Cell Phone Dead Zones

 

Is there a project out there for cell phone dead spots? I'm picturing either separate files for each carrier or a field in the file that gives carrier so we can filter it. I don't know that I mean out in the middle of nowhere, but certainly dead spots in metro areas should be doable.

I know of a number of them around KC, yet I continually drive into them and get dumped. That little reminder would let me warn my caller or take an alternate route. I do a lot of my business when I drive, but getting dumped is a pain.

Might be better done in the metro area projects, but it would be nice to know when I'm traveling as well. AND, maybe the carriers would look at them and FIX them.

Is there a need?

I don't see a need for a POI that lists cell phone dead spots. It would seem to me to be redundant, your cell phone will find them just fine and why would you want to go to one? But if you need one, then build one.

Cell phone dead zones

Yes they are really bad here is deep East Texas dead spots all over even though the cell company maps says there is coverage.I've had a cell phone since 1988,I would think by now all or most of the United States would have coverage.No they have to put up these ugly towers with an antiquated system,the cell phones improve why not the coverage.

Working on one

I'm working on building my own for my area. I thought it would be nice when I'm traveling. It's not that I'd want to go there, it's that I DON'T want to go there. As for the cell phone "telling me", it tells you when it dumps you. I live in a major metro area, but for some reason there are holes all over town. The ones I know about, I'm usually able to tell my caller that "I'll call you back if we get dumped". It would be nice for a proximity alert to tell me that I'm approaching a known dead spot for my carrier and can "make arrangements".

Just a thought.

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I think the real issue is, as with GPS', is the concrete canyons. It's hard to get signals from anything when they are on top of a 40+ story building.

Ah, the joys of urban life!

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nüvi 3790T | nüvi 775T | Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable ~ JFK

Concrete Canyons

Juggernaut wrote:

I think the real issue is, as with GPS', is the concrete canyons. It's hard to get signals from anything when they are on top of a 40+ story building.

Concrete canyons are a problem with GPS, but they are no problem for cellphones in New York City. There are so many mini-cell sites and so much customer demand that all the providers have good coverage.

Cell sites are not only on top of tall buildings, they are at street level and everywhere. Even locations below street level have coverage.

Out in the suburbs away from Manhattan, customer demand has provided good coverage. I have not seen evidence of a dead zone in many years.

dobs108 smile Nassau County NY - A suburb of NYC

a dropped call isn't always a 'dead zone'

There are lots of reasons calls can drop - and not always is it due to your phone losing RF contact with a cell tower. More often than not, its due to something else - and that something else isn't something that I would consider "mappable" - like a hand-off from one cell tower to another, and the tower to be handed off to is at capacity.... if you are "roaming" and a customer of the company who owns the tower needs a slot, the roamer gets dropped is one example... you can't map that.

True 'dead zones' - where there is simply no RF signal at all - are mostly in rural, very sparsely populated areas any more.

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*Keith* MacBook Pro *wifi iPad(2012) w/BadElf GPS & iPhone6 + Navigon*

West Louisiana

From Mansfield to DeQuincy on AT&T. There are a few areas of edge coverage around the small towns, but no 3G

There's more "no coverge" areas than you might think.

I am with Page Plus Cellular, which uses Verizon towers. This is similar to Straight Talk, another Verizon tower user.

You'd be amazed how many times there is no service. Elizabethtown KY, a decent sized town is a good example.

Get a few milses off of I55 going through central Illinios farm country and there's no Verizon and extremely limited ATT service.

A "no service" POI would be very valuable, if not a monster to deply and maintain.

weather related

Weather seems to also effect the signal for the cell phones. That is not mappable either. The most common these days is the handoff from tower to tower. The companies just can't seem to get that right.
And, yes there are complete dead spots where there are no towers because you are in really rural area.

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Nuvi 2460LMT.

Practical

I am curious - would the dead zones vary by carrier?

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RKF (Bethesda, MD) Garmin Nuvi 660, 360 & Street Pilot

Yes

rkf wrote:

I am curious - would the dead zones vary by carrier?

They could. Some cell towers are shared by multiple carriers, others not. Depending on each carrier's cell tower locations, it is possible for one carrier to have better coverage in a certain area than another.

I was in the wireless network business before I retired and getting cell towers built where the network designers wanted them was always a struggle with the local government building departments and the local NIMBY's (Not In My Back Yard).

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Tampa, FL - Garmin nüvi 660 (Software Ver 4.90), 2019.30 CN NA NT maps | Magellan Meridian Gold

Cell Phone Dead Zones

Yes, the areas of no coverage would depend on the carrier. One of the areas that I will to ride my ATV in is very rural. If I have my work Nextel along, I know about where coverage area stops. On the other hand, my Garminfone is through T-Mobile (GSM) and I have coverage much further than Nextel. Although I am not a Verizon (CDMA) customer, their coverage is completely different than the others. It would be difficult to create POIs for this because it isn't just one point, but rather a "footprint". You could create points on specific roads, but coverage can actually vary somewhat between two phones on the same carrier. Probably not by a huge margin, but still they can differ somewhat.

