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General Poor Signal Strength & Dropped Calls - Galaxy Nexus

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by JamesSJ, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    Although this should be a fix for my house, it does not resolve the issue. My previous phone never dropped a call here. With the GNex, I can barely make a call without it being dropped. The question is whether this is a problem with all GNex phones or just some. Will the rumored software update resolve the problem?
     

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  2. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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  3. ShakeAndBake

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    I did the PRL update using the instructions from dhinez. My PRL version went from 15109 to 52686. I should find a huge piece of wood to knock on, because so far (it's only been an hour or so), it's been holding a stronger 4G signal for me.

    Where I sit at work, my Gnex used to be down around -120dBm on 4G and then it would switch to 3G and back and forth. Now it has been sticking on 4G at -113dBm. My speed tests are also consistently higher now when on 4G.
     
  4. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    Good luck! It did not help me. I find my signal strength varies from day to day and at different times of the day.
     
  5. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    I think I have learned something about the bars and signal strength (this may already be well know). If I am getting a 4G signal, the phone displays the strength of the 4G signal. If I turn off LTE (or am in a 3G area) then the phone displays the strength of the CDMA signal.
     
  6. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    I see this phone is now available at Amazon for $49.99. Its rating is only 3.5 stars which is poor. It appears they are just trying to dump this phone on the market to get rid of it.

    AmazonWireless: Samsung Galaxy Nexus 4G Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)

    As usual, the most common complaint are poor signal strength and dropped calls.

    I suspect that there is a hardware problem with this phone. Trading your phone in will just get you another phone that has been returned with the same problems.

    I think the companies know this and are just trying to string us along with this mysterious update until our warranty runs out.

    Has anyone tried returning it to Samsung to be repaired?
     
  7. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    At this point I do not know what to do. The options seem to be:

    1) Wait for the software update and see if it resolves the issue.
    2) Get a refurbished one from Verizon.
    3) Send it to Samsung for repair.

    Thoughts?
     
  8. Demache

    Demache Android Expert
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    You must have incredibly high standards if 3.5 stars is a "poor" rating. :p
     
  9. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    I have been with Amazon for quite a few years. I have found that 4.5 to 5 stars is an excellent rating. 4 stars tends to be a moderate rating. Less than that tends to be a poor rating.

    The phone has many excellent qualities but if it does not work well as a phone, it is not a good phone. Read the 1 and 2 star reviews.

    :)
     
  10. Demache

    Demache Android Expert
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    Seems to work well as a phone for me. Not a single dropped call yet and I'm in the middle of nowhere. Either that, or South Dakota must have an amazing voice network.

    Just saying, your experience != everyone elses experience.

    Not trying to give you a hard time. Apparently you either get a really good one, or a bunk one, going by a lot of users on here which I suppose can be a negative in and of itself.
     
  11. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    When I read the forums, and talk with Verizon tech support (some who own this phone), this is a very common problem that is not solved by exchanging the phone. I am glad yours works well. If you are in a strong signal strength area, there seems to be no problem. The problem occurs in fringe areas. :)
     
  12. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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  13. red66charger

    red66charger Android Expert
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    I'm no expert so I can't speak to the technical aspects of signal strength, PRL, rooting, flashing, roming, etc. However I can speak about my user experience and how it's affected me.

    I live in Largo, Florida which is in the Tampa Bay area (near Clearwater). When looking at Verizon's 4G map, it is solid maroon suggesting strong 4G coverage. However I get horrible LTE reception indoors at my home and at my office near the county courthouse in downtown Clearwater. When the 4G signal drops it takes a while before the 3G kicks in. Often I get no data connection at all. Standing outside in front of my house and next to my office building I get killer 4G signal, but once I step inside it goes way down. Both of these buildings are 1-story buildings.

    I exchanged my launch-day GNex for a replacement after a month of this. Since many Android Forums users were stating they were not experiencing this problem, I thought perhaps I had a bad device. As others who were having similar issues as mine were advised, I exchanged my first GNex in the hope of getting a better performing device. The replacement device, which I still use, was no different whatsoever. It performs EXACTLY like my first device did in every way. I never had some of the problems others had with crackling audio or dropped calls. Mostly the phone works as a phone. I've had the one-way audio thing happen a couple of times and the random reboot a half dozen times...but my reception, indoors, is pretty bad.

    My personal belief is that neither one of my phones were "bad" units. It is my suspicion that, compared to the devices that folks are having no problems with, my phone(s) is no different. I believe the problem is a combination of: hardware that may not be that great (which from what I've read is Samsung's reputation with radios) and Verizon's coverage map not being all that accurate.

