Poor Signal ? Samsung Captivate

This is a discussion on Poor Signal ? Samsung Captivate within the Samsung Captivate Tech forums, part of the Samsung Captivate category; I live in Chicago in a high rise. I get fluctuating signals too. Sometimes it stays at 5 bars, and sometimes it jumps to 1 ...

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Thread: Poor Signal ? Samsung Captivate

  1. #11
    Junior Member Windycity's Avatar
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    I live in Chicago in a high rise. I get fluctuating signals too. Sometimes it stays at 5 bars, and sometimes it jumps to 1 bar. It keep going back and forth which is annoying. Holding the phone on the top right or left usually gets better signal. If I hold it, especially on the bottom left, the signal will go from 3 bar to 1 bar, then jumps back to 3. Weird. LOL

  2. #12
    Junior Member Not Any More's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windycity View Post
    I live in Chicago in a high rise. I get fluctuating signals too. Sometimes it stays at 5 bars, and sometimes it jumps to 1 bar. It keep going back and forth which is annoying. Holding the phone on the top right or left usually gets better signal. If I hold it, especially on the bottom left, the signal will go from 3 bar to 1 bar, then jumps back to 3. Weird. LOL
    5 Bars?
    I am less than 1/2 mile from the tower, and I'm lucky if I get 3 bars...which frequently drop to NO bars.
    The tech at the AT&T store compared 4 other Captivates along side mine, and they were all getting just 3 bars also.
    The way I held the phone seemed to make little difference.

    The last three AT&T phones I had (All Motorola Razors) pulled in 4-5 bars consistently.
    Because I have not had any dropped calls yet...I was wondering if the number of bars showing is accurate.
    Could this be a glitch in the Android/Samsung software?
    I guess we'll find out when the Android 2.2 update gets released.

  3. #13
    Junior Member flyerfan25's Avatar
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    OK was going t post a new thread but I saw this.. So I am in the middle of no where, upstate NY and I get no signal or at least at times no bars. My wifes Iphone 3GS at same location gets one bar and able to make calls. There is definitely a difference in the signal strength between the two, Not sure why, but I can say there is and I am really trying not to go to the Iphone as I am still in my 30 day contract with the Captivate but things like this are not making that decision easy,

  4. #14
    Member trevorr77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyerfan25 View Post
    OK was going t post a new thread but I saw this.. So I am in the middle of no where, upstate NY and I get no signal or at least at times no bars. My wifes Iphone 3GS at same location gets one bar and able to make calls. There is definitely a difference in the signal strength between the two, Not sure why, but I can say there is and I am really trying not to go to the Iphone as I am still in my 30 day contract with the Captivate but things like this are not making that decision easy,
    See now I've had the opposite with my wife and her iPhone 3GS. I always have at least one more bar than she does. I am still not THAT impressed with signal strength though...it still doesn't compare with my old blackberry.

    If I were you, I don't think AT*T would be the option for me...aren't there carriers with better signal strength out there?

  5. #15
    Junior Member numbay's Avatar
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    I have battery meter app installed which tells me RSSI under Signal strength (phone test Info > phone information)if it goes below -100, I know what I am getting at that location.

  6. #16
    Junior Member Not Any More's Avatar
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    Angry

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathaniels View Post
    :confused: Hey guys I am new here and I was wondering has any one else had signal issues with the Samsung Captivate ? In my home and around town my iPhone never used to go down from 5 bars .. (I know that the iPhone isn't the best for accurate signal bars!)
    So I set out on a mission trying ANY GSM cellphone I could stick my sim card into ! and with a Samsung magnet I got 5 bars all over my home and 4 bars into town .. my blackberry curve got 4 to 3 in my home but 5 in town.. but my captivate is getting from anywhere from 2, 3, 4 in one location it is never constant but never goes down to 1 even in DEATH grip and only 5 when I am under a tower ..

    The only reason why this is a problem for me is because data speeds are crappy at lower signals compared to other 3G ATT phones with the higher signals ..

