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AT&T's "Fine Edge" to boost data speeds ahead of iPhone

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Wireless provider and exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier AT&T Wireless has launched an internal operation aimed at boosting the data speeds of its 2.5G EDGE network ahead of this month's iPhone launch, according to a published report.

Electronic gadget site Gizmodo reports on the matter, dubbed operation "Fine Edge," which it claims has been ongoing for about six weeks. The optimization is due to wrap up around mid-month, just two weeks before the Apple handset hits the open market.

The move is reportedly part of a broader effort on AT&T's part to assure the optimal iPhone experience come June 29th, the first day the inaugural Apple mobile phone is due to turn up at Apple and AT&T retail stores.

According to the report, existing limitations and bottlenecks on the AT&T EDGE network stem not from protocols but rather the network's data backend and the way the towers are configured to allocate bandwidth to data and calls.

As such, AT&T engineers are said to be "dropping in more T-1 lines" into the poorest performing towers, hoping to get the network's paltry 40kbps performance to a new minimum of 80kpbs. (EDGE's real world maximum performance is reportedly about 200kbps.)

Prior to "Fine EDGE" and the iPhone, most of AT&T's efforts were positioned towards building out its 3G network, the report adds.

Apple is expected to launch a version of its iPhone for use on the speedier 3G networks sometime in 2008.
post #2 of 45
So . . . mayble my Treo 650 will double or triple it's connect speeds as a result of this iPhone thingy. That will buy me enough time to hold out for the 3g iPhone

M

p.s. My first number 1!
post #3 of 45
Apple is Doomed!!

\
post #4 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TednDi View Post

Apple is Doomed!!

\

Don't you mean "teh Doomed"?

Amazing... Apple makes at&t jump through hoops for iPhone. That's power.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #5 of 45
It looks like AT&T is quite a bit behind Verizon in wireless speeds!
post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzmaster View Post

It looks like AT&T is quite a bit behind Verizon in wireless speeds!


Way behind Sprint as well, but this will be better than before.
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzmaster View Post

It looks like AT&T is quite a bit behind Verizon in wireless speeds!

Well, EDGE is behind EVDO, but that's not surprising. EDGE is old tech on GSM networks as well.
post #8 of 45
How is speeding up their network considered jumping through hoops?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Don't you mean "teh Doomed"?

Amazing... Apple makes at&t jump through hoops for iPhone. That's power.
post #9 of 45
I agree, this is not Apple making anyone jump thorugh hoops. This is AT&T doing what they should do anyhow. If anything, the iPhone forced their hand a bit. Otherwise, good news for all Cingular/AT&T Subscribers...
NoahJ
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NoahJ
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post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post

I agree, this is not Apple making anyone jump thorugh hoops. This is AT&T doing what they should do anyhow. If anything, the iPhone forced their hand a bit. Otherwise, good news for all Cingular/AT&T Subscribers...

What they 'should' do, and what they 'do'... can be quite different. I believe the iPhone has a lot to do with this.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #11 of 45
The iPhone may have, Apple aside from the very big part of manufacturing the device, probably had very little to do with it. The point being, it was a decision based on need (our network sucks, this phone will show how bad it is, lets make it faster so we look as good as possible), not Apple arm-twisting.

Besides, they know that a crippled network could noticably slow adoption of the phone even if the interface is the most advanced currently available.
NoahJ
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NoahJ
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post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As such, AT&T engineers are said to be "dropping in more T-1 lines" into the poorest performing towers, hoping to get the network's paltry 40kbps performance to a new minimum of 80kpbs. (EDGE's real world maximum performance is reportedly about 200kbps.)

ATT's EDGE is running at 40kpbs??? Wow, 'old school' dialup I had a few years back beat that.

On ATT's site, they claim real-world speeds of 75-135 kbps. Guess they were telling a bit of a fibberoo up 'till now.

