iPhone 3GS Wi-Fi Speeds Slow vs iPhone 3G Wi-Fi

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by TX Mac User, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. TX Mac User macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2009
    Firstly, I apologize in advance if this issue has been addressed or resolved in another thread; moderators feel free to delete and or merge this post if it’s deemed appropriate.

    I've also posted this question in the Apple discussion boards.

    I have attempted to provide as many details as possible to accurately explain the situation.

    Having recently upgraded from a 16 GB (Black) iPhone 3G to the 32 GB iPhone 3GS, I am experiencing inconsistent speeds on the new iPhone 3GS when connecting via Wi-Fi to my home network. Specifically, the 3GS will connect to the home network without incident, display full signal strength and yet transmission speeds (as monitored by the Speedtest App by Xtreme Labs) are inconsistent, and oftentimes exceedingly slow. These inconsistent speeds range from approximately 800 kb/s to 6000 kb/s downstream; during repeated testing the iPhone 3GS will consistently and predominantly report the exaggeratedly depreciated transmission speeds. I believe the isolated result of 6000 kb/s was an anomaly. On average, the iPhone 3GS reports download speeds in the range of 800 kb/s to 3000 kb/s. The upstream speeds are consistently recorded between 200-300 kb/s. Additionally the network latency is recorded in the 300 ms range.

    The local ISP provides our home with an 8 Mb/s downstream connection and 500kb/s upstream.

    Prior to the upgrade to the 3GS, the iPhone 3G would consistently report transmission speeds of 4000 to 5000 kb/s downstream and 400 to 500 kb/s.

    The wireless network was comprised of a D-Link wired gigabit router and two Airport Express 802.11n units. One unit was physically connected to the D-Link router via Ethernet cable, and created the wireless network. The other unit served as an Air Tunes receiver in another room. The network was secured with WPA2 Personal encryption. Both units were running the most recent Airport firmware (7.4.2). The option to create a “closed network” was enabled; the SSID was not broadcast. Prior to the inclusion of the iPhone 3GS this arrangement performed well.

    Upon introducing the iPhone 3GS to our home network I was dismayed to observe the inconsistent and slow Wi-Fi speeds and high network latencies as reported by the iPhone 3GS. Using the iPhone 3G as a basis for comparison, we observed that the iPhone 3G behaved as it always had, reporting the higher speeds mentioned above consistently and without incident.

    I have duplicated these results with multiple iPhone 3GS models and iPhone 3G models from other owners. The results are consistent: iPhone 3GS models report slow connection speeds and high network latencies. These values fluctuate as detailed above. All iPhone 3G models tested performed essentially identically, reporting consistent faster speeds and lower network latencies.

    Fearing a hardware problem with my iPhone 3GS, I performed analogous tests on the Wi-Fi network at the local university that employs a similar security scheme (WPA2 Enterprise). Here, the iPhone 3GS operation improved dramatically- reporting downstream speeds of 6000 to 7000 kb/s and upstream speeds of 1000 to 1500 kb/s.

    I assumed these results suggested a problem with my home network; I then removed the D-Link wired router, the two Airport Express units and replaced them with a new Airport Extreme 802.11n (simultaneous dual-band) router. Our desktop machines are connected to the Airport Extreme via the Ethernet ports and are functioning normally. Again, with just the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 3G on the wireless network, the new iPhone 3GS reports inconsistent and slow speeds, while the iPhone 3G operates as it always has.

    I have tested this network with both the 7.4.1 and 7.4.2 firmwares, and many variations of settings on the Airport Extreme unit. I have created both open and closed networks, (broadcasting SSID and not, respectively) employed varying degrees of security (no encryption to WPA2 Personal), adjusted channels and enabled and disabled MAC address filtering. In every circumstance, the results are similar. The iPhone 3G performs as expected (as it always has), while the iPhone 3GS performance varies from exceedingly slow to download speeds approaching (but never reaching) those of the iPhone 3G.

    The signal strength indicated on all tested iPhone models remains at full during all tests; proximity to the base station seemingly has no effect on any of the devices tested. All iPhone models tested are running the most recent version of the operating system (3.0).

    Most recently, I have reset the Airport Extreme to its default settings (preserving the 7.4.2 firmware), and have as yet not reconnected the Airport Express units.

    If anyone might be able to provide insight on how to resolve this issue, I would sincerely appreciate the assistance. I eagerly anticipate my new iPhone 3GS operating as well on Wi-Fi as my older iPhone 3G.

    Please do not hesitate to request clarification on any of the details listed above if they are unclear, and thank you in advance.
  2. mdryja macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    I had this exact same problem. My Internet connection is 15/2, and with my desktops and laptops over 802.11g with WPA2 encryption I routinely get over 15 mbps using speedtest.net -- but with my iPhone, I never got above 2 or 3 mpbs.

    The solution, I found, has been to turn off Bluetooth. When I did this, my speeds went to 15 mbps using the speedtest.net iPhone app. I've also noticed that where I hold the iPhone (and *if* I hold the iPhone) while running the test makes a big difference in the speeds I receive.

    Apparently the Bluetooth and the WiFi radios in the iPhone are very close together, and the former interferes with the latter. Worth a try . . . .
  3. Justin W macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2009
    Not to mention that turning off Bluetooth will supposedly improve your battery life... assuming that you don't need Bluetooth while using Wifi.
  4. mdryja macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    Yeah, I kind-of wish it was easier to turn Bluetooth on and off. I basically leave Bluetooth on all the time. My cell phone is my work phone, and when I work out of the house, I have a little gizmo that connects my iPhones to all our cordless phones in the house, via Bluetooth.

    Though, I just noticed that Apple released v3.1 of the iPhone OS, and one of the upgrades is supposed to be better WiFi when BT is on.
  5. Justin W macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2009
    Yeah, I agree. It's a real pain hunting and pecking around in the options and settings to turn off WiFi and Bluetooth just to preserve precious battery life.

    There is a GREAT utility called SBSettings (unauthorized / jailbreak required) that brings a quick menu down with a swipe across the top of the springboard. Includes on/off toggles for 3G, Bluetooth, Edge, Location Services, Airplane Mode & WiFi. Has a slider for adjusting brightness and a kill command for processes (apps in background) as well as a "free up memory" feature that usually doubles your available memory which helps processes and apps run faster. The toggles allow a really quick easy way to turn on or off these things.

    These are the things you ultimately expect to see with iPhone OS updates in the future.
  6. mdryja macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    Me, too -- I hope that these things start filtering their way to non-jailbroken phones.

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