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AT&T's slow iPhone 4 upload speeds due to software defect

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
AT&T on Wednesday made an official statement on an issue causing slow upload speeds for some iPhone 4 users, blaming the problem on a software defect that will soon be fixed.

"AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect -- triggered under certain conditions - that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment," the company said in a statement.

"This impacts less than two percent of our wireless customer base. While Alcatel-Lucent develops the appropriate software fix, we are providing normal 3G uplink speeds and consistent performance for affected customers with HSUPA-capable devices."

On Tuesday, AppleInsider exclusively reported that, contrary to various Internet speculation, AT&T was not intentionally throttling upload speeds for iPhone 4 users. Some in major U.S. markets such as Los Angeles and New York reported upload speeds of around 100Kbps, well below the capabilities of the HSPA-equipped iPhone 4.

Instead, it was revealed Tuesday that the issues were a result of an unintentional software glitch related to High-Speed Uplink Packet Access in some sections of the country. When working properly, HSUPA can allow uplink speeds of 5.76Mbit/s.
post #2 of 25
Translation: "We tried to get away with throttling your speeds, but you caught us."
post #3 of 25
This is interesting. I can at least confirm that AT&T does use Alcatel hardware in the northeast (NY) from working at a previous company providing EF&I for the telcos. My uploads/downloads for about the past two weeks have been terribly slow (such as this page, even). I had just assumed it was added congestion from iPhone4 users or AT&T trying to beef up it's network.
post #4 of 25
AT&T is quickly running out of fingers with which to point.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... "AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect -- triggered under certain conditions - that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment," the company said in a statement. ....

At the very least, if it's AT&T's software that has the glitch, it's a glitch that basically says, "throttle these type of connections back." So AT&T is throttling the bandwidth for those particular customers.

It also says "We didn't really even test what would happen with the new iPhone 4 in giant markets like San Francisco or New York, so we were caught by surprise."
post #6 of 25
350+ people posting about this on Mac Rumors across 30+ markets and it only affected 2% of their customer base? Yet another issue blown out of proportion.


PS: I really wonder who these people are in real life that don’t think companies ever make a mistake, that it’s meticulously planned malevolence on par with comic book evil geniuses.
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post #7 of 25
This is not a matter of having tested the iPhone - and if there is a small subset of hardware that on the provider end of the link that is not handling 3G for ALL 3G devices the way that it is supposed to then that device needs to be fixed or replaced. I don't see this as finger pointing - but root cause analysis and identifying the problem plainly and openly. Also it would seem that iDevice users are the most demanding and or likely to notice and complain when the service is not what it is supposed to be. I will reserve my Kudos to AT&T for fixing this one until it is actually fixed.

If you would prefer that AT&T and their partners continue to claim there is no problem so that you can continue to spout off about how they are denying any problems then don't spout off about how they are admitting the problem - can't have it both ways.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

At the very least, if it's AT&T's software that has the glitch, it's a glitch that basically says, "throttle these type of connections back." So AT&T is throttling the bandwidth for those particular customers.

It also says "We didn't really even test what would happen with the new iPhone 4 in giant markets like San Francisco or New York, so we were caught by surprise."

I've posted this on other forums, so I apologize if you have read this before.

As a network engineer, I encounter hundreds of software related issues on routers, switches, and other components. As much as you test this before you deploy it, many times you can never encounter an issue until it is exposed to the stress of a production network.

Good to see they are working with their vendor.

And, yes, complicated hardware/software does break time to time.
post #9 of 25
it makes sense to me... why in gods name would AT&T throttle the connection speeds on purpose. the faster the network goes, the faster the customer uses up their $25 data plan...
post #10 of 25
You're uploading it wrong.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post

it makes sense to me... Why in gods name would at&t throttle the connection speeds on purpose. The faster the network goes, the faster the customer uses up their $25 data plan...


+1...
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

350+ people posting about this on Mac Rumors across 30+ markets and it only affected 2% of their customer base? Yet another issue blown out of proportion.

It could actually be accurate, given how small the percentage of HSUPA-capable devices on their network are (what, a few 3G cards, an Android device or two, and the newly released iPhone 4?) and that only portions of their network with the relevant hardware are going to cause fuss. 2% of AT&T's customer base is a large amount of people.
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post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

It also says "We didn't really even test what would happen with the new iPhone 4 in giant markets like San Francisco or New York, so we were caught by surprise."

What about Apple? Did they ever test an iPhone 4 without a case (with direct physical contact)?