Hopefully they can get the floor up to that 80kbps they're talkin' about, but even then, EDGE is still EDGE, and Wifi is still far from everywhere. That 3G iPhone can't come too soon.

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post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

...they're talkin' about...

Too busy to type that "g"?
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by britwithgoodteeth View Post

Too busy to type that "g"?

Not much goin' on in your life, huh? \

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post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

What they 'should' do, and what they 'do'... can be quite different. I believe the iPhone has a lot to do with this.

Agreed, I am quite sure that Apple dictated a minimum speed, so they are just upping it to meet an exceed the Apple requirement.

Its probably part of the contract as Apple want a ceirtain level of user satisfaction.
post #16 of 45
It would have been nice if someone said what 3g 2g etc were able to achieve in speed.


Similar Article: http://www.nobosh.com/Article/AT%26T...or-iPhone/622/
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nate.willard View Post

It would have been nice if someone said what 3g 2g etc were able to achieve in speed.


Similar Article: http://www.nobosh.com/Article/AT%26T...or-iPhone/622/

Yeah, that article you linked to is wrong. It says:

3G networks are faster than anything currently available in the U.S.. At present, 3G networks are only available overseas. U.S. wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verzion are rapidly working to launch a 3G network.

That's not really true. 3G networks overseas are in some cases faster than US 3G networks, but there are widely-deployed 3G networks already available in the US. And Verizon and ATT are not "working to launch a 3G network", both already launched 3G networks in the US years ago, along with Sprint.

Kinda weird that the writer is so misinformed, and that's a very recent article, too. \

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post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by britwithgoodteeth View Post

Too busy to type that "g"?

Hmm.

I would have thought that it would take the same number of keys to type " ' ", as it takes to type "g".

But, perhaps I'm wrong.
post #19 of 45
Okay, so I work in communicaitons, and I know this technology. This is the sadest excuse for a 'buzz' story I've seen in years. Effectively, they have done nothing. 'Dropping in extra T1s'. Please. We have over 32,000 T1s... and *none* of them go to our cellular network. (sigh) That isn't how we infrastructure the backhauls at all.

Still buying an iPhone.. but just know they are full of $h!t on this 'Fine Edge' crap.

-NUM
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post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Hmm.

I would have thought that it would take the same number of keys to type " ' ", as it takes to type "g".

But, perhaps I'm wrong.

Hey, don't pick on the man for trying to conserve his 'g'. AT&T will only give him 2Gs so why spend them all so quick??
post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

Agreed, I am quite sure that Apple dictated a minimum speed, so they are just upping it to meet an exceed the Apple requirement.

Its probably part of the contract as Apple want a ceirtain level of user satisfaction.

Keep in mind that they really need to update their speed. As opposed to a lot of cell phones, which use a more limited browser/display for better performance, the iPhone is 'saddled' with a full browser, which sounds great when you're showing it off on a wifi network and stuff, but will perform horribly if you go to a content-laden site over a dial-up speed network.
post #22 of 45
Keep in mind that Cingular (AT&T) have been offering smartphones will full browser support for sometime now. My Motorola MPx220 has full browser support, and the web surfing is ok. I've complained to them about the speed, and I'm sure others have too. I think updating their network was something they have been thinking about, and now they expect more traffic on their networks due to high iPhone demand.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Keep in mind that they really need to update their speed. As opposed to a lot of cell phones, which use a more limited browser/display for better performance, the iPhone is 'saddled' with a full browser, which sounds great when you're showing it off on a wifi network and stuff, but will perform horribly if you go to a content-laden site over a dial-up speed network.
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntercr View Post

Hey, don't pick on the man for trying to conserve his 'g'. AT&T will only give him 2Gs so why spend them all so quick??

I wasn't. I was responding to britwithgoodteeth (and we really have to take his word for it that he does, don't we?)

He made the complaint.

