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Manhattan West Side - an insoluble problem?

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June 23, 2004 12:56:53 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

In the last two months my service has deteriorated greatly. I've been
experiencing dropped calls, breaking up conversations and missed some
calls I should have gotten. Tonight, between 9:15 and 11:30 PM, I was
able to complete 3 out of the 40 calls I made. Every other one seemed
to start to dial and then I got the message "call lost".

So far 4 trouble tickets have been opened and closed. Each time
something was done to fix it. The last time, the service really did
seem to improve for about 3 days and now it's as bad as it's ever been.

I'm located on the upper west side of Manhattan facing the Hudson River.
According to Tech support, I'm getting the cell site outside of Jersey
which is pretty much right across the river from me.

I went to part of my home where I get 5 bars of signal at the window.
And...with five bars of signal, I still could't complete a call without
losing it.

I'm very confused: if I have 5 bars of signal, shouldn't I be able to
make a solid call where I can be heard, I don't break up, and the call
doesn't get dropped? (at least most of the time)?

I was on the phone with tech support for quite a while (level 2) because
this is the 4th trouble ticket I've opened in 2-3 months and I've never
opened one before in the previous 6 years of servous.

He states I pick up a cell site in NJ - right accross the river from me.
The switching point is in West NYack which is in Rockland County. He
led me to believe it could be a difficulty with the switch.

He even tried changing my phone number to see whether that would make a
difference and it didn't seem to.

What's a little scary to me is that now, at 2 AM, I can't drop a call!
I've deliberately called every number in my address book that I knew I
wouldn't be waking up, and every call went through without a problem.

Could this inability to complete a call simply be the result of
overcrowded cell sites rather than an "engineering problem"? The reason
I'm thinking this way is because it is so easy to make calls at 1 AM,
after everyone else is asleep.

Any ideas?

I'd rather track down the problem and continue to have the excellent
Verizon service I've had for 6 years - that's really my all time goal.

Louise
Anonymous
June 23, 2004 4:29:54 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

Louise wrote:
> I'm very confused: if I have 5 bars of signal, shouldn't I be able to
> make a solid call where I can be heard, I don't break up, and the call
> doesn't get dropped? (at least most of the time)?

Bars of signal strength is not related to network call capacity.
CDMA has a paging channel which the phone checks every few seconds
to see if it has an incoming call/voicemail etc. That is what
your phone shows while idle.

Actually making a call involves using radio frequencies. The details
are interesing, but basically CDMA has many phones all using the same
frequencies at the same time. The bandwidth each phone uses changes
50 times a second. There isn't actually a hard limit to the
number of simultaneous calls. All that happens is that the amount
of radio noise increases, data gets dropped and eventually the
phones or the tower terminate the call when they consider the
situation intolerable.

(TDMA/GSM by contrast has allocated time slices of which there are
fixed numbers so there is a hard limit on concurrent calls, and they
all have guaranteed bandwidth due to owning their time slice).

I highly recommend reading this article on Stephen DenBeste's site
which details how TDMA and CDMA slice up frequencies and time,
and also how 3G happened.

http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/10/GSM3G.shtml

Roger
Anonymous
June 23, 2004 6:10:16 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 08:56:53 -0400, Louise <none@nospam.com> wrote:

>In the last two months my service has deteriorated greatly. I've been
>experiencing dropped calls, breaking up conversations and missed some
>calls I should have gotten. Tonight, between 9:15 and 11:30 PM, I was
>able to complete 3 out of the 40 calls I made. Every other one seemed
>to start to dial and then I got the message "call lost".
>
>So far 4 trouble tickets have been opened and closed. Each time
>something was done to fix it. The last time, the service really did
>seem to improve for about 3 days and now it's as bad as it's ever been.
>
>I'm located on the upper west side of Manhattan facing the Hudson River.
>According to Tech support, I'm getting the cell site outside of Jersey
>which is pretty much right across the river from me.
>
>I went to part of my home where I get 5 bars of signal at the window.
>And...with five bars of signal, I still could't complete a call without
>losing it.
>
>I'm very confused: if I have 5 bars of signal, shouldn't I be able to
>make a solid call where I can be heard, I don't break up, and the call
>doesn't get dropped? (at least most of the time)?
>
>I was on the phone with tech support for quite a while (level 2) because
>this is the 4th trouble ticket I've opened in 2-3 months and I've never
>opened one before in the previous 6 years of servous.
>
>He states I pick up a cell site in NJ - right accross the river from me.
>The switching point is in West NYack which is in Rockland County. He
>led me to believe it could be a difficulty with the switch.
>
>He even tried changing my phone number to see whether that would make a
>difference and it didn't seem to.
>
>What's a little scary to me is that now, at 2 AM, I can't drop a call!
>I've deliberately called every number in my address book that I knew I
>wouldn't be waking up, and every call went through without a problem.
>
>Could this inability to complete a call simply be the result of
>overcrowded cell sites rather than an "engineering problem"? The reason
>I'm thinking this way is because it is so easy to make calls at 1 AM,
>after everyone else is asleep.
>
>Any ideas?
>
>I'd rather track down the problem and continue to have the excellent
>Verizon service I've had for 6 years - that's really my all time goal.
>
>Louise

Just trying to give you a little feedback that may help you narrow
down your problem.

My daughter has been living on the upper west side of Manhattan in the
70's one block from Central Park for the past year. She reports no
problem with her reception. She called last night at 9. The call went
through and sounded great. She has not had one complaint about her
service and I have been particularly asking her about it because she
just got a new phone and I wanted to make sure it worked well in the
15 day trial period.

Do you have any problems with your phone in other areas of the west
side or only in the vicinity of the hudson river?

What model phone do you have? Is your phone all digital or tri mode?
She had a Motorola V60i and now has an LG VX 6000. There is truth to
varied reception issues with Verizon phones. When my daughter got hers
I got an LG4500 because I loved the speaker phone. I live on LI. It
dropped calls and had spotty reception in parts of my house where my
V60i did not. I traded it in the next day for the 6000 and find it
works as my old phone did.

Do other people you know with Verizon have similar problems in your
neighborhood?

I hope you find a solution soon.
Related resources
Anonymous
June 23, 2004 7:06:49 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

> Bars of signal strength is not related to network call capacity.

While I agree that bars are not a reliable indicator, each vendor comes up
with their
own mechanism for displaying signal strength.

Empirically, my phones do display less bars during peak times. In other
words, the
phones I have must rely on EC/I0 for the measurement of usable signal.

I can literally watch the bars change at the noon area or at 5 pm when my
phone
is sitting on my desk in its stand. It's also during these times that calls
fail
to intiate, drop, or I hear garble etc.

Most phones let you get into the programming debug menus, and you can see
things like Receive power, transmit adjust, active pilots, EC/I0, channel,
SID, NID etc.
In any event, the EC/I0 reading should give you a pretty good idea of how
much
usable signal is available.

Getting to this debug information can actually be very useful when
troubleshooting a problem.

For example, for years my Kyocera 6035 would drop to analog during a 9 mile
section
of I5 near Salem, OR. What was happening was related to the fact that this
area is a boundry
for both a SID and NID change. In most places the NID is just the default
65535, however,
south of Salem Oregon the NID is 102. This also marks an area of Linn and
Benton counties
in Oregon that were roaming to Verizon customers historically, and was
acquired and is
now native Verizon coverage. My 1X capable phones stay digital through that
whole section
but this allows me to give more detail when reporting the problem to
Verizon.

In addition, I typically reprogram my phones to automatically redial
silently in analog mode if digital
fails which often works around this problem (but not always). This is a
feature of some
phones that can be set or unset in the programming software.

