Is 3g overrated (in relation to edge)?

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Original poster
Jul 17, 2005
18,059
1,185
5045 feet above sea level
My friend and I have 3g iphones. Mine is ATT, his is unlocked on TMobile

At 4 separate locations, his edge connection beat my 3g connection in downloading websites. My 3g never beat his edge

Is this a common occurrence? I love in a 3g area
 

Roessnakhan

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2007
3,518
423
ABQ
3G isn't overrated, but depending on where you live you'll get a 3G signal but the network congestion by [x] number of users can slow down how fast you receive data.
 

Merkie

macrumors 68020
Oct 23, 2008
2,104
662
I'm still using my old 2G, and I don't even have EDGE where I live. I've been using GPRS for two years know, and it's starting to get annoying to be honest. Especially the Maps app is almost unusable.
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,681
1,184
New Zealand
It all depends on your operator and where you live. For example, there's no 2G coverage where I live so a 3G phone is a must (and I get over 4 Mb/s) :)
 

FoxMcWeezer

macrumors regular
Nov 4, 2009
113
0
Always got 5 bars of 3G around the Greater Toronto Area!

And it's fast as hell, even when I tether!
Contrary to what most people think, bars does not indicate speed. It indicates your cell connection to the cell tower you're connected to. In other words, if you live right next to a cell tower and get 5 bars but 1000 people are using that cell tower to browse the web or whatever, you're not going to get what you think you're getting.
 

FrankieTDouglas

macrumors 65816
Mar 10, 2005
1,489
1,968
woah dude where u live?
Perhaps in a lot of the nation. AT&T's own true coverage is a lot less than their advertised coverage, which includes other companies' towers and probably would mean no Edge support.

I'm still using my old 2G, and I don't even have EDGE where I live. I've been using GPRS for two years know, and it's starting to get annoying to be honest. Especially the Maps app is almost unusable.
I spend part of my year in a tourist beach town in Maine. People come here from all over America, Canada, Europe, etc. A lot of the residents here are millionaires. And, it also has no true AT&T coverage. So while your phone may say AT&T, if you have no access to data coverage, chances are you're actually roaming. AT&T has been a bit of a bastard lately and terminating people's contracts if they're using their phone on such networks, even if they make no attempt to alert the user that they are roaming and that they will do that to you. So, watch out.
 

greygray

macrumors 68000
Oct 22, 2009
1,848
1
I beg to differ that it's overated. 3G vs EDGE comparisons are best compared when using Safari.
 

FrankieTDouglas

macrumors 65816
Mar 10, 2005
1,489
1,968
I beg to differ that it's overated. 3G vs EDGE comparisons are best compared when using Safari.
In Shreveport, Louisiana last weekend, inside of a 3G area, no data would work. No emails were received. It wasn't until I got out of range and back onto the Edge network did I receive data again.
 

acfusion29

macrumors 68040
Nov 8, 2007
3,125
1
Toronto
Contrary to what most people think, bars does not indicate speed. It indicates your cell connection to the cell tower you're connected to. In other words, if you live right next to a cell tower and get 5 bars but 1000 people are using that cell tower to browse the web or whatever, you're not going to get what you think you're getting.
uh.. bars do indicate the speed. and exactly.. it indicates the cell connection to the cell tower. if the connection is weak, then you won't get fast data.

it's the same thing with a wireless router. if you have an excellent signal, you will have great speeds, if your signal is bad then your internet will be slow.

but yes. you could be next to the cell tower and still have slow 3G

in the office that i work in, i get 1-2 bars of 3G and it's SLOW. i step outside and it's fast again.
 

Denaldo

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2010
3
0
re: less bars, more places

I can't even make a call that is clear within about a 2 mile radius of my house.

 

FoxMcWeezer

macrumors regular
Nov 4, 2009
113
0
uh.. bars do indicate the speed. and exactly.. it indicates the cell connection to the cell tower. if the connection is weak, then you won't get fast data.

it's the same thing with a wireless router. if you have an excellent signal, you will have great speeds, if your signal is bad then your internet will be slow.

but yes. you could be next to the cell tower and still have slow 3G

in the office that i work in, i get 1-2 bars of 3G and it's SLOW. i step outside and it's fast again.
Please tell me you're joking. There's a reason why I said "Contrary to what most people think." Because that's what people who don't know what they're talking about think.

