Let’s Face It: Mobile Hotspot on Verizon LTE Doesn’t Work

Verizon’s embattled LTE network has one issue that hasn’t gotten as much attention: Mobile Hotspot. Timeouts and dropped connections plague the service since its launch. Meanwhile, consumers pay $30/month hoping to be grandfathered into unlimited hotspot data, for life.

The carrier that boasts “It’s The Network” does indeed have the most pervasive LTE network in the nation, so growing pains are something that would be a bit forgivable. However, this one issue has persisted since launch, and affects not a few, but all of Verizon’s LTE phones.

Read more for the analysis, technicals, and what we’ve done to try and work with Verizon on the problem.

Background on the behind-the-scenes deal

Around when Verizon Wireless announced its LTE network, they also began capping new customers’ data, a la AT&T. Also like AT&T, they grandfathered in existing customers, although not all of them would be allowed to upgrade to LTE.

That move wasn’t much of a surprise. AT&T and Verizon both have dominant holdings of customers, and want to encourage them to stay… by making it unfavorable to give up their no-longer-available plans.

What made Verizon stand out from the pack, was sweetening the pot even more. For those with grandfathered smartphone data, the carrier offered a $30/month add-on that netted unlimited LTE Mobile Hotspot. Visions of Verizon replacing home Internet drove people to sign up for the plan. With speeds of up to 20 mbps, why not? Uncapped, unthrottled, unlimited… it beat the offerings from Comcast and others. Combined with a Wi-Fi router in bridge mode, you could power every Ethernet-connected gadget in your house to faster-than-DSL for $30 per month, all driven by your cell phone.

The issue in detail

It’s not quite clear why LTE Mobile Hotspot has frequent timeouts and disconnects. Some believe this is part of Verizon’s network management. Unlike 3G Mobile Hotspot, which requires a capped data plan, the unlimited 4G Mobile Hotspot may utilize IMS to lower the priority of mobile hotspot traffic in prolonged usage. On an impacted tower/area, this could cause the connection to timeout. Users report rebooting the phone often brings the connection back.

Indeed, while researching this report, we found hotspot data traveled through a separate IMS gateway than handset data. While this is similar to the “Modem NAI” method of having two data connections, that Verizon used in the 3G era, this is more sophisticated. It allows the handset data to use one path onto the Internet, while hotspot data uses another path… a path that Verizon can filter, throttle, and proxy more than the handset experience.

Again, we’re not saying we know why LTE Mobile Hotspot has this issue, but Verizon has had other data outages on LTE related to their advanced IMS implementation of late.

Pinging Verizon Mobile Hotspot for Info

The most common symptom by affected users is high packet loss, across all client devices. Handset traffic continues to work fine. Pings to even Verizon domains and IP addresses begin to endure packet loss around thirty to forty percent. For consumers, this is resonated in the form of pages timing out, and even DNS not resolving on domain names.

Different devices report different statuses. Our LG Revolution and HTC Thunderbolt insisted all was fine with Mobile Hotspot. Motorola and Samsung devices appear to report a cycling between connecting and disconnecting.

All devices we tested had the latest, official firmware. Some users report rooting their phones, and bypassing Verizon’s mobile hotspot gateway and software, work around this issue.

Several users have reported these incidents to PhoneNews.com, and we were able to confirm it on over five different Verizon LTE handset models.

Worse, we were able to confirm these issues in non-4G markets, while using a Verizon LTE handset on their CDMA EV-DO Rev A network. The same issues occurred with an excellent 3G EVDO signal. Much like in an LTE market, data on the handset was not affected, only hotspot data. A 3G-only iPhone with a metered mobile hotspot data plan did not reproduce these issues. We tested three LTE phones and re-created the issue… even going as far as to have our SIM cards replaced, and accounts completely reprovisioned.

We’re not alone on this…

PhoneNews.com is not alone in confirming these issues, other publications such as The Verge have also confirmed the issues. Engadget has also reported on these issues in the past as well. At the time, Verizon acknowledged Engadget’s issues as firmware-related, but updates since claiming to fix known issues with LTE Mobile Hotspot on phones like the HTC Thunderbolt, have done little to remedy widespread issues.

Verizon Wireless responded to our requests for comments, suggesting affected users contact Verizon technical support. A spokesperson for Verizon declined to comment, however, on if Verizon is aware of the hotspot issues that we chronicled to them in-depth. PhoneNews.com did offer to assist Verizon in diagnosing these issues, an offer that went unresponded to.

Unfortunately, technical support is of little help to affected users, even going as far as to blaming client Wi-Fi devices… flying right in the face of consumers who point out that the problem affects all client devices connected to the phone. PhoneNews.com staff have submitted multiple trouble tickets on this problem. Our first ticket was closed, blaming the PRL device on the handset as out of date. We quickly confirmed the PRL was up to date. Our second trouble ticket was closed, as many others have, blaming client Wi-Fi devices as the issue.

