mifi500 - Spark LTE, less than one bar everywhere I go normal? (Southern California)

itsDaviditsDavid Posts: 0FreedomPop Newbie
I just picked up a refurbished Mifi 500 from Newegg.com and activated it. It was sealed in it's Freedompop box. The first odd thing was the MEID was different on the device than what was labeled on the box. The device still activated fine using the devices MEID.

The troubling aspect is that 99% of where I go or drive throughout Orange county, CA and I have less than 1 bar and RSRP's of about -110dBm and worse. The device states I'm connected to Spark LTE. According to Sprint's Spark Map, I should have excellent service including Turbo speeds all of the areas I am traveling through or reside. Occasionally, there are short lived pockets of great reception. But the area is very narrow. I imagine this is right next to a tower. Whats odd is that signal change is not gradual as I'd expect. When driving through an area it'll suddenly jump to full bars and then 2 seconds later be back at less than one bar or zero bars.

I have tried updating the firmware (at which point LTE turned to Spark LTE, but no improvements in reception).

In a few different locations I've tested the speed and it's usually around 2megabits up/ 0.5 mbs down. Ping speed is about 160ms.

I am concerned because this is a refurbished product with a narrow warranty period. I would exchange with Newegg but they sold out of the product.

Some of my friends have complained the Sprint LTE is always terrible in Orange County, despite the Sprint Coverage map, so I'm not sure if it's my device.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



  • Rich Sias (16th)Rich Sias (16th) Posts: 3,282FreedomPop Newbie, FreedomPop Master, FreedomPop Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm in Philly suburbs. Far far away. The map shows for over 10+ miles in any direction of my house is MAX full strength everywhere. My home/lot, nada. Ditto walking five blocks any direction, nada again. It wasn't until I was at a third shopping center before I noticed that the 4G lights up in notify bar. Seemed like good signal. Ran Ookla speed test. Got 3.83 down and 0.32 up. what's that all about !?!? Even my 3G does 0.82 up!

    When you find a four bar area, could you walk back to it and test LTE for speeds and report them here.
    Be my Valentine ZTE, Victory, LG Volt, 803S, & 4 SIMs
  • itsDaviditsDavid Posts: 0FreedomPop Newbie
    Hey Rich, I tried looking for that spot with strong reception and finally found it. It was about 1-2 blocks with reception. Inside the area it varied greatly without any pattern. When I finally found a sweet spot, the speed was pretty good, 20.32/11.10 was my best. Most other places its below 3/1. I just wished I had average reception everywhere instead of less than one bar most places which supposedly have "Best" reception. I'm still wondering if it's just my refurbished device.
  • Rich Sias (16th)Rich Sias (16th) Posts: 3,282FreedomPop Newbie, FreedomPop Master, FreedomPop Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd say the hardware is great!
    It's the radio waves that are insanely variable.
    With WiMAX being fully shut down by November 6 2015, spark should take a surge in improvements. You should be seeing some changes by spring and much more by December next year.
    Be my Valentine ZTE, Victory, LG Volt, 803S, & 4 SIMs
  • ktbktb Posts: 0FreedomPop Newbie
    I purchased the same device new late last year and that sounds normal. You're lucky. Ever since I installed the firmware update (09/21/2014 1:36:34 PM | 9x15SPE-45.05- | Success), my device constantly reboots. It's mostly unusable.
  • Brian McPhersonBrian McPherson Posts: 1,365FreedomPop Newbie, FreedomPop Master, FreedomPop Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Cell signal is not like any wire connection, the closer you get to a tower the better, high ground has better signal then in a valley or low spot. It also has to do with how much signal they are sending out of the tower also. It has to be a sprint tower also so the one closes to you maybe version (real close) and the sprint tower is a 2 mile away. As far as cell signal, you get what you get and no more.
    Email: [email protected]
    [email protected]

    For better help in real time, "Skype" is the best help I can offer. My Skype User is "freewill95". You can add me to your contact list and in the message box, type "freedompop user".
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