New BlackBerry suffering same 3G connection drops as iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Cellular access woes initially pinned on the iPhone 3G's particular hardware now appear likely to be thwarting the BlackBerry Bold's debut with AT&T, according to a new report .



Citigroup investment research analyst Jim Suva's early testing of the Bold, which uses the same 3G network standard as current iPhones, finds the device with just as unstable a connection as that reported in the US and elsewhere for Apple's handset, with data sometimes dropping to the slower EDGE network or even cutting out entirely.



"We had a few occasional 3G signal dropping troubles at some locations," Suva writes, "especially on high-rises building streets on our 34th floor... which may be why AT&T has yet to launch the product."



And while Rogers Wireless in Canada has already launched Research in Motion's new smartphone, the researcher suggests that an American launch may hinge on either a patch for the Bold's firmware or straightening out network issues with AT&T, which will be the phone's sole carrier in the US.



Tellingly, the Bold uses a component of its Marvell processor as its 3G modem where iPhone 3G uses a separate Infineon chipset, ruling out identical hardware as the issue.



AT&T has yet to commit to an actual release date for the new BlackBerry despite announcing its plans in May, but hasn't publicly explained the delay.



The interpretation isn't a comprehensive study but comes just as Wired has finished an international study which points to US-based iPhone owners as suffering the largest number of failed data speed tests, particularly in dense urban areas where 3G towers are more likely to be overwhelmed.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    So what's new about this ? I switched from Verizon (never a dropped call) to ATT in order to purchase an i-phone in the fall. I now have at least 3 dropped calls/day (even with all the "bars"), and the ATT people said that is a good average !



    Can't wait to jump back to Verizon !



    All the marketing money spent by ATT should be spent towards fixing their system. Then word-of-mouth about their good service would be the best marketing money could buy !
  • Reply 2 of 67
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,748member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by derocketman View Post


    All the marketing money spent by ATT should be spent towards fixing their system. Then word-of-mouth about their good service would be the best marketing money could buy !



    I agree.



    But my question is what does it take to upgrade the capacity of the at&t network?

    Is it something they can implement immediately on a tower by tower basis or do we need to wait for some system-wide change?



    I'm on the fence with the iPhone right now. All my family and friends love it and I would probably be happy with it as things stand now. But at&t's network is only going to get more and more taxed as time goes by...



    Does anybody know the specifics of the process for remedying this?
  • Reply 3 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by derocketman View Post


    So what's new about this ? I switched from Verizon (never a dropped call) to ATT in order to purchase an i-phone in the fall. I now have at least 3 dropped calls/day (even with all the "bars"), and the ATT people said that is a good average !



    Can't wait to jump back to Verizon !



    All the marketing money spent by ATT should be spent towards fixing their system. Then word-of-mouth about their good service would be the best marketing money could buy !



    Have fun back at Verizon with their proprietary everything. Even if you do happen to get a phone that's more than just a phone they'll nickle and dime you to death. Case and point - visual voicemail. If you hate dropping calls that much just turn off the 3G until they release a fix in the next few weeks.



    If your primary concern is dropped calls you have the ability to remedy that situation - I really don't feel bad for all you guys complaining about dropped calls but are unwilling to turn off 3G and fix the problem. If you want to surf - turn it on - if you aren't surfing, turn it off. Much like what I do with my Wi-Fi.



    It's not the best solution but Apple is working on it and in the mean time you have the ability to fix the problem.
  • Reply 4 of 67
    retroneoretroneo Posts: 240member
    I imagine AT&T isn't marketing USB 3G Keys as a competitor to DSL/Cable yet?



    Surely users of these keys would be complaining about issues like this too.



  • Reply 5 of 67
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post




    Does anybody know the specifics of the process for remedying this?



    They need more towers and additional spectrum...followed by a beefier backbone.



    They can't do towers at any greater pace than they have because it's expensive but they are building out their network. The current towers are a tad too far apart but they know this and are building as fast as their pocketbook allows.



    Spectrum they are getting from shutting down their legacy TDMA service...giving them back the 850Mhz spectrum which should give them more building penetration capability. Coupled with the 700Mhz spectrum they purchased should fill this gap eventually.



    Plus, as one AT&T engineer stated, they went from EDGE experts to 3G novices. This will improve naturally over time.



    So things from their side will get better.



    Whether it gets better faster than they get more 3G users is questionable...but certainly they know what needs to be done.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    Forgive the nerd-speak...



    The problem is with the way AT&T's software tracks a cellphone. Basically, at any point x, at cycle y, a cellphone could be anywhere in the universe. A tower would have to send out a lot of energy to ping every spot in the universe for a particular phone, and the phone would have to put out a lot of juice to be spotted by the tower (needle in haystack). So, a mathematical system for estimation is used to optimize the amount of power needed by the tower & phone while maintaining the signal. (basically, if the tower knows where you are at cycle y, it uses mathematical estimation to "guess" where you will be at y+1).



    When you see "full bars" or whatever, you are seeing that there *is* a signal... but it has no bearing on whether *your particular* signal will be properly tracked if you try to call/whatever someone. The tracking is done by the math formula, which is turned into code.



