Swedish Engineers Tests Confirm iPhone 3G’s Antenna Not a Problem

There have been a lot of speculations over the 3G reception issues that some iPhone 3G users are facing since its launch.

Some analysts have reported that the problem is with the Infineon
chip that Apple has used in iPhone 3G, while there are others who
believe that the issue is with the carriers such as AT&T who has a
relatively young 3G network.

So some Swedish engineers carried out tests on iPhone 3G to find out whether there was a problem with its antenna.

Bluetest is a small Swedish company at Lindholmen Science Park which sells test chambers for wireless devices with small antennas. Bluetest’s chambers are used by mobile phone manufacturers like Motorola etc and also TCO which has a system for certifying mobiles.

Bluetest’s engineers carried out their tests on iPhone 3G in a noise free metal chamber in which it communicated with a simulated base station. The equipment measured how the mobile sends and receives signals under different conditions. 

They concluded that the results were completely normal. They also compared iPhone 3G results with Nokia N73 and Sony Erickson P1 under the same conditions and observed that Sony Ericcson P1 was a little better at receiving signals and the N73 a little better
at transmitting signals. But the difference
between the iPhone’s and the P1’s receive sensitivity is 2 dB which is apparently very small. A difference of 4 to 6 dB could have indicated that there is a something wrong.

Apple had confirmed last week that iPhone firmware 2.0.2 update included changes to fix some iPhone 3G reception issues.

However, sources familiar with the matter had commented that the 3G
networks require closer tower spacing to provide the same level of
coverage with the more modern 3G UMTS and hence there is nothing Apple
can do in software to fill in spotty coverage in AT&T’s 3G network
other than adjust how the phone hardware works to allow it find and
maintain a link with a less than optimal 3G signal.

While this is not of much help to iPhone 3G users facing the problem, the tests carried out by Bluetest engineers further indicates that the reason for iPhone 3G reception problems could be due to spotty coverage rather than Apple’s iPhone 3G hardware.

What do you think?

[via Goteborgs Posten]


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