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  1. #1
    John E.
    Guest
    T-Mobile, Nokia 6200.

    From my home in San Jose, CA, USA, frequently when I want to make a call, I
    get "No Service". If I sit and wait -- sometimes seconds, usually less than 1
    minute -- I get 3 or more bars of signal strength and can make a call. This
    happens regularly, many times a day. (This is not after powering on the
    phone, but when the phone has been on for hours.)

    Once a connection is made, the call is good; very infrequently is my call
    dropped.

    What's the technical reason for this experience? If it were as simple as a
    truck on the street blocking my line-of-sight to the nearest cell tower, that
    couldn't be frequent enough to cause my "No Service" experience. If it was
    general road traffic, it shouldn't occur with such regularity and I shouldn't
    be able to maintain a call without dropping, should I?

    Puzzled. Ideas?

    Thanks.
    --
    John English




    See More: "No Service"... then 3 bars?




  2. #2
    John Henderson
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    John E. wrote:

    > T-Mobile, Nokia 6200.
    >
    > From my home in San Jose, CA, USA, frequently when I want to
    > make a call, I get "No Service". If I sit and wait --
    > sometimes seconds, usually less than 1 minute -- I get 3 or
    > more bars of signal strength and can make a call. This happens
    > regularly, many times a day. (This is not after powering on
    > the phone, but when the phone has been on for hours.)
    >
    > Once a connection is made, the call is good; very infrequently
    > is my call dropped.
    >
    > What's the technical reason for this experience? If it were as
    > simple as a truck on the street blocking my line-of-sight to
    > the nearest cell tower, that couldn't be frequent enough to
    > cause my "No Service" experience. If it was general road
    > traffic, it shouldn't occur with such regularity and I
    > shouldn't be able to maintain a call without dropping, should
    > I?


    Standard GSM is limited to 35 km (about 22 miles) range.

    If you're in an area with few cells, this distance limitation
    can cause the effect you're seeing. There'd need to be a
    distant cell presenting a strong signal to your phone (probably
    well elevated), with a closer, but usable, cell presenting a
    weaker signal.

    Then the phone is unable to interact successfully with the
    distant cell. They'd be failing to negotiate a usable figure
    for Timing Advance (TA in the range 0 to 63). The phone would
    then find the weaker cell and register with that instead.

    Assuming that the stronger cell is broadcasting the same
    cellular Location Area Code (LAC) as the weaker one, your phone
    is permitted to then camp on the stronger cell without any
    interaction with it. And it would do so.

    Any interaction with the distant cell would result in the
    temporary "no service" outcome, as TA negotiation fails. There
    are three scenarios which would trigger this: an incoming call
    or SMS, an outgoing call or SMS, and an automatic periodic
    location update (the timer value is set by the network).

    If the above analysis is the correct one for your situation,
    then your carrier could solve it for you by changing the LAC
    for one of these cells, but you'd find your battery would
    discharge much more rapidly because of frequent registration
    attempts with the distant cell.

    John



  3. #3
    John E.
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    John Henderson sez:

    > Standard GSM is limited to 35 km (about 22 miles) range.
    >
    > If you're in an area with few cells, this distance limitation
    > can cause the effect you're seeing.


    I'm near downtown San Jose. I presume there's more towers around here than in
    the rest of the state! (c:

    Seriously, this is a major metro area, and yes, I'm sure there's lots of them
    all around. Within a mile on either side of me there's 2 major thoroughfares
    and 2 major freeways. Lots of towers.

    Does this change your idea of what might be my problem?

    Thanks,
    --
    John English




  4. #4
    John Henderson
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    John E. wrote:

    > I'm near downtown San Jose. I presume there's more towers
    > around here than in the rest of the state! (c:
    >
    > Seriously, this is a major metro area, and yes, I'm sure
    > there's lots of them all around. Within a mile on either side
    > of me there's 2 major thoroughfares and 2 major freeways. Lots
    > of towers.
    >
    > Does this change your idea of what might be my problem?


    Yes. I've seen the symptoms you describe only in a more rural
    setting. The cells in question were broadcasting their
    geographical names (as cell broadcast messages), so working out
    what was going on was quite straightforward.

