ATT 4g towers better/stronger than 3G towers?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by alleyooptroop, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. alleyooptroop macrumors regular

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    #1
    I currently have an iPhone 4 on AT&T. I barely get any service in my home which is why I have a microcell. As I'm sure most of you have read the microcell is far from reliable. So I'm wondering if anyone knows if/when the AT&T 4g network is finished if I should expect more reliable coverage in my home using that generation iPhone on the 4g network?

    I know Verizon's coverage is good since I have a friend with the Verizon iPhone and she has no signal problems in my house. I'm now contemplating switching over to Verizon to get onto an unlimited data plan then upgrade to their 4g iPhone when I'm eligible.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    AT&T doesn't have 4G. Neither does Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile. They all have 3.5G. AT&T's 3.5G towers are no better or worse than there 3G towers, with their 2.5G/EDGE towers still being the most powerful.
     
  3. PNutts macrumors 601

    PNutts

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    #3

    Off topic, but my sister-in-law is doing the same thing for the same reason.
     
  4. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    #4
    You sure about that? I thought Verizon was rolling out 4G LTE. I know most of the others are calling it 4G because, well, 4 is bigger than 3, so it must be better! But yes, most are just using advanced 3G and calling it 4G. Kinda like having an operating system that you internally label as 6.1 and then brand it with a 7.
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    Very sure about it. Just like you pointed out with the Windows 7 thing. Its all a marketing term to make their product sound better than the others. Real 4G has a minimum speed of 100 Mbit/s down as defined by the ITU.
     
  6. msb3079 macrumors 6502a

    msb3079

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    #6
    Pretty sure Verizon has begun to roll out 4G LTE.
     
  7. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #7
    As stated above, the current "4G" is just a marketing term. They can call it "5G" and the American public would believe them.
     
  8. Interstella5555 macrumors 603

    Interstella5555

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    #8
    Exactly. You're forgetting that the majority of people in the US (including providers) don't really understand what HD, Broadband, 3D, 3G, 4G and SuperTurboCellPhoneInternetWithSprinkles are, and would probably buy all of them for their phone if they could.
     
  9. Centient macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Just make the switch. We had the same problem you did, and moved to VZ. We can make calls in our home, haven't had a dropped call once in the 5 months we've been on VZ. Just a more reliable experience.

    Plus VZ has been aggressively pushing our their "4G" network. Much more so than AT&T. I feel the odds are better that once a "4G" iPhone does hit that the VZ coverage will be more readily available than the AT&T version. Just a hunch though.

    Obviously a couple of drawbacks to VZ. Though I didn't do any talking and simultaneous web surfing. So not missing out on that. Only real complaint is that we're still at FW 4.2XXX whereas AT&T is up to 4.3 and the goodies that go along with it.
     
  10. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #10
    As far as anyone is concerned LTE IS 4G. The ITU definition is inflated and unrealistic given the backhaul constraints of pretty much every network in the world. Do you even know what it would take to get the necessary resources to have every network ready for "LTE Advanced"?...Yeah..Even NTT DoCoMo arguably the best cellular network in the world (Japan) isn't ready for that (And they put Belus in canada to shame!). 1xRTT could be considered "3G" solely based on the minimum speed requirement by certain organizations. Anyways its really not worth fighting over but given that the ITU agreed LTE Advanced would be 4G I think its safe to call LTE 4G given its a HUGE step up from EvDO and in some cases HSPA+.


    1G - AMPS (800 Cellular) (USA) and NMT (900Mhz) (Europe)

    2G - Still pretty old school but consisted of "Digital AMPS" at first which would turn into IS-95 then 1xRTT (CDMA2000) (all just evolutions). Raw GSM with limited data services, I'm not even talking GRPS like less than 15kbs :O

    "2.5G" - GPRS aka General Packet Radio Service, really slow data but final packet based and not circuit switched. So always on data line billed by kilobyte and not time. GPRS gets like 100kbs MAX and I doubt you'll get that given voice is prioritized. GPRS was a big deal every GSM carriers spewed it all over their networks just in time for the crackberry crisis where people would check their email on the go (I remember thinking that was the coolest **** ever!).

    "2.75G" - EDGE aka Enhanced GPRS basically taking GPRS and putting it on steroids. You can also just throw EDGE in 2.5G if you don't like all these middle pieces in generations. EDGE can get up to 177kbs with the first version and 277 with the second version. EDGE just could not meet the 3G standard which was 384kbs! GSM technology was done.

    3G ZOMGQWJAEFG!!!! - Requirement of 2Mbs stationary and 384kbs while mobile...so allot of the times verizons network doesn't even meet the standard! Go look at my speed test thread. Anyways in this we've got the rise of UMTS (HSPA with no upgrades so no HSDPA, HSUPA crap added RAW new tech) which would be used by AT&T/Cingular in the US. UMTS required all new cell sites, though the same antenna's could be used. Verizon's EvDO rev 0 only need a software upgrade on top of its exisiting 1xRTT network max speed of 2.4Mbs downlink but that was hard to get. EvDO rev a would allow for 3.1Mbs downlink still fast but everyone knew HSPA was going to beast EvDO with its large 5Mhz spacing vs EvDO's 1.25Mhz spacing.

    "3.5G" - No real defintion here but Ill consider it more legit than some of these 4G claims that are just fancy UMTS. This is mostly HSDPA upgrades with HSUPA thrown in. HSDPA speed upgrades are 1.8mbs, 3.6mbs, 7.2mbs, 14.4mbs (well 14 really), and 21.1mbs generally 3.5G would be 7.2 and up however. Verizon really has no way to compete with this other than EvDO rev b which they were too much of a ***** to deploy anyway.

