or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › AT&T confirms ongoing upgrades to double 3G network speeds
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

AT&T confirms ongoing upgrades to double 3G network speeds

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
An AT&T executive has confirmed in a new interview that the US iPhone service provider is currently performing a variety of upgrades on its 3G network that should combine to double capacity in the coming months.

AT&T Mobility vice president of technology realization Scott McElroy tells TelephonyOnline that his team plans to upgrade "the downlink capacity on its high-speed packet access (HSPA) from 3.6 megabits per second to 7.2 Mb/s through software upgrades at the base station."

Although McElroy doesn't provide a timetable for completing the upgrade, he says the carrier is in the process of field certifying the faster network in two test markets, adding that AT&T plans to eventually migrate its 3G networks to evolved-HSPA (or HSPA+), which would increase top speeds threefold.

AT&T could then theoretically upgrade its HSPA network to 14.4 Mb/s but is expected to forgo that option due to a technical problem and its ability to migrate directly to 21 Mb/s HSPA+, McElroy said. He told TelephonyOnline that AT&T will focus "on upgrades to the baseband, which will dramatically increase capacity without having to fiddle with the elements on the tower or in the core."

Interestingly, McElroy also noted that AT&T is simultaneously upgrading its network backbone to handle the increased data traffic resulting from its network upgrades, confirming an AppleInsider report from earlier this month. However, he refused to reveal the exact extent of those upgrades.

It was reported on April 3rd that AT&T was rushing to rollout a major upgrade to its 3G mobile data service in anticipation of a tenfold increase in network traffic from new iPhone hardware expected to go on sale in June, according to a vendor source.

AppleInsider noted that the network rollout was tied to a "massive" order of new Juniper routers that can handle higher data throughputs optimized for video streaming and related features targeted toward video stream broadcasts. Apple has reportedly been evaluating a portion of the network upgrade already accessible to its engineers for testing purposes and is said to be genuinely impressed, with one engineer telling AT&T reps that the iPhone maker has "never gotten pages to load as fast as they were loading on the new routers."

People familiar with the matter say Apple has set a strict deadline that asks AT&T to complete the upgrade, quality test it, and have it ready to go live no later than May 31st. The Cupertino-based company's third-generation iPhone is expected to be unveiled a few weeks later.

Meanwhile, McElroy says AT&T is also looking further ahead, selecting vendors for its 4G (or long-term evolution (LTE)) network expected to go live in test markets by 2010 ahead of widespread commercial availability the following year.

The carrier will reportedly use both its 700 MHz and advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to facilitate the LTE launch, with other spectrums on reserve should 4G usage take off. It could also repurpose its 2G and 3G channels for LTE once users begin migrating off those channels to the 4th-gen network.

"We feel very good about our spectrum position," McElroy said. "And we say that with full understanding of what the data demands will be."
post #2 of 52
Good.

Let's hope the thought of verizin releasing an iPhone causes the price rates/data plans to to down.
post #3 of 52
If AT&T doesn't improve service in rural or "fringe" areas I will be back with Verizon and their G4.
post #4 of 52
They certainly need to post a major upgrade with all the myriad of 3G phones they been pushing lately non-stop on TV. I hope NYC finally gets up to snuff.
post #5 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panolo View Post

If AT&T doesn't improve service in rural or "fringe" areas I will be back with Verizon and their G4.

Never switch your carrier for the phone only- no matter how amazing it may be. If the carrier's signals suck eggs- what difference does it matter?
post #6 of 52
That appears to be just a tad bit faster than the 50Kbps I'm getting on EDGE.
post #7 of 52
I use to never have any problems with AT&T who I have had for 5 years now. The stunts they're pulled since I've had my iphone(3G last August) though just make me cringe.

I had a Palm Treo 650 with Edge which I paid $20/mth for data. With the iphone it's $30 whether you have Edge or 3g. I was told that 3g was being tested and has been seen online once in awhile...nothing since I've had my iphone 3G. I live near Champaign, IL, home to the University of Illinois and NCSA and the area has often been referred to as the midwest silicon valley yet no 3g service.

Since January or so I've had more problems with AT&T than any other time in the last 5 years. Lost data connections in certain areas on my way to work for 3 days straight at times. Calls that I never received and automatically drops the caller into my voicemail which I then don't get for at least 20 min to an hour after they made the call. I really appreciated this(not) when I was waiting to hear back from my doctor and a half hour after they had left for the day, I got a voice mail to call them back.

