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By stevelup
#1663641
I trawl this story out every time, but we were shafted royally by O2.

We had a multi-handset contract (18 connections) with O2 and one day our signal quality suddenly worsened in the office so they supplied one of their business boost box units (the one that can do 32 handsets / 4 concurrent calls). All was well for a couple of months until they set up a new 4G cell right near our office.

That completely stuffed us. Because O2 didn't support VoLTE (calls over 4G), we still needed the Boost Box for calls, but all our phones were detecting the 4G signal and connecting to that in priority to the 3G signal provided by the Boost Box.

So what happened was, our phones would ring (because the 4G network signalled them to do so), but the minute you tried to answer, the call was dropped because the phone tried to switch to the non-existent 3G signal (the Boost Box was not an option in this scenario).

O2's suggestion was for all our staff to turn 4G off when we arrived at the office and turn it back on when leaving. Brilliant.

They refused point blank to do anything about it and to rub salt in the wound wouldn't let us exit our contract early because they considered the workaround to be a solution.
User avatar
By rikur_
#1663646
We have a variation on that issue in our village.
We have adequate 4G coverage on all 3 networks; Voda also has good 2G/3G coverage, but O2 and EE don't.
As a result we have people on EE and O2 who believe they have a good signal ("but I've got 3 bars") but can't make/receive calls because they have phones that don't support VoLTE .
VoLTE support seems to have lots of conditionality - the handset needs to support it (which isn't just a case of models - can vary based on where you bought it); it needs to be switched on; it doesn't work on PAYG; etc .... so e.g. parents cascading their old iPhone to their kids with a PAYG SIM to call when they get off the school bus doesn't work, even though the same phone on the same network worked from that location when it had their parent's contract SIM in it, and it still appears to be showing 3 bars of signal strength.
User avatar
By Trent772
#1663661
seanxair wrote:
Trent772 wrote:Tell them you have thick stone walls and your reception is carp.

Say unless you send something, you will leave.

A 3G omgomulator will be supplied that plugs into your router that will flood your house with 3g.


What is an omgomulator? Never heard the term before and google isn't returning much!



It is a gizmo of unknown manufacture, origin and intent :mrgreen:

Can be used to explain most things when used in context !!!
User avatar
By rikur_
#1663709
malcolmfrost wrote:There is another network! Three has improved their coverage hugely over the last couple of years. Maybe worth a try?

Not here there isn't :-)
(and as someone covering nearly 60,000 miles per year by train, they don't have good enough en-route coverage either)
User avatar
By rikur_
#1663719
stevelup wrote::lol:

Train WiFi is generally about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

At least you can eat a chocolate teapot :-)
I'll confess to having been involved in the procurement of many train wifi solutions - but nonetheless am firmly of the view that it will always be behind market expectations. It takes so long to bring stuff to market in the railways that it's obsolete by the time it launches, and it's hard to make the ship-to-shore for a train full of 500 people much better than an individual's 4G connection would be anyway* ..... but politically and commercially it's seen as necessary to offer it ... just like we still had payphones on trains at the turn of the Millenia.
(*On some types of train, the metal coated windows inhibit the mobile phone signal unless there are also mobile repeaters installed - some of which are only GSM1800 because when they were put in)

