On Edge: 5 bars, on 3G: 1 bar?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by erikhoeffs, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. erikhoeffs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    #1
    Interesting problem. After upgrading to the iPhone 3G, I noticed that while at home I had only 1 bar, frequently missed calls, major lag time on voicemail notification, garbly speech, etc. On previous iPhone, always had 5 bars at home. Today, I tried turning on 3G service, and wa-la: 5 bars on Edge. Any one know why? Are these completely separate networks? Thanks.
     
  2. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #2
    yes, apparently you're closer to an edge tower than a 3G tower. Just leave 3G off as in these cases edge will be faster.

    What the heck is wa-la? voilà?
     
  3. PoitNarf macrumors 65816

    PoitNarf

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    Location:
    Northern NJ
    #3
    Antennas that broadcast the 3G signal aren't always located in the same place as other antennas that broadcast EDGE. Sounds like you're on the very fringe of a 3G antenna.
     
  4. Cynicalone macrumors 68040

    Cynicalone

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Okie land
    #4
    Alright I've been wondering this for a while, how does 3G work? Is it like a pool that each device take a piece of? Or does the number of users have no effect on your individual signal strength? The reason I ask is because I have a consistent 4 to 5 bar's on 3G. But I live in an area (Tulsa, Ok.) without alot of people walking around using BB or iPhone's. I know that sound's like a dumb question, but with all the problem's with the 3G I've been wondering that for a while.
     
  5. mjkasper macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #5
    I noticed this yesterday. I was connected to Edge in an area that I believe I previously had 3G. I didn't think of Airplane Mode or turning off/on 3G so I just rebooted. When the phone came back up it had a strong 3G signal.

    Mike
     
  6. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #6
    Actually, yes, in the case of 3G, more users can have an effect on coverage, and a heavily loaded cell site will have an effectively reduced range. The effect is called cell breathing.

    It's kinda technical, but basically, the 3G works is all users (or at least large groups of them) share a common carrier signal. Think of it as a whole bunch of people talking in the same room. The more people that are talking, the louder the background noise and the harder it is to hear the person you're actually trying to talk to. Since everyone is trying to talk to the cell tower, at the center of the "room," the people closer to the cell site will be able to "hear" it a bit better in this noisy environment, and the cell site will hear them better, too.

    It sounds chaotic, but in practice, you can actually fit more callers on a cell site using the 3G method than you can with 2G GSM. it's also why usually, having 2-3 bars is nothing to get annoyed about, because it's still pretty unlikely your call will drop. When you get down to one weak bar though, then things can go pear shaped, like the OP has figured out.

    The other thing to note about this is that 3G was meant to be well-built out to work properly. Cells are supposed to shrink because there are supposed to be cells overlapping each other, and taking over for one another as cells shrink. This is a load balancing effect, and this is why Verizon works out really well for a lot of people: they use a similar technology and have spent a over a decade getting it right.

    Unfortunately, AT&T is kinda in the same boat Apple is: everyone wants them to rush the product out now, and then everyone raises a stink when the product is buggy because it's been rushed. AT&T rushed the network in a lot of places, and so it's spread extremely thin in the newer spots. The good news is, it DOES get better. Where I live, 3G was pretty horrid last year before I got my first iPhone. It's improved a lot a year later.
     
  7. Cynicalone macrumors 68040

    Cynicalone

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Okie land
    #7
    scaredpoet thank you for the more detailed explanation.
     
  8. paj macrumors regular

    paj

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1976
     

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