Technical support refused to allow us to talk to the trouble ticket team, claiming it was impossible. They insisted we were at fault for purchasing faulty client Wi-Fi devices.

Wrapping it up, dropping the service

In all, we’re tired of paying $30/month for a feature that just doesn’t work. It’s a pipe dream that we believe Verizon should not have rolled out, unless it was sustainable enough to utilize. We hope Verizon does respond with a more in-depth explanation, and a timeframe for when the issue will be fixed… or the feature simply scrapped.

Christopher Price is the Founding Editor of PhoneNews.com. Today, he leads the team building Console, Inc. – a new kind of Android™ device. He still likes to pontificate… a lot. You can visit his personal blog at ChristopherPrice.net.

Google – +ChristopherPrice | Twitter – @chrisprice | LinkedIn

Questions for Chris? You can also reach him by email, but please use the PhoneNews.com contact form for general comments, questions, and feedback.

55 responses to “Let’s Face It: Mobile Hotspot on Verizon LTE Doesn’t Work”

  1. Carlos

    Chris,
    I had the same exact issues as you. I have an unlimited smartphone data plan with the mobile hotspot add on. Even though the data plan could easily be used to tether without the hotspot addon I decided to pay for it so I wouldnt be hassled over high usage. I average about 30gb a month and use it in area with no cable or dsl.

    1st one tried was a droid bionic through the built in hotspot app. Seemed to work ok but every few days I would get a random disconnect. I then switched my sim card to a 4g mifi and things would work great for about 3 days and then the data would just stop working even though there was no indications of problems on the device itself. A restart would usually fix it but was not a viable solution. I then tried my droid bionic attached to a Cradlepoint mbr900 via USB and using the built USB tethering feature. This worked good but also had random disconnects even though the phone showed it was connected. The last and current setup has worked without disconnects other than the nationwide outages. This a pantech 290 card on the same Cradlepoint mbr900 router.

    All other devices not working properly was very frustrating but I’m glad this setup works perfect. I was hesitant to call tech support when I did have problems since I didn’t want them to claim I had my device on the wrong plan (smartphone data) so I just held off but for readers who strictly need data and not voice this has worked for me. Get a 4g smartphone as long as it works and has a clean esn. Swap sim card into pantech 4g USB modem and then pop into mbr900 or newer Cradlepoint router and presto! Reliable 4g data connection (other than nationwide outages of course)

  2. Bryan Beaderstadt

    I found your article very interesting. I have been using a Verizon MIFI 2200 around the US, mostly 40 miles south of Phoenix. Until last summer it worked quite well. When we started having problems, I started looking for an upgrade and went with a Galaxy Tab 10.3 to use as a tablet and hotspot for the laptops and wireless printer at home. As a hotspot, I am extremely disappointed. We have been told to shut the 4G LTE off and use the CDMA mode only. Doesn’t help. When I lose signal on a laptop, I check the tablet, sometimes I will have internet on it, sometimes I won’t. Sometimes it will have a 3G icon, sometimes it will have a 1X icon. All this without moving the tablet from its location. I lost signal this morning, went to the tablet, moved it within 4 ft. of the laptop, started researching hotspot problems, read your article, wrote this post and have not lost signal. Before, it was 15 to 30 ft from the laptop and you rarely use past a couple of pages on the internet.
    Bryan

  3. Bradley J. Fikes

    You read my mind.

    Yesterday I switched back to my 3G MiFi 2200 from the 4G MiFi 4510L for exactly the problems you described. I write about technology for a newspaper in San Diego, and worked with Verizon Wireless’ representatives, but to no avail. When I began getting migraines, I gave up.

    I had used the MiFi 2200 for years, even dropping my cable Internet last year to make VZW my main Internet connection. Then the allure of 4G speeds at the same price arrived. VZW sent me the MiFi 4510L for free as my 2-year upgrade. This was a couple of months ago.

    The 4G MiFi at first worked decently, but in the last week or so has deteriorated to the point of being unusable. Hard to connect, and when I did connect, it would drop in a few minutes. Occasionally the device would turn itself off.

    By contrast, the 3G MiFi is a dream. Much slower, but far more reliable. Before making the switch, I confirmed this by using my old 3G enV Touch as a modem, and found it gave a very reliable 3G connection.

    My guess is that the switch from CDMA to a GSM standard is more trouble than the company anticipated.

    Read my experience on my newspaper’s blog at http://www.nctim.es./fourgee

    Sent via VZW’s MiFi 2200 on 3G, which I know works.

  4. Wayne Schulz

    I’ve had all sorts of connection problems with even 3G hotspots on Verizon. A huge portion of it seems to be signal quality. They also, as noted in your article, seem to treat the hotspot data separately from the regular data or voice.

    I had a 3G MIFI with pretty much the same symptoms described above – it would work great for a period of time — several minutes to hours – then consistent drops, disconnects.

    I also have a Galaxy Tab 7.0 which exhibits the same mobile hotspot behavior and that too is a pure 3G device.

    I’m about to cancel my Verizon and move somewhere else for mobile data.