I guess you missed the joke.
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzmaster View Post

It looks like AT&T is quite a bit behind Verizon in wireless speeds!

not with UMTS. im on it right now on my blackjack and its exactly like broadband. evdo is muchhhhh slower
post #25 of 45
I wish the actual phone call could switch to WiFi! I hardly get any reception in my house!

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post #26 of 45
At first I thought I was seeing a new acronym: "80kpbs" or 80kbps
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by iridedasupabus View Post

not with UMTS. im on it right now on my blackjack and its exactly like broadband. evdo is muchhhhh slower

Funny, it doesn't seem to be much slower.

From ATT's and Verizon's own claims, both companies' 3G networks seem to be operating at about the same speeds right now. From ATT's own site:

BroadbandConnect is AT&T's 3G network
operating on the worldwide standard for wide-area wireless data communication. This is based on the Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM™). It's the first widely available service in the world to use HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) and is the only 3G technology that natively supports simultaneous voice and data.

Broadband speeds

BroadbandConnect provides average mobile data connections between 400-700 Kbps with bursts up to more than a mega-bit per second. It delivers about ten times the speed of dial-up Internet access.


http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/wh...p?locale=es_US

Now, from Verizon's site:

With BroadbandAccess service, you can work at typical download speeds of 400 to 700 kbps, with bursts of up to 2.0 Mbps.

http://b2b.vzw.com/broadband/coveragearea.html


That's what it is now, taking the companies at their word. It's possible that ATT will be upgrading their 3G network (technology-wise) before Verizon (or Sprint) does, giving them a temporary speed advantage, but it's likely that the two technologies (UMTS/HSDPA and EVDO) will keep leapfrogging each other, speed-wise.

And there's no question that there's much better EVDO coverage out there right now than there is UMTS/HSDPA, though the gap should close significantly in the next year or two, as EVDO build-outs will be mostly done and cover pretty much everything Verizon and Sprint want them to cover, giving ATT a chance to catch up.
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post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by IHateRegistering View Post

I wish the actual phone call could switch to WiFi! I hardly get any reception in my house!

That's something that's definitely being worked on (though not specifically by or for Apple).

The idea (sometimes referred to as 'fixed mobile') is that your cellphone behaves normally when you're out and about, but when you get home, it uses WiFi and your home wireless router/broadband internet connection to switch to VoIP and make calls for verrrry cheap. And, as you mentioned, it sidesteps reception issues. Nice.

You should start seeing phones like this in the US in the next couple of years, and there's already one out in the UK (the BT Fusion). If the tech works well, hopefully a future iteration of the iPhone will be using it.
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post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Funny, it doesn't seem to be much slower.

From ATT's and Verizon's own claims, both companies' 3G networks seem to be operating at about the same speeds right now. From ATT's own site:

BroadbandConnect is AT&T's 3G network
operating on the worldwide standard for wide-area wireless data communication. This is based on the Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM). It's the first widely available service in the world to use HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) and is the only 3G technology that natively supports simultaneous voice and data.

Broadband speeds

BroadbandConnect provides average mobile data connections between 400-700 Kbps with bursts up to more than a mega-bit per second. It delivers about ten times the speed of dial-up Internet access.


http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/wh...p?locale=es_US

Now, from Verizon's site:

With BroadbandAccess service, you can work at typical download speeds of 400 to 700 kbps, with bursts of up to 2.0 Mbps.

http://b2b.vzw.com/broadband/coveragearea.html


That's what it is now, taking the companies at their word. It's possible that ATT will be upgrading their 3G network (technology-wise) before Verizon (or Sprint) does, giving them a temporary speed advantage, but it's likely that the two technologies (UMTS/HSDPA and EVDO) will keep leapfrogging each other, speed-wise.

And there's no question that there's much better EVDO coverage out there right now than there is UMTS/HSDPA, though the gap should close significantly in the next year or two, as EVDO build-outs will be mostly done and cover pretty much everything Verizon and Sprint want them to cover, giving ATT a chance to catch up.
.