-Dan
June 23, 2004 11:08:31 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

In article <MPG.1b42e8bb66a349ae989729@news.newsguy.com>,
none@nospam.com says...
> In the last two months my service has deteriorated greatly. I've been
> experiencing dropped calls, breaking up conversations and missed some
> calls I should have gotten. Tonight, between 9:15 and 11:30 PM, I was
> able to complete 3 out of the 40 calls I made. Every other one seemed
> to start to dial and then I got the message "call lost".
>
> So far 4 trouble tickets have been opened and closed. Each time
> something was done to fix it. The last time, the service really did
> seem to improve for about 3 days and now it's as bad as it's ever been.
>
> I'm located on the upper west side of Manhattan facing the Hudson River.
> According to Tech support, I'm getting the cell site outside of Jersey
> which is pretty much right across the river from me.
>
> I went to part of my home where I get 5 bars of signal at the window.
> And...with five bars of signal, I still could't complete a call without
> losing it.
>
> I'm very confused: if I have 5 bars of signal, shouldn't I be able to
> make a solid call where I can be heard, I don't break up, and the call
> doesn't get dropped? (at least most of the time)?
>
> I was on the phone with tech support for quite a while (level 2) because
> this is the 4th trouble ticket I've opened in 2-3 months and I've never
> opened one before in the previous 6 years of servous.
>
> He states I pick up a cell site in NJ - right accross the river from me.
> The switching point is in West NYack which is in Rockland County. He
> led me to believe it could be a difficulty with the switch.
>
> He even tried changing my phone number to see whether that would make a
> difference and it didn't seem to.
>
> What's a little scary to me is that now, at 2 AM, I can't drop a call!
> I've deliberately called every number in my address book that I knew I
> wouldn't be waking up, and every call went through without a problem.
>
> Could this inability to complete a call simply be the result of
> overcrowded cell sites rather than an "engineering problem"? The reason
> I'm thinking this way is because it is so easy to make calls at 1 AM,
> after everyone else is asleep.
>
> Any ideas?
>
> I'd rather track down the problem and continue to have the excellent
> Verizon service I've had for 6 years - that's really my all time goal.
>
> Louise
>
Hi,

Thanks for the feedback.

I have the LG VX4400 and it is tri-mode. I also have an old Motorola
StarTac 7868, also tri mode - same thing happened with that phone.

The majority of my trouble is when I'm facing the river. Other than
that, there are the occasional garbled calls and dropped signals, but
within livable limits.

I was told, and I believe it, that I am reaching a cell just north of
jersey city and a switching station in Nyack (Rockland County).

One tech actually walked me through changing my phone number to a
Connecticut number just to see if a different switching station would
solve the problem; it did not.

One person in my building is definitely having a similar problem.
However, someone else I asked hadn't noted any difficulty but I believe
she faces a different part of the building as it is on a corner and some
apts. face the river and some face the side street.

At 1 AM last night (or this morning), I had a more stable signal and was
able to make calls that weren't dropped. This afternoon it's still ok.
I left myself a long message on my answering machine and my voice was
not dropping out or breaking up. Last night, even when I got through, I
was practically incomprehensible.

I'm beginning to suspect over-capacity at the Jersey City cell site
because I find it hard to imagine that they fixed anything between 10 PM
and 1 AM - but usage would definitely have dropped radically at that
time.

You don't happen, by any chance, to know what cell site your daughter
accesses on CPW - do you?

Thanks again.

