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iPhone 3G's connectivity put to the test

updated 10:15 am EDT, Mon August 25, 2008

iPhone 3G connectivity

In spite of complaints, the iPhone 3G fares reasonably well in terms of reception, says a Swedish firm specializing in wireless test chambers. Bluetest recently used an advanced chamber to test the iPhone 3G's antenna and compare the results with two other popular 3G phones. Each of the three devices -- the iPhone 3G, Nokia N73 and Sony Ericsson P1 -- were placed individually placed into a chamber and then monitored. The tests were performed at three different frequencies, and two different values were measured: the total radiated power (TRP), and the total isotropic sensitivity (TIS).

In a TRP test, equipment reads how well a device is capable of transmitting signals; here the N73 performed slightly better than its competitors, but results did not vary substantially. A TIS test measures how well a device can receive signals; in this analysis the P1 was the best performer, but again only by a slight margin, with the N73 taking second and the iPhone third. The differences in all of the tests were minimal, only as large as 2dB, when 4-6dB is required for issues to be raised.

Overall Bluetest found that the iPhone performed competitively with rivals, possibly disproving serious charges of poor connectivity. An alleged e-mail from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, however, states that only two percent of iPhone 3G's are suffering from a bug that decreases connectivity. As a result, the tested iPhone could represent part of the unaffected majority.

by MacNN Staff



  1. mumanoff

    Joined: Dec 1969


    3G Reception

    Have no idea if last update targeted reception but it certainly helped. Less dropping and less "gargled" calls. Somewhat less screen delay.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    now if only we can move all cell-phone use into large test chambers with ideal conditions...

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Please add useful comment

    It is amazing when non-scientists make snide remarks about the scientific method.3G is not everywhere; and coverage is an issue. Many variables (sorry for the polysyllabic for those with difficulty understanding new concepts), affect performance. The purpose of this experiment was to control the variables and then compare the devices under identical circumstances (NOT IDEAL or even REALISTIC).This shows that there is not anything wrong with the reception of the iphone(s) used in the experiment and the other devices used in the experiment.To make the experiment truly valid, a much larger sampling would be needed (say 90 phones, 30 of each) and then review the data statistically. Sorry to bore you, but I tend to grow tired of reading remarks by people with nothing useful to contribute.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Improve the edits


    Your editing program needs some work.

    When you decide to edit the text (using Firefox 3.0 on Windows), the line spacing is removed, and when you correct it as an update (clicking the update button) it adds a duplicate post (now I know why I see so many duplicates).

    I would suggest testing this more thoroughly.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hardware not the problem.

    MacNN, stop trying to sensationalize the hardware angle. I'm sure there are some faulty units out there but the issues people are having on AT&T is the result of a poorly rolled out 3G network combined with some bugs in the 3G to 2G hand over. These handover issues are not an issue in countries with good 3G coverage or countries which skipped 2G (Edge) altogether.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: please add useful

    That was the whole point. It don't matter how good the hardware is. If the coverage sucks, the bandwidth too flaky, or interference is too great, who cares.

    No one walks around going "Sure, my 3G signal keeps going in and out, and I keep losing calls and data streams. But in a controlled experiment in the lab, man, its just as good as all the others!"

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: improve the edits

    Must be more of a problem with firefox 3. Firefox 2 on windows has none of these issues.

  1. afaby

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's the network...

    The problem lies with AT&T's shoddy network, not the phone.

  1. jscotta

    Joined: Dec 1969



    �target your remarks appropriately then. If the problem is with AT&T, then say so. Quit busting Apple's chops over an AT&T issue. Your blatant anti-Apple blather is mostly useless.

    Before you go off on Apple's use of AT&T, you need to do a little reading regarding the fact that other carriers were offered the iPhone first. They turned it down because they didn't want Apple rocking the boat. Well�they failed�twice. First, in the US, they don't have the iPhone. Second, Apple is still rocking the boat.

    Do some good. Go to the other carrier sites and blather on about how they should have done the deal with Apple.

  1. rtbarry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    as expected...

    ...the hardware is not the issue with iPhone reception. it's always been at&t.

    they really are so bad that i don't understand how they're in business. if every cell carrier was as bad as at&t, people would give up on cellular technology and go back to driving better.

    i can't wait for this type of hardware with other carriers. android should introduce some urgency to apple's independence from at&t.

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