Signal strength as it relates to data speed

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by rotobadger, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. rotobadger macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2007
    I was wondering if anyone could answer this for me:

    Is your data speed directly related to signal strength? Or to put it another way:

    Can you have a weak signal (1 or 2 bars) and fast Edge data speed? Conversely, can you have a five bar signal and have slow Edge speed?
  2. Niiro13 macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2008
    In general, the lower your signal strength, the slower the data speed.
  3. bluenoise macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2008
    I have not found any real correlation, unless I'm getting service, but with zero bars. Sometimes I get 700 kbps+ with one bar and other times I might get 200 kbps with five bars.
  4. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Signal strength will tell you about your connection to the cell tower. It doesn't tell you how busy the cell tower is with other data traffic, or how much data bandwidth that cell tower has available between it and the internet backbone.

    You could get a great connection to a cell tower that's already saturated with other traffic as well as several radio relay hops away from the nearest fat pipe (think of it as sharing a cable modem with all your neighbors running bitTorrent.) Or a poor connection to a cell tower where you are the only data customer in range and directly connected to a fat fiber pipe close a major internet peering point.
  5. andreab35 macrumors 6502a


    May 29, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F136 Safari/525.20)

    I can totally relate to you.
    Sometimes if I get 2 bars, EDGE speeds are fast. Sometimes if I get 5 bars, EDGE can be slow.
    It all depends on the traffic of the tower.
  6. rotobadger thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2007
    Thanks for the info guys. I've been wondering about this for some time now.
  7. sparkyms macrumors 65816

    Feb 22, 2007
    Southampton UK
    I've found no correlation at all...



    This was pre 2.1, but it's not changed at all, as you can see, the lower signal can even be faster...

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