  5. Christopher Price

    Hotspot data on Verizon is treated separately from handset data, except in certain cases.

    On some Verizon devices, when Mobile Hotspot is active, data usage on the handset will count against your Mobile Hotspot quota. This is generally on older smartphones.

    Signal quality does not appear to be related to Mobile Hotspot issues on LTE devices. We were able to reproduce the problems (noted in the article) in excellent signal areas, on both EVDO-only and LTE coverage areas.

  6. Tim Sergay

    I have found some excellent Verizon support personnel responding to frequent phone calls on exactly this issue, both on the technical and the business ends, but after struggling with two different units, three different SIM cards, one factory reset, and then trying out a whole new device (LG Revolution), I, too, have reluctantly discontinued Verizon’s 4G hotspot service, shelved my new Samsung Stratosphere, and reactivated my old Palm Pre Plus with its metered but reliable 3G hotspot. One wrinkle that I encountered is that no device using the Stratosphere’s hotspot could navigate secure websites, but the Revolution’s hotspot could connect to them. So there are some distinctions in the way various 4G devices perform on the hotspot. But the major failure, which I observed with both 4G devices, is frequent interruption and dropping of connectivity, often linked with loss of network to the phone itself, and also revving up and down of throughput speed, from <100 kpbs to almost 3Mbps within seconds. I'm in a fringe coverage area for 4G, so it was very helpful for me to read your finding that "signal quality does not appear to be related to Mobile Hotspot issues on LTE devices." I have directed several people at Verizon to this very article, specifying the title word for word and quoting from it. The tech people said they would circulate it among their peers and send it higher as well. Do you plan to follow this issue, Christopher? I want to know exactly when the service is actually ready for use and then reactivate my Stratosphere.

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  9. Lo

    I, too, am experiencing the same connectivity issues when using my 4G HTC Thunderbolt as a Hotspot device for my laptops (both PC and Macs). I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or just bad luck, but my connection only starts to get sketchy when trying to perform HTTP requests. Using music streaming software, such as Spotify, works fine for hours. But the second I open up a web browser and do a couple of HTTP requests, the connectivity issues kick in and my web requests fail and even Spotify will stop working.

    I have no clue what how the networking works on Verizon’s end, but it almost feels like they’re “monitoring” HTTP requests and sending ‘kill’ messages back to our 4G devices forcing the network resets.

    It’s just extremely odd how one day I’ll be able to connect for hours uninterrupted, and then the next day, I can’t stay connected for longer than 10 seconds. I’m hoping someone can come up with an answer soon. I really dislike the fact that Verizon allowed me to pay $30 a month for a service they know is dysfunctional.

    And with the amount of research I’ve done on the web, and the amount of negative feedback from users who have tried everything possible to work around this issue, it’s shocking that Verizon is keeping so silent about it all.

    I’m in love with Verizon’s phone network and even their 4G LTE network for my mobile device, but the way they are treating their customers with this $30 hotspot feature, I feel like they’re taking us for granted and playing us for fools. Amazing networks are only amazing when they work. And corporations are only respected when they are honest and open about the issues they’re aware of…..

  10. Lo

    Great! Thanks for the advice, Christopher. I’ll definitely give it a shot. I’ll try to keep you updated if I’m able to figure anything out as well. DNS resolution makes a lot of sense though. It goes back to my “HTTP” requests theory that I mentioned in my previous post. I’ll try out DNSCrypt and maybe do some more testing through various ports or different types of requests (http vs https vs ftp vs etc).

    I haven’t found many helpful resources on the web yet, so I’m glad I’ve got someone else to discuss these issues with. Thanks for keeping me posted!

  11. Patrick

    I am also experiencing this exact same problem. My mobile hotspot works for about 10 minutes at a time, then it stops loading pages, and I have to restart the hotspot on the phoneo make it work for maybe another 10 minutes. I am in a 4G network and I have a 4G phone. I subscribe to the $30.00 a month hotspot feature, that DOESN’T WORK!
    I dread calling Verizon to ask for my money back. I know they will say it is my device, and not the phone. Well they will need to explain to me why my netbook works perfectly on any wi-fi signal?

  12. patrick219

    same issues with lg spectrum

  13. Shane

    My heart is broken, was wondering what the hell was going on with the disconnects… I have a samsung some 30$ 4gLTE phone, and I deal with the issue daily, pay way to much for this to be an issue forever 30$ data, and 20$ hotspot access.. and now that’s 6gigs of data, which I never use even half… but perhaps its because I almsot take a hammer to my phone after the frustration sets in.. thx for the article, was very helpful…

    Man I don’t wanna switch to AT&T…. :/

  14. Rich

    I am still experiencing the same issues. Reliable network?
    Considering that we are paying $30/month more we will expect this service to work. However I am trying out a Droid Razr Maxx and still with the same issues.. Even after the new firmware update.

  15. Duane Kay

    Same errors with my HTC Rezound. I have scrapped the service. $30.00/month for nothing is just plain crazy.