    My reasoning? Since so many report NOT having reception issues, it's my guess they live in TRULY STRONG SIGNAL AREAS. Living in a strong signal area could potentially "mask" the fact the the radio in the GNex is really sub-par. I have been assuming since VZW's coverage map shows that I am in a strong signal area that I AM in a strong signal area. But the fact of the matter is that I live out towards the beaches and I'm more likely in a fringe area at work and at home, even though the map shows I'm in a strong area. My Speedtest results have never been anywhere near what many report. I'm almost always between 4-9 Mbps on LTE.

    The thing is, I was using an HTC Thunderbolt before I bought the GNex and I NEVER had a problem with 4G reception in either my home or my office. I also work with someone who bought a GNex and he was having the same issue with reception in our building that I have. It was a deal killer for him (and it really is for me to), so he returned it for a RAZR. He does not have the reception problem in our building on his RAZR that he had with his GNex. So what does this tell me? Well, I had a TB that worked. He has a RAZR that works. Three GNex's that were in that building all had the same problem. To me, that tells me it is the GNex hardware combined with, perhaps, week 4G signal in our area.

    Now, is it really hardware or could it be software? I don't know. I have been dealing with poor reception for over 4 months hoping beyond hope that an OTA will come soon and will fix my reception issue. Truth is no one here knows when that OTA will come. Facetiously I have stated it'll never come, but that's the bad red66charger in me talking. I am quite frustrated that my indoor reception stinks. I'm equally frustrated at the delay of an OTA update from VZW. I've also come to realize that complaining about it is getting old for everyone in here. I'd like to sincerely apologize to them for that.

    So I am at a crossroads myself. I don't believe exchanging for a third device will "fix" my problem. I'm not even sure 4.5 will fix the problem, and I think that could have something to do with the delay of the update. However the those who have flashed AOKP or AOSP (again, I have NO idea what any of that means) seem to feel it does address the issue. So I'm holding steady waiting for the OTA. At the same time, I am waffling between attempting to hack my phone (which I think I just proved would probably be a bad decision) or reactivate my Thunderbolt until the OTA update comes. I'm also looking at rumors for releases later this year with an eye towards replacing this GNex. One thing is for sure...I LOVE ICS! I also really, really like many of the features of the GNex (except the meh camera). But the poor data connectivity really negates a lot of the good about the device...for me.

    I'm starting to wonder if Android is really for me. I really just want a device that works WELL out of the box. I've got enough "toys" in the toy box to play with and flashing custom roms to prevent boredom or to push the technology isn't my thing. I just don't think owning a smartphone should be this much trouble lol.

    I'm sure much of what I've said can be debated and most likely proven wrong. I'm only going off of my USER experience. To answer your question...I don't believe Option 2 or 3 will do you much good. Your best bet is Option 1 or possibly hacking your phone. Or purchase a completely different device. I think that's what I'm ultimately going to have to do, which is a shame because I like most things about this device, and oh yeah, I paid $300 for it.
     
  14. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    Thanks red66charger! This pretty much sums it up for me with a few differences. My 4G signal is a little stronger than my 3G and I do get dropped calls to the extent that I cannot even use it as a phone at times. My previous phone never dropped a call at home (or anywhere else). It makes no difference if I am inside my home or not.

    I also paid $299 for my phone and did not have a smartphone before so my monthly bill has more than doubled. My frustration level with this is just getting greater and greater as time passes, especially when both Verizon and Samsung deny that this is a known issue. I think I can wait until the end of May to see if the software update comes out and fixes the problem.
     
  15. trophynuts

    trophynuts Extreme Android User
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    I work in a Tech related field. Have been in a tec
    SouthEastern US
    i am in the same boat as the last two posters. I'm on my first replacement device now. I got it last week. Like RedCharger said about his, my replacement device is just as bad as my launch day device. I get zero service at my house. Even when forcing the phone in 3G mode i get nothing....-120dbm....my old DroidX had good 3G service. I'm at the point now where i'm going to keep swapping devices in until i either get one that works, an update comes out to fix the issues, or VZW allows me to just change devices.
     
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  16. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    I finally went to a Verizon corporate store. They were familar with the GNex signal strength issue. They had 3 Gnex on display. My phone was measuring in the 90s ( - dBm). Two of the ones on display were in the 80s. One was in the high 70s. The RAZR Maxx was at 72.

    It seems that this is a hardware issue with poor quality control. The store said they would be happy to switch my phone out for another Gnex or a RAZR Maxx. Which do I want? We could do the switching in the store and find one with a good radio. On the other hand, the RAZR Maxx seems like a better phone.

    Thoughts?
     
