Weak/no signal at Home Depot and Walmart in Vaughan, Ontario

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Pskippy
Coach

Hi guys! Recently joined Telus after switching over from Rogers. Jumped on a really good corporate plan from work. Wondering if any Telus employees lurk around this forum and could maybe pass along some feedback? I used the network experience app but it seems like a bit of a black hole not knowing if my submissions actually go anywhere. Anyway, I was at my local Home Depot a few times last month and every time I stepped inside, my iPhone 6 would immediately drop from 4-5 bars of LTE to 1 bar 3G or "No Service." I know Telus and other carriers don't guarantee indoor coverage but this is inside a major retailer in the heart of Vaughan, Ontario. The Home Depot is at Major Mac and Cityview Blvd. the experience inside the Walmart across the street is a bit better but near the back of the store, it's 1 bar 3G or "No Service." Rogers devices get a solid 3 bars of LTE inside both stores. The stores are in the middle of two Bell/Telus HSPA+/LTE towers but it looks like the antennas mounted on both towers point in all directions except toward the Home Depot and Walmart! Is there any way this post can be passed to the Telus network team so that someone can investigate the area and get it fixed?


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Dark_Knight
Rockstar

@Pskippy Big warehouse-type stores are a pain in the a$$ for service. A lot of them have micro-cells built-in nowadays because they know service is going to be a problem.


Like @Nighthawk​ said, unless a lot of people complain, not much is likely to change. They do use the data collected from the network experience app though. It's used to map our weak coverage areas to expand/bolster service when capital becomes available. It takes a long time though....

iPhone power user

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Nighthawk
Community Power User
Community Power User

Biggest thing with feedback is unless they get a lot of reports from a specific area/tower, not much will change. I've tried and somehow managed to get a tech out. No changes even with that. Was told to wait for the 700MHz LTE to come online.


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Pskippy
Coach

Thanks, I figured that. Also, I would think they'd have to coordinate with Bell since Bell owns and manages the Bellus network's towers in Southern Ontario. I just find it strange that they wouldn't try to optimize the network in key indoor locations where they're likely to have many of their customers. Lastly, I doubt they'll enable 700MHz LTE here - their strategy is to deploy 700MHz in rural areas only. I also don't think it would make a difference if they did enable it here because as I've mentioned in my original post, none of the antenna sectors on either tower are pointing towards the two stores. When I did have the 1 bar of 3G service inside, I went into my phone's field test mode and confirmed it was connected to the 850MHz band...so I doubt 700MHz would be any better. I couldn't do anything with 1 bar 3G...no data and couldn't even make a call. The only time I've experienced something similar with Rogers was in the cold room of my basement surrounded by concrete. Granted, I get better service down there with Telus, and my overall experience with Telus has been better than Rogers so far...but little/useless to no service in major retailers in the middle of a populated area is a bit ridiculous in my opinion. It is what it is I guess. Thanks for the feedback.

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Dark_Knight
Rockstar

@Pskippy Big warehouse-type stores are a pain in the a$$ for service. A lot of them have micro-cells built-in nowadays because they know service is going to be a problem.


Like @Nighthawk​ said, unless a lot of people complain, not much is likely to change. They do use the data collected from the network experience app though. It's used to map our weak coverage areas to expand/bolster service when capital becomes available. It takes a long time though....

iPhone power user

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Pskippy
Coach
 
Pskippy
Coach

Thanks Dark_Knight. I agree that large warehouse stores like Home Depot, Walmart, Costco, etc. are not cell signal friendly. However, I really do believe that the area I'm referring to simply requires a bit of tuning on one of the two nearby towers. I've been to numerous other Walmarts and Home Depots around the GTA and I've had close to full bars of LTE...it's really just this particular location. There's a tower at Major Mac and Weston Rd. The antenna sectors are pointing directly East (almost parallel to Major Mac), North West towards the subdivision there, and South West toward the other subdivision. The Walmart and Home Depot are North East. If the antennas pointing directly East were adjusted slightly to point a bit North, I think it would drastically help the situation...but might end up making some other locations directly East of that tower worse. The other option is to look at the tower right next to Hwy 400, just North of Major Mac. It has antennas pointing North West, North East, and South East...nothing installed on the South West side of the tower 🙂 If they were to install a couple of antennas on the empty side of the tower, pointing towards the two stores, I think that would also work well. I don't think micro cells are necessary because there are two towers in very good locations serving the area (they just need tuning or some additional antennas), and other warehouses I've been to don't have any micro cells.

NFtoBC
Community Power User
Community Power User

"The antenna sectors are pointing directly East (almost parallel to Major Mac), North West towards the subdivision there, and South West toward the other subdivision."


Yup - each antenna in the array covers 1/3 of a circle. E, SW and NW pointing antennas cover 120 degrees each, for a full circle. Large metal buildings are effectively Faraday cage, and most that attract a large number of people (malls, etc) will have low power repeaters (micro cells) inside the building to ensure quality signal. Full LTE inside a large building suggests a local interior repeater, as high frequency (LTE) penetrates poorly.

 



NFtoBC
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Pskippy
Coach

Thing is - the antenna array on both towers I've mentioned do NOT form an entire circle.  There's nothing pointing north-east on the Weston Rd tower and there's nothing pointing south-west on the HWY 400 tower (Home Depot and Walmart are located in between both towers and not in any direct antenna path from either tower).  Either 1.) one or both towers need to be tuned/upgraded or 2.) another tower is needed to serve the marginal signal area (i.e. where the retailers are located).  I can assure you that it's that simple because other Home Depots and Walmarts where I get solid LTE reception do NOT have indoor repeaters or distributed antenna systems (DAS)...they're just located closer to Bell/Telus towers and/or are in the direct path of one or more antenna sectors.  I also have very weak reception at HWY 27 and Rutherford, and often get "no service" in the back half of the Fortinos just south of that area (HWY 27 and Langstaff).  I have to admit, I kind of regret leaving Rogers.  I never saw "no service" on any of my Rogers devices and indoor coverage (with the exception of my basement) seemed to be better with Rogers.