Why do I have random dropouts?

I always have 2 bars minimum sometimes 3, I don't understand why I have random dropouts. They happen about 2-3 times a day which may not sound a lot but it is quite annoying when the connection gets interrupted. It does automatically get reconnected to the vivid/optus network but still.

http://i.imgur.com/LDYwj03.png

Comments

#1

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 27 weeks ago

I can see from your screenshot that you're running the original LTE modem firmware. There's a new version that has been developed, but I don't think it has been released fully yet. It was supposed to have been ready about 4-5 months ago, but has been held up for some reason.

When it is released, there is some hope that it would help with these sort of dropouts. There are a small percentage of people who have that issue, as I have seen it reported on the Whirlpool forums as well.

My belief at present is that it is caused by a particular set of signal characteristics in your location. Maybe a mix of several towers in the vicinity with competing signals. You might want to take a look at the following URL and work out where the 2300MHz Optus towers are in relation to you:

https://www.optus.com.au/about/network/service-status

Then see whether you can optimise the location of your modem in relation to the towers, so that one of them is clearly "better" from the modem's perspective.

In terms of trying to work out Why the dropouts happen, I am wondering whether the modem is switching to another tower, causing a brief disconnection. To monitor this, watch the Cell ID value (in the modem web interface, System, Device Information). When a dropout occurs, see if the Cell ID has changed.

#2

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 27 weeks ago

Further to those thoughts, I just happened to pop into the Whirlpool site and noticed the following comments from two users:

*********

>> gracks writes:
had my first outage this morning since joining 2 months ago.

> jjcoolaus writes:
When you say "outage" you are going to have to describe the symptoms a bit. Overloading the NAT table with bittorrent connections (for example) subsequently causing the modem to lose it's 4G connection is not an "outage" since a simple restart fixes it.

*********

Is there anything you are running which could be causing the dropouts? Or just "normal" web browsing, etc?

#3

dfg555 wrote 27 weeks ago

No the connections are randomly dropping whether it's downloading, playing a game or watching a video/stream. But yes I will keep track of the Cell ID and Public IP changes before/after dropout.

#4

dfg555 wrote 27 weeks ago

I checked the tower status and there 2 functioning towers somewhat near me and 1 tower that's near that has planned work. I suspect this dropout has something to do with those 2 functioning towers and once that 1 tower has been fixed, the situation may worsen or perhaps be fixed as that 1 tower is the closest to me.

#5

dfg555 wrote 27 weeks ago

Just an update, the cell id did change. I will keep track if it changes to a different one or if it goes back to the previous cell id before this change.

#6

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 26 weeks ago

That's good to know. At least now we have a possible reason for the dropout symptom. You may be able to optimise the physical location or orientation of the LTE modem to make it prefer one tower over the other based on signal strength and quality, making it less likely to want to switch. And yes, if you get a new tower in the area with an even better signal, that is likely to help.

#7

dfg555 wrote 26 weeks ago

It changed again back to the original cell id. I hope either the new firmware gets released or the closest cell tower to me gets fixed. I think the router just keeps changing back and forth to those 2 cell towers.

#8

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 26 weeks ago

Is there any way you can shield the modem so that it can only get a good signal from one of those towers? e.g. wrapping it in foil and leaving one side open facing that tower, or something along those lines? Crude temporary solution, but can be effective. e.g. foil lined shoebox with one end open, modem inside it?

#9

dfg555 wrote 22 weeks ago

Just an update. I am still getting random dropouts but this time the Cell ID doesn't change so does the IP Address. Is it a faulty hardware? Faulty tower? I have restarted the router multiple times after when the dropouts happen thinking it was just a bad connection and to ensure a new connection. Even with a restart it still has the same Cell ID. I'm hoping if I change towers the connection maybe more stable. My bars are still the same, 2-3. I'm going to try and do a traceroute when the connection drops out again and see where it stops responding.

#10

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 22 weeks ago

Depends what you mean by "dropout".

If the modem is disconnecting from the tower, that would be visible to vividwireless in their logs. I would recommend that you get them to try to troubleshoot from their end by opening a support ticket (if you haven't already done so).

If the modem is staying connected, but just one device (say, one PC) at your end is not connecting any longer, but other devices are working okay, then I would be looking for some source of the problem at your end..

If the modem stays connected, but ALL the devices at your end suddenly stop, then it could conceivably be something upstream of you. Yes, it might be a tower fault. Or it might be a faulty modem, though that is pretty rare. For this scenario you should also be in touch with vividwireless support, because if you DO need a new modem, they're going to want to be involved in the troubleshooting. And if it is a faulty tower, they're going to need evidence to present to Optus, as it is Optus who provide the underlying LTE network.

#11

dfg555 wrote 22 weeks ago

My situation is the third one. Also it actually decided to switch to another tower during the dropout but for some reason the speed was insanely slow 1/1 but the signal bars were still the same 2-3. So I decided to reboot again and it connected to the previous tower and it went back to normal speeds 10/1. Not sure what was wrong with that tower. It would be great if we had the option to lock on specific towers to prevent that from happening. But I guess the only solution is for that new firmware to be released and hopefully fix these issues.

I've also been using this external antenna for about 3 months now because without it I get 1 bar and the speeds aren't consistent. I have stuck it next to a window. Not sure if this might be causing these random dropouts. http://www.panorama-antennas.com/site/index.php?route=product/product&pa...

#12

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 22 weeks ago

I doubt that an antenna would cause a dropout like that. Would recommend that you check RSSI and SINR values for each tower that you've seen it connect with. The modem will switch if it thinks it can get a better signal. So if your tower with good throughput has a signal much the same as the tower with poor throughput, I can see how the modem might occasionally try to switch. You might need to find out where the towers are nearby and see if you can shield the modem somehow from the towers that you don't want it to use. Have a look at the following URL and you'll be able to find where they are relative to your place. https://www.optus.com.au/about/network/service-status

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