Now they're worried about faster speeds somewhere else...great, just great! I understand why Apple went with AT&T...it's a worldwide standard. LTE can't get here soon enough to help level the playing field with a more common standard between carriers so that hopefully we have a better choice.
post #8 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

That appears to be just a tad bit faster than the 50Kbps I'm getting on EDGE.

People need to remember that while the article title talks about increased "speed," that what we are actually talking about here is increased capacity for higher speeds. This is not the same thing at all.

The infrastructure improvements will allow for hypothetical increases of speed in areas where the infrastructure is all new and where the usage is moderate or low. It will still throttle back in high traffic areas, and it will still be spotty or non-existent in more remote areas.

While the potential for higher speeds across the network is increased overall, the congestion problems of cities, and the connection problems of rural areas will remain what they are. A new radio technology with a larger coverage area per antenna is the only thing that will significantly counter those problems.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Never switch your carrier for the phone only- no matter how amazing it may be. If the carrier's signals suck eggs- what difference does it matter?

And there's an iPod Touch out there waiting for those who can't get AT&T coverage! It's not always-on Internet, but it IS the same great pocket computer. With no data cost.
post #10 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

And there's an iPod Touch out there waiting for those who can't get AT&T coverage! It's not always-on Internet, but it IS the same great pocket computer. With no data cost.

Technically, it's a better great pocket computer.
post #11 of 52
Why would that happen? Verizon doesn't charge any less than AT&T.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hiimamac View Post

Good.

Let's hope the thought of verizin releasing an iPhone causes the price rates/data plans to to down.
post #12 of 52
They are by far the worst carrier I've ever had. There have been so many times that I've dropped calls and had complete outages that I stopped counting. Every time I call in they have me go swap out my iPhone with another one (I'm on #3 now and probably headed to #4 very soon) and I still have the same issues with dropped calls.

I've been told repeatedly that if I want more reliable service I should switch to Edge. I'm sorry, I pay plenty for my 3G service and it should be available to me. Oh, and BTW, I live 3 blocks from downtown Dallas TX so it's not like I'm off in a "fringe" area.

I will be so happy when Apple finally leaves AT&T for good. As I've said for a while now they need to change their slogan to "AT&T", no bars in more places!" With AT&T as the carrier I describe my iPhone as being "the best phone I've ever owned at everything but being a phone."
post #13 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by nimbusthegreat View Post

They are by far the worst carrier I've ever had. There have been so many times that I've dropped calls and had complete outages that I stopped counting. Every time I call in they have me go swap out my iPhone with another one (I'm on #3 now and probably headed to #4 very soon) and I still have the same issues with dropped calls.

I've been told repeatedly that if I want more reliable service I should switch to Edge. I'm sorry, I pay plenty for my 3G service and it should be available to me. Oh, and BTW, I live 3 blocks from downtown Dallas TX so it's not like I'm off in a "fringe" area.

I will be so happy when Apple finally leaves AT&T for good. As I've said for a while now they need to change their slogan to "AT&T", no bars in more places!" With AT&T as the carrier I describe my iPhone as being "the best phone I've ever owned at everything but being a phone."

Exactly, screw the speed upgrades.. They should be spending all their resources on expanding their 3G network and improving coverage in existing 3G areas... Verizon still blows them away in suburban and rural areas, particularly in the west.
post #14 of 52
I hope they're also expanding their 3G coverage? Many people are still stuck using the EDGE network. And no, before anyone says it, I'm not going to move just so I can get 3G speeds. This is whats kind of holding me back on getting an iPhone 3G (or the 3rd gen iPhone). AT&T is going to make me pay for something I cannot get.

They're coverage in general is a little spotty for some such as myself. There are important places I get no signal so I had to have my work get me a verizon phone. It sucks I cannot use my iPhone for work purposes.

Mac Mini (Mid 2011) 2.5 GHz Core i5
120 GB SSD/500 GB HD/8 GB RAM
AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256 MB

Reply

Mac Mini (Mid 2011) 2.5 GHz Core i5
120 GB SSD/500 GB HD/8 GB RAM
AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256 MB

Reply
post #15 of 52
all this talk of 4G is no different than when i told debbie i could get my older brother's souped up car to take her to the prom. it was just to make sure she went to the prom with me; it wasn't until years later that he actually would let me borrow the car.

in 2000 and 2001 there was plenty of talk about 3G networks being right around the corner. and it's only been the last couple of years that any of that has begun to materialize in any significant fashion. so get your 3G networks up to snuff and make me happy, then you can woo me with the potential for a 4G network.

sorry, debbie.
post #16 of 52
I like the features of the iPhone, but the terms that ATT are offering are onerous. The voice plan is much more expensive than Sprint, especially if I go over the plan minutes when they charge 40+ cents/min. The data plan is expensive considering how slow the network is in my area. Not that Sprint is great, but they are dirt cheap.