Thats also true. I Live right near DC, so you'd expect there to be 3G here....
And what it said about the simultaneous voice and data...thats pretty cool. I've done it before and i cant even tell Im using the phone as a modem.
Every verizon phone i've seen has EVDO...and if At&t is going to make UMTS as widespread as EVDO, then I dont see why apple wouldnt put 3G on the iphone...
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by iridedasupabus View Post

Every verizon phone i've seen has EVDO...and if At&t is going to make UMTS as widespread as EVDO, then I dont see why apple wouldnt put 3G on the iphone...

Maybe because, for the next year or so, too many people would be SOL if the iPhone was 3G, due to ATT's poor 3G coverage?

EDGE kinda sucks, but at least its nearly everywhere. \

Probably in mid- to late- 2008, ATT's 3G coverage will finally be pretty solid, and Apple can then release a 3G iPhone. I'd be surprised if it doesn't go down that way.

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post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Funny, it doesn't seem to be much slower.

Another person (on a different forum) made a similar comment. He pointed out that today's phones are CPU-bound, not bandwidth-bound.

He said that his 3G phone doesn't perform much differently when moving between 2G and 3G regions. When he uses a wireless card in his laptop computer, however, there is a world of difference.

This may be why Apple has chosen to stick with EDGE and not adopt 3G. If the phone doesn't have the CPU power to take advantage of the extra bandwidth, then it may be better to not use it at all. 3G would increase the cost of the phone and use firmware that doesn't have as much real-world field testing.

I'm reminded of a comment from General Motors several years ago regarding their OnStar system. Their FAQ had a question asking why it uses A-band instead of a modern digital system (like GSM or CDMA). Their answer was that A-band has the broadest coverage (all carriers support it as a fall-back system), that battery life isn't a problem when it's powered by your car's electrical system, and they use a strong 5W transmitter to get sufficient range and signal strength.

In other words, GM chose the technology best for their application, even though the phone industry had moved on to newer technologies (which are better for handsets.)

The iPhone may be something similar. I agree that the lack of 3G seems problematic right now, but it may end up not being that much of a problem in actual practice. The broader coverage of EDGE may be more important than 3G's higher bandwidth.
post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamino View Post

Another person (on a different forum) made a similar comment. He pointed out that today's phones are CPU-bound, not bandwidth-bound.

Actually, I was referring to EVDO vs UMTS/HSDPA, speed-wise.

Quote:
He said that his 3G phone doesn't perform much differently when moving between 2G and 3G regions. When he uses a wireless card in his laptop computer, however, there is a world of difference.

That may also be a phenomenon of your typical cellphone's 'baby Internet' implementation (as Jobs likes to call it) vs the 'real Internet' you get on a laptop.

But the iPhone also is trying to have a 'real Internet' user experience, as it runs a 'real' web browser and has a very large (for a cellphone) screen. Given that, you'd want 3G on the iPhone, if at all possible.

Quote:
This may be why Apple has chosen to stick with EDGE and not adopt 3G. If the phone doesn't have the CPU power to take advantage of the extra bandwidth, then it may be better to not use it at all. 3G would increase the cost of the phone and use firmware that doesn't have as much real-world field testing.

See above.

Quote:
I'm reminded of a comment from General Motors several years ago regarding their OnStar system. Their FAQ had a question asking why it uses A-band instead of a modern digital system (like GSM or CDMA). Their answer was that A-band has the broadest coverage (all carriers support it as a fall-back system), that battery life isn't a problem when it's powered by your car's electrical system, and they use a strong 5W transmitter to get sufficient range and signal strength.

Yeah, analog does have great coverage, and importantly, it has that coverage in exactly the very worst areas for your car to break down (i.e. way out in the boondocks).

Though sadly, the major carriers are looking for ways to shut down their analog networks once the federal mandate runs out in 2008. If Onstar is forced to transition to digital at some point, it won't be nearly as effective way out in the countryside, as there are some areas that are so remote as to not warrant digital coverage, apparently.

