It’s 2019, you have “full bars,” and yet your cellphone data seems to be getting worse and worse. Here are some reasons why your data can be extremely slow, and some ways you can attempt to fix it.
Reasons Why Your Data Is Slow:
1. Are you “soft-capped” on your unlimited data plan?
T-Mobile just moved their cap to 50GB a month while ATT & Verizon are still at 22GB. A soft cap will cause you to be “deprioritized” and receive slower data during times when there is a lot of traffic and congestion on the network.
2. Are you in a densely populated area?
Each cellphone data tower can handle “X” amount of data traffic. The more people on that node, the less amount of data you can use.
3. What time is it?
Like “Rush Hour” with your morning and evening commutes, network traffic has the same effect. A 3-lane highway can only handle 3 cars at a time. In the same vein, when too many users are on their phones at the same time, it can create congestion.
4. What is the weather like?
Any water in the atmosphere can severely limit your cellphone service. This includes rain, fog and clouds, or high humidity. High frequency wavelengths don’t travel well through water which can absorb the energy and turn it into heat (think of a microwave).
What You Can Do:
1. Anticipate the factors that can affect your slow data and plan for it.
If you are traveling, check the location ahead of time to make sure there is open wireless to join. Plan important phone calls ahead of or after peak service hours.
2. Encourage service providers to build new towers and nodes.
Ideally, the cellphone service providers would continue to increase their tower nodes, but it doesn’t make sense for them financially. The time and resources it would take to build more service receivers doesn’t add up to the 3-4 hours of peak time where people experience slow data. Continuous complaints to your service provider about poor cellphone service could drive the incentive to increase towers and nodes.
3. Contact your cellphone provider to reset your connection.
They might be able to “reauthenticate you” with the cellphone tower. They might even be able to prioritize your device.
4. Keep in mind that Emergency 911 calls will ALWAYS be prioritized
Even if you have no cell phone reception, legally you can hop on a competitor’s tower to dial.
Anthony holds dual degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from NYU.
He has over 30 years of experience in hardware design and software programming. Anthony specializes in computer and cloud networking and has collaborated with clients and third parties on creating custom software designs and is a web presence and accessibility compliance expert.