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The Inside Deets on iPhone 2.0.2 and Dropped Calls

200808280024
Daniel Eran Dilger
The mysteriously terse synopsis of the improvements made in iPhone 2.0.2, listed only as “bug fixes,” didn’t shed much light on why Apple’s Jennifer Bowcock could tell USAToday that “the software update improves communication with 3G networks.” However, our source close to AT&T helped illuminate why the update was necessary, what the problem was, and why the update didn’t immediately impact users equally.
The iPhone 2.0.2 update “fixed power control on the mobile,” the source told RoughlyDrafted. UMTS, the technology used to deliver AT&T’s 3G network, refers to phones and other client devices as “UE” for user equipment, and the base transceiver station towers as “Node B.”

Why the iPhone 3G dropped calls.

“In UMTS,” the source said, “power control is key to the mobile and network success. If the UE requires too much downlink power then the base station or Node B can run out of transmitter power and this is what was happening. As you get more UEs on the cell, the noise floor rises and the cell has to compensate by ramping up its power to the UEs.”

“If the UE power control algorithm is faulty then they will demand more power from the cell than is necessary and with multiple users this can cause the cell transmitter to run out of power. The net result is that some UEs will drop their call. I have seen the dropped call graphs that correspond to the iPhone launch and when the 2.0.2 firmware was released. The increase in dropped calls,” the source said, were the result of “dropped calls due to a lack of downlink power.”

Why the iPhone 3G suffered poor data throughput.

“The power control issue will also have an effect on the data throughput, because the higher the data rate the more power the Node B transmitter requires to transmit. If the UEs have poor power control and are taking more power than is necessary then it will sap the network’s ability to deliver high speed data.”

“This is one of the reasons why AT&T has been sending text messages to users to persuade them to upgrade to the 2.0.2 software. In a mixed environment where users are running 2.0, 2.0.1, and 2.0.2, the power control problems of 2.0 and 2.0.1 will affect the 2.0.2 users.”

“It is not the network that is fault but the interaction of the bad power control algorithm in 2.0 and 2.0.1 software and the network that is at fault. The sooner everybody is running 2.0.2 software the better things will be. Having seen the graphs the 2.0.2 software has already started to make difference.”

That explains why some users saw no immediate impact after installing iPhone 2.0.2, and why tests of individual iPhone 3G models showed no significant difference between the 2.0 and 2.0.2 software: the problem was only evident when a critical mass of phones all acted in concert to run a given cell tower out of power. This also explains why users in locations such as San Francisco and New York were seeing bigger problems than users in less densely populated areas where fewer iPhone 3Gs were in use.

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64 comments

1 Brau { 08.28.08 at 4:29 am }

Aha! So that’s why Roger’s has been calling me a few times each day over the last week! Oddly enough, every time they called … the call was dropped. LOL! I had to Google the number to find out who it was. I was lamenting to my wife that a cell company should at least be able to make a call without it dropping out; essentially blaming Roger’s. I upgraded my iPhone today so hopefully it will have a positive effect soon.

Thanks for the explanation, Daniel.

2 Scott { 08.28.08 at 4:38 am }

@ Brau, thanks for updating your iPhone, bit late but thanks anyway.

To the rest who are still to update their phones, may you please update your iPhones now so we can all move on.
And when iPhone 2.1 is release in September may you all please do the right thing and update the phones all at once. Enough of the bad publicity already!

3 Brau { 08.28.08 at 4:52 am }

A bit late?!! I sync it every day but just got the upgrade notice today and installed it right away.

4 Jon T { 08.28.08 at 5:52 am }

Thanks for this brilliantly concise answer to this baffling issue.

Bit of a shame for all those iPhone doom-sayers out there!

5 Roundup: Veoh wins copyright case, Microsoft launches IE8 beta 2, how the iPhone 2.0.2 update fixes connection issues and more » VentureBeat { 08.28.08 at 6:56 am }

[...] take away? “The sooner everybody is running 2.0.2 software the better things will be,” a source tells RoughlyDrafted. Apparently, the network won’t be fully healed until all phones are updated. Now we know why [...]