Quote:
In other words, GM chose the technology best for their application, even though the phone industry had moved on to newer technologies (which are better for handsets.)

Bingo.

Quote:
The iPhone may be something similar. I agree that the lack of 3G seems problematic right now, but it may end up not being that much of a problem in actual practice. The broader coverage of EDGE may be more important than 3G's higher bandwidth.

That's pretty much what I've been saying all along... that coverage issues forced iPhone 1.0 to go with EDGE.

However, given the iPhone's rich internet experience, Apple will want to release a 3G iPhone ASAP, i.e. as soon as ATT's 3G coverage is up to it. EDGE is nothing more than a stopgap measure. It will be noticeably slow on the iPhone.

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post #33 of 45
PS --

Check out Apple's 4th iPhone commercial... I think it gets across the message of the iPhone's 'rich internet experience' better than I'm able to with words alone:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5EYVNjASzI

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post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Funny, it doesn't seem to be much slower.

From ATT's and Verizon's own claims, both companies' 3G networks seem to be operating at about the same speeds right now. From ATT's own site:

BroadbandConnect is AT&T's 3G network
operating on the worldwide standard for wide-area wireless data communication. This is based on the Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM). It's the first widely available service in the world to use HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) and is the only 3G technology that natively supports simultaneous voice and data.

Broadband speeds

BroadbandConnect provides average mobile data connections between 400-700 Kbps with bursts up to more than a mega-bit per second. It delivers about ten times the speed of dial-up Internet access.


http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/wh...p?locale=es_US

Now, from Verizon's site:

With BroadbandAccess service, you can work at typical download speeds of 400 to 700 kbps, with bursts of up to 2.0 Mbps.

http://b2b.vzw.com/broadband/coveragearea.html


That's what it is now, taking the companies at their word. It's possible that ATT will be upgrading their 3G network (technology-wise) before Verizon (or Sprint) does, giving them a temporary speed advantage, but it's likely that the two technologies (UMTS/HSDPA and EVDO) will keep leapfrogging each other, speed-wise.

And there's no question that there's much better EVDO coverage out there right now than there is UMTS/HSDPA, though the gap should close significantly in the next year or two, as EVDO build-outs will be mostly done and cover pretty much everything Verizon and Sprint want them to cover, giving ATT a chance to catch up.
.

700 to 800 kbs is what I get on Sprint now with my 700p, and Sprint has upgraded to somewhat higher speeds already, but my phone won't benefit. These "bursts" never seem to happen though.
post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamino View Post

Another person (on a different forum) made a similar comment. He pointed out that today's phones are CPU-bound, not bandwidth-bound.

He said that his 3G phone doesn't perform much differently when moving between 2G and 3G regions. When he uses a wireless card in his laptop computer, however, there is a world of difference.

This may be why Apple has chosen to stick with EDGE and not adopt 3G. If the phone doesn't have the CPU power to take advantage of the extra bandwidth, then it may be better to not use it at all. 3G would increase the cost of the phone and use firmware that doesn't have as much real-world field testing.

I'm reminded of a comment from General Motors several years ago regarding their OnStar system. Their FAQ had a question asking why it uses A-band instead of a modern digital system (like GSM or CDMA). Their answer was that A-band has the broadest coverage (all carriers support it as a fall-back system), that battery life isn't a problem when it's powered by your car's electrical system, and they use a strong 5W transmitter to get sufficient range and signal strength.

In other words, GM chose the technology best for their application, even though the phone industry had moved on to newer technologies (which are better for handsets.)

The iPhone may be something similar. I agree that the lack of 3G seems problematic right now, but it may end up not being that much of a problem in actual practice. The broader coverage of EDGE may be more important than 3G's higher bandwidth.