The first system we rolled out with Icomera was back in 2006, and was predominantly satellite backhaul (2mbps) with some GPRS. Expensive to operate and whilst it was conceived at a time when most people could only get 35kbps from a PCMCIA modem, the 2mbps soon became inadequate, and off the train users were starting to expect 3G speeds on the move. It was intended as a first class 'perk' primarily for sending/receiving emails .... a lot of capacity was wasted with retransmissions because end-user devices couldn't cope with high latency satellite. The marketing teams promoted it for more than it was capable of, and then when National Express took over they decided to make it free for all of First and Standard class so that it was so overloaded it was no use to anyone. Satellite was dropped in ~ 2010, and that system nowadays uses multi-carrier 3g/4g ship-to-shore.**
On the West Coast, a different supplier (Nomad) and different approach was taken with (pre-standards) WiMax ship-to-shore, which involved a new network of WiMax base stations along the network, that were designed to offer 34mbps ship-to-shore .... albeit in a lot of locations, it wasn't possible to get 34mbps provisioned to the base station. Over time this has also migrated to using a lot more 3g/4g multi-carrier network access.
Some of the commuter services, have little more than a glorified shared 4G connection - but usually with the benefit of dual carrier and roof-top antenna. Southern Rail had a bit of 'left hand' 'right hand' problem when they installed WiMax along the Brighton mainline, and on the fleet of trains that operated on that route .... just as the installation finished, the trains were deployed to the south coast, so they had trains with no base stations to connect on the south coast, and base stations with no trains to connect to them on the Brighton mainline.
More recently there has been a focus of putting media streaming servers on trains to try to encourage people to stream local content, rather than clogging up the ship-to-shore connection.
(** For a while I got myself a T-mobile 3G dongle specifically because T-mobile weren't used by the ship-to-shore, so their cellular capacity didn't get swamped by the train's connections in the way that O2/Orange did)

If it was my money, I'd spend it on improving the normal 4G (or 5G in due course) coverage along the line of route, rather than bespoke WiFi solutions that are doing little more than share half-a-dozen 4G connections around 500 people.
#1663736
rikur_ wrote:If it was my money, I'd spend it on improving the normal 4G (or 5G in due course) coverage along the line of route, rather than bespoke WiFi solutions that are doing little more than share half-a-dozen 4G connections around 500 people.


In Luxemburg, all the train lines have cellular masts along their length with antennas pointing up and down the track. I understand that wasn't allowed here for many years as the train people wanted to install their own solutions and charge for them. Maybe we could start putting in this sort of infrastructure here. It always bemused me that the cellular companies bent over backwards to ensure all the main roads and motorways were covered, but couldn't do the trains!
User avatar
By rikur_
#1663749
Paul_Sengupta wrote:
rikur_ wrote:If it was my money, I'd spend it on improving the normal 4G (or 5G in due course) coverage along the line of route, rather than bespoke WiFi solutions that are doing little more than share half-a-dozen 4G connections around 500 people.


In Luxemburg, all the train lines have cellular masts along their length with antennas pointing up and down the track. I understand that wasn't allowed here for many years as the train people wanted to install their own solutions and charge for them. Maybe we could start putting in this sort of infrastructure here. It always bemused me that the cellular companies bent over backwards to ensure all the main roads and motorways were covered, but couldn't do the trains!

Specifically Network Rail wanted to put in their own solution (GSM-R) for operational use - and have blown hot & cold over the years as to whether they want to resell capacity for passenger use, or ring-fence it as a critical operational system. I can't recall which way the wind is blowing at the moment. We had similar issue with WiMAX that they didn't want it, so a lot was mounted off railway premises so they couldn't prevent it.
To their credit, I've had a fair amount of engagement over the years with Vodafone, T-mobile and Orange as was with collaborative initiatives to improve railway coverage. Orange even fitted repeaters within trains, and T-mobile was one of the early investors in on-train WiFi.
I haven't been close to cellular network design, but can imagine it's a pretty horrible thing to design for .... 400 devices simultaneously want to hand-over to a cell site, absorb alls its capacity, with 125mph doppler effect, and then 20 seconds latter bugger off to the next cell site, just as the response packets are arriving at the cell site that's now out of range.

ps: And IIRC the leaky feeders in tunnels are owned by the railways, and the mobile operators have to pay to use them .... which I believe has been a contentious issue with ESN, as some regard it as unethical that the emergency services are indirectly being charged to provide an emergency service.
Last edited by rikur_ on Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#1663763
Any device not actively making a call, or on a sporadic data only call, will just be monitoring the network and will attach to the appropriate cell when necessary. For active calls, 3G copes very adequately with mobility through what's known as soft handover. When you come within range of another site (when it reaches a certain signal strength), it'll establish a connection with that site as well as the one you've been using, effectively setting up two (or three) connections. When the signal strength of the original drops below a certain value, that connection is quietly dropped and you're then only on the new link. It's pretty seamless, assuming you have adequate coverage of course.

125mph isn't a problem.

Cellular networks are designed with mobility in mind.
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