6 Pourquoi il faut passer votre iPhone 3G en 2.0.2 | Renaud's piece of net { 08.28.08 at 7:23 am }

[...] une source chez AT&T explique pourquoi la résolution du problème ne peut être que [...]

7 Dafydd Williams { 08.28.08 at 8:48 am }

Please thank your source for us, Daniel, and thanks for a concise and much-needed update.

8 jecrawford { 08.28.08 at 8:52 am }

Daniel

Who is responsible for the power control software on the UE?

Is there some software at Node Bs that contributed to the problems?

Thanks for the logical explanation which should help dampen the hysteria. Unfortunately, damage has been done to both AT&T’s and Apple’s reputations.

John

9 What’s the 3G Problem? AT&T Source Says iPhone Tower Power Drain | The iPhone Blog { 08.28.08 at 8:57 am }

[...] Drafted is claiming a source close to AT&T has spilled the beans on what’s really going on with the iPhone and its 3G connection problems, and what 2.0.2 did [...]

10 [Merged] 3G iPhone Reception problems worldwide? - Page 34 - MacTalk Forums { 08.28.08 at 8:59 am }

[...] regarding what 2.0.2 actually did – The Inside Deets on iPhone 2.0.2 and Dropped Calls — RoughlyDrafted Magazine AppleInsider | Behind the iPhone Software 2.0.2 fix to reduce dropped calls a really interesting [...]

11 What’s the 3G Problem? Source Close to AT&T Says iPhone Tower Power Drain | iPhone The Solution 3G { 08.28.08 at 9:05 am }

[...] Drafted is claiming a source close to AT&T has spilled the beans on what’s really going on with the iPhone and its 3G connection problems, and what 2.0.2 did [...]

12 La potencia de transmisión que requiere el iPhone es la causa de los problemas de cobertura : planeta iphone, todo sobre el iPhone, el telefono movil de Apple y Movistar { 08.28.08 at 9:31 am }

[...] Visto en Roughly Drafted [...]

13 More on kCFErrorDomainCFNetwork Error 302 « Miro’s World { 08.28.08 at 9:38 am }

[...] The Inside Deets on iPhone 2.0.2 and Dropped Calls http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2008/08/28/the-inside-deets-on-iphone-202-and-dropped-calls/ [...]

14 What’s the 3G Problem? Source Close to AT&T Says iPhone Tower Power Drain | iPhone The Solution 3G { 08.28.08 at 9:43 am }

[...] Drafted is claiming a source close to AT&T has spilled the beans on what’s really going on with the iPhone and its 3G connection problems, and what 2.0.2 did [...]

15 iPhone and 3G Reception Problems - PDAPhoneHome.com { 08.28.08 at 10:45 am }

[...] Ok those holding off on the 2.0.2 update need to go for it, looks like 2.0 and 2.0.1 phones can affect other running 2.0.2, that’s why at&t sent out the text to upgrade, because 2.0.2 only helps if the majority of phones on a a tower are using it: The Inside Deets on iPhone 2.0.2 and Dropped Calls — RoughlyDrafted Magazine [...]

16 harrywolf { 08.28.08 at 11:53 am }

Interesting that iTunes only told Brau about the update today – is that settings thing or what?

I am on Rogers in Canada and have had the update for – what – 10 days?

Maybe for the iPhone, Apple should ‘push’ the update if it really is this vital that everyone upgrades…

17 iPhone and 3G Reception Problems - Page 2 - PDAPhoneHome.com { 08.28.08 at 12:03 pm }

[...] the text to upgrade, because 2.0.2 only helps if the majority of phones on a a tower are using it: The Inside Deets on iPhone 2.0.2 and Dropped Calls — RoughlyDrafted Magazine IMHO, the issue in the article does not help explain why, when I had 3G turned on, I was [...]

18 Why the iPhone 3G dropped calls | Mobile Tech Addicts { 08.28.08 at 12:13 pm }

[...] Roughly Drafted Magazine claim to have been told by an inside source the reasons behind the much publicised problems of the iPhone 3G dropping calls which we discussed on our first podcast. The iPhone 2.0.2 update “fixed power control on the mobile,” the source told RoughlyDrafted. UMTS, the technology used to deliver the 3G network, refers to phones and other client devices as “UE” for user equipment, and the base transceiver station towers as “Node B.” Read on for the full explanation but makes sure you have your tech head on first. [...]