Anyway, I am taking control over my telecom costs. I bought an iPod Touch. I am going to install Skype, and other SIP VoIP software. Since I got WiFi at home, work, coffee shops, etc... I can make phone calls and have access to data. I even wonder why I need the cellphone... I did fine in the pay phone days.

If I had WiMax in my area, I would ditch the land line, internet and cellphone. Dump cable TV and go back to regular antenna. I have read that in my countries WiMax is being implemented successfully and costs $10/mo for unlimited use.
post #17 of 52
Perhaps AT&T is feeling pressure by Verizon, who's lobbying Apple to allow it to carry the iPhone.

The ten-fold increase in capacity is very interesting. I have a feeling this means the iPhone will have video chat capabilities in the next version, which would be awesome.

I just hope AT&T doesn't raise it's iPhone pricing plans further, as they are already the most expensive plans for any phone.
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post




I did fine in the pay phone days.




What is this "pay phone" you speak of?

post #19 of 52
It can be argued that AT&T is more in direct competition with Verizon than with Sprint. AT&T and Verizon are the two fastest growing carriers. Sprint is loosing just over half a million subscribers every quarter, Sprint is fighting to stay alive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

I like the features of the iPhone, but the terms that ATT are offering are onerous. The voice plan is much more expensive than Sprint, especially if I go over the plan minutes when they charge 40+ cents/min. The data plan is expensive considering how slow the network is in my area. Not that Sprint is great, but they are dirt cheap.
post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

That appears to be just a tad bit faster than the 50Kbps I'm getting on EDGE.

Me too. I'm crying as I read this article. Improve and upgrade for those who already have 3G service, while the rest of us "fringies" (and some in fairly large cities, even) are left behind in the mid-1990s.

C'mon, AT&T!

Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
Reply
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
Reply
post #21 of 52
Im not lucky enough to live in a city deemed 3G ready....still stuck using the Edge....and now I read this.

Daddy's Pissed.

Brothers and sisters....Brothers and sisters.....I dont know what this world is coming too....
post #22 of 52
I wish I saw 3.6Mb/s. The best I've seen with the Speedtest.net app is 1.52Mb/s, most of the time I "truck along" at about .9Mb/s.
Just say no to MacMall.  They don't honor their promotions and won't respond to customer inquiries.  There are better retailers out there.
Reply
Just say no to MacMall.  They don't honor their promotions and won't respond to customer inquiries.  There are better retailers out there.
Reply
post #23 of 52
This is completely untrue, the iPhone does not have the most expensive plans. $30 is AT&T's standard price for unlimited data for all of its phones, its not a special iPhone price.

Unlimited every thing on the iPhone is $130, I have a friend who is paying $190 for unlimited everything on his Verizon Storm.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

I just hope AT&T doesn't raise it's iPhone pricing plans further, as they are already the most expensive plans for any phone.
post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Exactly, screw the speed upgrades.. They should be spending all their resources on expanding their 3G network and improving coverage in existing 3G areas... Verizon still blows them away in suburban and rural areas, particularly in the west.

Since LTE is true VOIP, I suspect that even rural areas will get upgrades. Either that or all LTE-compatible phones will also need to have GSM-compatible radios. Seems to me that it would be expensive and wasteful to include a device that supports both traditional voice and voice-over-IP capabilities.
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

Perhaps AT&T is feeling pressure by Verizon, who's lobbying Apple to allow it to carry the iPhone.

The ten-fold increase in capacity is very interesting. I have a feeling this means the iPhone will have video chat capabilities in the next version, which would be awesome.

I just hope AT&T doesn't raise it's iPhone pricing plans further, as they are already the most expensive plans for any phone.

I certainly agree that AT&T (and telecom companies in general) charge way too much for their services, but last I checked, this is a capitalist country, so this stuff is fair game as long as we the consumer keep paying for it.

Anyway, that's not my point. My point is, ignorant comments like the one above here are the ones that irk me. Yes, the iPhone has more expensive monthly charges than your typical free phone or your precious RAZR from the past. But go get a Blackberry, WinMo phone, Palm, or any other smartphone, and tell me if you monthly bill magically goes down. It won't. The iPhone costs no more or less than it's competitors. Price out an iPhone next to a Blackberry Bold and let me know if the Bold ends up costing less, then get back to me.
post #26 of 52
This is good news, but I think some people are confused as to what this means.

