2 Bars standing next to an AT&T tower

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by joekun, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. joekun macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    #1
    This is not specifically related to iPhone 4, but the reception issues don't help my situation.

    I dropped 3 calls in my house this morning. I often have trouble calling my wife when she's at home and I'm not (she has a 3G), suffice to say, I just don't get great reception at home.

    After the 3 dropped calls I'd had enough and called AT&T, found out that there is a tower at the AT&T facility 4 blocks from my house, and another tower also within walking distance: I should be getting 5 bars they said - recommended I change my phone number to the local area code (my phone's area code is a 10 minute drive away), so I indulged them and waited for the "relocation department" just to hear what they had to say. Relocation said that wouldn't help (duh), and flat out said iPhones just don't get good reception, regardless of which model. I pointed out I never had this problem in my old place before I moved here, to which she had no retort.

    Just out of curiosity I took a walk down to that AT&T facility, and standing outside I had 2 bars of service. How can this be? It sounds like I should have amazing coverage here! Can anyone explain?
     
  2. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #2
    Do you live in a heavily populated area? Or in other words, do you suppose that the towers near you have a lot of people using them?
     
  3. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    #3
    iOS4 connects you to the tower with the least traffic, not the closest tower or so I have heard.
     
  4. Block macrumors 6502a

    Block

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    #4
    Really? Do you have a source for that?
     
  5. insidmal macrumors 6502

    insidmal

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Location:
    Eugene
    #5
    i'm not nearly as close to a tower as you and have no reception problems
     
  6. saving107 macrumors 603

    saving107

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, Ca
    #6
    bars really done have much meaning anymore, either you have service or you don't (that goes for any phone).


    I also have to agree with Ryeno, I've heard that before as well, but that goes for any phone and not just an iPhone.
     
  7. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #7
    Wow, nice claim. In that case, should I not waste my battery enabling 3G?
     
  8. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #8
    Yep jobs said in the original ip4 keynote the ip4 will use the signal with less traffic.

    As for standing next to a tower thats pointless you need to be 200-500 meters away depending on the height of it as the is a big fat blind spot around towers.
     
  9. saving107 macrumors 603

    saving107

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, Ca
    #9
    I don't get how you got that from what I posted, but O.K.
     
  10. mbhforum macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #10
    I have a 3G Microcell tower IN MY HOUSE and have seen my bars drop to 3. I assume the 4.0.1 update is now "accurately reflecting" this.
     
  11. SAD*FACED*CLOWN macrumors 65816

    SAD*FACED*CLOWN

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #11
    I called AT&T and they wouldn't tell me exactly where the towers were in my area for "proprietary and security purposes"
     
  12. Adisah macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    #12
    Uses edge when you are out of luck. It's so much more reliable. I'm still using a 2g iPhone. 3g coverage is particularly spotty. There could be a tower close by but it's probably only serving edge.
     
  13. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #13
    Well if you say service is service - then there's no point wasting battery on 3G service is there? A hint of sarcasm intended.
     
  14. PNutts macrumors 601

    PNutts

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, US
    #14
    You may have already done this, but did you also report you're wife's reception issues? I sometimes call AT&T support for our corporate wireless devices and was told by the guy who's responsibility it was to do so that if you report one phone with a problem the assumption is that it is your phone. If you report two phones then they start looking deeply at their network.

    Many times a tower was at fault, but that was in the before times when AT&T was building out their 3G network in my area. It was frustrating to have a C level executive that couldn't connect and AT&T's first level support would tell us it's because they're improving their network. It was actually a contractor leaving misconfigured towers all over town.
     
  15. saving107 macrumors 603

    saving107

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, Ca
    #15
    I was talking about bar count (EDGE or 3G).

    people seem to be hung on the fact that their phone drops from 4-5 bars down to 1-2 bars just by holding it a certain way or standing is a specific spot, but what matters more is wether you have service or not.

    If I have 1 bar or 5, my call still goes through.
     
  16. cirial macrumors regular

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    May 2, 2010
    Location:
    Pompano Beach, FL
  17. cecoleman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    #17
    Remember those towers radiate up and out. If you are standing too close you won't get anything hardly as the signal is being broadcasted over your head.
     
  18. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #18
    There are antennas on that tower that are pointed and angled to cover certain areas. I'm pretty sure that the literal base of the tower isn't what they're aiming at.
     
  19. ThatsMeRight macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    #19
    True.
     
  20. klrobinson999 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    #20
    Completely true. My friend rents land to Verizon for one of their towers and can't get a very good signal from them, even though the tower is within 200 feet of her house! She is almost TOO close.

    By the way, if you ever want easy money, just agree to allow a cell tower to be set up on your property....my friend rakes in a cool $7000 a year for renting her property to Verizon.
     
  21. elistan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    #21
    Use this website from AT&T to look up tower locations:
    http://www.atttowers.com

    Requires login. Use bug-me-not to get on if you want to go that route.

    For my house, I'm rather close to a tower but have low signal strength (-83 to -95 usually) and can often drop a phone to No Signal by holding it. Yet other areas, which are further away from the towers, I get a really strong signal (-51 to -61.) I suspect terrain elevation and vegetation have a lot to do with it, and perhaps the signal is somewhat directional vertically - it wouldn't make sense to direct a lot of the signal energy directly down to the ground where there are basically no users.
     
  22. davyreins macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Ann Arbor
    #22
    Does the same hold true for internet performance? For instance, does data download just as fast with 1 bar as it does for 5 bars?
     
  23. Mudkips macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    England
    #23
    It really depends what type of tower it is too. There are 3 main types on a regular GSM network. The large masts you usually see in more rural areas the middle of fields or mounted to rooftops are macrocells, they provide the largest coverage but are very susceptible to interference in coverage from terrain and large buildings, etc. Microcells (not to be confused with those little network extenders companies like AT&T and Vodafone sell) are usually found in larger cities strapped to the side of buildings or even hidden in places such as church steeples. They usually run on a much lower power level to limit their range to only a certain amount of users on purpose, phones constantly switch between these and they only cover the distance of about a half a mile/1 kilometre. The other type is an Umbrella cell, which as the name suggests provide large coverage to fill in the gaps. These are mostly used to cover microcell areas so that if a user is traveling at quite some speed in a car or a train they wont drop a call or strain the network from the handoffs between the microcells every 30 seconds. These are usually quite high off the ground on large structures.
     
  24. ravensfan55 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #24
    That website only lists towers that AT&T owns, they probably have 2-3 times more towers which they lease from another company.
     
  25. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #25
    However, using the Internet would be a joke. Which is a basic function of a Smartphone.

    I can't believe the amount of denial on this forum.

    <3 :apple: ?
     

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