2.1 iPhone 3G Switching To E a LOT!!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jw nyc, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. jw nyc macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2008
    I have already noticed that my iPhone switches to Edge a LOT more than it used to here in lower Manhattan. I could have 5 bars of 3G and all of a sudden the E just appears with also 5 bars. But if I have 5 bars of 3G why is it detecting a low enough signal to switch to Edge? Kinda annoying when i'm browsing but don't mind it when I'm just using the phone.
  2. spyz88 macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    I know same EXACT situation in my office.
  3. kornyboy macrumors 68000

    Sep 27, 2004
    Knoxville, TN (USA)
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_0_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5C1 Safari/525.20)

    That is really weird. I wonder if the buildings along with the "better" management of the 3G signal is causing this. So you have 5 bars of 3G and you walk 20 feet and the phone detects a rapid drop in signal, say to 3 bars, due to going into a weak zone induced by a building and it thinks it is going loose the signal completely so it switches to Edge before it even has a chance to display a drop. Just theory, maybe Apple made it too sensitive for large cities.
  4. jw nyc thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2008
    No for example, I'm sitting at my desk with 5 bars of 3G and without moving at all my desk phone will start buzzing and I look at my phone and it has 5 bars of Edge. Know that the desk phone only buzzes when the phone is in Edge mode so I am able to tell EXACTLY when the change happens. That's my biggest annoyance with the phone dropping Edge...my desk phone becomes very annoying and I have to move my iPhone to the other side of my desk.
  5. zapufast macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2008
    I'm having the same issue. 5 Bars of "E" when I used to have 3 bars of 3G
  6. maverickuk macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2004
    Same here in the UK. 5 bars of 3G and then edge and then even drops to the standard GPRS signal. Without even moving from the room!

  7. zapufast macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2008
    Anyone else having these problems?

    Would a restore help?

    Anything I can do, I was better with 2.0.2 as far as this issue.

    I like everything else as far as the upgrade, but this is cause dropped calls and really slow internet when full 3G service is available.
  8. CocoaPuffs macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    Read more on the existing threads. Apple updated the firmware to show more bars, not to improve the service. Therefore 3-4 bars really mean 0 bar on the pre-2.1 firmware, which is the reason why it is jumping to EDGE.
  9. Psyxologos macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2008
    Why would they do something like that and then boast about it? They must be going mad...

  10. CocoaPuffs macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    Read the firmware upgrade yourself:

    - improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
  11. Psyxologos macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2008
    Well, you see, how can they claim improved accuracy when yourself admit:

    Do you see the oxymoron? Zero bars should represent no reception. Now people see 3-4 bars (which should translate to moderate-strong reception) but are unable to make a 3G call. Why fool ourselves with graphic representations we know are not depicting the reality of our phone's reception?
  12. CocoaPuffs macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    I am not disagreeing with you, and I have said it several times on other threads. Apple thinks we're fools and base on majority of threads about 2.1 firmware, Apple has succeeded.
  13. Psyxologos macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2008
    I agree with you. They must think we are incapable of understanding our situation and we base our feelings on their announcements (which they think we cannot understand). This is why I said:

    and was meant as a complain against their practice of spending their time and energy on optical illusions rather on usefull improvements!
  14. barjohn macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2008
    This will be a long post to try and explain what we are seeing. First some terminology. UE stands for User Equipment (I believe since it isn't further defined in the specification) The following is taken from the terminal specification standard TS 34.121 from the Third Generation
    Partnership Product (3GPP) includes multiple test cases that a UE must pass to validate its basic functionality prior to being used on a live UMTS network. To truly characterize performance, a
    UE should be tested beyond that threshold to the point at which the UE actually hits its target Bit Error Rate (BER).

    The area of Reference Sensitivity testing will be investigated first. Receiver Sensitivity is the minimum mean power received at the UE antenna port at which the BER does not exceed a previously specified value (typically 0.1%). The 34.121 conformance test checks to verify that the UE does not exceed the minimum acceptable BER of 0.1% for a particular composite power level (Ior) at a data rate of 12.2kbps.