That reason sounds a bit funky. My 700p has a pretty fast cpu, and so do other smartphones. Apple's phone also has a powerful cpu. In fact, is is said to have three cpu's.

There are other reasons, one of which is that wireless of any kind simply doesn't perform more than half as fast as the numbers let you believe. I have even seen numbers that show that most wireless is about one fifth to one half the speed claimed due to interference, poor signal quality, etc.


If two services are performing at an effective half speed the slower one would be seen as being closer to the faster service.

700kbs to 100kbs

at half speed:

350 kbs to 50 kbs.

The first is 600 kbs faster, the slower, actual speed difference would be 300 kbs.

But, there's more!

Faster speed wireless tends to slow down more than slower speed witeless.

The actual speeds could be more like

200 kbs vs. 50 kbs, for a 150 kbs difference.
post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

700 to 800 kbs is what I get on Sprint now with my 700p, and Sprint has upgraded to somewhat higher speeds already, but my phone won't benefit. These "bursts" never seem to happen though.

Upgrades huh? Sounds like Sprint has already upgraded to EVDO Revision A in your area. But the main benefit of it over Rev 0 is not so much dload speeds (though 'burst speed' is improved- whoopdedoo), but rather upload speeds (Rev 0 was fast downstream, but pokey as hell for uploads- like almost dialup slow for uploads).

Both Sprint and Verizon are in the process of rolling out Rev A everywhere, and of course EVDO will continue to get faster over time with new revisions, as they occur. Is cool.

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post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

There are other reasons, one of which is that wireless of any kind simply doesn't perform more than half as fast as the numbers let you believe. I have even seen numbers that show that most wireless is about one fifth to one half the speed claimed due to interference, poor signal quality, etc.

If two services are performing at an effective half speed the slower one would be seen as being closer to the faster service.

700kbs to 100kbs

at half speed:

350 kbs to 50 kbs.

The first is 600 kbs faster, the slower, actual speed difference would be 300 kbs.

But, there's more!

Faster speed wireless tends to slow down more than slower speed witeless.

The actual speeds could be more like

200 kbs vs. 50 kbs, for a 150 kbs difference.


And yet you say you get 700-800 kbps on your Sprint Treo. Is that pretty consistent?

Because that's about what EVDO Rev A should be doing for ya, optimally.

.
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post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Upgrades huh? Sounds like Sprint has already upgraded to EVDO Revision A in your area. But the main benefit of it over Rev 0 is not so much dload speeds (though 'burst speed' is improved- whoopdedoo), but rather upload speeds (Rev 0 was fast downstream, but pokey as hell for uploads- like almost dialup slow for uploads).

Both Sprint and Verizon are in the process of rolling out Rev A everywhere, and of course EVDO will continue to get faster over time with new revisions, as they occur. Is cool.

.

Yes, Rev A. Download is improved by 100 kbs, or so. But. you're right, it's the upload that is mostly better.
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

And yet you say you get 700-800 kbps on your Sprint Treo. Is that pretty consistent?

Because that's about what EVDO Rev A should be doing for ya, optimally.

.

That's the high water mark. It's actually slower than that, but it varies. Depends on where I am, and even the time of day.

But, when comparing one system to another, we can only use the published numbers.
post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

That may also be a phenomenon of your typical cellphone's 'baby Internet' implementation (as Jobs likes to call it) vs the 'real Internet' you get on a laptop.

But the iPhone also is trying to have a 'real Internet' user experience, as it runs a 'real' web browser and has a very large (for a cellphone) screen. Given that, you'd want 3G on the iPhone, if at all possible.

A large screen and robust software is one thing. A powerful CPU is another.

I expect the iPhone to have a chip more powerful than typical phones, but I doubt it will approach laptop computer speeds. A 2GHz Core 2 Duo, for example, would run very hot and drain a handset's battery very quickly.

The ARM chips used in handsets today are a lot more powerful than the chips from a few years ago, but they're still not going to be able to give you laptop/desktop performance.
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