    I was wondering if this is a software issue like with the iPhone 4 or it this a hardware issue ?
    I had to return the Captivate for a full refund due the fact that neither Samsung, nor AT&T, could resolve the poor performance of the antenna issue.
    Tried the Blackberry Torch...5 bars.
    Tried the Motorola Z9 ... 5 bars.
    Tried the iPhone 4 ... 5 bars.
    Captivate...0-3 bars...usually 2. Numerous dropped calls, and very slow download speeds.
    I am on a direct line of sight, and less than 1/2 mile from the tower.
    Took the the first phone back thinking it may have been a lemon, and got a second POS that Samsung assured me must have been a fluke because they have NEVER heard of a poor reception issue with the Captivate.

    Sooo...the AT&T guy laid 4 captivates on the counter next to mine. (Everybody in the store must have had one.)
    And look at that...all were getting just two bars. And the store was less than a 1/4 mile from a tower.
    Hmmm...AT&T said no one had ever complained before of poor reception, yet there it was, right in front of them.
    And it wasn't the way I was holding it either.
    So Samsung may have to go back to the drawing boards and redesign the antenna because it sure as hell doesn't work very good.
    My "DUMB" Z9 gets great reception, and it costs me about $500 a year, (before taxes) LESS than the Captivate.
    You do the math.
    Smart phone that doesn't work very well, as a phone, for $500 MORE than a dumb phone?
    How dumb is that?

  7. #17
    Super Moderator Dorian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not Any More View Post
    I had to return the Captivate for a full refund due the fact that neither Samsung, nor AT&T, could resolve the poor performance of the antenna issue.
    Tried the Blackberry Torch...5 bars.
    Tried the Motorola Z9 ... 5 bars.
    Tried the iPhone 4 ... 5 bars.
    Captivate...0-3 bars...usually 2. Numerous dropped calls, and very slow download speeds.
    I am on a direct line of sight, and less than 1/2 mile from the tower.
    Took the the first phone back thinking it may have been a lemon, and got a second POS that Samsung assured me must have been a fluke because they have NEVER heard of a poor reception issue with the Captivate.

    Sooo...the AT&T guy laid 4 captivates on the counter next to mine. (Everybody in the store must have had one.)
    And look at that...all were getting just two bars. And the store was less than a 1/4 mile from a tower.
    Hmmm...AT&T said no one had ever complained before of poor reception, yet there it was, right in front of them.
    And it wasn't the way I was holding it either.
    So Samsung may have to go back to the drawing boards and redesign the antenna because it sure as hell doesn't work very good.
    My "DUMB" Z9 gets great reception, and it costs me about $500 a year, (before taxes) LESS than the Captivate.
    You do the math.
    Smart phone that doesn't work very well, as a phone, for $500 MORE than a dumb phone?
    How dumb is that?
    Humor me. I'm currently majoring in Wireless Engineering, and have a contract with AT&T for co-op learning. I've seen the antenna inside the Captivate, and it IS different than most. Samsung's cellular network stack is also configured differently than standard. BUT I have never seen any issues with it, personally. It's located in the right side of the inside casing, so by normally holding the phone in your right hand and using the touchscreen with your thumb, your covering part of the antenna. Also, if you know anything about RF wave dynamics, then you'd know that being right next to a tower can be a huge benefit or a huge issue depending on how your baseband radio firmware is configured and how your antenna is designed. With the way the various cellular baseband stacks are configured and what frequencies they're specifically tuned for, I'd say the Captivate does a pretty good job. Unlike most phones like the Z9 or Torch, Samsung uses generic Modem.bin configurations that aren't used for any one market in particular. With some HTC phones they have different "tweaked" radio firmwares that are deployed in different markets, so that maximum signal is maintained while still maintaining solid network communications. Samsung's whole Galaxy S line that runs GSM have largely the same radios globally. Like my modem is JG8 right now, and that is a modem firmware that comes from a recently leaked 2.2 firmware. But when the new firmware comes out most likely ATT's version will be the same nation wide, and T-Mobile will get their own nationwide version.