    The problem with AT&T, as I think I posted on a different ai thread, is that the programmers hired the C- math students to write the optimization equations (and, probably, the programmers were C- as well...). The equations are bad, so the tower "guesses wrong" about where your signal will be from cycle to cycle. The result? Dropped calls.



    Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation of Kalman Filtering, which is the best mathematical system for such estimations (if you want a book, the best is, "An Introduction to Kalman Filtering With Applications" by K.Miller and D.Leskiw - no, it's not my book).



    So... it's not [just] the hardware - I don't know enough about the hardware to say definitively, but I know enough about tracking to know a bad tracking program by the way it works (or doesn't). PS: Kalman filtering is often used as the mathematical basis for tracking everything, from cellphones to airplanes to ballistic missiles. If you have a radar + you need to optimize energy usage => kalman.
  • Reply 7 of 67
    icarbonicarbon Posts: 196member
    I get that people are dissapointed, and agree that AT&T is sucking pretty bad, but I have to second bigmc6000 -- turn off your 3g most of the time; you get better battery life and almost no dropped calls (the only dropped calls I've had with my 3g turned off coincide remarkably with my movement into a dead zone).



    I'm hoping that apple creates an option where 3g is only turned on with selected apps; if I want to run safari, then I would be happy to have 3g go looking, but I don't need it running when I'm (a) listening to my ipod, (b) just talking on the phone (c) playing solitare -- its just a waste of battery then.



    we'll see how many software iterations until we get to that happy place.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    wtbardwtbard Posts: 42member
    My first thought when I heard this and skyscrapers mentioned was multipath. It sounds like the 3G signal is getting interfered with it's reflections. The main fix for that is a stronger signal mentioned previously.
  • Reply 9 of 67
    ktappektappe Posts: 759member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MyopiaRocks View Post


    the tower "guesses wrong" about where your signal will be from cycle to cycle



    I understand what you are saying, but what I don't get is WHY it ever comes into play. If I am connected to a tower with a strong signal, no guessing should ever be needed--I should stay with that tower until my signal gets weak. When/if it does, only then should another tower (if there is one) with a stronger signal from my phone, take a "hand off" from the original tower. "Guessing" should not enter into it.



    Signed,

    iPhone 2.0.2 user who again got several dropped calls last night while NOT MOVING with 5 bars of signal
  • Reply 10 of 67
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    Have fun back at Verizon with their proprietary everything. Even if you do happen to get a phone that's more than just a phone they'll nickle and dime you to death. Case and point - visual voicemail. If you hate dropping calls that much just turn off the 3G until they release a fix in the next few weeks.



    If your primary concern is dropped calls you have the ability to remedy that situation - I really don't feel bad for all you guys complaining about dropped calls but are unwilling to turn off 3G and fix the problem. If you want to surf - turn it on - if you aren't surfing, turn it off. Much like what I do with my Wi-Fi.







    It's not the best solution but Apple is working on it and in the mean time you have the ability to fix the problem.



    agree 100%, i wish the iphone had a power/ feature management button, because i turn 3g off, bt off when inside, don't use 3g unless don't have wifi and need internet or gps, i wish i didn't have to keep going back and forth to settings--which is now on my home button group

    soooo we are hearing "it is the phone---oh no its the antenae....no its the network...well as long as it's not the phone that would require a recall.....it's fixable but by att not apple, apple will put pressure on att, and probably knew that with all the "expansion" that att would have to do in a short time, it was at risk of happening....so like all computer dudes and dudettes we pride ourselves in work-arounds, so this is how i work around the battery issue and dropped calls issue. i don't have dropped calls, i use the tried and true 2g. network. all the other iphone stuff for all the other stuff
  • Reply 11 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post


    agree 100%, i wish the iphone had a power/ feature management button, because i turn 3g off, bt off when inside, don't use 3g unless don't have wifi and need internet or gps, i wish i didn't have to keep going back and forth to settings--which is now on my home button group

    soooo we are hearing "it is the phone---oh no its the antenae....no its the network...well as long as it's not the phone that would require a recall.....it's fixable but by att not apple, apple will put pressure on att, and probably knew that with all the "expansion" that att would have to do in a short time, it was at risk of happening....so like all computer dudes and dudettes we pride ourselves in work-arounds, so this is how i work around the battery issue and dropped calls issue. i don't have dropped calls, i use the tried and true 2g. network. all the other iphone stuff for all the other stuff



    I too wonder why Apple hasn't made an "auto-on/off" feature on the iPhone. I mean, is there really some massive quality uptick in voice calls between 3G and EDGE? I think it could be fairly easy for them to release something and say "If you are having problems with dropped calls or battery life Apple encourages you to enable to auto-3G feature which will turn 3G off when not using Safari, Mail, YouTube, and Maps." I realize it's a work around but it would also help A TON with all the whining about battery life and some outlets might get mad at Apple but the consumer would be happy and isn't that what matters?
  • Reply 12 of 67
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    I guess people now can at least understand why Apple decided to use EDGE for the 1st iPhone. 3G network, at least in the US, is not ready yet and as someone said before turn off your 3G feature.

