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Author Topic: Strong discussion of the iPhone4's antenna woes  (Read 3352 times)
perkiset
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« on: June 30, 2010, 09:28:51 AM »

Although we all know that the credentials of people in blogs is somewhat suspect (  ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ) this article is from a guy that at least SOUNDS like he knows what he's doing, which backs up his assertion that he has a PHd in a related field. I didn't quite understand the "bars" issue and how cellular transmission worked that clearly and I think he makes a good case for why Apple has really got it's hands full with this fuck up:

http://fscked.co.uk/post/751030001/more-on-the-iphone-4-signal-issue

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perkiset
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 09:32:16 AM »

 D'oh!

http://9to5mac.com/apple_seeks_help

ROFLMAO
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010, 10:34:20 AM »

So if bars are only calculated average and phone keeps functioning even if you hold it "in the wrong way", what's the problem? My bet is that this will be "fixed" in the next iOS update just by faking bars. Suddently everybody is happy and blogs are filled with posts how nicely the fix is working Applause
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perkiset
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 10:41:57 AM »

It's not that the bars are fake, it's that they don't necessarily represent what the likelihood of you making a call or receiving data is. As mentioned in the article, that's more the running average of signal to noise. So you may have 5 bars but not be able to make a call because the cell tower can't hear YOU even though you can hear it.

The larger fundamental problem, as he points out, is that few cells phones have exposed conductive antennas that you can hold (or worse, bridge) and that is most likely the culprit. I don't know how they're going to fix that in software. As he also points out, virtually all cell phones do have a particular way that you should not hold them because a warm fleshy bag of salt water in front of the antenna is not a good thing - but in this case, they'll need to somehow diminish the effect of the bridging to help the SNR.

Two good points at the end: a quick brush of clear nail polish ought to do the job and his disgust with Steveo's response to the problem.
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2010, 12:47:06 PM »

right bars are signal strength.
call quality is Signal to Noise + a little effect by strength.

The real world example is this:
I can whisper a sentence to you from 5 feet away with no other noise around.
Low SNR, Low Power. You an hear me.

I can YELL a sentence to you in the middle of a soccer match with those fucking horns going non-stop, and monkeys screeching.
High SNR, High Power. You wont hear anything I say.

And yea, I dont know how you fix SNR in software... lol
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richardgaywood
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2010, 02:24:13 AM »

Quote
Although we all know that the credentials of people in blogs is somewhat suspect (  ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ) this article is from a guy that at least SOUNDS like he knows what he's doing, which backs up his assertion that he has a PHd in a related field.
Thanks mate! I can post a pic of my thesis if you want, or a PDF download. It's about 480 pages long though!

Two good points at the end: a quick brush of clear nail polish ought to do the job and his disgust with Steveo's response to the problem.
The only problem I can see with the nail polish idea is that I doubt it'd last long. In fact, I can't think of anything the average consumer can lay their hands on that would last longer than a few weeks. Phones actually go through quite a lot of physical trauma being bumped around in bags and simply handled; I think tape would rub off fast, and varnish would crack and flake away.

The email from Jobs was awful. Funny, I was expecting to be pilloried for that when the link started appearing on Mac blogs, but I haven't seen anyone flaming me for it.
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2010, 08:52:09 AM »

ohh a famous nerd!

Urethane might work as well.

The other thought I had was shrink wrap. For electrical you have heat shrink tubing, but probably does not come in the diameter needed.
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perkiset
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2010, 08:53:44 AM »

Welcome to The Cache, Richard. About the credentials: a great many of the visitors and readers here are either from, or continue to be involved in, spamming and blackhat activities - so the inside joke is more on them than you mate.

@Steve: DEFINTELY not his finest hour. In fact, one wonders if it's about time to put him out to pasture. Or at least in skunk works where he can be brilliant but not involved with clients.

@nail polish: I'm looking forward to the Ghost Armor people coming up with a fix, because that stuff is nearly indestructible and non-conducive. Other than that, Ive developed all manner of contorted ways to hold the phone to minimize bridging  ROFLMAO

Thanks again for coming by. We collect smart people here, hope you'll stop by again.  
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2010, 08:58:13 AM »

And right after I posted, my phone came. lol

And... the package has a shrink wrap like material in it. Gonna keep it an see if it is the right size/shrinkiness.

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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2010, 09:59:37 PM »

So I have some info to report.

I have a cell tower for every carrier right at the corner of my street, about 300 yards away, so I always have very very strong signal, and almost never drop a call.

I did some tests.

Just leaving the iPhone on, doing nothing, and not touching it, sitting on a wood table, the signal meter is all over the place. This wouldn't indicate an antenna problem per se, but instead lends serious credence to the software problem. In particular, the calculation being wacky.

I also tried touching it every way possible, and it did not change behavior. 1 second it's at 5 bars, next it's at 0.

I also did a few dozen speed tests, and this did point to an antenna issue. At least a little. I saw about a 20% speed drop when I touched as much of the metal as possible. If I just touched a little, like I was holding it normally surfing, it had almost no slowdown.

So in the end, I think both camps are right. The software is borked, but also the antenna attenuates signal with more skin in contact.

I think theree is some merit to the explanation that people seeing the problem had shitty signal to begin with. But the exposed antenna makes it happen more. Like for perk who has horrible coverage at home lol.
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2010, 03:13:30 PM »

oh and I thought of another protections method.

brother ptouch labels. You can get the 1/4" wide ones, they come in clear, white, black, silver, red, yellow, pink, blue, green, gold. At least that I could find. You could even put text there if you wanted. lol

I havent bothered to try.
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