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  17. Peter Alfvin

    Hi Christopher.

    Thank you so much for posting this article and for following up with the suggestion to use DNSCrypt. The article let me know “I wasn’t alone” and helped me better understand the problem. Because things improved after a phone reboot, I had suspected that software on my phone was “leaking memory” causing the phone’s router application to fail. Your article refocused my attention on the Verizon servers.

    Most importantly, though, the DNSCrypt recommendation transformed a completely unusable/intolerable situation to a tolerable, if not ideal one. Instead of having to reboot my phone after less than an hour on average (sometimes after only a few minutes), I’ve now been able to run indefinitely.

    I would like to report one perhaps related phenomenon and ask what you think. When I run the Speakeasy speed test now, the download test runs normally, but the upload test typically “hangs”. The little red ball travels consistently from right to left, but after arriving at its destination, the transmit rate continues to flicker, sometimes staying around the same basic rate and sometimes declining. Eventually the test stops, but the sense I have is packets are not being acknowledged. Any idea what’s going on?

    FYI, I have a Samsung Charge and (in this circumstance) am in a 3G area with what I assume is reasonably good coverage (on a boat in Avalon Bay on Catalina Island). My speed test results here are typically 1Mbps download and .5Mbps upload.

    Pete Alfvin

  18. Tim Sergay

    Dear Pete Alfvin and Christopher Price,

    Please expand on your procedures and findings involving DNSCrypt. What exactly did you do that allowed your hotspot to run indefinitely, Pete, as opposed to erratically? Are you working with a Mac or Windows machine? I see that DNSCrypt has created a Windows version (http://www.opendns.com/technology/dnscrypt/), and I am wondering if this would possibly solve my hotspot stability problems if I reactivated my 4G Samsung Stratosphere and tried using its hotspot again as my Internet connection at home, with my old PC. Does DNSCrypt slow your browsing speed or cause Skype and media content to stutter? Thanks for returning to this very important issue. Best wishes, –Tim

  19. Peter Alfvin

    Hi Tim,

    I installed DNSCrypt on my MacBook and enabled it through the Preferences mechanism. It has several options, but I didn’t try all the various combinations. I suspect the key setting is to use OpenDNS for lookups rather than the “normal” DNS mechanism, so that you bypass the Verizon DNS servers (and protocol) in favor of the OpenDNS servers (and protocol).

    As a result, I no longer run into the situation where web browsing fails due to “xxxx not found” failures. I can’t comment on whether this slows down browsing, because 3G is so slow anyway. Skype and Sling still “stutter” occasionally, but they did so previously. And besides, since DNSCrypt only deals with name lookup, there is no reason to believe it would affect streaming performance.

    The way I’ve been able to really see the impact is to use a browser which displays it’s status messages below and to watch and see that it is no longer delaying (or getting hung) on name lookup as to routinely did before.

    Pete

  20. Tim Sergay

    Dear Peter, Thank you for your reply. As an experiment, I installed the new DNSCrypt for Windows (http://www.opendns.com/technology/dnscrypt/) on my Windows machine, still using my 3G Palm Pre Plus hotspot for Internet. I did not explore any Internet options or preferences: I just installed the program to see how it would affect browsing, and sure enough, I immediately got “page not found” errors all over the place, intermittently at first, and then after rebooting, Firefox could resolve no pages at all. I uninstalled DNSCrypt using Add/Install programs and I’m now back where I started. I conclude that I failed to configure DNSCrypt properly for Windows out of sheer ignorance of how to do that. The default configurations completely disabled web browsing. I understand that you cannot advise me on configuring the Windows version: I will explore this further. The crucial experiment comes after I configure DNSCrypt successfully and then reactivate my 4G Samsung Stratosphere. With my 3G hotspot I typically get about 500 kbps, far from great. –Tim

  21. Craig

    There is a class action lawsuit in the works against Verizon. They are selling a service that doesn’t work, in other words they are stealing from customers. Watch for more info soon.

  22. Jeff

    Add my name to the list of Verizon Mifi frustrated users. This blog is nine months old and the situation still hasn’t improved. When I first got my mifi device a few months ago, it seemed like it worked well for awhile. But the last month or so has been pure torture. I live in an area where there is no high-speed internet (the Realtor lied to us when we bought the house — I should have called around first). And my life at home consists of switching between the horrid HughesNet satellite service and the horrid Verizon Mifi service. I’m paying about $125 a month to have both!

    But I did notice something: Until recently I had a Droid phone. (I just switched to an iPhone.) With the Droid, I bought the PDANet software so I could tether my phone to my computer and use its internet. And guess what: When the Mifi was getting bogged down and having problems, I would switch to the the phone with PDANet and lo and behold IT WORKED FINE. Same tower, same service. It sure seems like Verizon is pulling something with the MiFi.