19 La potencia de transmisi { 08.28.08 at 12:42 pm }

[...] que

20 iPhone 2.0.2 Update Fixes Dropped Calls, Poor Call Quality { 08.28.08 at 1:11 pm }

[...] RoughlyDrafted has information that the iPhone 2.0.2 update “fixed power control on the mobile” and also explains why the update “improves communication with 3G networks”. “It is not the network that is fault but the interaction of the bad power control algorithm in 2.0 and 2.0.1 software and the network that is at fault. The sooner everybody is running 2.0.2 software the better things will be. Having seen the graphs the 2.0.2 software has already started to make difference.” [...]

21 HCE { 08.28.08 at 1:43 pm }

I’m not too sure I entirely buy this explanation. If this is just a case of the cell towers getting overloaded, everyone (whether they are using the iPhone or not) should be affected. I have seen a lot of people say that other 3G phones were working fine while the iPhone was giving trouble. I don’t know if that is true but if it is, it would cast doubt on your explanation.

– HCE

22 » On iPhone 2.0.2, 3G dropped calls, and power { 08.28.08 at 2:22 pm }

[...] Drafted has the inside scoop on why AT&T is pushing the 2.0.2 firmware so aggressively. Go read the post, but in short, it seems an algorithm on the iPhone 3G required [...]

23 thomast { 08.28.08 at 2:47 pm }

So what this means is that an “appropriately” programmed phone or phones could possibly be used to mount a denial of service attack. They would need to suck up as much transmitter power as possible, and repeatedly redial when dropped. I wonder what the minimum number of phones would be to significantly impact tower performance?

The design sounds fishy.

So here’s an interesting question. What could be done at the design level to avoid this problem?

24 Brau { 08.28.08 at 3:35 pm }

“Unfortunately, damage has been done to both AT&T’s and Apple’s reputations.”

Unfortunately I have to agree. Instead of asking me how I like the iPhone, many people are asking me about the battery life or other problems they’ve heard about in the media. The well publicized roll-out debacle, baselessly asserted battery life concerns, crashing apps, dropped call issues and the latest hack to bypass the lock code are having an effect. Apple is treading in dangerous territory where a fantastic device could be falsely seen as a failure/liability in the general public’s view. All the TV ads showing it off may amount to nothing if too many buyers approach it with a jaundiced eye.

25 iPhone 3G: La At&T Ci Spiega Perche’ Ha Problemi di Ricezione? | XannyTech Blog { 08.28.08 at 4:20 pm }

[...] 2.0.2. Una spiegazione dettagliata di tutta la situazione e delle ragioni tecniche è apparsa su RoughlyDrafted Magazine: la fonte una persona molto vicina all’operatore AT&T che negli Stati Uniti è [...]

26 danieleran { 08.28.08 at 5:26 pm }

@thomast: “So what this means is that an “appropriately” programmed phone or phones could possibly be used to mount a denial of service attack. The design sounds fishy. What could be done at the design level to avoid this problem?”

Yes, that’s why regulators don’t allow open source DIY baseband cellular devices. Even the supposedly “open” cell phones are really just a regulated proprietary radio connected to a computer running linux on the front end. And that’s what “they’ve” done to solve the problem.

That’s why we have laws relating to radio use, and why all devices have to meet standards in every country.

You might also say, “an appropriately drunk driver could smash his 2 ton vehicle into other drivers and kill a bunch of people. what can be done to stop this?” Everything and nothing.

27 iPhone 3G Apparently Even More Demanding Than Steve Jobs | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD { 08.28.08 at 5:53 pm }

[...] the reception problems that have plagued the device won’t be resolved until you do. iPhone’s running 2.0 or 2.0.1 firmware mistakenly demand too much power from 3G networks. And when they do this en masse, they can cause the network to refuse new requests for 3G [...]

