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.