There are multiple variables that affect page loads (in order of problem severity):
1) Connection to the tower
2) Connection from the tower to the backbone
3) Rendering power on the iPhone

The problem with the connection to the tower, most often is a problem with simply connecting to the tower and maintaining a reliable connection. This is by far, AT&T's biggest problem. Not mentioned in this article is the fact that AT&T is aggressively addressing this, even with 3G. The bad news is that they're slightly reducing Edge connectivity to do this. 4G will really help them with connectivity as the spectrum they use will be much better.

This article deals with increasing the speed that an iPhone can have when it has a reliable connection to a tower, between it and the tower.

The next issue is the connection from the tower to the backbone. Despite having a huge ramp up in the numbers of iPhones (and others), most towers are rarely, if ever, maxing out. However, there are times when unusual activity happens and you'll find you've got a good connection to the tower, but the speed is still really slow despite it being faster at other times with the same tower. Again, AT&T is addressing this too, and for the most part it's a fairly easy fix.

The last issue is something rarely discussed, but worth mentioning. The iPhone simply is not the fastest platform for rendering web pages. I hate saying something negative about the love of my life, but there, I did, it's out there. What it does is remarkable in terms of rendering pages the way it does and it does it incredibly efficiently, but if you tether the iPhone and load a page on Safari versus Safari Mobile, you'll see the speed difference is significant. AT&T can't do anything about this last issue, but Apple can, and will. They'll continue to make their software better and it won't be long before we see results coming out of the PA Semi acquisition that will result in more efficient hardware.

The bottom line though is that we're still very early into this. AT&T has seen the light and is aggressively investing in infrastructure. It's almost scary to think about what the iPhone will be like in 5+ years.
post #27 of 52
There u go AT&T, give Sprint a run for their money. I love it when companies step up like this. The results are better for everyone.

I can't even imagine getting speeds like that wirelessly anywhere. That's nuts.
post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

Since LTE is true VOIP, I suspect that even rural areas will get upgrades. Either that or all LTE-compatible phones will also need to have GSM-compatible radios. Seems to me that it would be expensive and wasteful to include a device that supports both traditional voice and voice-over-IP capabilities.

UMTS/HSDPA support voice and data but GSM remains. The newer technologies have smaller cell sizes and the base stations cost more money. Even in small countries with excellent 3G coverage like the UK, phone manufacturers wouldn't dare release a phone without GSM compatibility.

Even when Verizon rolls out LTE, their phones will be contain a CDMA modem for a long time to come. I'd predict something in the region of 10 years, if not longer.
post #29 of 52
No one should have the expectation of a phone or any hand held device to render software as quickly as a full computer system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

The last issue is something rarely discussed, but worth mentioning. The iPhone simply is not the fastest platform for rendering web pages. I hate saying something negative about the love of my life, but there, I did, it's out there. What it does is remarkable in terms of rendering pages the way it does and it does it incredibly efficiently, but if you tether the iPhone and load a page on Safari versus Safari Mobile, you'll see the speed difference is significant. AT&T can't do anything about this last issue, but Apple can, and will.
post #30 of 52
If the next iPhone is going to offer HSPA speeds of 7.2 mbps, with a theoretical upside of 14.4 mbps, and A.T.&T. is making it clear that they have no intention of offering 14.4 mbps speeds because they prefer to roll out HSPA+ (21 mbps speeds) as their final protocol before their rollout of 4G (LTE), then is it safe to assume that, at the earliest, A.T.&T. HSPA+ will be available in June 2010?

Otherwise, why would consumers opt for doubling their potential downstream speed (and potential functionality improvements to the iPhone) this June rather than for quadrupling their potential downstream speeds in December or January?
post #31 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

I certainly agree that AT&T (and telecom companies in general) charge way too much for their services, but last I checked, this is a capitalist country, so this stuff is fair game as long as we the consumer keep paying for it.

Anyway, that's not my point. My point is, ignorant comments like the one above here are the ones that irk me. Yes, the iPhone has more expensive monthly charges than your typical free phone or your precious RAZR from the past. But go get a Blackberry, WinMo phone, Palm, or any other smartphone, and tell me if you monthly bill magically goes down. It won't. The iPhone costs no more or less than it's competitors. Price out an iPhone next to a Blackberry Bold and let me know if the Bold ends up costing less, then get back to me.

That was a classy reply. Seems to be the norm here.

FYI, I own an iPhone and love it. Don't get your panties into a knot over some comment about a phone company's fees.
post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

No one should have the expectation of a phone or any hand held device to render software as quickly as a full computer system.

