3G question

Discussion in 'iPad' started by jazzer15, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. jazzer15, Sep 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011

    jazzer15 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 8, 2010
    #1
    I am a new iPad 2 owner. I have a 3G iPad and tried it for the first time today. Is it typical for the number of bars to change even if I haven't changed locations? I have been using the service from work and started this morning with 4 bars. I now have 3 and there were a couple of times during the day I noticed it went down to 2 for short periods of time.

    I also had some very slow spots on my commute this morning when we must have gone through areas where no 3G service was available (I got a small o on the screen). I guess this is nothing out of the ordinary, but I'm keeping my eye on how often this happens.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    It is typical for the signal strength to change when the device isn't moved. Factors that can contribute to the change include: other cellular devices, electrical equipment, solar flares, and physical obstruction (birds).
     
  3. crazytrain macrumors member

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    Sep 9, 2009
    #3
    I've found that atmospheric conditions like cloud cover seem to reduce the signal too
     
  4. jazzer15, Sep 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011

    jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Thanks. I figured that was probably the case. Now I just need to see if I am happy with the service.
     
  5. Aspasia macrumors 65816

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    I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago (AT&T iPad 2) and had terrific signal coverage during the drive, except for a couple of spots which had Edge only. First time I've been able to travel with the iPad. The maps app was invaluable.

    I think the Verizon coverage map will help you pinpoint any weak service areas.
     
  6. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

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    Jun 1, 2011
    #6
    Actually most coverage maps are almost useless. Much like the guy who drowned in a river that was on average only 12 inches deep.

    If you're interested in empirical data rather than anecdotes and misleading state by state "coverage", take a look at www.rootmetrics.com. It's a website that collects connection strength data for voice and data transmissions from hundreds of thousands of users on a real-time basis and presents the data on maps down to the block by block level.
     
  7. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Thanks. I actually tried this site before buying the iPad. Verizon seemed to be the winner in many of the areas I travel, so I went with that, but my own limited experience of signal strength so far doesn't necessarily agree with what they say (although Verizon still may be better than AT&T here). Tonight at my house (where I wouldn't usually be using 3G) it jumped off the 3G network for a while and I was getting the dreaded "0". Signal strength on the 3G network is supposed to be very good here.

    It hasn't been bad at all, but just not quite as good as I had hoped.
     
  8. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Points well taken. Frankly, I should have noted that except for some very gross assessments trying to compare carriers is very difficult these days, especially if the gross differences are relatively small. Looking at my local area I can see some "black" areas for various carriers (very bad) and I might hesitate to use that carrier if I lived there, at least for cell phone calls.

    But as you note, data coverage is a little different. I almost never use a cellular network for data services at my home where I have a cable modem and wifi coverage.

    So what difference does a carrier make in the context of data services? Not much unless you routinely need that service at a spot where it's problematic or commute regularly on a route where you're using those services.
     
  9. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Yup. Very true. And that would be me. ;)
     
  10. Aspasia macrumors 65816

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    #10
    I found the map quite accurate when it came to defining the Edge and 3G areas. Which was precisely the info I wanted.
     
  11. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

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    Jun 1, 2011
    #11
    You're right. I shouldn't have been so flippant. Up here in the Northwest it used to be that there were vast areas in Idaho and Montana, for example, where coverage of any kind was iffy or non-existent with some carriers. I left Sprint for Verizon, in fact, for that very reason.

    As the various networks have been built out, however, the differences in metro areas in terms of "good" coverage come down to pockets here and there. I should have noted that there can be differences between carriers even in areas where both (or all) carriers claim to provide "3G" service.
     

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