Better signal at night??

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Loves2spoon, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Loves2spoon macrumors 65816

    Loves2spoon

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #1
    During the day at home I only get 1-2 bars of 3G but at night I get 5 bars! WTF?
     
  2. chembox macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 17, 2010
  3. Loves2spoon thread starter macrumors 65816

    Loves2spoon

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    Jun 3, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #3
    Too many iPhones in my neighborhood!?
     
  4. AbSoluTc macrumors 68040

    AbSoluTc

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    #5
    Same here. Some nights I get 3 bars of 3G. During the day, I get 1 bar in the same spot.
     
  5. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #6
    Atmospheric changes cause most radio signals to be able to travel farther.

    TEG
     
  6. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #7
    I seem to get slower 3G speeds at night though.
    Weird...
     
  7. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #8
    There is also less atmospheric interference (from the sun) at night and thus radio signals are able to travel farther and stronger. The ionosphere plays a part in the reflection of radio signals as well as it's composition is different at night with the lack of the sun. That is probably the real reason you are getting better signal strength.

    This is also why many AM radio stations are regulated to to turn down their power output at night. AM radio is affected much more by this phenomenon than the high frequency FM signal the cellular phones use.
     
  8. RITZFit macrumors 65816

    RITZFit

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    In my Corner
    #9
    I noticed this w/ my old phone...made AT&T's EDGE network feel so fast (relatively :eek: )
     
  9. ulbador macrumors 68000

    ulbador

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #10
    This probably actually isn't going to have much of an effect on cell phone transmissions. While the frequencies cell phone use are highly attenuated by the atmosphere, the main impact this would have is if the signal were reliant on any kind of bounce or skip. Most cell phone connections will take place over direct line of site, which is why there are cell phone towers everywhere now. Reasonably speaking, I don't think signals will bounce above frequencies of 400 or 500 MHZ, and cell phones use MUCH higher than that now.

    The UHF frequencies used in cell phones generally won't bounce or skip, so this basically takes the state of the atmosphere completely out of the equation. This means that while at night the frequency might be highly scattered, during the day it would just pass harmlessly out into space. In both cases it would never be reflected back to earth and in either case the signal is useless to the cell phone tower.

    The AM radio station thing you mention is something completely different. AM radio stations are a MUCH lower frequency, and at those lower frequencies can travel thousands of miles at night. In fact, at some of those lower frequencies and in the right conditions particularly with some tropospheric ducting, amateur radio operators have picked up their own signal coming from 180 degrees in the opposite direction, meaning the signal bounced all the way around the earth.

    Chances are as someone above mentioned this is just due to congestion.
     
  10. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #11
    Yes, you are correct. I'm quite tired as I am up past my bedtime and wasn't thinking clearly. I recall back when I was in the US Marines, we were able to talk from California to Kuwait on HF from our MRC-138. I also was able to talk from Australia to Okinawa too.

    I just neglected to remember the cellular freq's being so much higher up on the spectrum and not affected by the ionosphere.
     
  11. themadrussian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #12
    Skywave at night no impact on cellphone frequencies. In fact, radio signals above ~30 MHz are not reflected by the ionosphere at all, and since AT&T GSM/UMTS signals are at significantly higher frequencies (850/1900 MHz, etc.) there is absolutely no impact on signal strength whatsoever.

    Therefore, better signal strength (as in, more bars) is not really possible at night. Data speeds are going to be faster at night due to decreased network congestion.
     
  12. ulbador macrumors 68000

    ulbador

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #13
    I am a HAM and have done some long distance communications or DXing. It's always amazing to talk to a far away place like that completely without wires.

    I know every once in a while, when conditions are just right (E-Skip), I've listened to radio stations in Washington DC or Mississippi from the middle of Nebraska. I'm sure some other people have experienced it, but it is just odd. One minute you are listening to your favorite radio station and the next minute you hear the far away one, even stronger than the local one.

    That's not entirely true. Signals above 30 MHZ will bounce, just not as readily. The whole 6 meter band is a favorite of amateur operators and it's in the 50 MHZ range, though there are only certain windows when it opens. Many times I have had frequencies in the 100 MHZ (radio stations) to the 144 MHZ range (2 meter HAM) skip off the ionosphere via E-skip.
     
  13. themadrussian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #14
    Fair enough, but we're talking about frequencies that are significantly higher than even 144 MHz. There's just no way that cellphone signals are going to be stronger somehow, even marginally, at night (unless the towers broadcast at greater power, of course).
     
  14. mpossoff macrumors 68020

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    Mar 21, 2010
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #15
    I notice at night that edge is extremely fast myself.
     

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