property. The Viaero towers are short, lattice tower, self supported (no guy-wire). I'd think if they were taller it would help as well....

    Thanks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    4,415
    Device(s)
    Note 10+
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by rview View Post
    I had a couple Tracfone branded/Verizon LG phones (both flip and smart), had luck. Always liked them, too bad they are quitting. Someone else suggested Samsung did pretty well in fringe areas. Just about everything works with Verizon here, so I haven't had to look into testing much. And pretty much nothing worked with Viaero in a lot of places out here, my only other reference. Haven't decided on budget yet. Branded phones are cheap, but I don't like them missing bands, the ones ATT offers miss some (like 66 in some cases, if it's ...important). For support, might go for unlocked. Handier to get one I can use with Verizon if it doesn't work out.


    Always been long-winded, always will be, but I think my subject was fairly concise.


    That tower is about 6 miles in one direction, the next tower is about 15 miles in almost exactly the opposite direction. The way it was working in my yard, I wondered if it was at full power. I know the high frequencies wouldn't be good in any case, but I'd think I'd at least see 14 a bit better? Maybe? I waited ~6 months to test, but it might not have been enough.

    No hills, I can see both the 6 ATT/Viaero and 13 mile Verizon towers from my property. The Viaero towers are short, lattice tower, self supported (no guy-wire). I'd think if they were taller it would help as well....

    Thanks.
    So the Verizon tower is taller? Then that answers it. If the panels are adjusted on the Viaero tower, they may be able to get better range out of it.

    Upstate NY, I've gotten bands 2 and 66 at about 7 miles. They should be easily able to do it out there. Still may not be optimized properly.

    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    7,420
    Device(s)
    iPhone 12 ProMax, OnePlus 8 5G
    Carrier(s)
    ·T···Mobile· USA
    Feedback Score
    0
    In reality, you want to test a weaker phone in an area you live/work, as if those work.. then any phone should work fine (this is the method I use) as I do not want to be stuck to a "certain phone" to be able to use a provider.

    Just make sure whatever phone you use has Band 14 and 17 support for LTE, as those are the important ones for range in a rural area with AT&T.
    T-Mobile: Magenta Amplified (airline employee plan)
    AT$T: $50 Unlimited Elite Prepaid promo (for more “rural” areas)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    458
    Carrier(s)
    Sprint/T-Mobile
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by brad15 View Post
    In reality, you want to test a weaker phone in an area you live/work, as if those work.. then any phone should work fine (this is the method I use) as I do not want to be stuck to a "certain phone" to be able to use a provider.

    Just make sure whatever phone you use has Band 14 and 17 support for LTE, as those are the important ones for range in a rural area with AT&T.
    Doesn't need b17 support, band 12 will work just fine. Some devices have even ditched b17 support and just support 12. At&t uses MFBI on its 700 spectrum so it will be broadcast as B12 and 17.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    7,420
    Device(s)
    iPhone 12 ProMax, OnePlus 8 5G
    Carrier(s)
    ·T···Mobile· USA
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Theghostlad82 View Post
    Doesn't need b17 support, band 12 will work just fine. Some devices have even ditched b17 support and just support 12. At&t uses MFBI on its 700 spectrum so it will be broadcast as B12 and 17.
    Well anything with B14 support is going to support B12/17 anyway, so that's a moot point.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    458
    Carrier(s)
    Sprint/T-Mobile
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by brad15 View Post
    Well anything with B14 support is going to support B12/17 anyway, so that's a moot point.
    Doesn't matter, there are devices that support 14 and not 17. By saying they need b14 and 17 you send them on a goose chase without clarifying that they don't need 17 as long as they got 12 support. It was incomplete information.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    7,420
    Device(s)
    iPhone 12 ProMax, OnePlus 8 5G
    Carrier(s)
    ·T···Mobile· USA
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Theghostlad82 View Post
    Doesn't matter, there are devices that support 14 and not 17. By saying they need b14 and 17 you send them on a goose chase without clarifying that they don't need 17 as long as they got 12 support. It was incomplete information.
    Ah, the nitpicker arises.

    Anyway I stick by my point and you can argue all you want, but if the OP finds something with B14 (pretty much anything AT&T or an iPhone past the Xs would provide) they're fine for testing.

