Radio performance is so poor as to be unfit for purpose

Discussion in 'Surface 3 (Atom)' started by something_fishy, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. something_fishy

    something_fishy New Member

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    My Device:
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    I have an hour commute into and out of central London by train and work on the inward and outward journey.

    Most of the time this is clearing emails, checking news feeds (Bloomberg) and newspapers.

    My device of choice for this has been a 4G ipad 2 and Logitech keyboard. This has worked well but I missed the ability to edit MS word documents properly (word for iPad is pretty but isn't sufficient).

    I've been waiting for the LTE Surface 3 as the perfect device, however after 2 weeks trying to use it I have to declare it as unfit for purpose because the radio performance is so poor.

    I live in the UK where 4G coverage is spotty. On a moving train if the Surface loses signal or the signal falls back to non-4G it breaks connectivity (signal comes back with no internet connectivity) around 50% of the time. Only a full reboot will then sort it (disabling the modem and re-enabling it doesn't work). Performance is even worse if the Surface is coming out of sleep or hibernation (won't connect at all) so a complete shutdown and cold start is a prerequisite.

    I should add that the wifi performance is also flakey using my (Sony z3) phone as a hotspot - I don't know or care if this is the Surface or the phone (FWIW the Surface is fine connected to my house wifi) as I would prefer a working inbuilt modem.

    Part of the problem is that its a computer and computer apps seem to be expecting an always on connection (ipad apps handle going on and offline more graciously) but this doesn't excuse the real world performance of the LTE modem; the ipad has no issues dropping out of and into signal on the same journey. I regret to say that its a relief to go back to the ipad, it just feels more robest (meaning that I am now carrying two devices).

    Does this chime with other peoples' experience. The Surface is running Win 10 but radio performance was no better on Win 8.1 (though at least it told me what sort of connection it had). I've tried three.co.uk's and ee's 4G networks but no-one has 100% coverage and any gap and it breaks.
     
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  2. Turbo4AWD

    Turbo4AWD Member

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    All I can say to this is that "There's probably firmware updates on the way..." and "Version 1.0 always has issues." Hopefully the firmware update comes out soon.
     
  3. Intranetsites

    Intranetsites Member

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    OK you are scaring me!! I bought my first ipad 3G .. what over 5 years ago and have being anxiously awaiting a Windows tablet lte/4G ever since and have great hopes in the lte surface 3.

    Currently I have the surface 3 tethered to my Microsoft Blu cell phone and it disconnects after minutes of non use . Apparently their is an issue of metered setting that cause this disconnection ????

    Today I carry both; The iPad is live on Skype or a browser in 45 seconds where as the Surface 3 seems to take many minutes even 8 mins to finally be live on Skype.

    So I have to believe the lte version of the surface 3 which i have ordered will give me much better connect times.

    even if I have to have my Microsoft phone as a backup hotspot with another carrier so I can match the ipad to be up and running in a reasonable time and consistently stay connected .... dreaming here.. please give me hope!!

    are there any success stories out there with mobile people using the lte version ?
     
  4. something_fishy

    something_fishy New Member

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    @Intranetsites
    I'm still carrying both iPad and Surface; the Surface is updated real time as per Windows update, so I assume is running current drivers and firmware.

    Earlier conclusion stands but the attractions of a tiny, light Win10 PC are also present. For clearing emails and reading content the ipad is still better. This is partially because of apps (my company uses Good and Good for Windows is even worse than Good for iOS, plus I read the FT whose iOS app caches a lot of content so handles going on an offline much better). BUT the way the iPad handles low quality and moving data connections is simply better. The particular flakiness of the Surface 4G modem coming out of sleep is a particular problem.

    However for actual work I find the surface splendid. The type cover is surprisingly OK for hammering out short documents (as is the trackpad) and the Atom runs MS Word and Powerpoint fine even with complex formatted documents (which Word on iOS cannot handle). I wouldn't run any big spreadsheets on it but that's true of any laptop and the screen aspect ratio is better than the letterbox displays on my other laptops.

    I tend to use the Surface on my return journey and my solution is to start using the inbuilt LTE model on EE's 4G network as this offers decent bandwidth in central London. As I leave the city I attach to a hotspot on my phone (a Sony Z3 on Three.co.uk) which offers better bandwidth for the rest of the route and more importantly reconnects flawlessly as it goes in and out of signal. There does appear a great improvement in how the Surface wifi works with my Sony phone. Its no longer problematic.

    So all in all a fudge to cover up what I still believe is subpar performance. With hindsight I would probably have just gone for the wifi version.
     
  5. Turbo4AWD

    Turbo4AWD Member

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    Well, if your Surface 3 is in "Battery Saving" mode, windows updates WILL NOT install, but if you never go below 20% or never hit the "battery saver" option in Windows 10, you should be updating normally. There was a recent update specifically for the LTE radio. Otherwise, if you can't use Good for Windows, does good have a webmail page you could access via Edge or Chrome or something? You'll just be sans alerts, but can still check mail, reply, etc.

    "
    September 2015 updates
    The following update will be listed as “System Firmware Update – 9/18/2015” when you view your update history.

    Note
    When Surface updates are provided via the Windows Update service, they are delivered in stages to Surface customers. As a result, not every Surface will receive the update at the same time, but the update will be delivered to all devices. If you have not received the update then please manually check Windows Update later.
    This update is available only for Surface 3 (AT&T 4G LTE) and Surface 3 (4G LTE) in North America (non-AT&T):

    • Surface Modem Firmware Update (v16.50.17.0) improves mobile broadband network stability.
    This update is available only for Surface 3 (Y!mobile 4G LTE) and Surface 3 (4G LTE) in Europe:

    • Surface Modem Firmware Update (v1521.04.10.0) improves mobile broadband network stability."
     
  6. redbrick

    redbrick Member

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    oh, I feel your pain.. I 've had the exact same experience w/ the Surface3 4G-LTE... I downgraded to windows 8.1 pro, and all my problems went away.
     
  7. Migi

    Migi Member

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    Apple has had a lot of years to perfect their LTE radios, Intel is fairly new at this game.
     
  8. hughlle

    hughlle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well from what I just read the iPad is dropping g out no different to the surface, and the problem is not so mucch the radio but the way that Windows apps and
    software deal with the drop outs, badly.

    I havnt experienced what you say on the surface, but know what you mean about always connencted. My Xbox one has no internet connection and yet every time I turn it on games like gta go bonkers because they can't understand the idea of there being no connection.
     
  9. Intranetsites

    Intranetsites Member

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    Ok 2 Canadian Carriers .. same problem. When I lose a connection .. between 2 cell towers on both my iPad 4G/LTE and my Surface 3 LTE the IPad reconnects automatically, where as the Surface requires a reboot or a perhaps turn off the cellular and then turn it on and wait a minute to come alive.

    Qualcomm premiered this week a series of LTE Advanced modems lets hope this or a microsoft firmware update solves this problem

    btw spell checker is not working on editing in this forum using Chrome???
     

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