Cell phone carrier issues.
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  1. #1
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    Cell phone carrier issues.

    Now, I'm an engineer by training, but my expertise falls far short of cell phone technology. I've been a customer of Verizon for better than a decade now, and my current plan gives us 5gb/month for 2 [email protected]$$ smartphones, of which we never use more than 3gb, and have never had an overage.

    I've become accustom to using Waze when commuting; not for route planning, but rather to give me a 'heads up' of accidents, backups, police activity, construction, etc. Once in a while when there is a severe backup, I'll ask Waze to give me an alternate route.

    For the last 3 weeks, Waze has been failing me every afternoon at just about 3:40, right in the middle of my afternoon commute. By about 4:15, it works fine again. It ONLY happens at that time (it's also happened on weekends when I get near all the strip malls in one certain area), and I KNOW that it's because my carrier is 'throttling' me.

    So, I'm not sure what to do. I COULD get a fancier (more expensive) plan, but is there any guarantee that will result in them giving me more bandwidth when I need it? I could change carriers, but how can I find out if they would just end up doing this to me as well? At the very least, I will send a message to Verizon letting them know that I'm on to their game, and I'm not happy, but short of that, what are my options here?
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  2. #2
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    For the last 3 weeks, Waze has been failing me every afternoon at just about 3:40, right in the middle of my afternoon commute. By about 4:15, it works fine again. It ONLY happens at that time (it's also happened on weekends when I get near all the strip malls in one certain area), and I KNOW that it's because my carrier is 'throttling' me.
    How do you KNOW it's them throttling you and not a Waze issue?

    Do other apps not function between 3:40 and 4:15?
    Waze is not a very data hungry app. Even if throttled to 2G, it should still function.

    Google Maps use around 0.6MB of data per hour and Waze uses only about 0.23MB an hour
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  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    ... and I KNOW that it's because my carrier is 'throttling' me.
    Don't be so sure.

    I'm an RF tech, and when I heard crappy audio from an FM station's local "translator" (a low powered transmitter located beyond the range of the main transmitter, to provide wider market coverage), I sent them an e-mail saying it sounds like they were over-deviating, and told them I was an FCC licensed tech.

    Boy, did I look like a fool. I later hooked up my $24k service monitor and measured the deviation over the air. It was in spec.

    I don't know a lot about cellular, but providers can "boot people off" cell sites if there's too much activity, consuming a site's capacity. Perhaps WAZE is not paying Verizon enough from their contract to guarantee continuous service to their customers? If it's always happening in the same location at the same time, it could be a capacity issue or the transmitters for the site you're connected to could be down. Data and voice operate on different frequency bands.

    I'd try an experiment and travel a considerably different route home at the same time of day, or drive in the opposite direction so different cell sites will capture your phone. If the problem doesn't occur, it's not throttling on your specific phone but another issue. Or install WAZE on another phone, perhaps a pal's non-Verizon phone, and see if the problem persists.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    How do you KNOW it's them throttling you and not a Waze issue?

    Do other apps not function between 3:40 and 4:15?
    Waze is not a very data hungry app. Even if throttled to 2G, it should still function.

    Google Maps use around 0.6MB of data per hour and Waze uses only about 0.23MB an hour
    For a couple of days, I used Google Maps, and, yep, 3:40 comes and it freezes up. It's pretty obvious that Verizon hasn't kept up with the growth in usage, and this is what happens when they become overloaded. I've also checked and found that along my general routes, AT&T has twice as many towers, which might mean something....
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  6. #6
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    For a couple of days, I used Google Maps, and, yep, 3:40 comes and it freezes up. It's pretty obvious that Verizon hasn't kept up with the growth in usage, and this is what happens when they become overloaded. I've also checked and found that along my general routes, AT&T has twice as many towers, which might mean something....
    Even if throttled to 2G, it should still function fine. 0.6MB - 0.23MB an hour is nothing even at 2G speeds.
    Sounds like something other than throttling.
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    [QUOTE=..., AT&T has twice as many towers, which might mean something....[/QUOTE]

    How are you able to identify AT&T towers?

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    Ask Santa for one of these....

    A Rohde and Schwarz spectrum analyzer with a handheld directional antenna will help to geo-locate the source of the RF interference.

    Once located, some explosives can be used to neutralize the emitting source.



    https://www.tequipment.net/Rohde-&-S...googleshopping

  9. #9
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    Had to use my cell phone as a hotspot after the derecho took out my WiFi at home for a few days. I ended up using up all my data allowance with Verizon and got a notice that my connection would be throttled until the end of the billing cycle.

    “Unlimited” doesn’t mean unlimited speed apparently...


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  10. #10
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    This sounds a like a tower capacity issue along your route. Each tower has a fixed number of cells that it can handle. My guess is that you hit a handoff around the same time each day, and the only available tower at that location is full and will not accept any more connections.

    A new phone might help in this case if it has higher transmission power to reach another tower further away. But I believe how much power these can have is regulated, so likely won't make a difference.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    A Rohde and Schwarz spectrum analyzer with a handheld directional antenna will help to geo-locate the source of the RF interference.

    Once located, some explosives can be used to neutralize the emitting source.



    https://www.tequipment.net/Rohde-&-S...googleshopping
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    Gasoline is much easier to get in large quantities without undue attention, just say'in.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nova_rider View Post
    This sounds a like a tower capacity issue along your route. Each tower has a fixed number of cells that it can handle. My guess is that you hit a handoff around the same time each day, and the only available tower at that location is full and will not accept any more connections.

    A new phone might help in this case if it has higher transmission power to reach another tower further away. But I believe how much power these can have is regulated, so likely won't make a difference.
    This sounds plausible; it usually happens when I'm on a stretch of highway that always has heavy traffic, and after looking at the maps of local cell towers and who they are owned by, it does look like it's in an area where Verizon doesn't have a close tower. but then, why wouldn't it work again later when I click back on my Apps folder on my screen, and try to go back to it?

    Today, it crapped out again, right on schedule, and didn't come back until I got to my destination, unplugged the phone, re-plugged, opened my app folder, and waited longer than usual. I'm thinking that Verizon can't handle the extra traffic. Maybe AT&T has more excess capacity around me?
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  14. #14
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    Cell carriers can assign a hierarchy or priority access to users (in the old days of analog cellular I was able to program the phone itself with such a priority) with regard to their application and how much the app developer is willing to pay for that priority, or perhaps how high a tier of service the user purchases.

    You might want to try another application to see if your problem goes away.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    Today, it crapped out again, right on schedule, and didn't come back until I got to my destination, unplugged the phone, re-plugged, opened my app folder, and waited longer than usual. I'm thinking that Verizon can't handle the extra traffic. Maybe AT&T has more excess capacity around me?
    Assuming you are using Android, have you tried any of the common tricks like clearing out cache storage, wipe the cache partition, and/or completely uninstall/reinstall the app in question?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nova_rider View Post
    Assuming you are using Android, have you tried any of the common tricks like clearing out cache storage, wipe the cache partition, and/or completely uninstall/reinstall the app in question?
    Already did that a couple of weeks ago. Today, I got out of work a few minutes late, and, yup, 3:40 and it wouldn't load. So, that pretty much discounts the 'hand-off' idea. Nope, it looks like simply overloaded equipment to me.

    I've started a thread on a local website, and have already had 5 people tell me that other heavy-usage apps fail to work in that general area at that time of day.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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