28 Cómo el iPhone 2.0.2 resuelve el problema del 3G | { 08.28.08 at 6:11 pm }

[...] Roughly Drafted explica los detalles de cómo el firmware 2.0.2 resuelve los problemas de conexión 3G en el iPhone. Una fuente de AT&T explica que el control de consumo es la clave en el rendimiento de la conexión 3G con las torres celulares; el iPhone en la versión 2.0.1 demanda demasiado consumo de las torres, afectando todos los iPhones, se cual sea la versión de firmware que tengan.Esto explica la campaña tan agresiva que Apple ha puesto para que todos los iPhones actualicen al 2.0.2. Compártelo These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

29 thomast { 08.28.08 at 6:18 pm }

Heh. I’m afraid the drunk driving analogy doesn’t follow. A drunk driver who kills people is very likely going to be walking for the rest of their life. The reason is because we have police, and courts, and witnesses — not just victims. It sounds like the cell network isn’t policing itself. It’s allowing itself to be trounced again and again and again by errant phones.

But is this really true? Let’s be *very* specific. Question: Will a set of cell phones with bad power management affect the performance and dropped call rates for phones that *do* have good power management? Or, will those “bad” phones only affect themselves?

The article implies that “bad” phones can affect “good” phones. If that is true then my statement stands. The design is fishy, without adequate reprimands for those abusing it.

But, of course, identifying “good” and “bad” phones may be hampered by wheat and tares problems, and that may be why this hasn’t been addressed yet.

30 danieleran { 08.28.08 at 6:34 pm }

No I’m saying there are laws in place to try to prevent people from running over others. That doesn’t stop crime, and it doesn’t stop interference. Once you see the problem, you can take some efforts to address it.

Are you asking if a device that isn’t working properly can have ill effects on other devices? Yes. That’s why I made the analogy to drivers. You don’t have to be drunk to be killed from drunk driving.

If a company sold unlicensed gear that was intentionally contaminating the airwaves, they would be stopped and fined.

Handsets always have bugs and problems. The source noted that Apple’s iPhone advantage is that Apple can roll out a fix and get it widely installed within days. Other manufacturers/operators sometimes have to track down users and ask them to come in for a phone swap to get new firmware on their phone.

“[iTunes'] infrastructure allows Apple to do something that other mobile vendors can only dream of. Yes Apple may have dropped the ball with the release of the 2.0 and 2.0.1 software, but at least they can fix it pretty quickly. Software bugs on certain other mobile devices have caused us to track down their owners and get customer services to phone the customer requesting that they visit an AT&T store. When they visit the offending device is swapped for a new one
with updated firmware.”

To read more about UMTS power control:

http://mobilewireless.wordpress.com/2007/12/09/power-control-in-umts/

31 » Power-control software blamed for iPhone 3G reception issues « Software Reviews & Free Software Download. { 08.28.08 at 7:56 pm }

[...] RoughlyDrafted reported Thursday that a source with AT&T blamed “faulty” power-control software inside the iPhone 3G for the dropped calls and poor reception that owners have been experiencing since the device was released in July. In short, the iPhone 3G demands too much power–more than is necessary–from a local cell tower to maintain a connection, and when multiple iPhones try to glom onto the same tower, the problem snowballs. [...]

32 Apple Is Releasing Products Too Early! | The Mac Night Owl { 08.28.08 at 9:31 pm }

[...] 2.0.2 update. Then again, if what Roughly Drafted Magazine’s Daniel Eran Dilger suggests in a recent article, it may require all or most iPhone 3G users upgrading the firmware before the problems settle down. [...]

33 gus2000 { 08.28.08 at 10:14 pm }

If I wanted to launch a DOS attack against cellular service, I wouldn’t need a gaggle of hacked phones. One 1900MHz transmitter and a white noise generator should do the trick.

When a Node B needs to drop calls, I suppose the algorithm could choose the longest call, or the caller with the cheapest plan. But when you’re running out of power, doesn’t it make the most sense to drop the device that’s asking for the most power?

34 iPhone 3G Reception Problems “Fixed” » iPhone 3G Unlock, iPhone GPS, iPhone Games, iPhone News, iPhone Applications { 08.29.08 at 1:58 am }

[...] RoughlyDrafted reported Thursday that it’s the bad power algorithm in previous firmware versions that is causing the 3G reception problems. Because each iPhone uses a certain amount of power from the nearby transmitter, so when too many requests have been made at once, the transmitter starts shutting down and users start experiencing dropped calls and poor reception. And this happens because the previous version of software has flaw in power control mechanism. [...]

