3G Speed on iPhone 3G is Capped at 1.4Mbps

KStewart

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Wednesday June 11, 2008 4:23 PM CDT - By: Michael Kwan

A resounding cheer could be heard all across the nation (and possibly the globe) when Steve Jobs took to the stage and officially unveiled the 3G iPhone to the world. He promised a wireless data connection that would be a full 2.4x faster than the EDGE found in the first iPhone, but why can't the iPhone 3G go even faster?

As it stands, AT&T is only going to let the iPhone 3G connect at a maximum of 1.4Mbps. Contrast this to the 3.6Mbps downstream that the AT&T HSDPA network can handle and the 7.2Mbps connection that AT&T is promising by the end of the year. If the 3G iPhone is truly capable of being this fast, why would they want to limit your mobile experience? Well, the biggest hurdle is battery life. If you go through data at the top end of HSDPA, your phone isn't going to last more than a couple of hours. As it stands, you can only achieve five hours of wireless surfing, so you can imagine how bad it would be at 7.2Mbps.

Secondly, while AT&T says that they'll be able to handle the bigger data draw, they don't want to deal with the increased cell site congestion and backhaul. "It's not like the pipe is unlimited", so it's better to throttle the connection (and keep it reliable) than to let all hell break loose (and have connections dropped).
 

patcom8

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1.4 Mbps is wAYY too slow. you have to be kidding me AT&T.... like i said before. Apple is allowing a stupid company destory their third pillar. att is like the termites to the wooden stool that we saw in the Keynote speach, desplaying the three pillars which make up teh company.
 

xintelinsanex

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1.4 Mbps is wAYY too slow. you have to be kidding me AT&T.... like i said before. Apple is allowing a stupid company destory their third pillar. att is like the termites to the wooden stool that we saw in the Keynote speach, desplaying the three pillars which make up teh company.
Well 1.4 Mbps is faster than EDGE, so I really don't understand what you are complaining about. Slow or not, its not Wi-Fi, so get over it. It's already 2.8 times faster than EDGE, and is very comparable to a wifi connection.
 

IrishJK09

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See, this is going to be yet another thing for the stupidly uninformed masses to groan about.

At&t caps ALL 3G phones to 1.4Mbps. This is NOT iPhone specific, yet the hyena of the intrawebs are going to sink their calws into this as they run howling into the night, spreading lies.

I almost feel a pity for Apple and At&t right now. Never before have I see so much misinformation passed on. Never have I seen so many people get so upset about missing features that were never more than rumored hype. It is really getting out of hand and people need to chill...
 

burnsaa

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See, this is going to be yet another thing for the stupidly uninformed masses to groan about.

At&t caps ALL 3G phones to 1.4Mbps. This is NOT iPhone specific, yet the hyena of the intrawebs are going to sink their calws into this as they run howling into the night, spreading lies.

I almost feel a pity for Apple and At&t right now. Never before have I see so much misinformation passed on. Never have I seen so many people get so upset about missing features that were never more than rumored hype. It is really getting out of hand and people need to chill...

Well I can see both sides I do however agree that apple and at are doing the right thing by capping it. There are the two main reasons 1. You dont want to drain the battery and 2. We dont want to crash at&t's network because everyone hates droped calls. I think they did it right by making it just a little slower than wifi because people expect it to be slower but not anywhere edge slow. As far as the other side I can see how people are saying if at&t is bragging about 7mb downloads why are they only allowing 1.4? I figure by this time next year we will be getting double the speeds as the current 3G iPhone and we will need it due to video chat... at least that's my hope.
 

IrishJK09

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Well I can see both sides I do however agree that apple and at are doing the right thing by capping it. There are the two main reasons 1. You dont want to drain the battery and 2. We dont want to crash at&t's network because everyone hates droped calls. I think they did it right by making it just a little slower than wifi because people expect it to be slower but not anywhere edge slow. As far as the other side I can see how people are saying if at&t is bragging about 7mb downloads why are they only allowing 1.4? I figure by this time next year we will be getting double the speeds as the current 3G iPhone and we will need it due to video chat... at least that's my hope.

Oh, I agree with you 100%. You aren't one of the uninformed masses I was referring to though. You know this is At&t's practice for all their 3G phones, not just the iPhone.

The thing I fear is when the rumor that this is iPhone specific starts to build steam...
 

xintelinsanex

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Oh, I agree with you 100%. You aren't one of the uninformed masses I was referring to though. You know this is At&t's practice for all their 3G phones, not just the iPhone.

The thing I fear is when the rumor that this is iPhone specific starts to build steam...
From a 9 to 5 mac article AT&T slowing down iPhone data speed? | 9 to 5 Mac:

According to AT&T's new iPhone website, the maximum download speed you can expect to achieve with the device is 1.4mbps. That is much different than typical 3G phones like the Motorola Q for instance which comes in at a hefty 3.6mbps. HSDPA data cards can get as high as 7.2 mbps. What gives?!

