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Data Bandwidth: 2G (GPRS), 2.75G (EDGE), 3G (UMTS), HSDPA (H/3.5G)

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Antiskunk

Senior Member
Jan 9, 2010
185
4
Newcastle-Under-Lyme
I've seen that there's a LOT of confusion over the different data connection speeds.
I've seen a lot of comments with people asking why they keep getting a 'H' symbol like it's a bad thing, so here's a basic run-down:

GPRS: 56Kbit/s
EDGE: 236.8 kbit/s
UMTS: 384 kbit/s
HSDPA: 14,400 kbit/s - 14.4 Mb/s (only in certain places in England, blanket 7.2 Mb/s for Three UK)

GSM isn't included because it can't be used for data transfer, this is usually when the signal bar is shown, with nothing else.

2G:
GPRS is pretty negligible, I'd know I get stuck with it all the time in my house. It can load web pages but pretty slowly. This is shown on the N1 with a G next to the signal bar.

EDGE is still 2G but is multiple 2G connections combined. Here's a definition from soul2soul from a quick Google search:
"EDGE is part of GPRS network. During idle state, you will be given 1 timeslot only which is GPRS speed. When you start to download, you will be given more timeslots, hence you notice the sudden increase of speed to EDGE. If you are have lots of data users, you might be given only 1 timeslot. THis way, you might not hit the 220kbps speed consistently. Besides, Edge ping is quite horrible around 450-550 ms at first hop.

3G on the other hand, to my experience, consistentlys hit the 384kbps. It is sort like a guarantee pipeline for you. Of course, the latency is much lower at 150ms to 200ms."

This is shown by an E next to the signal bar.

3G:
UMTS is faster than EDGE but is still nowhere near HSDPA. As explained above though, 3G is much more stable than EDGE so you will get a more reliable speed. This is shown by a 3G symbol next to the signal bar.

HSPDA Is the good one. This one supports up to 14.4MB/s. This is shown by a H symbol (on certain ROM's) next to the signal bar.
Personally, I love knowing when I get HSPDA over UMTS since there could be a whole 7Mb/s difference on Three UK, for example; 14Mb/s on Vodafone (some places).

Feel free to comment on any faults and I'll correct them. I did this very quickly :p
Someone care to comment on LTE?
 

technogecko6

Senior Member
Jan 7, 2010
54
0
This post triggered me to try running a speed test on my N1 out of pure curiosity. I am using the speedtest.net app from the marketplace.

N1 status shows: HSPA

Server: New York, NY
My location: Midtown west manhattan, 12th floor of an office building

Ping: 109ms
Down: 1656 kbps
Up: 1286 kbps
 

Antiskunk

Senior Member
Jan 9, 2010
185
4
Newcastle-Under-Lyme
HSDPA can range from just faster than 3G speeds to 14.4 Mb/s. Keep in mind it depends on how many people are connected to the cell (since it's the max bandwidth distributed between how many people connect to each basestation), and also the max bandwidth of the Basestation. If no one else is connecting to your basestation then it looks like it's limited to 1.8Mb/s. But i'm not sure on the specs of other basestations aside from the UK, so I could be wrong.
 

setzer715

Senior Member
Jan 29, 2009
1,239
209
North Phoenix
I would also like to add that HSPA is JUST a data service where 3G carries both data and voice. Quite a few people on here seem to be confused when they see their phone switch back and fourth from 3G to HSPA and they ask why its going back and fourth. It is because you phone will only use the HSPA services for data and then switch back to 3G when idle and not doing data.

Oh, and lets not forget HSPA+, currently launched on T-Mobile USA in Philidalphia, which has theoretical speeds of 56Mbps down.
 

gunnner

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2007
102
2
I would also like to add that HSPA is JUST a data service where 3G carries both data and voice. Quite a few people on here seem to be confused when they see their phone switch back and fourth from 3G to HSPA and they ask why its going back and fourth. It is because you phone will only use the HSPA services for data and then switch back to 3G when idle and not doing data.

Oh, and lets not forget HSPA+, currently launched on T-Mobile USA in Philidalphia, which has theoretical speeds of 56Mbps down.