35 AT&T Source Details iPhone Dropped Call Issues, But Still Leaves Questions Unanswered | Student Tech News { 08.29.08 at 2:10 am }

[...] to the source, the issue, supposedly fixed in 2.0.2 (and labeled as “bug fixes”) was all about [...]

36 Karl Gretton { 08.29.08 at 2:41 am }

The issue with UMTS and dropping calls is well known, understood and documented. The iPhone is not the first device to have these issues – high-end Nokia’s, the new BlackBerry Bold, etc, all have the issues.

Indeed, if you look at the stats on 3G capabable phones registered with a 3G profile in the HLR, only 10% of calls were completed via 3G around 2 years ago on European 3G networks – whether they had 3G turned off or because of network issues. Today the figure is still less than 50% inspite of the network operates spending hundreds of millions of € on optimizing the network.

Power control is a critical issue in a 3G network. It isn’t purely the iPhone itself but the complex combination of devices using a set of cells. The way the network is ‘breathing’ at a particular location, etc.

Yes, Apple can ‘tweak’ the iPhone to behave better when very high densities of devices are fighting for the same network resources and it has the luxury of an ultra-efficient update system, unlike any other device.

Ultimately, AT&T needs to spend time optimizing its network, adding bandwidth and installing new cells in areas of high population density.

37 jmmx { 08.29.08 at 3:00 am }

@ jecrawford and brau

“Unfortunately, damage has been done to both AT&T’s and Apple’s reputations.”

ATT already has plenty damage. :)

As for Apple and the iPhone, it will all pass. As the service improves (as hopefully it will) users will let people know that they love the device. All will pass.

IMHO

38 iPhone 3G Power Control | Tongfamily.com { 08.29.08 at 3:35 am }

[...] phone in a cell has to have the new 2.0.2 firmware for drop calls and slow speed to get solved. The Inside Deets on iPhone 2.0.2 and Dropped Calls — RoughlyDrafted Magazine The iPhone 2.0.2 update “fixed power control on the mobile,” the source told RoughlyDrafted. [...]

39 Syber News » AT&T Source Details iPhone Dropped Call Issues, But Still Leaves Questions Unanswered { 08.29.08 at 5:22 am }

[...] “theories” we have been given to this point, it still doesn’t make complete sense.According to the source, the issue, supposedly fixed in 2.0.2 (and labeled as “bug fixes”) was all about “power control” on [...]

40 Why you should update your iPhone 3G to iPhone 2.0.2 OS : fones4.com { 08.29.08 at 5:51 am }

[...] [Via: RoughlyDrafted] [...]

41 There can be only one: "source" claims for iPhone 2.0.2 to not suck, 2.0 must die : fones4.com { 08.29.08 at 6:09 am }

[...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments [...]

42 Krönikan: 3G-problematiken får någon sorts förklaring | iFonkoll.se { 08.29.08 at 7:02 am }

[...] mängder data som helst utan "blockeras" – i brist på bättre ord – när en telefon kräver för mycket prestanda i nedlänken. Det handlar alltså inte om något fel i telefonens antenner, vilka GP testat med gott resultat, [...]

43 » Further information on the iPhone 3G issues -> TamsIJungle - The iPod/iPhone developer’s blog { 08.29.08 at 7:16 am }

[...] Chuq van Rospach stepped up with his theory of software problems. Now, Daniel Eran Dilger’s Roughly Drafted news service has yet another [...]

44 Expert explains the iPhone 3G, the 2.0.2 update and the problems with 3G (It’s getting better) | MostReviews.com { 08.29.08 at 7:42 am }

[...] The Inside Deets on iPhone 2.0.2 and Dropped Calls [Roughly Drafted] [...]

45 Realtosh { 08.29.08 at 10:59 am }

@ brau

Your concern about quality is not unfounded. The Newton was a technical marvel ahead of its’ time. The initial technical issues of the Newton, especially the hand-writing recognition software, gave a great product a black eye that lasted past the corrections of the early glitches.