Looking at it from a somewhat different perspective, however, you could create POIs for cell towers for the various carriers. In fact, there are some Android applications that will display what tower you are affiliated with on GSM devices. There might be similar apps for CDMA as well. There is also data available on line for tower sites. The reason I think that would be more beneficial is he location of the tower is not variable, but rather a fixed, known location. The benefit that I would see from that could be say in the case of a vehicle breakdown in a rural area. If you have no coverage, but need to walk towards the nearest tower to get a signal to make a call for help, it would be quite nice to know that it would be better to walk west rather than east to get coverage. If you do some searchng on line you may be able to find what you want, BUT some companies feel that their sites are proprietary data.

Would it be easier to

look at the carriers coverage map to see bad areas. Here is the Verizon Wireless coverage map link.

http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/CoverageLocatorController?

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260, 295W, 1490T,2455LMT

Exactly...

kch50428 wrote:

True 'dead zones' - where there is simply no RF signal at all - are mostly in rural, very sparsely populated areas any more.

As where I live, in New York, sans "very sparsely populated". Lots of hills and only one (far) cell tower in the only town that allowed it. For me it would be more useful to have a "signal" map area, as the dead spots are more abundant. All streets "below" the horizon of the hills and tower don't get a signal. I'm lucky my house is on the side of a tall hill facing the direction of the tower in that town, so I get a signal. My sister a block and a half away from me gets very unreliable or no signal at all (one flickering bar if she's lucky).

There is a stretch of highway of about 2 miles around here (route 55) that sits between 2 hills and there is NO SIGNAL at all, I don't care what carrier you have.

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Garmin nuvi 1300LM with 4GB SD card Garmin nuvi 200W with 4GB SD card Garmin nuvi 260W with 4GB SD card r.i.p.

Marketing Hype

kkkelleher wrote:

look at the carriers coverage map to see bad areas. Here is the Verizon Wireless coverage map link.

http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/CoverageLocatorController?

Trust me, the maps published on the carriers' websites are driven by marketing people, not the network designer's coverage maps. I have seen both. I guarantee you there will be coverage holes in areas shown to have coverage on those maps.

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Tampa, FL - Garmin nüvi 660 (Software Ver 4.90), 2019.30 CN NA NT maps | Magellan Meridian Gold

Cell Phone Interference

There are a myriad of causes for loss of connectivity - other than poor coverage - and many of them are temporary. I have occasionally lost connection when the cell phone signal switches towers, moving from a low traffic tower to one with higher traffic, and even a momentary delay seems to result in a dropped call. I have also read that interference from strong electrical sources (generating stations, storms, etc.) can disrupt connectivity.

I think trying to develop a POI for cell phone "dead zones" would be almost impossible. And how practical would it be, to be talking on your (hands-free) cell phone and have an alert go off on the GPS... what would you do?

Cell Phone Dead Zones

Gary A wrote:

.....the maps published on the carriers' websites are driven by marketing people, not the network designer's coverage maps. I have seen both. I guarantee you there will be coverage holes in areas shown to have coverage on those maps.....

The network designer's coverage maps are what I would want to see, BUT I suspect that is going to be considered proprietary information by them. As far as I am concerned, this type of information is public data under FCC license.

Exactly...

Jim1348 wrote:
Gary A wrote:

.....the maps published on the carriers' websites are driven by marketing people, not the network designer's coverage maps. I have seen both. I guarantee you there will be coverage holes in areas shown to have coverage on those maps.....

The network designer's coverage maps are what I would want to see, BUT I suspect that is going to be considered proprietary information by them. As far as I am concerned, this type of information is public data under FCC license.

The consumer will never see those network engineering maps.

One of my duties was to meet with the network design engineers and review their drive test results after a market city was built-out to review coverage and dead spots, so I knew exactly where a call would drop because we couldn't get a tower located where they needed it and had to settle for a less desirable location, or no tower at all. Then I would attend the grand opening of one of their retail stores, look at their sales brochure showing a coverage map of the city and laugh.

Its gotten better over the years as most carriers have been able to add radios to cover these dead spots, but it's not perfect. Trees and building penetration were the engineers biggest headaches.

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Tampa, FL - Garmin nüvi 660 (Software Ver 4.90), 2019.30 CN NA NT maps | Magellan Meridian Gold

Nope, not public data

Jim1348 wrote:

The network designer's coverage maps are what I would want to see, BUT I suspect that is going to be considered proprietary information by them. As far as I am concerned, this type of information is public data under FCC license.

Sorry, the actual propagation from a tower is confidential to the carrier. The FCC license will have the coordinates for the tower, the height of the antenna(s) and the maximum radiated power. You need special software to calculate the coverage from those parameters but that's only a guess. Often the sites operate with less power than authorized.

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"In order to be old and wise, one first must have been young and stupid."