    A year ago I had a Novatel Mifi device with Virgin Mobile. The service actually worked better that this Verizon junk until I burned the device out by leaving it plugged in and turned on for days on end. I might see if I can get it repaired and go back to that. It was a month-by-month plan, too.

    p.s. Now to see if I can even post this comment while logged in with this Verizon garbage…

  23. Jeff

    p.s. to Craig above — Please keep us posted on a possible class action lawsuit! Thanks for the tip.

  24. Peter Alfvin

    Just a reminder to everyone that Verizon has a policy whereby you can “turn off” and “turn on” Mobile HotSpot enablement without any transaction charge. As such, you can avoid the ongoing charge for it while still retaining your right to turn it back on if/when they ever make it usable. Since it’s a fairly heavy administrative process involving talking to their customer service folks and receiving hardcopy confirmation in the mail, I’m surprised that they don’t charge for it. And perhaps they will in the future.

    On a separate note, when I was talking to a friend who has “rooted” his Verizon phone and relied on some open source router to achieve the effect of Verizon’s Mobile HotSpot. He said he’s had no issues of the sort described here, which further supports the hypothesis that this is a problem intentionally introduced by Verizon to degrade service for it’s HotSpot customers.

  25. Michael

    I have a Droid Razr Max WITH A HOTSPOT. THANK YOU for your article. I found that it doesn’t work with my Gateway laptop, but it does work (from time to time) on my other laptops. and i was going crazy trying to figure it out.

  26. Chip McCullough

    Here is an interesting test I have run. I have a new Verizon Samsung Galaxy 3 and the Mobile Hotspot subscription. The G3 has mobile hotspot which will not work. Here is what I observe. I am in a 5 bar area of the verizon network and have a solid 4GLTE icon on my phone. This is without mobile hotspot running. When I turn on mobile hotspot, the 4GLTE icon starts to cycle on and off every few seconds. When I turn mobile hotspot off, the 4GLTE Icon stays on solid again. Also, there is an option to tether via USB. When I do that, I get some occasional cycleing of the 4gLTE icon but less than with Hotspot.

  27. Tyra

    I am considering purchasing the verizon home fusion product but after reading this I am concerned that my VIOP phone will have an issue Is anyone using the home fusion service and if so are you seeing the same sort of issues?

  28. Tim

    I escalated my network trouble ticket with Verizon as high as possible and spoke to a network engineer: he advised trying third-party signal boosting technology, on the theory that hot spot instability was caused by fluctuations between 3G and 4G in my fringe coverage area (4G LTE Extended). A highly directional outdoor directional antenna, 700 MHz signal amplifier and internal antenna (all by Wilson Electronics) have improved my signal dramatically: In my home office I now get 5 bars of 4G with a signal strength reading of -64 dBm (between “good” and “excellent”) in About Phone/Status. When I launch HotSpot, I do not notice any alternation or cycling between this strong 4G signal and 3G. But the hotspot is as unstable and slow as ever. Throughput on my PC is the same 2MBps or less that I’ve always had, down to 63K (the phone itself now gets 12-14 MBps, smoking fast, near the top of the speedometer). It’s still impossible to view any streaming media: connections fail after about 180 seconds, requiring the same routine of refreshing web page, hotspot, rebooting phone. I have reopened my trouble ticket with Verizon and have conveyed all this news to the individual engineer who recommended signal boosting. I don’t regret boosting the data signal, but I cannot report that it solves the problem being discussed here, the instability of the Verizon 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot service. You can have an enviably strong, solid 4G signal and still get frequent interruptions and very sluggish speeds with your hotspot. Good luck, will report more.

  29. Peter Alfvin

    Thanks for the post, Tim, and thanks for following up. We’re all rooting for you!!

  30. Maryjane

    First, I am a writer…I am on the computer daily. I am not a computer wizard, but it is the tool of my trade. I will keep this simple and straight forward.
    I had a 3G USB device for my internet connection. It worked fine. In fact, I couldn’t reach my data limit if I tried (and I did).
    Then I upgraded to a 4G LTE 890L. That is when everything came unglued.
    1) My data usage has more than tripled, although I gave up videos and anything that might bring me into the stratosphere with overage charges. I was supposed to ‘save $15 a month’ by upgrading. I’m not going there now…I have a bigger issue:

    2) When I had my 3G, I was able to log onto the website of my publisher (where my books are listed for sale). I was also able to log onto the website of the magazine I write a column for. No problem.

    3) After setting up my 4G…I was unable to access the website of my publisher. I thought it really strange, and questioned him. He spent a good week trying to sort it out on his end. The same with the magazine website.

    4) Then we thought it was my computer(s). So I spent (too much) time with all of my settings, etc. To no avail…

    5) I was stunned because some people were able to go onto the site and make purchases, but I couldn’t get on the site.

    6) It all came together over the holidays. I had visitors who all had their computers and out of curiosity I asked them to try to log onto the websites. None of them could. We had Macs, Dells, HP’s and a Gateway…with various browsers. We all got the error message “Cannot display the webpage”…

    7) My visitors returned to their homes in Boston, California, Maine, Florida…and I asked each of them to try to get to the websites again. ALL OF THEM COULD! None of them had Verizon 4G Hotspots….