I don’t think the iPhone will have the same problems. First and foremost, Apple is doing everything humanly possible to fix these recent examples uncharacteristic sloppy execution. MobileMe has had lots of focus as I’m sure that any technical issues with iPhone 2.0 will have the intense priority of a company that will be growing the iPhone into one of its’ larger businesses.

The big reasons that these initial growing pains will not have long lasting effects, besides that they are geting fixed, are twofold. 1) The iPhone is the greatest phone ever made. 2) Apple will sell millions of them this holiday season.

The sales of iPhone units will be limited only by the number of units that Apple will be able to get out of production through late November/ early December. I predict that Apple will have to airship large quantities of iPhones late in the holiday season to create some supply in an environment of frequently selling out most iPhone product. This last minute rush shipping will follow one of the fastest ramp ups of production in the history of mobile phones; certainly unprecedented in the smart phone space.

So the point is that there will be lots of iPhones out there. Being the best phone ever made, it will speak for itself. Apple will blow away all estimates of iPhone sales.

46 Avi Flax { 08.29.08 at 11:30 am }

“It is not the network that is fault but the interaction of the bad power control algorithm in 2.0 and 2.0.1 software and the network that is at fault.”

I call bullshit. This may be technically caused by the phones requesting too much power from the base stations, but, you know, the base stations could be smarter about responding to those requests, and allocating their resources. In fact, rolling out upgrades to the base stations would fix the problem even if no iPhone users upgraded.

47 There can be only one: "source" claims for iPhone 2.0.2 to not suck, 2.0 must die | Men Gadgets { 08.29.08 at 12:00 pm }

[...] &#82ead&nb&#115p;|&nb&#115p;Permal&#105n&#107&nb&#115p;|&nb&#115p;&#69mai&#108 this&&#110bsp;|&&#110bsp;&#67o&#109&#109en&#116s [...]

48 thomast { 08.29.08 at 12:48 pm }

Daniel, thanks for the clarification, and as always, good job with your articles. In the end, as pointed out by gus2000, there are much easier ways to cause cell phone denial of service, so my comments were just a tempest in a teacup.

As for Apple’s reputation, perceptions can be quite delicate. However, as you said, the fact that Apple can update the phone’s software easily to correct problems certainly dampens any bad feelings.

49 JohnWatkins { 08.29.08 at 2:51 pm }

The “power management algorithm” sounds like a pretty low level piece of code. Plus it is referred to as an “algorithm” rather than as “software” or “code” (although it does say “firmware”.)
This makes me wonder if it is an algorithm that Apple engineered or if it is simply a recipe that that ATT or ATT’s equipment suppler recommended or spec’ed and that Apple used to create the code.
If so it should show up on all phones on the network.
Possibly it is a problem with all phone but only apparent on the iPhone because of its heavy use? If so, shouldn’t we have sen more problems on other phones?
comments?

50 iPhone firmware 2.0.2 update explained - LiveAM - Your morning news 24/7 { 08.29.08 at 4:29 pm }

[...] Via [RoughlyDrafted] [...]

51 The Inquirer ES : “Espera más energía de la que necesita” iPhone 3G { 08.29.08 at 5:24 pm }

[...] Roughly Drafted ha citado fuentes cercanas a AT&T afirmando que los últimos problemas de cobertura del terminal con su versión de firmware 2.0.1 son debidos a que existe un fallo que hace que el terminal demande más energía de las torres de telefonía que la necesaria para mantener una conexión. [...]

52 alansky { 08.29.08 at 7:35 pm }

“A bit late?!! I sync it every day but just got the upgrade notice today and installed it right away.” –Brau

The iPhone 2.0.2 update has been available since 18 Aug. iTunes doesn’t always notify users of an available update. You need to click “Check for Update” on the Summary page. Apple should really fix this.

53 alansky { 08.29.08 at 7:43 pm }

“Being the best phone ever made, it will speak for itself. Apple will blow away all estimates of iPhone sales.” –Realtosh

Agreed. Being the best doesn’t require perfection. If it did, the title of “the best” would never be conferred on anyone or anything because perfection does not exist–except in the befuddled fantasies of individuals who are seriously out-of-touch with the world as-it-is.

