Full bars - dropped calls and slow internet

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Love, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. Love macrumors 68000

    Love

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    #1
    Sigh.

    This particular iPhone seems to have reception problems. It's a white 16GB 3G, only a couple days old. Field Test mode is showing a reception/interference number of -83 to -97, but it shows five bars of 3G. The internet has been dog slow and most calls are dropped.

    Anybody else with this issue?
     
  2. thelatinist macrumors 603

    thelatinist

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    #2
    -97 dB is right at the limits of usable signal strength; if your signal is fluctuating that low, in my experience, data will always be much slower; and dropped calls occur frequently for me as I approach -100 dB. When I have marginal signals like that I frequently find that even putting the phone to my ear can cause a dropped call. Why your phone is showing five 3G bars with a signal that weak is beyond me.
     
  3. Love thread starter macrumors 68000

    Love

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
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    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    #3
    Considering this is my 6th iPhone, I'm not ****ing impressed with Apple. I might just ask for a refund as this is ridiculous.
     
  4. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #4
    It's the backhaul. Basically what connects the cell tower network to the internet. AT&T was cleverly foolish when they did their network updates all around the US. They upgraded the towers to handle the massive loads of data and voice calls. They also laid down the ground work for the HSDPA/HSUPA (7.2Mb/s and 5.4Mb/s respectively) and also a solid base for the HSPA+ network they will implement.

    However, when I said cleverly foolish is that even though they upgraded the cell network, they forgot to upgrade the backhaul. So basically, we have full bars and awesome connections to the cell towers, but the cell towers have a piss poor connection and lag issues because now, all traffic bottlenecks at AT&T's backhaul system.

    So even if you have great signal, the network speed will be reduced to the backhaul speed. Think of this as a Intel CPU and the Front Side Bus (FSB). No matter how fast the CPU is, it's performance will be affected by the FSB's transfer speed.

    Edit - Yes, I also have been experiencing a drop in speeds. I usually got 1.8 Mb/s solid speeds at minimum and 2.4+Mb/s in some areas of New Orleans and surrounding areas. However, lately, speeds have decreased all over the place to 600kb/s to 1.2Mb/s
     
  5. Love thread starter macrumors 68000

    Love

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
  6. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #6
    Same story different company name.
     
  7. Love thread starter macrumors 68000

    Love

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
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    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    #7
    Alright. I'm usually on Wi-Fi so it's not a huge deal but the dropped calls is quite upsetting.
     
  8. thelatinist macrumors 603

    thelatinist

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    Aug 15, 2009
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    #8
    But you say your signal dips to -97dB. That's marginal at best. How far away is the nearest tower?
     
  9. Love thread starter macrumors 68000

    Love

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    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    #9
    No idea. Not sure about the USA but here towers are generally not marked.
     
  10. Limegrntaln macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    #10
    I second the back haul issue. I have read about it all over the place, and its only been this week I have been dropping calls like mad, and its said to be because AT&T is tweaking the network, and moving spectrum to accomodate MMS, and possibly tethering. Well see soon enough.
     
  11. thelatinist macrumors 603

    thelatinist

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    #11
  12. grodgers macrumors member

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    Feb 25, 2009
    #12
    My signal from the command center (my recliner) typically bounces from -101 to -117. I still show 3 bars - Ha!

    I get lots of dropped calls. I may need to relocate the command center.
     
  13. thelatinist macrumors 603

    thelatinist

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    #13
    Wow, I've never been able to keep a signal lower than about -103.
     
  14. haddman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    #14
    Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one. AT&T's service stinks! I'm so sick of the dropped calls, spotty signal...1 sec 5 bars, one sec 0 bars, just sucks! I'm in the DC metro area, and supposedly blanketed with coverage. I have been with them since getting the original iPhone, and the iPhone 3g, have bent over and taken it up the azz as far as service and plan pricing, this is my last contract with AT&T, I love the iPhone, but might have to go back to a Blackberry with verizon, that tour should do just fine...just use the iPhone as a damn iPod touch. Hell, my work blackberry 8820 with T-mobile doesn't even drop calls like ***** ATT, I can stay on a call for hours. Can't wait for the iPhone to go to verizon!!
     
  15. hsk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #15
    That makes sense to me. I had bad service back in the spring, then ATT upgraded the network here in Austin and things were rocking. This past week things have started dragging a bit. Most of my calls are fine, but I have dropped a few calls and noticed a weaker 3g connection overall.
     
  16. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #16
    I am tempted to push the blame back to apple. It already been shown the iPhone can not step down from 3g to edge during a call. Something many other 3g phones can do during a call. My 2.5 year old 3G lg phone has no problem switching between 3g and edge during a phone call but the iPhone does.
    The iPhone seems to struggle a bit more with tower hand offs.
     
  17. Foamer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    #17
    Lately (past two months or so), I have been dropping 2 out of 4 calls, even with 5 bars.

    Basically what happens, is I will have 5 bars of 3g, and the internet works just fine. I will decide to call a friend, and the second I hit call, it will drop down to 'searching' or 'no service' and the call will fail (even though the data was working fine 10 seconds before). It will then say 'no service for 10 minutes or so.


    It has done it on four separate iphones, and about 5 sim cards, so I doubt it is the phone.