    In your case then, I presume you're coming up against some
    network configuration, propagation and/or firmware issues, but
    I'd be just speculating about the exact nature.

    John



  5. #5
    matt weber
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    On Sat, 9 Dec 2006 12:46:55 -0800, John E. <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >John Henderson sez:
    >
    >> Standard GSM is limited to 35 km (about 22 miles) range.
    >>
    >> If you're in an area with few cells, this distance limitation
    >> can cause the effect you're seeing.

    >
    >I'm near downtown San Jose. I presume there's more towers around here than in
    >the rest of the state! (c:
    >
    >Seriously, this is a major metro area, and yes, I'm sure there's lots of them
    >all around. Within a mile on either side of me there's 2 major thoroughfares
    >and 2 major freeways. Lots of towers.
    >
    >Does this change your idea of what might be my problem?
    >
    >Thanks,

    The question is are the nearby tower the ones with transmitters from
    your service provider on them?



  6. #6
    Me
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    "matt weber" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On Sat, 9 Dec 2006 12:46:55 -0800, John E. <[email protected]>
    > wrote:
    >
    >>John Henderson sez:
    >>
    >>> Standard GSM is limited to 35 km (about 22 miles) range.
    >>>
    >>> If you're in an area with few cells, this distance limitation
    >>> can cause the effect you're seeing.

    >>
    >>I'm near downtown San Jose. I presume there's more towers around here than
    >>in
    >>the rest of the state! (c:
    >>
    >>Seriously, this is a major metro area, and yes, I'm sure there's lots of
    >>them
    >>all around. Within a mile on either side of me there's 2 major
    >>thoroughfares
    >>and 2 major freeways. Lots of towers.
    >>
    >>Does this change your idea of what might be my problem?
    >>
    >>Thanks,

    > The question is are the nearby tower the ones with transmitters from
    > your service provider on them?

    The nearest ones do not have to be his service provider's towers but it
    should be obvious that downtown San Jose you would not exceed the maximum
    timing advance limit (one generally cannot reach the max timing advance in
    city environment radio propagation, Australian deserts with really high
    towers or costal see areas are examples for that).

    Do I understand right that the phone is "out of service" when you try to
    make a call or is it showing service and only after a call attempt indicates
    "no service".

    Normally this could be caused by interference on the stronger cell, even if
    the signal level is good, the quality is not sufficient for calls. Since you
    say that you hardly get a disconnected call, once successful, even this does
    not seem likely. I'm afraid this is difficult to figure out without any
    insight info of the cells the phone gets connected (a phone with network
    monitor capabilities would help). Sometimes the issue is odd propagation
    from a far away cell, once the phone is camped on that, the neighbour cell
    list does not direct the phone to the best local cell (those are not local
    to this odd far-away cell. If your phone loses coverage temporarily, even
    this sounds unlikely.





  7. #7
    John E.
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    Thus spake Me:

    > Do I understand right that the phone is "out of service" when you try to
    > make a call or is it showing service and only after a call attempt indicates
    > "no service".


    Frequently when I go to make a call, I will first look at the display and it
    will say "No Service". I sit and wait, staring at the display, and after less
    than 1 minute -- typically -- it will give 3-or better bars of signal
    strength.

    > Normally this could be caused by interference on the stronger cell, even if
    > the signal level is good, the quality is not sufficient for calls. Since you
    > say that you hardly get a disconnected call, once successful, even this does
    > not seem likely. I'm afraid this is difficult to figure out without any
    > insight info of the cells the phone gets connected (a phone with network
    > monitor capabilities would help). Sometimes the issue is odd propagation
    > from a far away cell, once the phone is camped on that, the neighbour cell
    > list does not direct the phone to the best local cell (those are not local
    > to this odd far-away cell. If your phone loses coverage temporarily, even
    > this sounds unlikely.


    Bah! It is as complex a problem as I first presumed, before asking here. I'll
    be getting a new phone soon, hopefully I can try it out first to see if it
    handles the odd signal strength issues any better than my current phone.

    What phones have "network monitor capabilities"?