Let me say this again. BARS DO NOT INDICATE SPEED. THEY INDICATE CONNECTION SIGNAL TO THE TOWER/ROUTER

Your router example is COMPLETELY wrong. Having 5 bars of wifi signal means your LOCAL CONNECTION to the router itself is strong. It does NOT tell you the speed. An example you might understand is suppose I'm 10 cm away from the router. I'll have full signal. But there are 50 people using the same router. The INTERNET WILL BE SLOW. THE SAME GOES FOR CELL TOWERS.

Also, there are journals and articles written about this. By people who aren't just making random guesses based on what they merely THINK it is.
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
Please tell me you're joking. There's a reason why I said "Contrary to what most people think." Because that's what people who don't know what they're talking about think.

Let me say this again. BARS DO NOT INDICATE SPEED. THEY INDICATE CONNECTION SIGNAL TO THE TOWER/ROUTER

Your router example is COMPLETELY wrong. Having 5 bars of wifi signal means your LOCAL CONNECTION to the router itself is strong. It does NOT tell you the speed. An example you might understand is suppose I'm 10 cm away from the router. I'll have full signal. But there are 50 people using the same router. The INTERNET WILL BE SLOW. THE SAME GOES FOR CELL TOWERS.

Also, there are journals and articles written about this. By people who aren't just making random guesses based on what they merely THINK it is.
The weaker the signal, the slower it goes. So yeah, in a way he was right. You're the one who's got it backwards.

The less bars you have, the slower the internet will go.... so therefore the more bars, the faster.
 

ericinboston

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2008
1,812
176
First, I think ALL cell phone carriers are overrated for their data transmissions...not to mention plain old fashioned "service" to make a call. There are so many factors in ANY data transmission technology and it kills me that consumers don't have enough brainpower to think about all the things that can possibly AFFECT any kind of transmission...especially wireless.

I think 3G and any other data "provider" is still far in its infancy in the USA (especially compared to Europe)...as well as some consumers feel they should be able to walk outside and get a 20Mbit connection on ATT like they do at home on their cablemodem. Over time speeds will improve and we'll all be able to use our "phones" 99.9% of the time in the car or next to a waterfall. That day, however, is likely 10+ years away.

I really don't use my iPhone much (2 hours a month?) on non-WIFI...even though I live in the burbs there seem to be enough WIFI places for me to connect to IN THE EVENT that I actually want to pick up my iPhone and do something. And I'm 39. I'm sure all the 14-24 year olds out there want to use the phone 23 hours a day as it's the fad of the decade... but for us folks that actually work and have things to do (and be in an office with plenty of WIFI and computers) 8-9 hours a day, I'm gonna guess a lot of us aren't out there complaining night and day about any cell carrier coverage. :) I'm not being snippy...I'm stating a fact regarding demographics.

I'm not slamming anybody here...just stating some opinions.

-Eric
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
First, I think ALL cell phone carriers are overrated for their data transmissions...not to mention plain old fashioned "service" to make a call. There are so many factors in ANY data transmission technology and it kills me that consumers don't have enough brainpower to think about all the things that can possibly AFFECT any kind of transmission...especially wireless.

I think 3G and any other data "provider" is still far in its infancy in the USA (especially compared to Europe)...as well as some consumers feel they should be able to walk outside and get a 20Mbit connection on ATT like they do at home on their cablemodem. Over time speeds will improve and we'll all be able to use our "phones" 99.9% of the time in the car or next to a waterfall. That day, however, is likely 10+ years away.

