iPhone 8 Shows Modest Improvements in Cellular Network Bandwidth Tests

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With a number of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus devices now in the hands of users, Ookla's network benchmarking suite Speedtest.net has been able to gather data on how the latest iPhones are performing compared to previous-generation models and has shared details with PCMag.

Based on data collected by Ookla, improvements appear to be around the 10 percent mark for most users, but users in Australia could expect up to nearly 25 percent faster speeds thanks to their network structure. Those users can expect up to the full 80 MHz carrier aggregation bandwidth in the phone due to Telestra's use of the appropriate bands.

iPhone 8 download speeds compared to previous generations

Beyond speed comparisons to previous-generation iPhones, PCMag also compares the iPhone 8's cellular architecture to competing phones, such as the Galaxy S8.
The iPhone 8 is missing one of the components needed for gigabit LTE, or LTE category 16, in the US. The Qualcomm X16 modem can do Category 16, as we've seen on the Galaxy S8 and Moto Z2 Force. The phone supports 256QAM encoding and 4x carrier aggregation to 80MHz of spectrum, but not 4x4 MIMO antennas, which would improve both speed and signal strength. In theory, that would make this an 800Mbps phone, also known as LTE category 15.
The lack of 4x4 MIMO antennas is something we touched on at MacRumors on Tuesday. While the Qualcomm and Intel modems in the new iPhones are likely more power efficient, the cellular front-end and back-end supporting them are largely unchanged in structure from the iPhone 7 models.

The article goes on to point out can that this can result in loss of coverage due to deficient receiver diversity compared to other phones, complete with a New York subway test.
The lack of 4x4 MIMO is probably why the iPhone still falls short of the Galaxy S8 when it comes to recovering from dead zones, a notorious iPhone problem. We took an iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8 on the New York City subway, where they dropped in and out of T-Mobile coverage. The Galaxy S8 recovered faster in 8 out of 11 tests, and where it did, it was an average of 16 seconds faster than the iPhone at regaining LTE signal; when the iPhone won, it did so by 5 seconds on average.
Users looking for an unlocked iPhone should probably still opt for the Verizon or Sprint model, featuring the Qualcomm modem. While it boasts higher peak speeds than the Intel modems in aggregated user data, it is not clear whether it is superior for coverage, which would require more in-depth testing.

Finally, users looking ahead to the iPhone X should expect the same dichotomy of models and performance, given the iPhone X's tech specs page matches that of the iPhone 8 models in number of models and bands supported. The form factor will likely not have any impact on the antenna structures that will directly impact users in a meaningful way.

Moving forward, adopting 4x4 MIMO antenna structure would be one of the biggest advancements Apple could make for future iPhones' speed and coverage robustness.

Article Link: iPhone 8 Shows Modest Improvements in Cellular Network Bandwidth Tests
 
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macTW

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Oct 17, 2016
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It’s both impressive and disappointing.

Until I remember the real world impact of the missing antennas is essentially nothing. Then it’s just impressive mobile phones reach these speeds.
 

swm

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May 29, 2013
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i don't really think that 4x4 mimo is the thing we need. i'd rather have continuous coverage with moderate speed than some theoretical blazing high speed - yet only achievable in lab environment. i see no stuff around that could not be enjoyed with just 10-20Mbps...
 

magbarn

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Good to know the speed delta between Qualcomm and Intel still exists. While most users will never notice the difference, those of us that push the limits of our phones will want to take that into consideration when making unlocked phone purchases!
I've already seen the difference. My job has me going to rural areas and my unlocked Qualcomm 8+ consistently outperforms my wife's Intel equipped ATT 8+ purchased through the NEXT plan. My phone usually has an extra bar or so and holds onto LTE, while my wife's phone drops into 4G mode and is much slower to regain LTE. When we're in the city the difference isn't as pronounced.
 

Oliveira46

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Sep 8, 2017
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THe incresed signal is nice, but the speeds are total overkill. Netflix or youtube 4k resolution takes less than 25mbs.

On a desktop computer I would understand in some very specific situations that you would want more than 100-200mbs, but in a phone? 880mbs is a total overkill for the next 5 (if not 10) years at least.

There are pretty much no servers of public services that send anywere near those speeds
 

iHack13

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Jun 10, 2009
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long story short:

In an apocalypse, if you need to call for help , evolution might sort out the iPhone users by 18 seconds while galaxy users are 18 seconds ahead.

turning point :

if the person whom you are calling has an iPhone and was in a dead zone , your galaxy won't help
 

Shawn Parr

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Oct 31, 2008
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i don't really think that 4x4 mimo is the thing we need. i'd rather have continuous coverage with moderate speed than some theoretical blazing high speed - yet only achievable in lab environment. i see no stuff around that could not be enjoyed with just 10-20Mbps...
Literally in the article you are posting about:

The article goes on to point out can that this can result in loss of coverage due to deficient receiver diversity compared to other phones, complete with a New York subway test.
4x4 MIMO also helps with keeping and regaining connectivity to the cellular network. Not just higher speeds.
 

avanpelt

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How do i tell if i have an intel or Qualcomm chip?
If you bought your phone direct from AT&T or T-Mobile or if you bought the phone from Apple or another retailer specifically for use with an AT&T or T-Mobile account, you almost certainly have an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 with the Intel modem. If you bought the phone for use on a Verizon or Sprint account or if you bought the "SIM-free" iPhone 7 or 8 from Apple in the U.S., you should have a phone with the Qualcomm modem.
 

