How to accurately test your iPhone 4's 3G data connection

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by bob.loblaw, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. bob.loblaw macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2010
    Probably the best way to test the real time 3G connection on your iPhone is with a ping tool. The one I used is a free app called Network Ping Lite.

    Download the tool and turn off WIFI. Open it up and choose the Ping utility. Enter an ip (you can use, scroll down to turn on "Ping forever" and then hit Start.

    Watch to see if you get a response and note the time in "ms". Then do whatever you think might affect the connection. If the times go up or if it stops responding you've affected the connection.

    Mine will sometimes start dropping pings almost immediately after putting the lower left corner of the phone in my palm. This is what happens in the screenshot below. FWIW, this doesn't bother me, I just hold the phone a different way.

  2. HXGuy macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
  3. bob.loblaw thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2010
    Sort of but not really. With the speed test app you rely on the speed test site to give you an accurate result. Sometimes they are very accurate and sometimes they are not.

    With a ping from the phone, you are sending a data packet directly from the phone to the destination and getting a reply back. The ping tool measures the time to receive the reply. It is much more accurate as a real time testing tool than a speed test.

    Plus the ping tool just keeps running and you can mess with the phone and check the results without having to keep restarting a speed test.
  4. HXGuy macrumors 68000

    Mar 25, 2010
    I see, didn't know that. Ill try it out myself, thanks for the info.
  5. Kahnyl macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2009
  6. bob.loblaw thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2010
    I wish I could make a video of this. I just held the phone so the pings stopped responding. The bars went away and switched to 'Searching'. Without moving my left hand I switched to the phone and tried to make some calls. All I got was dead air.
  7. bob.loblaw thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2010
    It's interesting that I haven't been able to make the phoen drop a call even though I can easily reproduce a loss of data.
  8. Craiger macrumors 6502a


    Jul 11, 2007
    Mine loses data almost instantly when I hold it with my left hand. I don't hold it this way when I make a call, but I realized I hold it the "wrong" way quite often when browsing the web.
  9. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    They're really testing two different things.

    A speed test measures throughput. Speed tests generally use a TCP stream.

    A ping test measures latency. Ping tests generally use ICMP (UDP) packets.

    Anything you do with the antenna is unlikely to affect the ping measurement. Any variations in the ping values returned are due to other factors. You can't "delay" the signal by touching the antenna.

    Since UDP packets are not acknowledged or re-transmitted if missing or received in error ("best effort delivery"), they are just "missing" if they aren't delivered for some reason. Thus, a ping test has some usefulness to test your antenna. You will notice missing pings when you have no connectivity. But they could also be missing due to other factors, so it's far from a perfect antenna test.

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