It is unlikely to be a webpage error because the 1.4mbps speed is also quoted in the official press release. While this may still be twice as fast as the previous iPhone, if true, it won't impress anyone who has used full 3G enabled devices.

Looks like speed is capped.
 

IrishJK09

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They have a soft limit of 1.4mbps on all of their 3G phones to maintain network stability, and to prevent extreme battery drain on the devices using the network. They have a habit of advertising the capable speeds of a device's chipset, not its actual speeds, because it makes the device look better and it technically isn't lying.

The Q has a 3G chip capable of 3.6mbps, but it too is soft capped to 1.4mbps. Just read the link you posted a bit further, and follow the link from it to Gizmodo for a better explanation.
 

xintelinsanex

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The point is the network is capable of the 3.6 mbps, and the whole reasoning of network congestion is understandable. The argument about battery is valid, but unjust. If people want to burn through their battery in say 2 hours vs. 5 hours (because of throttled speed), that should be their choice.
 

patcom8

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I agree. I think it should be an option in a pull down menu in the software that allows you to select your internet top speed. I totally understand why they are doing the cap to control network failure. But to ultimately say theres nothign above that is crazy. The average user probably would never understand what those values mean and will leave them alone. But i think you should at least be given an option to chose your speed. at least to 2 mbps. Network overload wouldnt occur unless everyone changed it to that setting. And apple could set the default at 1.4 . If i wanna go fast i wanna go fast. haha
 

IrishJK09

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I agree. I think it should be an option in a pull down menu in the software that allows you to select your internet top speed. I totally understand why they are doing the cap to control network failure. But to ultimately say theres nothign above that is crazy. The average user probably would never understand what those values mean and will leave them alone. But i think you should at least be given an option to chose your speed. at least to 2 mbps. Network overload wouldnt occur unless everyone changed it to that setting. And apple could set the default at 1.4 . If i wanna go fast i wanna go fast. haha

This isn't Apple's doing.... It is At&t, and all I am saying is that they do it across the board, not just to the iPhone.
 

xintelinsanex

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I agree. I think it should be an option in a pull down menu in the software that allows you to select your internet top speed. I totally understand why they are doing the cap to control network failure. But to ultimately say theres nothign above that is crazy. The average user probably would never understand what those values mean and will leave them alone. But i think you should at least be given an option to chose your speed. at least to 2 mbps. Network overload wouldnt occur unless everyone changed it to that setting. And apple could set the default at 1.4 . If i wanna go fast i wanna go fast. haha
And another thing, AT&T is touting network speeds of 7.2 Mbps by year end (or something to that effect). It is really deceptive to say "we can go this fast, but sorry you can't use it." It is really misleading to customers.
 

xintelinsanex

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More news on the 1.4 Mbps debacle. Looks like Apple chose to market the iPhone as 1.4 Mbps and not 3.6 Mbps:

From a MacNN article:

Sources tell us that the advertised iPhone 3G 1.4Mbps speed, touted by AT&T (and Apple), is actually the observed speed over AT&T's 3G network and that faster peak speeds -- up to 3.6Mbps -- are likely supported by the iPhone 3G (like the Motorola Q), but that Apple (and AT&T in its own 3G network press release) have chosen to market the "real-world speeds" rather than the theoretical maximums touted by some manufacturers. Network speeds are affected by a variety of factors, including battery life and general traffic on the network.
 

volsfan0911

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Ummm, lemme see. AT&T spends $20 billion completing their 3G network (late to the party), brags about capability then throttles the whole thing back due to lack of data throughput capacity? Sounds vaguely familar :p Well, I can't deal with no 3G anymore on my BB Curve so "reasonably fast" data speeds on any platform with great battery life is going to have to be an acceptible compromise for now huh?
 

xintelinsanex

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Anything over EDGE is going to be better. This is like going from dial up to the 1.5 mbps on DSL and now to the god knows how fast we can access the internet speeds. It's a waiting game for now.
 

IrishJK09

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One of the many smartphones I have used was an At&t Tilt. It was 3G HSDPA capable, and it was very, very fast when using Opera Mini or Opera Mobile. It wasn't very fast with Pocket IE because Pocket IE is a bottleneck of its own, and it kills the 3G advantage.

Anyway, the Tilt was also hampered by this soft restriction, and it never bothered me. It was still leaps and bounds faster than EDGE (when using the right browser), so I am not worried in the slightest. Especially considering the fact that Safari is extremely well made and optimized for quick web browsing.
 

neolite

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Dataspeed isn't the big issue, most sites and stuff will browse just fine at 1.4mbps, the big issue is latency, and how well it works in marginal signal conditions.
 

WatersWest

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I agree that latency is a big issue, as is using the right browser. However, processor speed also helps when it comes to the big picture with respect to web-browsing speed. For this reason, I was hoping that Apple upgraded the processor in this rendition of the iPhone, but I guess that wouldn't leave them anything to wow us with on their next iteration of the product. Oh well. In any event, I think most people are going to find 1.4 Mbps on an iPhone with mobile Safari just fine for their needs.
 

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