    Posters like you remind me why I do not miss working in this industry now move along and nitpick another post here or on reddit.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    458
    Carrier(s)
    Sprint/T-Mobile
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by brad15 View Post
    Ah, the nitpicker arises.

    Anyway I stick by my point and you can argue all you want, but if the OP finds something with B14 (pretty much anything AT&T or an iPhone past the Xs would provide) they're fine for testing.

    Posters like you remind me why I do not miss working in this industry now move along and nitpick another post here or on reddit.
    Nitpicking isn't correcting incomplete information you gave. I see you have a problem with accepting responsibility when you are corrected. This must be a trait your employer loves. Anytime you are corrected for either misinformation, or incomplete information, you make 20 excuses as to why you shouldn't of been corrected. Just accept you gave incomplete information, and that the op has the correct information now. That's it. No need for 50 posts on why you feel you shouldn't of been corrected. I'm sure your former employer in the industry is also happy you no longer work in the industry.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    48
    Feedback Score
    0
    Thanks everyone. The cheapness in me was going to just get something like a Cricket LG Harmony 4 and using that for testing, but I didn't get around to getting a number to port in for the discount. In the meantime I had to run to town, not really a planned trip, yesterday. By run to town, I mean the closest Walmart town 75 miles away. They didn't have much of anything in stock, few old phones not on the website (ATT branded), 2 gigs of ram in cheaper ones. Yes, they'd have worked for testing, but I know where I could give away a bit "better" phone (one I wouldn't mind someone in the family using when I'm done, 3 gigs). I was looking at supported bands for a couple, didn't see 14 in a couple, but then I saw a Moto G Play.... xt2093-7 I thought in case something was wrong with my other one, I'd just get that because I was pretty sure it said 14 (unless I saw incorrect info). I also didn't have time to stand there looking up phones for very long, didn't see an LG or a cheaper Samsung.

    Anyway, activated last night, acts the same as my other one (which of course it would). I haven't seen 14 on it yet, so I don't know, haven't been outside with it, haven't spent 5 minutes testing.... Doesn't lock on in the house, unassisted. With my old cell booster, it has adjustable gain (Wilson DT4G), I cranked up 1900MHz, with the antenna pointed in exactly the opposite way it should be, I get a little with that, not all the time either, but fluctuating, pretty sure like the regional carrier, bit of a breeze, trees moving. Got close to 9Mbps down though very near the inside antenna when it did connect. So, if I get time, sometime, I'll crawl on the roof and try pointing it the other way for a bit.

    But, similar to what was stated, if it's this picky about a phone, it's not likely to work very well here in general, at least that's what I'm thinking.... Unless this phone doesn't support 14, and my "better" phone had an issue with it. Even with a bit better phone, I don't see it being much better than "poor", and likely using a fair bit of battery (if not near the booster), and likely dead spots outside, when it's this marginal. Versus just giving up and sticking with Verizon when it works most places.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    5,150
    Device(s)
    iPhone 12 mini, iPhone X
    Carrier(s)
    AT&T, Verizon (Spectrum Mobile)
    Feedback Score
    0
    For what it's worth, my experience with band 14 is that phones on AT&T commercial accounts never use it. I've had several phones over the past 3 years on towers that cell mapper confirms are B14-enabled that have always chosen B12, B2, or B66 as the PCC.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Almont, Michigan
    Posts
    4,746
    Device(s)
    Galaxy S10
    Carrier(s)
    LTE-A
    Feedback Score
    0
    A B14 phone today is essential. Just as important as B12 imo. Now, that's very strange your phones are not utilizing it at least occasionally. B14 isn't shy here....as either PCC or SCC.

    Name:  Screenshot_20210624-193358_Service mode RIL.jpg
Views: 95
Size:  41.4 KB

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 35
    Last Post: 09-20-2015, 08:36 AM
  2. Living in rough service area - best new phone?
    By cwestrx7 in forum Verizon Wireless
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-29-2006, 02:37 PM
  3. AT&T reception in the Bay Area...
    By pdawg17 in forum AT&T
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-13-2003, 11:16 AM
  4. GD87 - Reception in low coverage areas?
    By srkopec in forum Panasonic
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-07-2003, 05:41 AM
  5. Replies: 21
    Last Post: 02-05-2003, 05:54 PM

Bookmarks