    Thanks,
    --
    John English




  8. #8

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    On Mon, 11 Dec 2006 11:30:50 -0800, John E. <[email protected]> wrote this
    with the utmost thought:

    >Thus spake Me:
    >
    >> Do I understand right that the phone is "out of service" when you try to
    >> make a call or is it showing service and only after a call attempt indicates
    >> "no service".

    >
    >Frequently when I go to make a call, I will first look at the display and it
    >will say "No Service". I sit and wait, staring at the display, and after less
    >than 1 minute -- typically -- it will give 3-or better bars of signal
    >strength.
    >
    >> Normally this could be caused by interference on the stronger cell, even if
    >> the signal level is good, the quality is not sufficient for calls. Since you
    >> say that you hardly get a disconnected call, once successful, even this does
    >> not seem likely. I'm afraid this is difficult to figure out without any
    >> insight info of the cells the phone gets connected (a phone with network
    >> monitor capabilities would help). Sometimes the issue is odd propagation
    >> from a far away cell, once the phone is camped on that, the neighbour cell
    >> list does not direct the phone to the best local cell (those are not local
    >> to this odd far-away cell. If your phone loses coverage temporarily, even
    >> this sounds unlikely.

    >
    >Bah! It is as complex a problem as I first presumed, before asking here. I'll
    >be getting a new phone soon, hopefully I can try it out first to see if it
    >handles the odd signal strength issues any better than my current phone.
    >
    >What phones have "network monitor capabilities"?
    >


    This may be a totally different issue, but my Moto 'phone on UK T-mobile
    uses 1800MHz and you presumably are on 1900MHz? Depending on where I am
    inside my home I can get full signal bars or non at all. However, with
    Vodafone and O2, other family 'phones, operating at 900MHz they get full
    bars no matter where the 'phones are in the home. Towers for each provider
    are all nearby so it's nothing to do with location. I was in an old
    restaurant last Friday with a group from work and all of us who use T-mobile
    or Orange (both 1800MHz) lost signal completely. Voda and O2 users were not
    affected. Perhaps this is similar to your problem?

    Does your problem happen inside and out or just inside your home?





  9. #9
    Me
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On Mon, 11 Dec 2006 11:30:50 -0800, John E. <[email protected]> wrote
    > this
    > with the utmost thought:
    >
    >>Thus spake Me:
    >>
    >>> Do I understand right that the phone is "out of service" when you try to
    >>> make a call or is it showing service and only after a call attempt
    >>> indicates
    >>> "no service".

    >>
    >>Frequently when I go to make a call, I will first look at the display and
    >>it
    >>will say "No Service". I sit and wait, staring at the display, and after
    >>less
    >>than 1 minute -- typically -- it will give 3-or better bars of signal
    >>strength.
    >>
    >>> Normally this could be caused by interference on the stronger cell, even
    >>> if
    >>> the signal level is good, the quality is not sufficient for calls. Since
    >>> you
    >>> say that you hardly get a disconnected call, once successful, even this
    >>> does
    >>> not seem likely. I'm afraid this is difficult to figure out without any
    >>> insight info of the cells the phone gets connected (a phone with network
    >>> monitor capabilities would help). Sometimes the issue is odd propagation
    >>> from a far away cell, once the phone is camped on that, the neighbour
    >>> cell
    >>> list does not direct the phone to the best local cell (those are not
    >>> local
    >>> to this odd far-away cell. If your phone loses coverage temporarily,
    >>> even
    >>> this sounds unlikely.

    >>
    >>Bah! It is as complex a problem as I first presumed, before asking here.
    >>I'll
    >>be getting a new phone soon, hopefully I can try it out first to see if it
    >>handles the odd signal strength issues any better than my current phone.
    >>
    >>What phones have "network monitor capabilities"?
    >>

    >
    > This may be a totally different issue, but my Moto 'phone on UK T-mobile
    > uses 1800MHz and you presumably are on 1900MHz? Depending on where I am
    > inside my home I can get full signal bars or non at all. However, with
    > Vodafone and O2, other family 'phones, operating at 900MHz they get full
    > bars no matter where the 'phones are in the home. Towers for each
    > provider
    > are all nearby so it's nothing to do with location. I was in an old
    > restaurant last Friday with a group from work and all of us who use
    > T-mobile
    > or Orange (both 1800MHz) lost signal completely. Voda and O2 users were
    > not
    > affected. Perhaps this is similar to your problem?
    >
    > Does your problem happen inside and out or just inside your home?
    >