Why not? It is a computer, just smaller. The iPhone OS doesn't have to do nearly as much as OSX, so, there's no reason it can't be a bit faster than it is now. Native apps, such as Calendar and SMS, take a bit too long to load right now on the 3G iPhone. I'm hoping that the 3.0 firmware can improve responsiveness of apps like Safari and Contacts.
post #33 of 52
The same reason a notebook will never have the same processing power of a workstation. You cannot have it all, there must be some sacrifice to be small and portable.

Processing is the major part of it. Even though transistors are shrinking you can still fit millions more of them on a larger die. A tiny ARM processor will never have the ability of a larger desktop processor. The electronic information has to be moved from the radio to memory to processing. A tiny hand held device is not capable of having the through put and latency of a full computer.

Then there is heat and power. More processing power and faster through put generates more heat. A hand held device is limited to the amount of heat it can generate. Computers have cases and fans designed to dissipate a greater amount of heat.

A computer is permanently attached to an unlimited power source, there is less concern for the amount of power a computer needs to draw to accomplish its task. A handheld device has to be infinitely more conservative and frugal with its power usage. People already complain about battery life.

Web sites designed specifically for mobile devices do load much faster than web sites designed for general computers. Mobile web sites use less graphics and pictures, with larger fonts that are simpler to render.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

Why not? It is a computer, just smaller. The iPhone OS doesn't have to do nearly as much as OSX, so, there's no reason it can't be a bit faster than it is now. Native apps, such as Calendar and SMS, take a bit too long to load right now on the 3G iPhone. I'm hoping that the 3.0 firmware can improve responsiveness of apps like Safari and Contacts.
post #34 of 52
what speed?
so they say3.6, 7.2, 14 21 what's this
the best i have EVER gotten was 1.4 (columbus oh) as good as my home cable speed
so what's the fastest any of you have gotten??
what they say is not what we get, so big deal right???
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
Reply
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
Reply
post #35 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The same reason a notebook will never have the same processing power of a workstation. You cannot have it all, there must be some sacrifice to be small and portable.

I completely agree. But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a mobile OS, which has a small footprint and should be more nimble, to be speedy and fast. Perhaps it has more to do with the processing power inside the device than the OS alone. I sure hope Apple can improve responsiveness just a little in the 3.0 firmware update.
post #36 of 52
i think this is somewhat a matter of perception. When you first get the iPhone it feels fast and responsive. Once you get used to it, it feels like it can take forever to execute. The same thing happens with desktop software. But of course their is always more room for optimization.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

I completely agree. But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a mobile OS, which has a small footprint and should be more nimble, to be speedy and fast. Perhaps it has more to do with the processing power inside the device than the OS alone. I sure hope Apple can improve responsiveness just a little in the 3.0 firmware update.
post #37 of 52
3G service here in downtown Chicago has tanked the past couple of months. The data connection is pretty much useless, showing 3G on iPhone taskbar, but immediately switching to Edge when you open the browser or any app. Then you are lucky if you get any data to download with the Edge icon turning to a dot in some instances. I have been calling every month to get a credit on my account. Phone service is pretty shoddy too with many incoming calls going directly to voicemail and showing up 20-30mins later. If things don't improve soon, I'll be going with another service and getting an ipod touch.
post #38 of 52
Well I live in the middle of nowhere in england, our nearest neighbor is a mile away, and today I noticed for the first time I can get 3G.

Splendid
post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Exactly, screw the speed upgrades.. They should be spending all their resources on expanding their 3G network and improving coverage in existing 3G areas... Verizon still blows them away in suburban and rural areas, particularly in the west.

I am in the east and have to have a verizon phone for those areas at&t doesn't hit. I think at&t sucks east and west now.
Hard-Core.
Reply
Hard-Core.
Reply
post #40 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

I am in the east and have to have a verizon phone for those areas at&t doesn't hit. I think at&t sucks east and west now.

We did fairly well with 3G across I-80 in January from Chicago to Scranton, PA. In a few weeks we're driving from Chicago to Dallas and we'll see how well we can do continuous downloads of content from Pandora and AOL Radio. We run a car power adaptor so the battery is not an issue. The audio is fed through a stereo cord from the headphone jack to an AUX input for the car sound system. The car system is equipped with Bluetooth, so phone calls will mute the audio and activate the handsfree feature. It ought to be interesting when we get off the Interstate in rural Oklahoma. I might be lucky to get EDGE out there, let alone 3G.

https://www.wireless.att.com/olam/lo...e?goto=welcome

And click "Coverage Viewer"

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

Reply

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › AT&T confirms ongoing upgrades to double 3G network speeds