I really don't use my iPhone much (2 hours a month?) on non-WIFI...even though I live in the burbs there seem to be enough WIFI places for me to connect to IN THE EVENT that I actually want to pick up my iPhone and do something. And I'm 39. I'm sure all the 14-24 year olds out there want to use the phone 23 hours a day as it's the fad of the decade... but for us folks that actually work and have things to do (and be in an office with plenty of WIFI and computers) 8-9 hours a day, I'm gonna guess a lot of us aren't out there complaining night and day about any cell carrier coverage. :) I'm not being snippy...I'm stating a fact regarding demographics.

I'm not slamming anybody here...just stating some opinions.

-Eric
You need to get rid of your data if you only use it for 2 hours per month. That's what I did and I've been happy ever since.
 

STEVESKI07

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2009
1,648
1
Washington, DC
The weaker the signal, the slower it goes. So yeah, in a way he was right. You're the one who's got it backwards.

The less bars you have, the slower the internet will go.... so therefore the more bars, the faster.
Wow. Read his post again. Yes, sometimes a weak signal can cause slower speeds, but a stronger signal does not mean faster speeds. If I'm always in an area that has full bars, then why do my internet speeds vary? Think about your home internet. If you are connected through a wired connection, you should have 100% signal, right? What if you're downloading large files on 2 computers and then try to start another download on a third computer. These downloads will all run significantly slower then they would if only one download were running. You still have 100% signal though.

What else is there possibly that you don't understand about this? It's really quite simple.
 

ericinboston

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2008
1,812
176
You need to get rid of your data if you only use it for 2 hours per month. That's what I did and I've been happy ever since.
My employer gives me a 24% discount on the ATT plan...a)I don't think I can remove it, b)I don't think it's worth the time and aggravation to remove it (and wonder how much $$ I will actually save), and c)I'll still want to use it somewhere at sometime. Usually my 2+ hours a month are when I'm in a parking lot and the wife runs into a store for 15 mins.

-Eric
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
Wow. Read his post again. Yes, sometimes a weak signal can cause slower speeds, but a stronger signal does not mean faster speeds. If I'm always in an area that has full bars, then why do my internet speeds vary? Think about your home internet. If you are connected through a wired connection, you should have 100% signal, right? What if you're downloading large files on 2 computers and then try to start another download on a third computer. These downloads will all run significantly slower then they would if only one download were running. You still have 100% signal though.

What else is there possibly that you don't understand about this? It's really quite simple.
The speed is always going to be slower at weaker signals. To get the maximum speed that is currently available with your current setup, you need a stronger signal.

If my wifi is being used by 10 computers at once and I have a crappy signal on top of that, the speed is going to be slower than if I had a strong signal (even if 10 people are still using it). Get it? It's not rocket science.
 

ericinboston

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2008
1,812
176
That's the thing. When I had data... I would be out and about, but my face would be looking at my iPhone trying to read all the newest news articles, keeping up with MacRumors Forums, Tweeting about my stupid life that nobody cares about and emailing my girlfriend. All of that activity took me away from what I was really supposed to be doing. Now that I've gotten rid of data, I can live a more meaningful life outside of my apartment. I can talk to and interact with other people, be involved in what's happening around me and just enjoying life without my face looking at a gadget.

I felt the constant need to make use of all the features of this expensive phone because I was paying too much money for it. Now that I'm not paying much anymore, I don't feel bad when I don't use it for a week straight. The decision helped me get along better with my girlfriend too. I'm a much better person now because of it. It's too easy to get distracted with the iPhone. I couldn't just let it sit there and be a "just in case" thing...
I have to state that this is a very big problem for societies around the globe...the inability to be social with human-to-human contact as more and more "technology" like the internet, phones, smartphones, email, and applications/sites like Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, etc. come into our lives.

I won't start a big off topic thread but this has been a big discussion for almost 10 years in many psychology fields as well as courses in college. It's very very interesting if you take the time to read the articles and journals. Anything you watch on tv like 60 Minutes or Dateline regarding this topic is pure garbage.

I am 39 and grew up with computers and was (and still are) grossly involved with computers since 1978...you would think I would fit right into this problem. I do...but at a much smaller way than say a 22 year old or 15 year old that has been far more exposed to internet dominance.

-Eric