    3G is only useful for faster internet and if you need browse the internet while talking. There is no benefit of using 3G while talking (actually it drains your battery twice as fast).
  • Reply 13 of 67
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I no longer believe the iPhone is faulty. Previously I had read reports on the Interwebs and become convinced, but after hearing about the Swedish tests that found no antenna fault I decided to buy one and it has been flawless with a strong 3G signal (admittedly I haven't had it very long). It is a great product.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    neilmneilm Posts: 571member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    it has been flawless with a strong 3G signal (admittedly I haven't had it very long). It is a great product.



    Please bear in mind that saying your iPhone's 3G performance is or is not flawless is completely unhelpful unless you also specify where you are.
  • Reply 15 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post


    I understand what you are saying, but what I don't get is WHY it ever comes into play. If I am connected to a tower with a strong signal, no guessing should ever be needed--I should stay with that tower until my signal gets weak. When/if it does, only then should another tower (if there is one) with a stronger signal from my phone, take a "hand off" from the original tower. "Guessing" should not enter into it.



    Signed,

    iPhone 2.0.2 user who again got several dropped calls last night while NOT MOVING with 5 bars of signal



    It's important to remember that you are never "staying" with a tower. Even if we assume there is only one tower (ie, no 'hand-offs', which is its own fun little math game), the tower is only in contact with your phone once per cycle. So let's assume that AT&T's network has 60 cycles per minute (good for math, bad if they really only cycled once per second) and that you are in a completely flat surface with Line of Sight to the tower and "full bars": in second #1 you are at point x. The tower knows this and you have a connection. Where will you be in second #2? That depends:

    - Are you standing still?

    - Are you walking?

    - Are you in a car moving 55mph?

    - Are you in a rocket ship or airplane?

    - Are you moving at warp 9.6?



    The tower is dumb. It doesn't know if you are moving, what direction you are moving, or how fast you are moving. All it can ever know is position, and ID. So, now, draw a circle around your position in second #1 - everything in the circle represents everywhere in the universe you *could* be at second/cycle #2. The tower will send the info for *your* phonecall/whatever to every spot in that circle. The size of the circle needs to be as small as possible to minimize energy usage (think of the EMFs, think of your cellphone's battery...), but large enough that it doesn't "drop" you (if you are outside of the circle). This is optimization.



    That's problem #1. Problem #2 is what happens if, at any cycle x, the tower can't find you? Let's say you momentarily pass through a lead box, blocking line of sight.... do you get clipped conversation ("can you hear me now?") or do you lose the call, altogether? This is AT&T's biggest weakness with their network: basically, their system craps the bed (for lack of a better term) if it can't find you in any given cycle (whether by bad estimation on its part or movement behind obstruction on your part). More towers or more power (think of the EMFs!) could ... help... but wouldn't solve this problem.



    That's basically it. Verizon's cdma network is considered technologically older, but Verizon's proprietary tracking software does a much better job [imo, from anecdotal usage-experience] at keeping a connection - if it misses you at one cycle it just tries again at the next cycle and if you're still in the circle you're ok. AT&T's signal does this... poorly.



    ...oh, also - I had dropped-call problems with AT&T's GSM network a couple years back - I switched to verizon. It's not 3G, or GSM - it's the underlying tracking software. Blaming 3G is like blaming the mailman for bringing you bills.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MyopiaRocks View Post


    Blaming 3G is like blaming the mailman for bringing you bills.



    It's not his/her fault?!?!?
  • Reply 17 of 67
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,198member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by derocketman View Post


    So what's new about this ?



    what's new is that prior to this info, folks wanted to bash Apple and blame the drops on bad hardware and software, even to the point of suing Apple.



    but this information shows that another device on the same network is having issues so the fault is not likely to be 100% Apple but in fact part Apple and part ATT (or even all ATT).



    I do think that perhaps Apple needs to readjust the sensitivity levels that force a switch back to Edge cause they seem to be too high, thus folks get low reception. or if there is not something in the software at all, put it in there. that will likely help with the dropped voice calls.
  • Reply 18 of 67
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,198member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by retroneo View Post


    I imagine AT&T isn't marketing USB 3G Keys as a competitor to DSL/Cable yet?

    [/IMG]





    I'm not sure what you mean by a 'key' but you can go to ATT and get a 3G wireless card that you can use with a laptop and conceiveably with a desktop.



    which I suspect is part of why ATT is fighting any tethering via the iphone.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    I too wonder why Apple hasn't made an "auto-on/off" feature on the iPhone. I mean, is there really some massive quality uptick in voice calls between 3G and EDGE? I think it could be fairly easy for them to release something and say "If you are having problems with dropped calls or battery life Apple encourages you to enable to auto-3G feature which will turn 3G off when not using Safari, Mail, YouTube, and Maps." I realize it's a work around but it would also help A TON with all the whining about battery life and some outlets might get mad at Apple but the consumer would be happy and isn't that what matters?



    EDGE is data only, you would be using GSM for the voice part if turning 3G off
  • Reply 20 of 67
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    There is no benefit of using 3G while talking .



    Yes there is.
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