Super80eas

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Sep 17, 2017
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If you bought your phone direct from AT&T or T-Mobile or if you bought the phone from Apple or another retailer specifically for use with an AT&T or T-Mobile account, you almost certainly have an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 with the Intel modem. If you bought the phone for use on a Verizon or Sprint account or if you bought the "SIM-free" iPhone 7 or 8 from Apple in the U.S., you should have a phone with the Qualcomm modem.
I got my phone on the Apple Upgrade Program, and yes its for ATT so probably Intel, though i thought all phones on the AUP were unlocked, since I am not doing a contract.
 

Dekema2

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I've already seen the difference. My job has me going to rural areas and my unlocked Qualcomm 8+ consistently outperforms my wife's Intel equipped ATT 8+ purchased through the NEXT plan. My phone usually has an extra bar or so and holds onto LTE, while my wife's phone drops into 4G mode and is much slower to regain LTE. When we're in the city the difference isn't as pronounced.
Can you choose which one you get? Sounds similar to the chip lottery to me.
 

Shawn Parr

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Oct 31, 2008
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I got my phone on the Apple Upgrade Program, and yes its for ATT so probably Intel, though i thought all phones on the AUP were unlocked, since I am not doing a contract.
Unlocked vs. locked is not really what is the issue. Only the Qualcomm has CDMA capability, so if you are on Verizon or Sprint and have to fall back to 3G due to LTE coverage issues. So the US "unlocked" no carrier phones are that version as you might use them on those networks. If you buy the T-Mobile or AT&T phone they can still be unlocked, but since you specified a non-CDMA fallback carrier you get a non-CDMA capable phone.

While the Qualcomm modems are still working better than the Intel, Apple wants to sell less of them due to their spat with Qualcomm. Thus whenever possible they sell the Intel versions.
 

magbarn

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Oct 25, 2008
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Can you choose which one you get? Sounds similar to the chip lottery to me.
Of course you can, ALL unlocked "sim-free" 8's have qualcomm as Intel modem doesn't support CDMA and is incompatible with Sprint/Verizon. All Sprint/Verizon phones have qualcomm, while all ATT/TMO specific models bought directly from them or Apple through NEXT or IUP are all Intel phones. If your iphone model supports CDMA, it's qualcomm.

A possible loophole is Best Buy. Supposedly all their iphones they sell are CDMA capable as they only lock them to the carrier in the store to reduce their inventory.
 
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avanpelt

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I got my phone on the Apple Upgrade Program, and yes its for ATT so probably Intel, though i thought all phones on the AUP were unlocked, since I am not doing a contract.
Buying a phone via the AUP to use with your AT&T account is not the same thing as buying a SIM-free phone from Apple, as far as I know. Yes, both phones are unlocked; but if you buy the SIM-free phone from Apple in the U.S., you are guaranteed to get a phone that works on every carrier that supports the iPhone in the U.S. That's only possible for phones that have Qualcomm modems in them.

If you buy an iPhone 7 or 8 via AUP to use on AT&T, they're going to give you an unlocked phone with an Intel modem that works on AT&T, T-Mobile, and other non-CDMA networks as far as I know.
 
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TigerWoodsIV

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Apr 3, 2010
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Since I'm on AT&T, I don't really care because their speeds are garbage. One of these days, I really need to change networks.
 

airjay75

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Oct 1, 2014
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I’ve been using my Intel iPhone 7 on AT&T’s network for over a year. No complaints whatsoever. I think that issue was incredibly overblown last year and many people continue to make a mountain out of a molehill. Unless you want the option of switching to Sprint or Verizon, I really don’t think it makes a difference. Maybe I just don’t know what I’m missing by not having the Qualcomm model - whatever.
 

avtella

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Nov 11, 2016
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Probably a slightly better battery life on the QCA models especially in low signal areas, but not something day and night difference. I went for sim free last year, so my 7+ was QCA. If I were to buy a new phone I’d probably get the QCA version just because I’m OCD lol.
 
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WaruiKoohii

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i don't really think that 4x4 mimo is the thing we need. i'd rather have continuous coverage with moderate speed than some theoretical blazing high speed - yet only achievable in lab environment. i see no stuff around that could not be enjoyed with just 10-20Mbps...
If you read the rest of the article, you'll notice that the lack of 4x4 MIMO is likely the reason why the iPhone 8 falls short in coverage tests as well.

MIMO isn't all about speeds, it's also about signal reliability and usability.