How often does your iPhone 3G switch from 3G to EDGE randomly?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by WilliamG, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Mine seems to do it every few hours, it seems.. A reboot will fix it usually immediately, but it will switch back to 3G signal by itself after a "while." And I have FULL 3G signal where I am when it works. It's weird, because my phone will show EDGE, while my wife's iPhone will show 3G. A reboot fixes it, and BOTH phones will do this intermittently. And to clarify, this is in the same location, so we're not moving through different area...

    What's going on here? Is there some bugginess at work? :( :confused:
  2. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    One possibility is that it's probably a load balancing issue, and a characteristic of 3G networks (and 2G networks that have to co-exist with 3G). It's the same reason you'll find that in some cell phone support forums, people will complain that one phone will have full bars, while the exact same model phone sitting next to it will only have 1 or 2.

    It's hard to explain in just a forum post, but basically, a network will predetermine what cell sites or channels a particular cell phone will have an affinity to. So, the network might prefer to have your phone "Camp" on say, odd numbered cell sectors or channels, while your wife's phone might be camping on the even numbers. This doesn't mean you'll ONLY be on certain sites and your wife's phone on others. If it needs to, the phone will pick any channel it can find. But, it will play favorites, because that's what the network is telling it to do.

    The idea behind this is to make sure that a whole bunch of cell phones (who theoretically would make the same decisions all of the time) don't all decide to flood one channel just because it's the "best" one in the area.

    Due to luck of the draw, your phone might be camping on a cell site whose 3G channel might not reach as far as the one your wife is on.

    With 3G, people are going to start noticing some pretty interesting behaviors with the network. You're going to find that bars don't always mean a whole lot, and it's going to behave in ways that, from a network engineering standpoint is perfectly logical and normal, but to most cell phone users will seem downright weird. This is all a by-product of the technology shifting on AT&T from the TDMA-based GSM, to W-CDMA, which is a whole different way of running a network.
  3. WilliamG thread starter macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Thanks for the reply. :) Well thought out!

    Anyone else experiencing this?
  4. classicalgas macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2009
    We just got a household full of iPhones yesterday (husband, son at college and me)d and I immediately noticed the exact same thing happening to mine. It seems to switch from 3G to E after I've been using the network, almost like it's saying "Ok, you've had your turn, now I'm slowing you down." When I turn it off and back on, voila!, 5 bars on 3G. It's driving me crazy.
  5. Private Dirt macrumors regular

    Private Dirt

    Jan 19, 2009
  6. huck500 macrumors 6502


    May 10, 2004
    Southern California
    It's never happened to me... got my 3G on launch day.:D
  7. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have not seen my phone using EDGE. I had always thought that 3G hardware was incompatible with EDGE. I guess I never bothered to think about the phone also having EDGE capabilities.

    Must say I would have been kind of freaked if I saw the "E" on my phone.
  8. TheSpaz macrumors 604


    Jun 20, 2005
    I hate you ;) I lived with EDGE only on my iPhone 3G for 3 months after I got it. Then AT&T upgraded my area with 3G coverage! Now I see 3G almost all the time.
  9. jmccullough108 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2008
    St. Louis, MO
    If you go to edge, when you were just on 3g, go into airplane mode, then go back to normal, it will reset the connection, full 3g again.
  10. cWeems macrumors 6502a


    Jun 8, 2008

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