54 The possible importance of upgrading to 2.0.2 - MacTalk Forums { 08.29.08 at 8:19 pm }

[...] possible importance of upgrading to 2.0.2 Over at this post it talks about why Apple are pushing hard for users to get into the 2.0.2 firmware upgrade. Well at [...]

55 axc4466 { 08.30.08 at 12:12 am }

The explanation about the phone asking for too much power is shaky for the following reasons:

1. The “calls dropped due to downlik power” occurs when the bases station exhusts all the power available to serve the active users, i.e. when it reaches the capacity. This can happen when there are too many active users at one time. Since iPhone clearly caused a spike in AT&T network load, this issue does not have anything to do with the iuPhone per se.

2. Phones are thoroughly tested by the operator before they are “accepted” into the network. The amount of power the phone sucks out of the network is of course one of the most important aspects of the testing. The phones caught “cheating” are not allowed into the service.

3. Power control works only for voice calls. For data calls, threre is no power control. The bases station spreads all the power left over from voice users across data users and the more power is available per data user the better throughput they will get.

It is more likely that there are more than one issue that were more tricky tha that and that could not be discovered durig the testing. This is very typical for a combination of a complicated techology, such as 3G, and an immature product, such as Infenion chipset. Think of it as a Beta version of Vista.

56 What’s the 3G Problem? Source Close to AT&T Says iPhone Tower Power Drain | HOT SEXY AND PRODUCT REVIEWS { 08.30.08 at 11:22 am }

[...] Drafted is claiming a source close to AT&T has spilled the beans on what’s really going on with the iPhone and its 3G connection problems, and what 2.0.2 did [...]

57 3Gの電波受信感度問題の原因? | iPhone 3G Wiki blog { 08.30.08 at 12:16 pm }

[...] RoughlyDraftedは米国時間8月28日、あるAT&Tと関係の深い情報筋が、よく通話が途切れたり、十分に電波を受信できなかったりするという、7月のiPhone 3G発売以来、多くのユーザーが経験してきた事象に関して、iPhone 3G内部の「欠陥がある」電力制御ソフトウェアこそ、その原因であると語ったことを伝えた。要するに、iPhone 3Gは、接続を維持するために、携帯電話基地局に対して、必要以上に多くのパワーを要求するようになっており、複数のiPhoneが、同じ基地局へ同時に接続を試みる時に、これが非常に大きな問題を招いてしまうというのだ。 [...]

58 S A N D E E P [ I N D I A N I C ] - There can be only one: "source" claims for iPhone 2.0.2 to not suck, 2.0 must die { 08.30.08 at 4:16 pm }

[...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments [...]

59 iPhone 3G Reception Problems Related to Network Traffic { 08.31.08 at 1:05 am }

[...] at RoughlyDrafted proposes a more rational explanation for the iPhone 3G problems, and he links the problems with the iPhone 2.0.2 firmware update released to resolve them. Simply [...]

60 Frohike { 08.31.08 at 6:40 am }

While this may or may not be in some way related although I’m sure there is a proportion of these drops that are related to the context of the calls being made. I live in Spain where there is a far more mature 3G market which has probably played its part on the network impact as iPhone usage is still very small when compared to the overall 3G market. For AT&T the iPhone 3G has caused a huge leap in 3G usage.

An example of context was my playing with the GPS. I decided to see how well it would keep up with me driving at 160km/h (~100mph). Given the reports I was extremely happy to find that the little blue dot kept in place, correctly passing over-passes at the right time, for the whole 20 minute ride. The interesting thing was the streaming of the Google maps data. For the most part it streamed beautifully with the one exception… when you change cell towers the map streaming stopped altogether and I got a blue dot against a fast moving grey checker pattern until the new tower caught up with itself. Going back the other way a few days later confirmed this with the same dropouts in the same places (but in the other direction not to mention going much slower).

I don’t profess to know anything about UE/Node B interactions for voice and data but maybe the issues are a combination of factors which includes UE power management, AT&T’s immature 3G network along with the call context in some instances. Apple may be making updates in order to help cope with AT&T’s 3G rollout and their problems. This is not to say Apple is “blameless” (if there’s anything to point fingers over at all) here but it’s possible it’s not just the iPhone 3G.

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