    However, to truly understand the performance of the UE’s receiver the composite power level (Ior) needs to be decreased while recording the BER at each power setting until the target or reference BER is hit, thus determining the receiver’s Reference Sensitivity breakpoint. This type of breakpoint analysis can be used as a baseline reference to compare performance to other UEs, previous hardware platforms, or even software builds on the same UE platform. This technique, typically referred to as “Sweep and Graph”, can provide performance trend analysis over varying power levels for future comparisons. Refer to Figure 1 for an example of typical BER results obtained using the Sweep and Graph technique. (See first attachment Figure 1)

    Receiver Sensitivity Breakpoint Analysis

    Determination of the Reference Sensitivity breakpoint helps to determine how well the phone will perform in weak signal conditions to a given Bit Error Rate (BER) target, without any source of interference. Figure 3 shows the Reference Sensitivity breakpoints for four commercially-deployed UEs. The lower the Reference Sensitivity level of the UE, the greater the network coverage it will experience. (See Attachment 2 Figure 3)

    Determination of the Reference Sensitivity breakpoint helps to determine how well the phone will perform in weak signal conditions to a given Bit Error Rate (BER) target, without any source of interference. Figure 3 shows the Reference Sensitivity breakpoints for four commercially-deployed UEs. The lower the Reference Sensitivity level of the UE, the greater the network coverage it will experience.

    From the results in Figure 3, all four UEs successfully pass the Region 1 Conformance requirement of -117 dBm; however, it is also clear that one of the four UEs (UE D) barely passes this criterion. In reviewing the sensitivity levels, there is at least a 4.5 dB difference between UE D and all of the other UEs tested. Taking into account that Reference Sensitivity level translates directly into network coverage experienced by the UE, it is clear that UE D will be at a disadvantage when compared to the other UEs

    Notice the worst performing UE was good to -117 DBM. The iPhone drops calls and loses the connection at -103 to -110 DBM. That makes it a worse performer than the worst of these UEs.

    In addition to reduced coverage, a lower Reference Sensitivity level will result in the UE experiencing problems at the fringe of the cell. UEs with a relatively poor sensitivity will have difficulty successfully decoding signals at lower levels. This could lead the UE to request additional power when compared to better-performing UEs, increasing the interference level on the cell and on neighboring cells. This ultimately negatively impacts overall network capacity.

    Another reason to determine the true Reference Sensitivity level of the UE is that better sensitivity can effectively increase the overall cell overlap capacity, reducing the number of dropped calls experienced by an end-user. So, based only on this small subset of four commercial UEs, it is clear that significant differences in Reference Sensitivity levels can exist on UEs deployed in a live network, even though all these UEs have successfully
    passed Conformance testing.

    For much more information look for the following document with a google search: "Impact of UE Receiver Sensitivity and Adjacent Channel interference on WCDMA Network Capacity" a white paper by: Spirent Communications, Inc. 541 Industrial Way West Eatontown, New Jersey 07724 USA

    One thing is for sure the iPhone is not displaying the sensitivity shown here and may help explain its poor performance.

    Attached Files:

  15. Mikey B macrumors 65816

    Mikey B

    Jan 4, 2008
    the island
    i've noticed it as well in areas (like at work) where i would get poor 3G service. been fine in areas where i've always had a strong 3G signal. on the flip, i haven't had any (*knocks on wood*) dropped calls since i updated, and i'm happy to be on EDGE at work if it means i won't drop calls to customers.
  16. PNutts macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    I am OK to make the display representative of the signal strength. It was bad. They fixed it.
  17. cdd543 macrumors 6502


    Oct 13, 2006
    mine switches like crazy now from 3g to edge in the same spot. I never had any 3g problems or issues with dropped calls prior to update. This is sort of ridiculous.
  18. captual macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2008
    3g-E-3g-E-No 3G

    Calls are fine and do not seem to drop mutch, BUT... Phone always goes to Edge and standing 20 FEET away from the 3G cell tower here in Indian Wells, CA. and talking to AT&T workmen here they can't tell me why phone does not go Back to 3G? Yes 3G is turned on. Yes I have 2.1 . If I turn off 3G then back on again then it holds it until the signal drops a bar or two... then bam back to E. When it is on 3G I find the speed to be about HALF of Verizon EVDO!
    So much for 3G......:mad:
  19. zapufast macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2008

    Same here!
    I can't get mine to stay on 3G even when I have 5 bars of 3G it goes to EDGE!
    It's killing me, the only way to fix it is turn 3G of and then back on, but it goes back to edge in just a few seconds anyway.