    8) I sent and email out to my friends worldwide and everyone could access the websites. No one had 4G’s…

    9) Did a bunch of phone calls with Verizon, on the executive level…and a high level engineer said that it was my ‘device’ and he sent me another…the same exact thing. I set it up and Ta dah…the same problem.

    10) Spoke with another person from the executive office and she said that she figured it out. That it was a problem with the 4G LTE model that I had. She said that no matter what, I wouldn’t be able to get onto those websites with the 4G 890L model because there was an IPV issue with the webhost. I said that if I couldn’t access those sites, that the public (my readers and purchasers of my books) will not be able to access them either. She said “yes, that will affect millions…but it was my responsibility to resolve your problem”.

    11) She overnighted a new one…the MiFi 551 OL model (sorry if this isn’t the right terminology)…This was on 2/1/13. This is the newest model that was released on 1/31/13.
    She was supposed to include a shipping label for me to return the other device. It hasn’t happened yet.

    12) I set up the new device and was able to access my websites…

    13) The web host that is affected directly by this is a huge company that is connected with Verizon… Homestead. It is in the Pacific Northwest, my publisher is in British Columbia.

    14) Help.

  31. Maryjane

    Note:
    I am based out of New England, but travel a lot. In case the region matters. Although suddenly the world wide web is not really working out very well.
    🙂

  32. Bat

    Okay… Using Verizon Mobile Hotspot an a Galaxy S3, I’ve been having on again/off again issues connecting. I might have a 22 mb/second connection, but can’t get pages to load, etc.. Maybe pages either won’t load or they load slowly. Maybe the text will load, but images won’t load. Resetting the connection may or may not help. If it does, the connection may work well, for a while, but then it drops off. If I get any kind of error message, it typically suggests a DNS failure, and this is usually only when using Chrome.

    Well, I might have found a fix? Go to System Preferences > Network > Advanced > Proxies, and enable “Auto Proxy Discovery”. It may help to also go to the Ethernet tab and manually configure your MTU to 1400.

    It might also help to go to the DNS tab and change the default to use Google’s IPv4 and IPv6 public DNS servers. Here’s what you should see in the window after you do that:

    8.8.8.8
    8.8.4.4
    2001:4860:4860::8888
    2001:4860:4860::8844

    Since doing this, the service seems to be consistently more reliable.

  33. Maryjane

    It is obvious to me that Verizon has produced a defective product. People are losing income and potential clients / income if they have to have a masters degree in computer technology to access the world wide web. (Not to mention time wasted trying to figure it out and the shipping of devices back and forth through FedEx. It’s just another example of a huge corporation that is not held accountable and crappy out sourced products. (Made in China)…

    Dial up was slow, but back in the day…it was reliable…(lol)…this is a serious issue that I am just beginning to deal with as far as the impact it has on my industry and career. Not okay.

  34. Bill M

    I am dispelled as to you being displeased with VZW’s LTE network.

    In my area… it works fantastically !!!!!!

    Normal 40M down…. 16M up … and I have seen as high as 70 M down.

  35. Peter Alfvin

    Hi Bill M,

    Are those figures for a device that is connecting *through* your phone, where your phone is acting as a mobile hotspot, which is the subject of this thread? If so, would you share the model of your phone, your location and, if you don’t mind, what device you were getting that throughput with?

    Thanks,
    Pete Alfvin

  36. Tim Sergay

    Hi, fellow investigators of the Verizon 4G LTE hotspot instability problem. Has anyone else noticed a mysterious sudden improvement in hotspot connectivity starting about March 15 or 16? With a very strong, amplified 4G signal (5 bars, 68-80 dBm), I suddenly started seeing download speeds on my client devices of 4 to 7 Mb and much greater stability of connection. For the first time since I subscribed to the hotspot service 14 months ago I was able to stream archived files of Russian TV and films from etvnet.com at high quality and watch them on our TV through an iPad 2. (Please see my posting above, Feb. 3, 2013, for details about my 700-MHz signal boosting investment.) Connectivity still reverts to its prior, maddeningly unstable mode, usually between 5 and 7 PM EST, but then the miraculously good performance returns. My trouble ticket with VZW has no information about what network improvements may have occurred. Bill M’s note above about fantastic performance appeared here the morning after I first noticed this breakthrough improvement in the speed and stability of my hotspot. I am still pursuing the matter with VZW tech support because the failure mode definitely returns and is as bad as ever. But I must report here that the proportions are now reversed: it used to be that I might occasionally get a few minutes of connectivity suitable for streaming video, four to ten minutes, say. But now the hotspot is usually fast and stable enough to stream continuously through the iPad, except for occasional periods of failure mode, sometimes as brief as a few minutes, seldom longer than a couple hours. At my last contact with VZW tech support, they requested that I present my Samsung Stratosphere 1 to the local VZW store for a Verizon sales person to test its hotspot in person. I did that: the hotspot failed repeatedly in the store; the rep added a note to that effect to my trouble ticket. Three to four days later I noticed the dramatic improvement in the service. I am in the New York capital district, just outside Albany. In my many phone and email communications with VZW I have not raised my voice in any way, but I have always pointed out that I am far from the only VZW customer encountering the problem of 4G hotspot instability, and frequently directed the attention of Verizon reps to this very article and the following comments. Believe me, I am not taking any credit and not presuming anything about cause and effect: I am just as mystified by this improvement in the hotspot performance I’ve seen as I have been by the 14 months of instability that preceded it. And naturally I’m not certain that it will last. Sorry for the lengthy report. Best wishes and solidarity to all. –Tim