No excuses there.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

I've posted this on other forums, so I apologize if you have read this before.

As a network engineer, I encounter hundreds of software related issues on routers, switches, and other components. As much as you test this before you deploy it, many times you can never encounter an issue until it is exposed to the stress of a production network.

Good to see they are working with their vendor.

And, yes, complicated hardware/software does break time to time.

I understand and appreciate what you are saying, but it still seems a little odd.

We are talking about a new feature on one of their flagship phones, in fact the only new feature that is actually in AT&T's court to check. The throttling is occurring in their biggest markets also, like NY, Boston, etc.

How does AT&T release a new version of the number one phone, in their number one market, and fail to test the only new feature it has which relies exclusively on AT&T to implement correctly?
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by estolinski View Post

AT&T is quickly running out of fingers with which to point.

They'll just start using their other hand! ;-)
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by estolinski View Post

AT&T is quickly running out of fingers with which to point.

Doubtful this was on purpose, since only HSUPA was affected. They were probably unaware of the issue until a large number of iPhone users using that protocol noticed it. I might also remind you, that the iPhone is not an 'AT&T Phone', it is an Apple phone which utilizes the AT&T network. It didn't have widespread use on AT&T's network until it was released.
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post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The throttling is occurring in their biggest markets also, like NY, Boston, etc.

noexpectations is absolutely correct.

1) Yes, the issue happened in large markets, but not all large markets and there is evidence that it happened is smaller markets, too.

2) Throttling is not the appropriate terminology. You’re implying they are deliberately controlling the speed of the network with this software update. It’s like having your car breaking down and then claiming the driver is throttling the maximum speed. Just check out the latency and you can be assured this is not malicious on AT&T’s part toward their customer or correct.
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post #18 of 25
I saw Houston on the list of cities that complained, but I didn't encounter any issues yesterday or today. Same upload speeds since the day I got the i4. 1.2Mbps or above.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

PS: I really wonder who these people are in real life that dont think companies ever make a mistake, thats its meticulously planned malevolence on par with comic book evil geniuses.

Dang, my secret identity has been exposed!
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post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

350+ people posting about this on Mac Rumors across 30+ markets and it only affected 2% of their customer base? Yet another issue blown out of proportion.


PS: I really wonder who these people are in real life that dont think companies ever make a mistake, that its meticulously planned malevolence on par with comic book evil geniuses.

Just went through first 50 postings, only 10 actually reported the problem.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

At the very least, if it's AT&T's software that has the glitch, it's a glitch that basically says, "throttle these type of connections back." So AT&T is throttling the bandwidth for those particular customers.

It also says "We didn't really even test what would happen with the new iPhone 4 in giant markets like San Francisco or New York, so we were caught by surprise."

Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Translation: "We tried to get away with throttling your speeds, but you caught us."

Quote:
Originally Posted by estolinski View Post

AT&T is quickly running out of fingers with which to point.

what can be best served by stupidity or incompetence.

post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I understand and appreciate what you are saying, but it still seems a little odd.

[snip]

How does AT&T release a new version of the number one phone, in their number one market, and fail to test the only new feature it has which relies exclusively on AT&T to implement correctly?

Perhaps it's because in their testing, the problem didn't occur. I'm guessing that AT&T didn't have a million HSUPA-compatible devices to throw onto their network in just a few days. There really wasn't a good way to simulate that kind of load. Now they know, and their equipment vendor is working to fix the problem. It's no surprise that it hit AT&T hard in their largest markets. Other areas may not have been hit because they are using different versions of the equipment or software, or the load wasn't as heavy. Hard to say from the outside.

The problem with the iPhone and AT&T being so popular is that it makes them a target for the Chicken Littles and Conspiracy Theorists. The Chicken Littles rush to the forums to scream about how AT&T "trapped" them into data plans, and is now going to abuse them by suddenly capping their data speeds. A short while later, when the real story comes out, the conspiracy theorists start with their "it's just an excuse! The evil corporation TRIED to rip us off, but they got caught" nonsense.

I guess these people enjoy living in their paranoid, hate-filled, angry little worlds of make-believe. Some people aren't happy unless they are hating something or someone.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

PS: I really wonder who these people are in real life that dont think companies ever make a mistake, that its meticulously planned malevolence on par with comic book evil geniuses.

Thems the peeps whose ideas don't scale beyond their basement command center.

-Chris
post #24 of 25
I no longer get 3G in my area. Maybe AT&T fixing the problem with their 3G network?
post #25 of 25
3G is back.
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