This is for those who would like to understand basic 3G concept.

stevetim

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Jul 20, 2007
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#1
Would you like to know why your 3G signal isn't so great?

I decided to use this excerpt from mobilmastinfo.com to help everyone here better understand why they may be having some problems with their 3G coverage, versus the 2G, or 2.5G, coverage. Please credit them, and I hope this helps clear up some of the issues you may have with your service.

Yes, this talks about the UK and such, but 3G was actually started in Japan, so we are catching up to what they already know, and have.

I also highlighted the two more important factors that pertain to our signal strengths.

What is 3G?

The telecommunications world is continuing to change, and 3G technology represents the next stage in mobile communications. 3G is an evolution in terms of services and data speeds from second generation (2G) mobile networks.
There are now around 70 million mobile phones in use in the UK. Today's mobile customers have already demonstrated a demand for"non-voice" and other new services. On average, 99 million text messages are sent every day across the UK* . Proof of customer demand has also been indicated by the use of increased data services, such as instant e-mail and picture messaging, on 2G systems with GPRS (General Packet Radio Services).
3G broadband mobile communications makes access to sophisticated workplace technology inside your phone (3G handset compatibility required) even faster, making working life more flexible and developing still further the "virtual office" complete with emails, video conferencing and high speed access to services without the daily commute.
How does 3G work?

3G-enabled devices – including phones and laptops – work by sending and receiving radio signals to and from base stations (sometimes known as ‘masts’). Base stations link individual phones into the rest of the mobile and landline networks.
Base stations are low power radio transmitters and need to be located in the areas they are intended to serve. They provide coverage to a geographical area known as a cell. These cells need to overlap to enable seamless coverage and to ensure a user does not lose connection to the network when on the move.
Radio waves used in mobile telecommunications form part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Radio waves used to deliver 3G services are transmitted at a slightly higher frequency than for 2G and travel a shorter distance. As a result the coverage area or cell size for a 3G base station is smaller than for a 2G site. Furthermore, as user demand increases in a particular cell, the size of that cell shrinks making overlap even more essential.
Due to the advanced technology, the location of cell sites is even more critical with 3G networks to avoid interference between adjacent cells.
 

kisstine

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Jul 12, 2007
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#2
Maybe I should print that, highlight the need for overlapping coverage and send it with my bill every month. ;)

Thanks for posting that. I love learning new stuff, but am way too lazy to have explored it on my own.
 

stevetim

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Jul 20, 2007
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NP. I was just looking at how many people were posting and complaining about how 3G isn't as strong as 2/2.5G and never bothered to start a thread about the technology before.

AT&T is still basically in the middle of their rollout phase with 3G. The iPhone is probably the biggest single addition to that network in a while and with it, they should be working hard to expand true 3G speeds coverage where their coverage map represents it.

Hopefully this thread will help people understand a couple of things that lead to diminished signals and EDGE switching.
 

stevetim

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Jul 20, 2007
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so your saying that out 3G speed isn't true 3G speeds yet?
A lot of people don't have overlapping cells yet. These are likely the people outside in a clear area that have low bars.

And if these people have low bars in a clear area, they probably aren't getting the data throughput from multiple towers that 3G is capable of.

I live in Miami, so my cells are very redundant and overlapped. I amlost always get 5 bars, indoors or out. And my data speeds average about 1.4Mbps.

But reading more and more posts about 3G signals, I'm seeing I am an exception compared to a lot of the nation that is "blue" on AT&T's 3G coverage map.
 

sonicwind

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May 12, 2008
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Maybe I should print that, highlight the need for overlapping coverage and send it with my bill every month. ;)
What a great idea. We should all do that.
 

aenti

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Jul 8, 2008
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#7
It's all fun and games till 4g comes.
 

stevetim

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Jul 20, 2007
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#8
Still a lot of questions regarding why 3G signal isn't great.
 

stevetim

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Jul 20, 2007
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#9
Hope this helps some people with issues.