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Thread: Some insight into ATT 3G issue

  1. #1
    Retired Moderator bhz1's Avatar
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    Default Some insight into ATT 3G issue
    Just this morning I was sitting with my son at a medical appointment and had my 3G showing 3 bars, yet was unable to connect to Safari or Mail. I asked my son, to see what his signal was, he has a Moto V3xx which is 3G capable. He also had 3 bars, but before we could check his data connectivity, he tells me that for about the last month or so his signal goes "wacko" occasionally, jumping from 5 bars to no signal, to 2 or 3 bars, etc... Sounds just like our iPhones. It was fine prior to a month ago. he really doesnt use data that much so we really couldn't compare notes. He doesnt have a data plan other wise I'd have him do some experimenting. Maybe I'll swipe his phone and pop my sim in it and give it a try.

    Got me thinking. I found some interesting talk on the ATT user support forums. Apparently the TITN is also experiencing similar 3G issues.

    I did some more research and apparently as I suspected, 3G signal as opposed to EDGE is much like an FM radio signal as compared to AM radio. For those of you too young to remember when AM was king, one could often pick up AM stations hundreds of miles from the broadcast source. FM while a much clearer and higher quality signal at close range, has a much shorter carrying distance. Anything past 50 miles is a stretch. Since 3G is relatively new, most of the signal is run on the 1900 band vs the 850. Higher frequencies produce shorter wave lengths. Shorter wave lengths lose their potency in a shorter distance than do larger wave lengths. To address this issue, 1900MHz towers need to be placed closer together. In some areas, the infrastructure is not quite built up. ATT shows the area as "covered" but there at loads of dead spots. Just as in the infancy of cell phones and people contended for signal out of the towers, the same is happening wiht the 3G.

    So while the iPhone may have a weak antenna, chip, whatever, a lot of the problem is with the huge proliferation of 3G iphones sold in the last month or so, the resulting load on the existing 3G network has greatly increased. ATT did not necessarily lie about 3G coverage. They simply failed to anticipate what effect the extra load on the exisiting 3G network would be.

    While ATT has coverage, it is insuffucient to carry the new extra load. Perhaps those with better radios like Motorolas are not experiencing this to the degree we iPhone folks are, other phones are noticing the problem as well. Possibly an explanation for showing 'good signal" yet have no connection.

    i personally have noticed that in areas where there are a "lot of people using cell phones" my connection speed slows to a crawl then freezes. I had noticed this with the iPhone wifi on my 2G as well. On the 3G the wifi is slightly less susceptible to that but the 3G certainly is affected. Given that most of the new and popular phones are 3G capable, this will become more and more of an issue.

    So my feeling is even if Apple "fixed" the 3G, people would still have issues due to over extension of available network resources. The ultimate solution is for ATT to increase the number of 3G capable towers.

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  3. #2
    One more reason to love my 1st gen AM radio equipped phone! At least for another year.

  4. #3
    Good thought sis!

  5. #4
    You know something I've been noticing myself is that I get full bars of 3G all day pretty much anywhere I go but lately my actual DL speeds have been decreasing. I was guessing that this is due to more 3G devices being put into service everyday and hogging up all my bandwidth. When I first got my 3G I was getting over 1000 Kb on 3G but now it's down to the 700's. I've noticed a steady decline over the last month. I know I shouldn't complain about my speeds because it's still pretty damn fast but if it keeps degrading at the same rate I'll be back to Edge speeds in no time.
    Dirty as I wanna be!

  6. #5
    Well Im glad someone else has been having this problem. I'll be in a normal spot, about 3 bars, but will not be able to load anything. So I would just switch back to EDGE, but I would like to be able to use my 3G internet more, so hopefully AT&T steps it up...

  7. #6
    Retired Moderator bhz1's Avatar
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    earlier this afternoon it was really bad 5 bars and no connection. I tried again this evening and got 2 bars and 500kb speed. My guess is that Saturday afternoon is heavy usage time. I was out inthe car rightnext to a cell tower and had issues. So did the V3xx so it's not an iPhone issue

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    iPhoneaholic tyfly867's Avatar
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    It just takes time to build up the 3g to a level of reliability that matches the EDGE network.
    If I helped you out in any way, hit the Thanks Button.

    iPhone? More like TyPhone

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