  37. Tim

    Update on instructive experiment: Is it really about metered versus unlimited data transfer? I have appended the following information to my open trouble ticket with VZW: Hotspot connectivity continues to be quite inconsistent and often unusable. I find that the hotspot generated by my VZW Samsung Stratosphere 1 is wonderfully usable for brief periods at certain times, but at many times not at all, and on some client devices but not on others. It fails miserably and maddeningly on ALL devices at least some of the time. Moreover, tonight I took advantage of a rare visit from my brother to perform a most instructive experiment. I had my brother use the amplified VZW 4G signal that I now receive at my home to generate a hotspot on his iPhone using his VZW Mobile Hotspot service. I connected my PC to his hotspot and tried to stream some video content from the Russian television site etvnet.com. I found that if I connect via my brother’s VZW hotspot, my connectivity is robust and stable; I could stream media continuously and flawlessly for as long as I cared to. If I switched to my own VZW hotspot, with all other factors identical, then I could stream for no more than 3 minutes before connectivity fails and the media player freezes (and no rebuffering and resumption of playback ensues). Same PC, same amplified VZW 700 MHz signal, same browser, same website, same streaming content, same time of day, phones placed in exactly the same spot. With my brother’s iPhone VZW hotspot, which is metered and limited to 4G per month, I get flawless connectivity. With my Samsung Stratosphere’s VZW hotspot, which is on an unlimited contract, I get no more than 3 minutes at a time of connectivity. I am very interested in what accounts for this difference.

    I did not agree on my contract in December 2012 to pay $30 a month for deficient Internet connectivity, in which my data traffic were somehow prioritized dead last or punctuated by “destination net unreachable” errors at certain more or less random intervals, say, after three minutes of continuous streaming of media: no such deficiency or third-class status for my Internet service is spelled out in my contract, and I would never have agreed to pay for it.

  38. Peter Alfvin

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the post. It’s good to know that you were able to have success with your brother’s iPhone in the same environment that things were not working with your phone. Coincidentally, a friend of mine with an iPhone has reported no problems as well, although his phone is jailbreaked (jailbroken?) and he’s using routing freeware and not using VZW’s standard hotspot service. In any event, the question remains whether it’s the phone or the unlimited vs. limited hotspot service?

    I was going to post anyway that I had a great conversation with a VZW technical rep yesterday. It was one of those too rare cases where the rep was both technically knowledgable and respectful/humble. Here’s what he shared with me:
    * When a phone is operating as a hotspot, the simultaneous use of both the cellular and wifi services puts a unique burden on the phone, and the radio in particular, vs. the separate use of those services
    * There can be significant manufacturing variances in radio effectiveness between two instances of the exact same phone
    * The phone that I have (Samsung Charge) is known to have a higher than usual instance of radio related problems

    So, while it’s certainly possible that the problems you describe (and that many of us have experienced) are related to the “unlimited” nature of our hotspot service, I’m thinking it’s just as likely if not more likely that the problems are due to hardware/software defects in certain phones.

    I’m thinking of switching to a Motorola RAZR MAXX HD for other reasons, but I’m curious if folks having hotspot problems could share what specific phone they have.

    Pete

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  40. Peter Alfvin

    Thought I’d give an update.

    With the same phone (Samsung Charge) and going back to the same location (Avalon Bay in Catalina Island, CA), I was able to get reliable* (albeit 3G) service over many hours that I’d never been able to get before.

    The status of changes in the various factors is as follows:

    Phone hardware: Unchanged
    Phone software: Probably upgraded (not positive)
    Cell towers: Reportedly increased in number, not sure about hardware/software
    Verizon infrastructure: Not sure if changed