Anyone know what happens when a call comes in if you're using HSPA, for example downloading a large file?
 

uansari1

Senior Member
Jul 27, 2008
3,549
92
Karachi
I've gotten speeds of around 600-700kbps on UMTS pretty consistently here in Toledo... are you sure it's max speed is only half that?
 

serialtoon

Senior Member
May 25, 2006
927
118
I rarley get good speeds anywhere here (California). The best i can muster up is 700k down and up. :-/
 

Zappza

Senior Member
Nov 16, 2008
237
21
Please take note that the Nexus One, as most other mobile phones has a official maximum bandwidth of 7.2 MBps using HSDPA, not the full 14.4 MBps.

Quote:

google.com/phone
Cellular & Wireless

UMTS Band 1/4/8 (2100/AWS/900)
HSDPA 7.2Mbps
HSUPA 2Mbps
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
 
Feb 13, 2010
35
0
Ascot
25th Feb in Waitrose (** a supermarket **) car-park in Wokingham, Engerland @ 10:33am [waiting for the wife] download 3922Kbps, upload 1673Kbps, (Speedtest), 'phone status switching between UMTS & HSDPA.

At home some 5 miles away usually download about 1.4Mbps: When I'm back in God's ain country (bonnie Scotland, the Highlands,..) I'll try again...

& If the 'phone was normal way up (therefore aerial at the bottom... slightly behind car dash) I got a lower speed, turn N1 upside down and she goes faster ..

Anyone??

Cheers!

Lodger
 

setzer715

Senior Member
Jan 29, 2009
1,239
209
North Phoenix
I've gotten speeds of around 600-700kbps on UMTS pretty consistently here in Toledo... are you sure it's max speed is only half that?

Actually, a correction to the previous. You see, HSPA is just an enhancement of UMTS. To say 3G is VERY broad statement because pretty much all carriers have some sort of 3rd Generation technolocy in use on thier networks. Now, T-Mobile and ATT both use UTMS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service) and to be specific they use W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).

The quoted data speeds of 384Kbps are the theorecital max of R'99 (Revision "99). Moving on to R5 (Revision 5) incorporate HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) with theorecial max download speeds of 14.4Mbps. Then there is R6 (Revision 6) which incorporates HSUPA (High Speed Upload Packet Access. I'm sorry I dont know the max theoretical upload speeds. Lastly we have HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Enhanced) which has theoretical download speeds of 54Mbps.

Now on to your quesiton, if you are reaching those speeds you are more than likely on a HSPA network. If you are using an Eclair ROM your data symbol next to your signal strength will NOT switch from 3G to H. Its not built into the rom. If you are using a Desire ROM you will see this happen.

Here is another way to check, start downloading a large file (to give yoruself time) then back out and let it download in the background. Open your dialer and type *#*#4636#*#* then select phone info. Scroll down and look at network type. It will either say UMTS or HSPA. Make sure when your viewing it that there is data going in the background.

A quicker way to get to the Phone Info is to download/install Anycut and create a shortcut on your desktop for Phone Info.

Hope this helps.
 

Hired

Member
Mar 9, 2010
5
0
You guys are incredibly knowledgeable! I have been extremely curious as to what HSPA+ was exactly, thank you for explaining it!

I do have a few questions:

1. With HSPA+ on the horizon for T-Mobile (US), what frequencies will be used to broadcast?

2. Will the freq be the same as UMTS?

3. Will devices like the HD 2 be able to utilize the new network (if not will a simple radio ROM fix that?)
 

Paulynator

Member
Jun 8, 2011
42
1
My UMTS/3G speed too high?

There's a device that I'm interested in that will only do Edge. I wanted to see if I could tolerate the reduced speed and found this thread stating connection speeds. When I select "use only 2g networks" I connect at about half the max you state for Edge...which sounds about right. But, when I connect 3G (with my 3G phone), my DL speed is about 2.5Mb/s or 2500Kb/s, almost 7x as fast as the 384Kb/s stated here for max 3G. Could somebody please explain to me how I'm looking at things the wrong way? Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Jack_R1

Senior Member
Aug 9, 2009
4,365
962
Because by "3G" the setting you're switching means "3G and up". To reach those speeds your phone is switching to HSDPA mode, which on Nexus One is limited to 7.2 Mbps, and you're still far below that limit.
 
