3G Bars Not Really Right!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by thisisarcadia, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. thisisarcadia macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2008
    New Orleans, LA
    today i tested the speed of my iphone 3g. Before the upgrade 2.1 my phone was very slow at my house it would always switch to edge right when i walked inside, ever since 2.1 i have experienced full bars of 3G reception in the same spot of my room as it would switch to edge. But i personally think after these test that the bars are there to make people feel good about there reception. Because i always have full bars everywhere now. Is that not strange?!

    The first test is the Download Speed: took 17 seconds to download 512 kb
    The Second test is the Upload Speed: took 138 seconds to upload 512 kb

    Who else is having this same slow download/upload experience?

    Attached Files:

  2. kobefan234 macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2008
    i feel the same way the bars are all up but is hella slow:mad:
  3. rsk137 macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2008
    I don't have 3G in my area so I don't really know, but Gizmodo tested 2.1 vs. 2.0.2 and they concluded that 2.1 is has slower 3G speeds when surfing.

  4. valexa macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    here is my test
    i did this in my house where field test (dial *3001#12345#*) averages -80 db
    in field test you see a number instead of the bars , in my home ranges from -60 at window to -90 in basement , and around -50 outside
    be aware that the bars represent a average over time , the actual reception number changes wildly even when rotating the phone without moving
    also important is where you keep your hand on it as antenna is in the lower part of the phone's back

    Attached Files:

  5. FearlessFreep macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2008
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Signal strength (# of bars) and speed (network performance) are two entirely separate things. You may be able to connect to the network fine (bars), but the speed of the network (AT&T) may not be what you'd expect due to any number of variables.

    However the phone should not show that you are connected to 3G if in fact you are on Edge.
  6. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    There are actually a number of things that can limit the 3G data speed, aside from reception:

    - Number of people using 3G data on a particular cell (too many people using data means less data bandwidth on that cell)

    - Number of people using 3g voice on a particular cell
    (Voice takes priority over data. More people making 3G voice calls = less over the-air-bandwidth for data)

    - Plenty of over-the-air bandwidth, but not enough backhaul (physical data connections to the cell site)

    - Issues at the data Access point (basically, a gateway between the cellular data network and the Internet-proper)

    One other thing: for 3G, signal strength in dB doesn't tell the whole story. It's possible to have strong signal strength and STILL drop calls in WCDMA. it's also people to have a really weak signal from the cell site and still ahve a solid call.

    The real determining factor of call quality is a value in CDMA and UMTS known as Ec/Io (pronounced "Ee-Cee-over-Eye-Nought"). Basically, it's equivalent to a signal to noise ratio.

    The question is whether Apple changed the bars to read Ec/Io instead of the raw signal strength (RSSI) , OR if they just exaggerated the RSSI values.
  7. pj rage macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2008
    For me, since day 1 (july 11), the number of bars on 3g has had zero effect on network performance. Before 2.1 I basically had 1-2 bars everywhere. Even on 1 bar I would regularly pull around 1.2Mbps. With 5 bars of 3g, in the areas where I could get 5 bars, I didn't get any higher speed. After 2.1, I have 4-5 bars where I used to have 1-2 bars, and I still get the same speeds. This is in the DC metro area, but I doubt that matters. Your problem is probably more related to the network in your area than the number of bars displayed on your phone.
  8. Anuba macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2005
    Yeah, same here -- full bars, miserable speed.

    The bars aren't lying, though. The signal is better (this can be verified with the *3001#12345#* thing mentioned above).

    Why this better signal doesn't have any effect on speed is beyond me. 3G has been around for a long time here in Sweden, we have scores of 3G towers everywhere and I've seen much better speeds on other devices even when they don't show full bars...

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