  17. kentenn3

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    I called Verizon Tech Support today. They told me not to run the PRL update as per the earlier post. They said it would destroy my sim card. What I did not tell them was I had already ran the update and my phone was running better because of it. VTS told me that the PRL that was in my phone was a 3G PRL. The 151** PRL was the 4G PRL. I found this interesting because I was getting a 4G signal. VTS told me it was really a 3G signal. Anyway, VTS stated that the software update was scheduled to be released this weekend. This fix is suppose to correct the signal issues and it will restore the correct PRL to my phone.

    The signal issue has made me totally forget about the battery issue. I am getting much better battery life with the 4G turned off. I feel the signal strength issue is one of the main causes of the battery issue. With 4G on, I get 2-3 hrs battery life. With 4G off, I get 8-10 hours battery life.

    Verizon said if the software update did not correct the issue, they recommended that I swap to another phone. They recommended the Razor Maxx
     
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  18. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    Every time I talk to VTS I seem to get a different answer. I do not think they know when the update will be out. I hope you are right. I bought my phone just before Christmas when it first came out. I had been waiting for it for over 6 months because of all the rave reviews. Unfortunately, the phone has not lived up to its reviews. The main issue for me is the very poor signal strength and dropped calls. The battery life is also poor. The camera is poor too. It is not the phone I thought I was buying. After the update, if it does not fix things, I will consider the RAZR Maxx but it does not have as good of a screen as the GNex and a big reason I bought the GNex was for the screen. All-in-all, I am not a happy camper. People have said that they do not like the skin and bloatware on the RAZR Maxx but I do not know much about that.
     
  19. dr_glenn

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    I went from HTC Incredible 1 to Maxx earlier this week. After reading this thread, I'm very glad I didn't choose Nexus. Voice calls with Maxx are better than Incredible. So far I have little experience with 4G.

    BUT WIFI SUCKS on the Maxx. I can't believe how poor it is. Using Wifi Analyzer app, I get anywhere from 3 to 10 dB less signal than with Incredible. And the signal strength fluctuates over the span of 15 seconds by around 10 dB, but I see no such fluctuations with Incredible.

    I don't get very good 3G or 4G at home, so the Wifi problem may cause me to return the Maxx. Be warned.
     
  20. LCW

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    Even with the OEM extended battery (2000 mAh), i'm not impressed with the GSM Gnex's battery life. After 3 1/2 hours today, I'm at 65%, and not using it heavily. It will be its downfall for me. At least with my iphone 4S, i NEVER had to worry about running out of battery. Sure the screen is small, but when you avoid using your device because you're afraid of running out of battery, and/or constantly looking for a charger, screen size is moot at that point.
     
  21. Tim K

    Tim K Android Expert
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    What is your definition of "not using it heavily"? I am at 3 1/2hrs on my standard battery (LTE version) and am at 78%. I would describe my usage as "light".

    15 min screen on
    15 min voice calls
    2hrs on wifi / 1:30 min on 3g/4g
    Brightness @ 30%

    Post your usage below if you would. Also, a screenshot of your battery graph would be a big help in seeing if there is something fishy going on.
     
  22. TheBlackFlux

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    Just got my replacement phone in and it's god awful. It's dropping signal worse than the first phone. I am going to see if verizon will allow me to switch to a different phone.
     
  23. tpdtopcop

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    I have tried this and says call not sent
     
  24. leeq

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    I'll also report my GNex problem.

    I literally put aside my GN (ICS 4.0.4 stock) with iPhone 3GS in a room having weak wifi signal.
    Shamefully, iPhone connects without dropping and "Speedtest.net" reports that the network speed is similar to my laptop, whereas GN just cannot pick up the wifi most of the cases or drops 2-6 secs after obtaining IP. I wasn't even able to test on Speedtest.net app.

    Even when I'm literally sitting next to my AP ( < 1m), the wifi bar jumps between 3-4, and I lost connections while talking on Skype. 3G quality seems to be same as iPhone.

    This is LITERALLY UNUSABLE, and I really wish Google updates this disastrous version, ASAP.
     
  25. JamesSJ

    JamesSJ Well-Known Member
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    This is probably my last post on this thread. 3 days ago I received my replacement RAZR Maxx. The CDMA signal strength went from -120 dBm on the GNex to -82 on the RMaxx. The LTE signal strength went from -106 on the GNex to -92. The problem was the poor signal strength on the GNex particularly with CDMA. I have had no problems with Wi-Fi on either phone. The larger battery on the RAZR Maxx is a big plus. IMHO, the RAZR Maxx is the best android phone on the market today. I think the GNex has hardware problems with either its radio or antenna.
     
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