Louise
June 24, 2004 1:40:19 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

In article <ni2pq1-a08.ln1@home.rogerbinns.com>, rogerb@rogerbinns.com
says...
> Louise wrote:
> > I'm very confused: if I have 5 bars of signal, shouldn't I be able to
> > make a solid call where I can be heard, I don't break up, and the call
> > doesn't get dropped? (at least most of the time)?
>
> Bars of signal strength is not related to network call capacity.
> CDMA has a paging channel which the phone checks every few seconds
> to see if it has an incoming call/voicemail etc. That is what
> your phone shows while idle.
>
> Actually making a call involves using radio frequencies. The details
> are interesing, but basically CDMA has many phones all using the same
> frequencies at the same time. The bandwidth each phone uses changes
> 50 times a second. There isn't actually a hard limit to the
> number of simultaneous calls. All that happens is that the amount
> of radio noise increases, data gets dropped and eventually the
> phones or the tower terminate the call when they consider the
> situation intolerable.
>
> (TDMA/GSM by contrast has allocated time slices of which there are
> fixed numbers so there is a hard limit on concurrent calls, and they
> all have guaranteed bandwidth due to owning their time slice).
>
> I highly recommend reading this article on Stephen DenBeste's site
> which details how TDMA and CDMA slice up frequencies and time,
> and also how 3G happened.
>
> http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/10/GSM3G.shtml
>
> Roger
>
>
>
Ah - thanks - that makes sense.

Now, is the amount of radio noise directly related to volume of "hits"
on the cell site?

If I attach to an external auto antenna placed on a metal object, like
my washing machine, I definitely increase signal strength. But, as
another post suggested, might I also be increasing noise and therefore
not helping myself after all?

How does one decrease noise or is it totally a function of the cell site
itself?

Thanks again.

Louise
Anonymous
June 24, 2004 1:40:20 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

Louise wrote:
> Now, is the amount of radio noise directly related to volume of "hits"
> on the cell site?

Basically noise is any signal/information the particular cellphone/tower
pair is not interested in on the same frequencies. That would include other
cellphone/tower pairs, as well as general electronics.

The best analogy I have is if you were standing in the middle of a
room of people and and wanted to hear what is going on. TDMA would
give each person a short time slice to say part of their piece.
Only one person would talk at a time, and everyone would have to
take turns.

With CDMA everyone talks at the same time, and you would just figure
it out. You can request some people speak louder and others quieter.
It is a lot harder to pull off, but when you do it you can have a
lot more people having conversations, and when people are silent
you aren't wasting bandwidth.

Audio noise in that context is the same as radio noise.

> If I attach to an external auto antenna placed on a metal object, like
> my washing machine, I definitely increase signal strength. But, as
> another post suggested, might I also be increasing noise and therefore
> not helping myself after all?

It is like having a microphone while standing in the
middle of the room. If there is only one other distant person in the
room, then you can hear them better. If the room has several hundred
people then it may help you some of the time and not others since
the signal and noise are both clearer.

> How does one decrease noise or is it totally a function of the cell site
> itself?

It is a function of everyone else that is transmitting. If they stop,
the noise goes away :-)

Roger
Anonymous
June 24, 2004 4:18:20 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

In article <MPG.1b43c3d92c2a1d579896b0@news-server.nyc.rr.com>,
Louise <none@nospam.com> wrote:
>In article <ni2pq1-a08.ln1@home.rogerbinns.com>, rogerb@rogerbinns.com
>says...
>> Louise wrote:
>> > I'm very confused: if I have 5 bars of signal, shouldn't I be able to
>> > make a solid call where I can be heard, I don't break up, and the call
>> > doesn't get dropped? (at least most of the time)?
>>
>> Bars of signal strength is not related to network call capacity.
>> CDMA has a paging channel which the phone checks every few seconds
>> to see if it has an incoming call/voicemail etc. That is what
>> your phone shows while idle.
>>
>> Actually making a call involves using radio frequencies. The details
>> are interesing, but basically CDMA has many phones all using the same
>> frequencies at the same time. The bandwidth each phone uses changes
>> 50 times a second. There isn't actually a hard limit to the
>> number of simultaneous calls. All that happens is that the amount
>> of radio noise increases, data gets dropped and eventually the
>> phones or the tower terminate the call when they consider the
>> situation intolerable.
>>
>Ah - thanks - that makes sense.
>
>Now, is the amount of radio noise directly related to volume of "hits"
>on the cell site?