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Paulynator

Member
Jun 8, 2011
42
1
Because by "3G" the setting you're switching means "3G and up". To reach those speeds your phone is switching to HSDPA mode, which on Nexus One is limited to 7.2 Mbps, and you're still far below that limit.
Thanks for that. But bear w/me for just one more sec; I'm a relative newby. Let me see if I understand. With my 3G Huawei Comet in hotspot mode and a netbook connected to Speedtest.net thru the hotspot, I'm getting a download thruput of 7X 3G speed and 1/3 4G speed. If this is right, since I don't think I could expect to reach the maximum 4G speed with an actual 4G phone but maybe more like 1/2 4G speed, since I'm getting close to that (1/3 4G) miraculously I think, (especially since that was at 2 of 4 bars), I think I shouldn't waste my time and money ever upgrading to a 4G phone; I should stick w/my miraculous little 3G Comet. Please let me know; is all this right? Thanks for any more help.
 

Paulynator

Member
Jun 8, 2011
42
1
Is my connection way faster than my device is supposed to be capable of?

Sorry for repeating myself but I didn't get a reply and I really need an answer.

With my 3G Huawei Comet in hotspot mode and a netbook connected to Speedtest.net thru the hotspot, my DL speed is about 2.5Mb/s which is almost 7 times as fast as the 384Kb/s I read is supposed to be the max for 3G. My signal indicator does show the H for HSDPA (2 bars) so since my connection is SO much faster than the max for 3G, and squarely in the realm of 4G speeds considering 2 bars (about 1/3 the max for 4G), is my Ideos/Comet somehow doing 4G? Thanks for clarifying for me.
 

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    I've seen that there's a LOT of confusion over the different data connection speeds.
    I've seen a lot of comments with people asking why they keep getting a 'H' symbol like it's a bad thing, so here's a basic run-down:

    GPRS: 56Kbit/s
    EDGE: 236.8 kbit/s
    UMTS: 384 kbit/s
    HSDPA: 14,400 kbit/s - 14.4 Mb/s (only in certain places in England, blanket 7.2 Mb/s for Three UK)

    GSM isn't included because it can't be used for data transfer, this is usually when the signal bar is shown, with nothing else.

    2G:
    GPRS is pretty negligible, I'd know I get stuck with it all the time in my house. It can load web pages but pretty slowly. This is shown on the N1 with a G next to the signal bar.

    EDGE is still 2G but is multiple 2G connections combined. Here's a definition from soul2soul from a quick Google search:
    "EDGE is part of GPRS network. During idle state, you will be given 1 timeslot only which is GPRS speed. When you start to download, you will be given more timeslots, hence you notice the sudden increase of speed to EDGE. If you are have lots of data users, you might be given only 1 timeslot. THis way, you might not hit the 220kbps speed consistently. Besides, Edge ping is quite horrible around 450-550 ms at first hop.

    3G on the other hand, to my experience, consistentlys hit the 384kbps. It is sort like a guarantee pipeline for you. Of course, the latency is much lower at 150ms to 200ms."

    This is shown by an E next to the signal bar.

    3G:
    UMTS is faster than EDGE but is still nowhere near HSDPA. As explained above though, 3G is much more stable than EDGE so you will get a more reliable speed. This is shown by a 3G symbol next to the signal bar.

    HSPDA Is the good one. This one supports up to 14.4MB/s. This is shown by a H symbol (on certain ROM's) next to the signal bar.
    Personally, I love knowing when I get HSPDA over UMTS since there could be a whole 7Mb/s difference on Three UK, for example; 14Mb/s on Vodafone (some places).

    Feel free to comment on any faults and I'll correct them. I did this very quickly :p
    Someone care to comment on LTE?
    1
    Because by "3G" the setting you're switching means "3G and up". To reach those speeds your phone is switching to HSDPA mode, which on Nexus One is limited to 7.2 Mbps, and you're still far below that limit.