    "4G" - LTE Advanced, WiMAX, HSPA+ with MIMO and Dual carriers. We could argue this more but there's some history and background see the link below for some good info:

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/17/2g-3g-4g-and-everything-in-between-an-engadget-wireless-prim/

    EDIT: Mods I think we need a sticky on the cell technology just for reference. I would be happy to do even more research and write one up that or I know we have a few engineer esk guys on here who probably know 999999x more about this.
     
  11. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

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    #11
    nateo200 has it exactly right.

    ITU overreached with their definition of 4G and they've since backed off of their silly stance.
     
  12. chakraj macrumors 65816

    chakraj

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    #12
    and I thought he was asking who would win in a fight between a 4g tower and a 3g tower. What if the 3g tower knows jui jitsu and the 4g tower is a judo expert? Now that would be a contest.;)
     
  13. rjohnstone macrumors 68040

    rjohnstone

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    #13
    They didn't "overreach", they were attmepting to set the next standard.
    And to quote the Endgadget article...
    They bullied the ITU into letting them call their beefed up 3G (more like 3.75 and 3.9) tech 4G.

    Forerunners = not 4G buy their definition.
    The ITU essentially muddied the waters and moved themselves into irrelevance.

    When looking for real facts about mobile tech, go to http://3gpp.org/

    As for the tower comment. There is no such thing as a "3G tower" or a "4G tower" in the sense that AT&T would deploy different towers based on radio capabilities.
    EDGE/UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+ all run on the same towers. ;)

    Some towers in rural or low density urban areas have not had their radios upgraded to support 4G, or even 3G in some places, but that is irrelevant.
    They don't need to build a new tower, they simply upgrade the existing ones.
     
  14. whtrbt7 macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I agree that the nomenclature system for mobile communications is now busted. Anyone can just claim anything nowadays since there is little to no control over the systems. The only reason why upgraded towers would be better/stronger than not upgraded towers would be due to the fact that a guy goes up in the "tower" and then attaches a new switch and pipeline which widens bandwidth. While this happens, the guy could adjust the settings for the tower to get either wider coverage area or faster speed. You see, you can't really have both because it defies the laws of physics unless you have a substantial upgrade in output power.

    Getting back to the nomenclature of mobile communications generational differences, 3G compared to 4G just mean 3rd generation or 4th generation. Why not name stuff like 22G and get "even better" marketing? It all comes down to those stupid ATT, Verizon, and Sprint commercials that we all see. They popularize the term 3G or 4G and everyone thinks they know something about the mobile communication biz. What matters most to consumers are 2 things: coverage area and speed. Everything else is cheese.
     
  15. AHDuke99 macrumors 68020

    AHDuke99

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    #15
    I've heard that LTE towers have much longer range than do HSPA towers, which would allow LTE to cover rural areas more easily than the current 3G tech allows. I could be wrong though. I dont know a thing about towers.
     
  16. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

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    #16
    From my experience, 3G speeds are faster than AT&T's 4G speeds because the backhaul to support the 4G speeds aren't there yet except in a few places.

    (Yes, I know AT&T 4G = HSPA+ = 3.75G = 3G+ :p)
     
  17. Pmoser macrumors member

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  18. rjohnstone macrumors 68040

    rjohnstone

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    #18
    But your cell phone only has a max range of 10 square miles. ;)

    LTE also runs in the 700Mhz range. Not good for long distance but great for building penetration.
     
  19. Pmoser macrumors member

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    #19
    correct me if im wrong but the lower the Mhz the farther the signal travel which explains why radio stations can travel 150 miles at the most. but cell phone towers at 1900 Mhz can only travel a few miles
     
  20. rjohnstone macrumors 68040

    rjohnstone

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    #20
    You're right... I ALWAYS get that backwards. :p

    Lower = farther
    Higher = shorter

    But the key issue here is how much broadcast power your phone has.
    The site could be broadcasting out to 50 miles, but if your phone can't send a signal back to it, it might as well not be there.
     
  21. Pmoser macrumors member

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    #21
  22. msb3079 macrumors 6502a

    msb3079

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    #22
    If you say so... I've heard and experienced otherwise.
     
  23. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #23
    Yeah as I will explain below 700Mhz has great range and penetration. However LTE will not just be on 700Mhz especially when verizon starts to see congestion on 700Mhz with all the new users.

    Yes I know where to find "real" facts about mobile tech I practically studied it. Another good site is GSMworld and of course howards forums for actual discussions and WiMAX forums are nice as well. They did over reach, 1gigabit stationary rates is obscenely fast, if we can't get that through are home broadband then we sure as hell can't get it from a cell site! Regardless of whether they were bullied or not its irrelevant.
    700Mhz is great for range but someone else already corrected you. Cellphones are actually limited to 10 square miles. GSM cell sites could broadcast up to 22 miles after that its limited by GSM's air interface and timing advance, of course that type of range would really stress your phones battery and to be honest I would not want to be connected to a tower 22 miles away I can see my battery going bye bye! Other tech like CDMA2000, UMTS and LTE doesn't have an issue with this but again battery issues and transmit power. When I was in another country with CDMA2000 (Poorer country) I was sometimes in the middle of no where and my CDMA phone would connect to towers insanely far away even on 850Mhz and the signal strength was weak soley based on range (I'm talking flat land)! It was insane to see what kind of coverage a cell site can provide since in the US we have allot more cell sites to keep signal as strong as possible and of course capacity. Cellular technology is quite fascinating sometimes you don't realize how complex and intricate the system is!
    Again dependent on battery life, phone Tx power, LOS, signal noise, etc.
     
  24. Pmoser macrumors member

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    #24
    Yeah of course best case scenario is 25-50 miles. I think anywhere under 10 miles you will see good speeds and coverage
     

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