In CDMA-speak, everyone else using the same tower is "noise" with
respect to the communication between your phone and the tower. Think
of talking to someone at a party with a lot of conversations going on.
As far as you are concerned, all of the other conversations are "noise",
as your conversation is to them. You can also have radio noise in the
more conventional sense (lightning, solar flares, for example). The
CDMA protocol works real hard to keep everyone "at the same volume"
as heard by the tower (power adjustment 80 times/sec, I believe), to
keep one conversation from drowning out the others.
Anonymous
June 24, 2004 4:25:31 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

In article <UrSdnQQMqL5rY0TdRVn2gQ@comcast.com>,
Dan Albrich <junkmail@shaney.uoregon.edui> wrote:
>> Bars of signal strength is not related to network call capacity.
>
>While I agree that bars are not a reliable indicator, each vendor comes up
>with their
>own mechanism for displaying signal strength.
>
>Empirically, my phones do display less bars during peak times. In other
>words, the
>phones I have must rely on EC/I0 for the measurement of usable signal.

Ec/Io is a measure of the signal(Ec)-to-noise(Io) ratio, where Ec is
the stuff related to your conversation, and Io is everything else. As
Dan mentions, some CDMA phones are programmed to consider the quality
of the signal (Ec/Io) in addition to the raw signal strength in their
"bars" computation.
June 24, 2004 7:10:06 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

In article <MPG.1b42e8bb66a349ae989729@news.newsguy.com>,
none@nospam.com says...
> In the last two months my service has deteriorated greatly. I've been
> experiencing dropped calls, breaking up conversations and missed some
> calls I should have gotten. Tonight, between 9:15 and 11:30 PM, I was
> able to complete 3 out of the 40 calls I made. Every other one seemed
> to start to dial and then I got the message "call lost".
>
> So far 4 trouble tickets have been opened and closed. Each time
> something was done to fix it. The last time, the service really did
> seem to improve for about 3 days and now it's as bad as it's ever been.
>
> I'm located on the upper west side of Manhattan facing the Hudson River.
> According to Tech support, I'm getting the cell site outside of Jersey
> which is pretty much right across the river from me.
>
> I went to part of my home where I get 5 bars of signal at the window.
> And...with five bars of signal, I still could't complete a call without
> losing it.
>
> I'm very confused: if I have 5 bars of signal, shouldn't I be able to
> make a solid call where I can be heard, I don't break up, and the call
> doesn't get dropped? (at least most of the time)?
>
> I was on the phone with tech support for quite a while (level 2) because
> this is the 4th trouble ticket I've opened in 2-3 months and I've never
> opened one before in the previous 6 years of servous.
>
> He states I pick up a cell site in NJ - right accross the river from me.
> The switching point is in West NYack which is in Rockland County. He
> led me to believe it could be a difficulty with the switch.
>
> He even tried changing my phone number to see whether that would make a
> difference and it didn't seem to.
>
> What's a little scary to me is that now, at 2 AM, I can't drop a call!
> I've deliberately called every number in my address book that I knew I
> wouldn't be waking up, and every call went through without a problem.
>
> Could this inability to complete a call simply be the result of
> overcrowded cell sites rather than an "engineering problem"? The reason
> I'm thinking this way is because it is so easy to make calls at 1 AM,
> after everyone else is asleep.
>
> Any ideas?
>
> I'd rather track down the problem and continue to have the excellent
> Verizon service I've had for 6 years - that's really my all time goal.
>
> Louise
>
I want to thank all of you for your feedback and all the education I've
gotten from these posts.

I feel like I have a much better understanding of what might be going on
and how I will communicate this to the Verizon tech.

I'll also check out the real value of the car antenna, now understanding
the risks involved of just increasing noise and only having it appear
that I've improved the signal.

