Reception versus Perception of Reception

July 29, 2008

Like so many other 3G iPhone users, I don’t know what to think of what appears to be a poor signal issue. However, I haven’t actually experienced poor reception either on a call or using data. This picture couldn’t capture it any better I think:

In utter disbelief that I would get a speed test result like this even with 5 full bars, I reverted to the old school speed test site http://www.dslreports.com/mspeed and got a more believable result:
3 minutes apart with the same signal displayed?  WTH?  Two more results on http://i.dslr.net/tinyspeedtest.html were in the 750 kbps and 850kbps ranges, while a second test on mspeed yielded a result in the low 200s.  
Same test tonight with cache cleared and the same apparent poor signal yielded these results:  439 kbps on tinyspeed and 793 on mspeed!?  Cleared cache and then mspeed hit freaking 1165!?  One more cache clearance and another round on tiny yielded a result of 709 kbps.  Again all of this with half of one bar (if that).  
I’ll follow these instructions to see if an improvement occurs in the device’s perception of reception if nothing else, but man this is crazy huh?  I will say that in the lead up to the iPhone 3G launch I was seeing pretty wild swings on the Tilt during mspeed tests, so maybe this is an AT&T issue? But I never saw less than half a bar when the swings occured so, somehow I just doubt it, and if the first software update from Cupertino doesn’t fix it then what?
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