    I will say though that the phone CANNOT seem to drop from 3g to edge in a call, drops a call every time.
     
  18. vinay427 macrumors 6502a

    vinay427

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    Sep 18, 2008
    #18
    The iPhone seems to struggle a bit more with everything a normal AT&T dumbphone can do. :mad:
     
  19. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #19
    which tells me the iPhone has a lot of massive Software/Hardware issues that AT&T can do nothing about. All the other 3G phones out there do not have a lot of the issues the iPhone can do.
     
  20. Love thread starter macrumors 68000

    Love

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    #20
    Called AppleCare and got an advance replacement set up. Waived the 29 dollar fee for this one; they ruled it was the iPhone.

    Called Apple, they blamed it on Rogers. Transferred me to RW tech support. Told me to get a new SIM. Went to a Rogers store and got a new SIM. Didn't fix the problem. Called Apple when I got home, transferred to a manager, set up an advance replacement. Lined up a buyer.
     
  21. mawatte macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    #21
    My experiences. I live in the northern VA area and travel to D.C. everyday.
    With my old 3G, I had dropped calls but not near as much as with my 3GS even with full bars.

    AT&T support is useless, they told me they may need new towers in the area and will have a different engineering group check. AT&T also stated that they cannot inform me of any details and I should check with Apple. BTW, my call dropped twice while speaking with AT&T.

    Tried out the tips and tricks I found via the web,restore and don't import back up from previous 3G, turn off wireless, bluetooth, go in to airplane mode then back on ... I also had the AT&T store replace the SIM which themselves admitted getting a lot of dropped calls stating the area is being updated for 4G and the SIM is not going to help.

    The solution so far from a this nice old guy from Apples support in IOWA, said to disable 3G when driving (forcing to EDGE), which i did. For two days now, I have not had one singe dropped call while in EDGE mode, maybe a little hissing in some areas. If I switch back to 3G, I get dropped calls again.

    I Explained this all to Apple support today and they said to take the phone back for replacement as it could be an antenna problem. I'm scheduled for replace this Thursday. Could this be a trend or are there issues in auto switching from 3G to EDGE and back?

    My question is, why would being in 3G vs EDGE mode really make a difference when I was told by AT&T support that they only use it for data, not voice?

    Mark
     
  22. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #22
    It may be that AT&T has a over saturated 3G signal in your area [meaning many phones, not enough wireless spectrum left for you or anyone] and is at the weak 1900MHz. It can also mean that EDGE signal is stronger [it is legacy and is all over the US] and more well developed and in the 850MHz range.
     
  23. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #23
    Well EDGE/Standard GSM came first so there's millions of those setups everywhere. EDGE is usally on 850mhz as well which can go through obstructions better such as buildings and walls. To allow UMTS (3G) to offer optimal capacity and data rates they usally put 3G on the higher frequencys (so 1900 in us and 2100 in Europe). As frequencys get higher they have more trouble with penetration, but offer better capacity and data rates, most wifi applications are on the 2400mhz range for that reason, but there designed for different purposes. That's why you get great 3G service outdoors but inside it handsoff to EDGE. However AT&T is now adding an 850 UMTS layover in mutiple areas for improved 3G service. In my opioion though AT&T needs to work on hackhaul instead of trying to give customers "more bars" when I can make a clear cell phone call on my verizon wireless phone on 1x only 1 bar with no drop....
     
  24. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #24
    To answer your question it comes back to the fact that the iPhone can not switch between edge and 3g during a call with out dropping it and it may be struggling with tower hand offs. 3G has a much shorter range from towers than edge does which means while moving more tower hand offs.

    But more to the point the iPhone fails to handle switching from 3g to Edge. My 2.5 year old 3g LG phone has no problem with that switch and i have watch it do it multiple times on some of times while driving where I go from a 3G area to edge all the way down to GSM. During the entire time I am on one call. When I say GSM it is what the phone is reporting back to me. GSM in my understanding at the point were data services will no longer function and it is PHONE only.
     
  25. mawatte macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    #25
    thanks for the responses.

    Update: with EDGE enable I contact AT&T support on my trip to work into D.C. Traffic was horrible to say the least, but after explaining the problem again and providing some info from previous screen shots resulting from doing the "*3001#12345#*" (minus the qoutes) in certain areas, I was put on hold while she contacted another division for review of the area for problems. I was on hold for my 25 mile trip down rt 66 with silence, checking in occasionally, the just about when I got to D.C. she stated that they have Bern and are having problems with cells down and that they have plans to add more towers within the year. When asked if AT&T is admitting that it is their fault and not a problem with my apple 3gs, she only repeated the same about knowing the issues and adding more towers. Not what I wanted to hear and not sure if it's worth getting a new iPhone tomorrow as suggested by a different apple rep who said it could be the phones antenna which apparently is a known issue. I doubt very much IRS the phone but maybe I'll give it a try. Starting fresh is a pain.
    When on hold the whole time, approximately 1 hr to go 25 miles, I assumed they may have been tracking me as I move from cell to cell until they gathered enough info?? Hope they got the data they needed :)

    Any thoughts??
    Can anyone interpret the info from the service code via "*3001#12345#*" ?
     

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