I did speak with a tech today who was able to check all my calls and see
which cell site I was using. When I was about 10 blocks away, and about
5 blocks east of the Hudson River, I was no longer using the Jersey City
cell site and I clearly had no problems. This enabled them to narrow
down the issue.

I don't know if Verizon will fix this, or whether they really are over
capacity, but I must say the techs have been truly helpful and willing
to work with me to isolate the difficulty....And the same goes double
for the folks on this newsgroup.

Thanks again and I'll post if I find out any more information.

Louise
Anonymous
June 24, 2004 10:00:34 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

x-no-archive:yes >From: Louise none@nospam.com:
".....I did speak with a tech today who was able to check all my calls and see
which cell site I was using. When I was about 10 blocks away, and about 5
blocks east of the Hudson River, I was no longer using the Jersey City cell
site and I clearly had no problems. This enabled them to narrow
>down the issue. I don't know if Verizon will fix this, or whether they really
are over capacity, but I must say the techs have been truly helpful and willing
to work with me to isolate the difficulty....And the same goes double for the
folks on this newsgroup. Thanks again and I'll post if I find out any more
information. Louise.."

Verizon is currently overlaying 1900Mhz channels in all their cell sites for
added capacity on their NY/NJ system... These extra channels should be up &
running between August-October, &, alog with additional cells, will eliminate
the capacity problems being felt at these particular cell sites....
Anonymous
June 25, 2004 3:04:01 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

On 24 Jun 2004 18:00:34 GMT, advanspec@aol.com.ze (ADVANSPEC) wrote:

>x-no-archive:yes >From: Louise none@nospam.com:
>".....I did speak with a tech today who was able to check all my calls and see
>which cell site I was using. When I was about 10 blocks away, and about 5
>blocks east of the Hudson River, I was no longer using the Jersey City cell
>site and I clearly had no problems.

This may explain why my daughter who lives east of you near Central
Park West has not had the problems you have had.

Hope your situation is solved with the addition of the 1900
bandwidth. Keep us posted.
June 25, 2004 8:15:41 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

In article <20040624140034.05810.00000354@mb-m27.aol.com>,
advanspec@aol.com.ze says...
> x-no-archive:yes >From: Louise none@nospam.com:
> ".....I did speak with a tech today who was able to check all my calls and see
> which cell site I was using. When I was about 10 blocks away, and about 5
> blocks east of the Hudson River, I was no longer using the Jersey City cell
> site and I clearly had no problems. This enabled them to narrow
> >down the issue. I don't know if Verizon will fix this, or whether they really
> are over capacity, but I must say the techs have been truly helpful and willing
> to work with me to isolate the difficulty....And the same goes double for the
> folks on this newsgroup. Thanks again and I'll post if I find out any more
> information. Louise.."
>
> Verizon is currently overlaying 1900Mhz channels in all their cell sites for
> added capacity on their NY/NJ system... These extra channels should be up &
> running between August-October, &, alog with additional cells, will eliminate
> the capacity problems being felt at these particular cell sites....
>
>
That's absolutely great news! I've had excellent service from them for
many years and I'd much rather wait a couple of months for them to fix
it, then to feel forced to lose them as a carrier.

I wish they would have been candid enough to tell ME this piece of
information. It would have saved me a lot of distress and then I
wouldn't have been quite so insistent with them that they fix it NOW.

Anyway, great news and thanks.

Louise
Anonymous
June 25, 2004 7:32:29 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

I think you now have a good handle on your problem, Louise. If I'd seen your
post two days ago, I would have been forced to say that my Verizon experience
in the West 90s has gotten *better* over the past few months. I get far fewer
dropped calls and bumps to voicemail than I used to at 8:30 a.m., noon, and
5:30 p.m. But that would have just made you feel bad (g), because I'm facing
the other way.

The only thing I can contribute is, "location, location, location." I don't
think any antenna will trump the physics involved. Either put a big fat steel
building between you and Jersey City, or use your landline, until they fix it.
!