    This could be the issue. If you pick up your phone from the pocket, it could
    easily have lost service while it obtains "several bars" when held up in the
    hand. I'm not sure if OP observed the behaviour when the phone was e.g. on
    the table, and no persons "shielding" it. The above "signal fading" could
    happen on 900 too but normally (at least European) networks have so strong
    coverage at 900 that it is difficult to find a fringe edge of a cell.
    Anyway, at the edge of the coverage and inside, one may easily have a signal
    strength change from "no bars" to "a few". The fact that OP had hardly any
    dropped calls "could" be from the better phone position during the calls.
    But the OP seemed to have analysed the case quite a lot and a simple answer
    like this may not be sufficient.





  10. #10

    Reboot?

    I'm jumping in here 'cause you seem to actually know something about
    these things work .

    I'm using a Nokia 6820 in mid town Manhattan - which should be cell
    heaven - and getting a slightly different behavior. If I'm in and out
    of a no-signal zone (like the subway), the phone will not re-acquire a
    signal. Yesterday I stood in the middle of Rockerfeller center looking
    at zero bars for 20 minutes - well I was doing other things also....

    A techie at Verizon advised me to reboot the phone when this happens -
    turn it off, remove the battery and SIM, wait a few seconds then put it
    back togeather and turn it on. This does work - BUT THERE'S GOTTA BE A
    BETTER WAY!

    Any ideas??

    BC




  11. #11

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    On Tue, 12 Dec 2006 06:49:27 GMT, "Me" <[email protected]> wrote this:

    ><[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]
    >> On Mon, 11 Dec 2006 11:30:50 -0800, John E. <[email protected]> wrote
    >> this
    >> with the utmost thought:
    >>
    >>>Thus spake Me:
    >>>
    >>>> Do I understand right that the phone is "out of service" when you try to
    >>>> make a call or is it showing service and only after a call attempt
    >>>> indicates
    >>>> "no service".
    >>>
    >>>Frequently when I go to make a call, I will first look at the display and
    >>>it
    >>>will say "No Service". I sit and wait, staring at the display, and after
    >>>less
    >>>than 1 minute -- typically -- it will give 3-or better bars of signal
    >>>strength.
    >>>
    >>>> Normally this could be caused by interference on the stronger cell, even
    >>>> if
    >>>> the signal level is good, the quality is not sufficient for calls. Since
    >>>> you
    >>>> say that you hardly get a disconnected call, once successful, even this
    >>>> does
    >>>> not seem likely. I'm afraid this is difficult to figure out without any
    >>>> insight info of the cells the phone gets connected (a phone with network
    >>>> monitor capabilities would help). Sometimes the issue is odd propagation
    >>>> from a far away cell, once the phone is camped on that, the neighbour
    >>>> cell
    >>>> list does not direct the phone to the best local cell (those are not
    >>>> local
    >>>> to this odd far-away cell. If your phone loses coverage temporarily,
    >>>> even
    >>>> this sounds unlikely.
    >>>
    >>>Bah! It is as complex a problem as I first presumed, before asking here.
    >>>I'll
    >>>be getting a new phone soon, hopefully I can try it out first to see if it
    >>>handles the odd signal strength issues any better than my current phone.
    >>>
    >>>What phones have "network monitor capabilities"?
    >>>

    >>
    >> This may be a totally different issue, but my Moto 'phone on UK T-mobile
    >> uses 1800MHz and you presumably are on 1900MHz? Depending on where I am
    >> inside my home I can get full signal bars or non at all. However, with
    >> Vodafone and O2, other family 'phones, operating at 900MHz they get full
    >> bars no matter where the 'phones are in the home. Towers for each
    >> provider
    >> are all nearby so it's nothing to do with location. I was in an old
    >> restaurant last Friday with a group from work and all of us who use
    >> T-mobile
    >> or Orange (both 1800MHz) lost signal completely. Voda and O2 users were
    >> not
    >> affected. Perhaps this is similar to your problem?
    >>
    >> Does your problem happen inside and out or just inside your home?
    >>

