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iPhone antennas work properly, Bold sees 3G issues

updated 12:55 am EDT, Thu August 28, 2008

iPhone antennas work fine

Thorough testing of the iPhone 3G's various antennas have revealed that they are not the cause of users' 3G woes, after three of the devices were run through trials in a $100,000 test chamber similar to ones used by Motorola. When placed in the chamber, the iPhone demonstrated no irregularities when sending or receiving 3G data, showing only a 2 dB variance from a Sony Ericsson P1 and Nokia N73. Göteborgs-Posten reveals [1|2] that a 4 to 6 dB variance would be cause for alarm.

Tests were done with three iPhones, two belonging to users who have experienced poor 3G coverage, with their phones switching to EDGE on a whim. Results were consistent whether or not any other wireless services were active on the phone.

Many concerns with the iPhone 3Gs reception stem from users' observations of indicator bars on the device's screen. The Sony Ericsson P1, for example, would show full bars in an area that choked the iPhone. It is revealed, however, that the bars are an extremely inaccurate way to measure wireless reception, since moving the phone even a foot or two can cause 10 to 20 dB of difference, and there is no constant measurement for what the bars represent.

Perhaps related is news that the BlackBerry Bold will be delayed at AT&T for similar reception problems. InformationWeek reveals that an analyst testing the device has reported similar dropped calls, or transitions to the slower EDGE network. AT&T, like Apple, cited software as being the issue, and expects to remedy the situation shortly.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. benj

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 1999


    Share the Blame

    Apple should be bugging ATT and get their cell networks together- this has been my complaint all along- when the iphone3g was released half the problem was apple and the other half was ATT. WHo got all the press about problems? Apple. ATT needs to step up to the problems too.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: share the blame

    If Apple insists on controlling everything about the phone, they have to expect to take the heat when it doesn't work, regardless of the cause.

  1. dynsight

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Testudo Right

    well partially

    Apple is ultimately responsible for much of this, because of the exclusive nature of the contract; however, is ATT misrepresented their network, there is some culpability there as well.

    I like the phone in and of itself, but the speed is very poor. I generally average about 450-600 kbps, and nowhere near the advertised 1.4mbps.

    It is better than Edge, but not much better.

    Really, for me, the saving factor of the phone is the Apps, some of which are wonderful.

    ATT is running the risk of lawsuits if they keep this up.

  1. dynsight

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005



    I will argue that three iPhones tested proves NOTHING conclusively.

    One would need to take a statistically significant sample (even from different manufactured lots) and provide statistical analysis (average, std. dev, etc) of performance.

    This test is little more than THOSE THREE iPhones are fine.

  1. LouZer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2000



    The tests are pretty specific, and thus pointless. It might be great at picking up G3 in a clean room, but its about how it works with the interference and congestion in the open.

    You know, like taking two routers, putting each in the room, and saying "The work great!". But that doesn't help if the routers are all hard-coded to Channel 1 and thus always stepping on each other, causing drop-outs, signal strength issues, etc.

  1. Johnny Niles

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    Missing the point

    LouZer - you're missing the point of those tests. They were testing the three iPhones against two other phones from different manufacturers using the exact same tests in a controlled environment.

    It was a control test to see where the problem lies. Since all three iPhones, including the two whose owners claimed were having reception problems, passed the test exactly as well as the other two phones, the conclusion you can draw is that despite having reception issues, the iPhone hardware is not the problem.

    As has been stated multiple times now, the problems stem from software and network coverage. That conclusion is all those tests were meant to confirm.

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