Frequent Disconnection on 5G Home Internet

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Just putting out my observations on disconnects on my 5G Home Internet — hoping that T-Mobile’s engineering will take notice because I’m not sure if my support calls during the past several months have trickled up.  I will place another support call again to communicate these observations.


My gateway is on the latest 1609 firmware.


During the last several months, I noticed that at least once a week, usually on a weekend, my Internet connection will drop out, sometimes two or three times on a given day.  It was unpredictable.  It could occur several times during a  given week; and, like most, working remotely, it wreaked havoc on my work day.  Often noticed service disruption when streaming video starts buffering or my vpn drops out.  Sometimes, I’m able to catch a severe degradation of speed on a speed test app before it becomes unusable.  I usually see 300/50 Mbps, so 1 to 2 Mbps down was definitely not a reasonable speed — especially with the gateway still showing four bars.


In every case, power cycling the gateway fixed the issue.  But obviously this is an unacceptable solution.


I opened a support ticket back in October 2021.  Over the next couple of months, we replaced the unit+sim.  We’ve powered off/on with removal of power for a period of time.  We’ve replugged directly into the wall as opposed to a surge protector (which was an inane suggestion).  Two engineering tickets were opened with no one getting back to me.  All to no avail.  The support experience was frustrating, especially when it was clear no one had a clue to what was going on and were trying to give me things to do to make me feel like something productive was being tried.  I had to fly out for two weeks during the Christmas holidays, so held off of switching service providers until the new year.  (I was a FIOS customer and was looking to go back — I had no issues there, but I thought I’d try T-Mobile after a storm ripped out my optical switch from the  side of my house.)


During my time away in December 2021, I asked my tenant to check speeds and report any service outages.  To my surprise, during the two weeks we were away in December, there were no outages.


When I returned from holidays, service was still consistently good — actually even better, up to 320/60 Mbps — and I wondered if there was something repaired or improved on T-Mobile’s network.


Until I used a vpn (RealSolid) to watch some, er, region specific video content.   Noticed that an hour or two into the viewing of the video stream over vpn, service would degrade until it dropped out.  A reboot of the gateway would bring service back.   Service was good during the week until I used the vpn again the following weekend.  So this had gotten me to suspect that while1609 may have repaired some vpn client issue, it is still not handling vpn traffic properly.


During the previous months, I actually rarely used this aforementioned vpn, so I’m hypothesizing that it may have been my work VPN (GlobalProtect) with a sustained connection over time.  My work vpn has been fine since starting back at work, but i have purposely shut down my work computer every evening.  I’m going to keep it running as I did prior to Christmas to see if I can reproduce the issue.  If it recurs, I suspect the sustained use of some vpn clients may be affecting service.


In any case, it appears that engineering will need to look closely at their code and fix the handling of vpn traffic.

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