    The way the iPhone and other phones work is their baseband firmware can adapt to the local infrastructure because detailed network information from various places around the US have been written into one single configuration. Dumb/Feature phones take that approach because their handset firmware isn't flashable by any consumer means usually, so to keep customer satisfaction high (or highER anyways) they make sure it works just about everywhere.

    Now you maybe thinking... If Dumb/Feature phones can do this then why can't the super high end Galaxy S do this also? Well, it's because each flagship handset always ships with a new baseband radio hardware configuration so they don't have all the highly detailed information as to how this particular chipset configuration acclimates to all the differentiated markets. The Dumb/Feature phones will 9 times out of 10 be styled different on the outside, but on the inside the hardware configuration will be the same. So if they've had that particular chipset on the market for so long AT&T will send them detailed information as to how that chipset works on the network in the real world, and each subsequent phone that is released by said manufacturer will have all that particular network information baked in. It is cost effective, and it works.

    Being on the bleeding edge with phones like the Captivate, et al... people are "testing" first generation chipset designs, and will get improvement with software or firmware updates. The next generation Galaxy will likely be just as different as they move the current chipset down the ladder into the mid-level phones and introduce a new design for the flagship (slated to be the Nexus S).

  8. #18
    Junior Member Not Any More's Avatar
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    Like I said in the previous post, I wasn't holding the phone, so the signal wasn't being blocked.
    It was laying next to three other Galaxy S phones, and all were showing the same signal strength.
    We also tested several other phones laid out on the counter, and found only the Samsung to be lacking in it's ability to receive a strong signal.
    AT&T employees called Samsung and did a conference call inquiring as to what the problem may have been.
    (This was my third contact with Samsung trying to find out why AT&T's flagship couldn't do what cheap dumb phones did all the time.)
    Samsung, of course hemmed and hawed their way through the conversation promising to send a technician out into the general area with equipment to help pinpoint why ALL of the Galaxy phones here were failing. (North Eastern Illinois)
    The area is saturated with towers.
    So the HUMOR is: All the technical knowledge you may possess is worthless if the hardware is deficient to begin with.
    Thus...this is most definitely an antenna issue, and that's why I said Samsung will have to go back to the drawing boards to correct their mistake.
    HTC, Apple, Motorola, Blackberry, and Nokia all seem to have little trouble receiving a signal in this area, (as long as the antenna isn't shorted like on the iPhone), and the Samsung is supposed to be a phone first, not just a hand held computer.
    The additional cost just to say you have a computer in your pocket is silly high yet.
    Hopefully competition in the market place will eventually bring that down.
    There is no excuse for the Flagship model of any service provider to perform, this poorly.
    It should have been thoroughly tested prior to release...it obviously was not.
    The proof was laid out on the counter for all of us to see.

  9. #19
    Super Moderator Dorian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not Any More View Post
    So the HUMOR is: All the technical knowledge you may possess is worthless if the hardware is deficient to begin with.
    Thus...this is most definitely an antenna issue, and that's why I said Samsung will have to go back to the drawing boards to correct their mistake.
    HTC, Apple, Motorola, Blackberry, and Nokia all seem to have little trouble receiving a signal in this area, (as long as the antenna isn't shorted like on the iPhone), and the Samsung is supposed to be a phone first, not just a hand held computer.
    The additional cost just to say you have a computer in your pocket is silly high yet.
    Hopefully competition in the market place will eventually bring that down.
    There is no excuse for the Flagship model of any service provider to perform, this poorly.
    It should have been thoroughly tested prior to release...it obviously was not.
    The proof was laid out on the counter for all of us to see.
    I politely disagree. I believe it's the modem firmware configuration. Since the issues with the iPhone, everyone seems bent on calling foul on antenna designs, when that's only 25% of the problem if at the absolute worst. If you still have your Captivate, open your dialer and dial *#0011#. That will bring you to the ServiceMode screen. What band are you connected to?

  10. #20
    Junior Member ReithRock4582's Avatar
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    I have the same problems with my samsung Captivate it has bad signal in my house i have to resend a message a good 3-4 times before it sends and out of the house i still have bad signal and still sometimes have to resend 1-2 times

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