I don't understand 3G ..

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Khryz, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Khryz macrumors 6502a

    Jan 7, 2007
    How can I be on my phone, with FULL 3G service, the internet is flying, then all of a sudden it switches to full EDGE service. How? Shouldn't if I was getting a weaker signal for some odd reason if I moved my phone 4 inches, at least the 3G signal would get weaker?

    I have to go into Settings, uncheck and then check 3G to get it back to full service for 3G but then it'll just change back to Edge after a few minutes. How is it all or nothing? I'm not even moving I'm sitting here at my desk at work and my phone is in the same spot when it is getting full 3G as with full Edge.
  2. deadsouls macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2008
    because apple decided to fool everyone by always having full bars on your iphone to look like its constantly getting good reception. they're trying to mask all the inferior crap effort they put into the poorly built iphone 3g.
  3. Khryz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 7, 2007
    So actually I'm not getting full bars but actually 1-2 bars, if that?
  4. Geniusdog254 macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2008
    Basically yes, go into dialer and type *3001#12345#* and the bars will change to a number. I believe around 60~75 is 5 bars and I think it drops to EDGE at about 105~115. Hope this helps!
  5. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    Please stop parroting FUD. There is absolutely no evidence of this.

    What's more likely is that the signal strength has dropped (due to any one of several different potential sources of interference) enough that your phone is either deciding to perform a hand-off to a different (GPRS/EDGE-only) tower, or to fall back to EDGE instead of UMTS/HSDPA. It does this in the interest of connection stability -- high throughput and low latency are worthless if you have frequent packet loss spikes, so it's actually a good thing to fall back if you start dropping too many packets.

    The misconception held by deadsouls et. al. probably stems from the fact that the signal strength meter (i.e. "bars") is inherently a gross oversimplification. There's no good way to condense all the different variables into a single iconic representation. This goes double for packet data connections -- you can have great transmission/reception most of the time, but crappy throughput due to TCP retransmissions necessitated by periods of high packet loss. How exactly do you represent that using an icon? (Answer: you can't, thus some people assume that manufacturers must be "covering up" something by fudging the display.)
  6. Khryz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 7, 2007
    My co-worker has an iPhone 3G as well, would him sitting at the desk next to me inhibit mine to get 3G service?
  7. Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    I typed that into my phone keyboard and nothing happened.
  8. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    *3001#12345#* Hit call.

    It takes you to Field Test Mode.
  9. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2005
    Field Test mode is pretty sweet, I get the jist of all the terminology.. any more cool little codes for the iphone?
  10. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    They ARE fudging the display, though there really is nothing you can do about it. The OP is saying he has 5 bars in 3G then all of a sudden - still with 5 bars - it switches to EDGE. A better way to display this, if it was possible, is to have the bars drop to 1-2 and then switch. It is confusing because it appears nothing has changed with the signal unless you have some signal number displaying.

    The whole bars thing is crap and is fud marketed by cell companies (particularly AT&T).
  11. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2005
    Gives new meaning to more bars in more places =)
  12. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2008
    Look, you have no evidence of this. You're basically assuming malice/sneakiness. I can, off the top of my head (and with no inside knowledge about AT&Ts network) think of two things that might cause the behavior you're complaining about:

    1) The "bars" work on the basis of signal strength, not SNR.

    2) AT&T's 3G towers force handoffs (i.e. refuse new associations) when at a certain capacity.

    IMHO, the second one is more likely. If you live in an area with sparse 3G coverage, and the towers are at capacity, I certainly believe that you might be forced to handoff to an EDGE-only tower. If you're relatively close to both towers, you'd certainly have excellent signal properties. In this case, it wouldn't be surprising to get "full bars", but only an EDGE connection.
  13. cliffboley macrumors member


    Dec 2, 2008
    Salem, Oregon

    This looks like a cool thing to try, but, before I do I want to make sure
    I can get out of it and not reset defaults or something.

    I assume just disconnect from the call and that will return everything back to normal?
  14. rburly macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2009
    So...the lower the number, the better?
  15. Khryz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 7, 2007
    Bumping this, I don't know if it's because of my office building just gets crappy reception but my iPhone shows right now full bars with the 3G icon. When I load up an app that connects to the internet I get no internet connection.

    If I have no internet connection why is AT&T lieing to me? There are times when it is full 3G with all bars and I am flying yet with the same notifications I am 50x slower than on EDGE or no connection. It's pretty damn annoying. And I'm not talking about just in my office I'm talking in a lot of spots.
  16. dotLK macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2009
    Check and see if your fellow colleagues have the same issue whos on the ATT network.

    Verify with someone in your work area who also has a 3G iPhone and see if they encounter the same issues.

    If they don't have the same issues, there's probably something wrong with your phone.

    Maybe try a restore?
  17. Khryz thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 7, 2007
    My co-worker who sits next to me has an iPhone 3G as well and always complains about service going in and out, having none at all -- what he says is a lot worse than mine. I'll have to see if anyone else has AT&T.

    Either way, I was just curious why the iPhone displays full 3G is in-fact all internet-based Apps are telling me I have no internet and the app is just loading and loading and loading?
  18. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That's BS, I see my bars fluctuating depending on where I am, and at times it will drop out to EDGE and when I notice that, its because the 3G bars have decreased.

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