    >This could be the issue. If you pick up your phone from the pocket, it could
    >easily have lost service while it obtains "several bars" when held up in the
    >hand. I'm not sure if OP observed the behaviour when the phone was e.g. on
    >the table, and no persons "shielding" it. The above "signal fading" could
    >happen on 900 too but normally (at least European) networks have so strong
    >coverage at 900 that it is difficult to find a fringe edge of a cell.
    >Anyway, at the edge of the coverage and inside, one may easily have a signal
    >strength change from "no bars" to "a few". The fact that OP had hardly any
    >dropped calls "could" be from the better phone position during the calls.
    >But the OP seemed to have analysed the case quite a lot and a simple answer
    >like this may not be sufficient.


    Well sometimes the obvious and simple is overlooked, though as I replied to
    incognito, we'll have to wait for his response.

    As to UK signal fade at 900MHz, I have an interesting point. I visit a
    friend in Wales and outside his front door we get good reception on Voda and
    O2. If we walk approximately 30 feet north or south, one of us completely
    loses signal.

    I don't use TMo there as it's dead





  12. #12
    Todd Allcock
    Guest

    Re: Reboot?

    At 12 Dec 2006 14:26:53 -0800 [email protected] wrote:

    > If I'm in and out
    > of a no-signal zone (like the subway), the phone will not re-acquire a
    > signal.
    > A techie at Verizon advised me to reboot the phone when this happens -
    > turn it off, remove the battery and SIM, wait a few seconds then put it
    > back togeather and turn it on. This does work - BUT THERE'S GOTTA BE A
    > BETTER WAY!


    Power it off and on with the power button?

    That worked with my ancient Nokia 8290 which had the same problem.


    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com




  13. #13
    John E.
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    Thus spake [email protected]:

    > Does your problem happen inside and out or just inside your home?


    Both.

    My office is near the front of my house, with a door leading to the porch. My
    desk, where the phone is always kept when at home, is near the glass-paned
    door. When I get impatient with "no service" and want to place a call
    immediately, I open the door and walk onto the porch. I've never experienced
    this as being helpful (although I continue to do it...); only after several
    seconds -- maybe minutes -- will service return. Inside or outside, it
    doesn't seem to matter.

    Thanks,
    --
    John English




  14. #14
    John E.
    Guest

    Re: "No Service"... then 3 bars?

    [email protected] said:

    > This could be the issue. If you pick up your phone from the pocket, it could
    > easily have lost service while it obtains "several bars" when held up in the
    > hand. I'm not sure if OP observed the behaviour when the phone was e.g. on
    > the table, and no persons "shielding" it.


    The phone is lying on a desk just inside the glass-paned front door to my
    home office. If I want to make a call, I pick it up and hold it many
    different ways, hoping for better signal. If I have "No service" displayed,
    how I hold the phone seems to make no difference; service will return
    regardless where I'm holding it.

    > The above "signal fading" could
    > happen on 900 too but normally (at least European) networks have so strong
    > coverage at 900 that it is difficult to find a fringe edge of a cell. Anyway,


    > at the edge of the coverage and inside, one may easily have a signal strength


    > change from "no bars" to "a few". The fact that OP had hardly any dropped
    > calls "could" be from the better phone position during the calls. But the OP
    > seemed to have analysed the case quite a lot and a simple answer like this
    > may not be sufficient.


    As far as I can tell, orientation doesn't seem to make a difference. It *is*
    possible that moving the phone does cause better reception, and that this
    takes several seconds to register and for the display to update the signal
    strength indicator. But I have no way to know this. As far as my experience
    has shown me, there is not connection between phone orientation and signal
    strength.

    Thanks,
    --
    John English




  15. #15
    John E.
    Guest

    Re: Reboot?

    [email protected]:

    > I'm jumping in here 'cause you seem to actually know something about these
    > things work .


    Otherwise known as hijacking a thread.

    If you aren't commenting on the original poster's question, don't dilute the
    discussion -- go start your own topic. It's easy to do.

    Regards,
    --
    John English




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