    It's really annoying!!!!!!!
    Is everyone having these problems, I didn't have these problems before 2.1, so that leads me to think it's not my phone, so why isn't everyone that has 2.1 having these problems????

    I feel like I'm the only one this effects...... I have already done a restore, and I still have the same problem.

    Do I have a defective phone? There is no reason to have a 3G phone if I can't use it.

  20. Megalobyte macrumors 6502a

    Dec 30, 2007
    My 3G speed has steadily deteriorated over the last month or so, to where now, much of the day I'm slower than Edge, I used to average 1-1.5 Mbps, now its more like .3 Mbps, often the data just stops completely. I never used to switch to Edge, now as others said, it'll switch to Edge when I have 5 bars of 3G, and it takes its time switching back to 3G, I can do it manually and viola, 5 bars of 3G, so, why didn't it switch back on its own? Why did it go to Edge in the first place if I have a steady 5 bars of 3G.

    Lately it has become apparent the bars are basically meaningless.

    I believe it's a network problem ATT needs to address, it definitely seems as if their 3G bandwidth can't handle the use its been getting and is congested throughout the day to the point where it's nearly unusable.

    The reason I dont think its a phone problem is because very late at night, presumably when most of my area is sleeping or at least not on their cell phones much, the network gets faster and way more usable/consistant, but during the daytime, when people are actually using their 3G connections, the network apparently gets overwhelmed and either freezes up, or is VERY slow. If it were a phone problem, I'd not be able to get good, consistant speeds every single night after midnight, and have a totally opposite, and extremely frustrating experience during the day time.
  21. Rybold macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2008
    California, USA
    Sounds like interference. You need a landline desk phone or a different desk
    phone. The two devices are obviously interfering with each other. If I get my iPhone too close to my portable home phone, they both get real "staticky." You need to revert back to a basic wired phone at your desk. Or trade your iPhone in for one of those cheap plastic go-phones. Haha! :eek:
    Buildings do decrease signal strength a lot. I live outside of the city, but whenever I'm doing business in cities, I find that walking around the corner of a building can make a significant difference in cell reception. (Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Dallas are the cities I have been in with my 3G iPhone so far) Just walking from one street, around a corner onto a different street and different side of a large office building can take my phone from 5 bars to 1 bar, or vise versa.


    Your best solution is to move out of the city and live on the beach. Come down here to Orange County, CA. We have excellent 3G coverage, the beach, hot hot hot chicks in bikinis, excellent weather all year around, and a booming economy. And right now, you can get a really good deal on real estate. ;)

    Or, you can move to Galveston, Texas and there will LITERALLY be no buildings to block your signal ... if you can find a cell tower. :D You can probably find a REALLY good deal on real estate there too. I heard used cars are only $500.

    If you want more info on what you see below, go to www.homeseekers.com and type in zip code 92660.

    Attached Files:

  22. GERGreg427 macrumors member


    May 7, 2008
    Fort Worth
    Answer to problem

    The problem is, they are switching you out of 3G to allow for the ppl calling on the network to have a better signal. If you stayed on the 3G, the problems that have been happening will continue. We all know the problems begin with the towers being overloaded. Apples solution was to free up the
    3G network so no more dropped calls.
  23. ~Phi macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2007
    Same here. I'm sitting at my desk in Chicago and my iphone keeps alternating between 4 bars or 3g and 5 bars of edge. Kind of annoying. 3g speeds with 4 bars completely suck for me too.
  24. Mikebuzzsaw macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    The constant switching is annoying when it makes my calls drop!
  25. Next Tuesday macrumors 6502a

    Next Tuesday

    Sep 14, 2006
    I had a weird thing happen yesterday. Instead of "E" or "3G" icon, i had an "O" icon. ANyone ever seen/had that? What is it? I cant find any info on it.

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