    Pete

    *That is, didn’t regularly lose my connection

  41. Tim

    Thanks, Peter. Time for me to update as well. Network conditions may have changed since Chris’s original article. I know that Chris did a heck of a lot of research and found was considerable evidence that the hotspot instability problem was independent of device, but after my tech contact at Verizon ran one more experiment with me, I upgraded from my Samsung Stratosphere I to a new iPhone 5, keeping the terms of my service contract the same–and the iPhone 5 works. It works, and life is much better! The second experiment was to test whether the 4G LTE hotspot would work stably on tiered plans but not on any grandfathered unmetered plans like mine (and maybe those of other readers of this thread). He transferred my service for a week to an expensive TIERED plan (on the understanding that charges would be expunged later): same Samsung Stratosphere, same everything. The newly expensive hotspot was just as intolerably unstable as ever! After that week I upgraded to iPhone 5 and very carefully, at length, negotiated the transfer of my existing, grandfathered contract terms to this new device. Verizon store personnel were patient and receptive to this idea: it was not a fight. Knock on wood, you know, but I have lived happily ever after, and I wish the same to everyone else on this thread. The iPhone 5 is able to ride the 4G signal and not get thrown off it every few minutes or even seconds. Occasionally a large news broadcast file that I’m viewing on the iPad will have to rebuffer, but it’s rare now. Sorry, Samsung. After I transferred service to the iPhone, while I had the old Samsung on WiFi mode, I noticed that Samsung was pushing a system update to it. I allowed that update. I can’t help wondering whether that update might have finally cured that phone of its unstable hotspot. I would have to reactivate the Samsung to learn the answer, but I won’t do that now. As long as my hotspot is not broken, I am planning to cease fixing it. Fifteen months of troubleshooting is enough for anyone. My advice: test the hypothesis that the radio capabilities of the iPhone 5 and the JetPack are superior to whatever device is now providing you with “stuttering” hotspot connectivity (my neighbor has a Jetpack and tested it at my house: no stuttering). At least test that hypothesis. My own hotspot problem finally disappeared on April 23 when I brought home an iPhone 5 and has not returned since. Be calm and cool talking with Verizon reps: don’t presume that they’re malicious or thick, or both. The individual who finally saw my case through to a resolution came up with several very logical experimental plans and was completely reliable about phoning me back to follow through at critical stages. Best wishes, –Tim

  42. Peter Alfvin

    Thanks for the update, Tim. This has been a humbling experience for me where i’ve learned that:

    1) System problems with many variables are extremely difficult to diagnose, let alone solve
    2) The same symptoms can be caused by different combinations of variables
    3) Never assume what you don’t really know
    4) Give people the benefit of the doubt

    If I were to *guess* what’s been *primarily* going on, I would say that the Samsung (and most likely other devices) perform badly under less than ideal network conditions due to a combination of hardware and software issues.

    I’m not sure what my next device is going to be, but if it’s not an iPhone, I’m certainly going to do due diligence on the routing issue first!

    Pete

  43. Frank Lempitsky

    I have the issue of it says the Hotspot is active and I can connect with my notebook but can not get anywhere. I did a test I entered two DNS server from OpenDNs manually and magically it works. That means the DNS on the Verizon LTE network are not working or not configured for the HotSpot. I have had this issue for a longtime and Verizon TEchsupport is HORRIBLE. Fix the product I pay so much for and rarely use but when I need it I really need it.

  44. Another Verizon Customer

    I hardly ever post comments, but thanks to the post by ‘bat’, earlier in this thread, I decided to try to change my PCs wireless settings to use an MTU of 1400 instead of 1500. Amazingly, my connection has been 1000% better!! I’m using a MIFI 4510L and an unlimited grandfathered plan.

    I have long thought this problem could probably be fixed with a small tweak, because my connection has always remained very strong, and I can actually connect to certain protocols and have excellent speeds, but requesting web pages, or anything that makes many outbound requests, is just a huge pain, since the requests often don’t get through and so the pages break, etc.

    I found instructions on changing my MTU settings here, I would try just setting your MTU to 1400 at first, before going through the calculations this article describes: http://www.richard-slater.co.uk/archives/2009/10/23/change-your-mtu-under-vista-windows-7-or-windows-8/

  45. RHP

    I recently started using the Verizon Wireless Netgear 1515LVW router. I have the same exact problem. In most cases the router says the connection is fine, however nothing loads, pings don’t go through, the internet certainly is not fine. I’ve tried MTU settings, DNSCrypt and none of it has helped for me. I am paying the 80$ a month plan, this is very disappointing.

  46. Carlos

    So I’ve been pulling my hair for the last year or so. Many different combinations and after throwing money after money at it I can’t seem to get a grip on these random frequent disconnects. I had Novatel Hotspot, a Droid Bionic with the paid hotspot feature added, a Pantech UML295 with a Novatel MBR1400 router, and my current Netgear 1515 router. For sure I thought this Netgear router would solve the problem but alas, it got even worse.Now the random disconnects are several times an hour as opposed to two or 3 times a day. Is this Verizon’s way of driving unlimited data users mad and pushing them to cancel? I wish someone would come and post that everything is perfect on metered data. Then I would have an answer and perhaps something to ponder. As a personal connection for me and several coworkers this has to be unlimited data, the economics just won’t work with metered data. With the only choices being Clear Wimax and this, I am just at wit’s end. Clear is painfully slow as the network is either extremely congested or the backhaul is abandoned to wither and die a slow death.

    So anyways, I hope someone finds this article via Google search and just flat out states, it works perfect on metered data, or the preferred answer, this is the combination I use and it has worked perfectly with my unlimited data for X amount of months. Sigh…