Tower issues, difference between GSM and EDGE
U have having some issues with the cell tower that services my house. away from home i get 3G with plenty of bars. At home the service varies between EDGE and GSM. I was told by an ATT tech that GSM and EDGE are synonymous, both meaning 2G and that i was confusing the issue by using the different terms. I explained to him that all i was doing was reporting what i saw on my phone.
I am also of the impression that GSM means no data/cell phone only and that EDGE was data and cell service, but slower than 3G. Can anyone shed some light on this? I don't want to accuse the tech of not knowing his business but something sounds wrong to me!
- 12-24-2010, 02:49 AM #2
OFF = Network services disabled at equipment level.
SOS = No network authorization, you can call 911.
GSM = Bare connectivity, voice service.
edge = Voice service, and there is EDGE available, but you have no data connection.
EDGE = Voice service, and you have a 2G data connection.
3g = Voice service, and there is 3G available, but you have no data connection.
3G = Voice service, and you have a 3G data connection.
H = Voice service, and you have an HSPA+ connection (3G+, basically).
2G is closer to a T1 connection, 3G being closer to modern DSL.
Thank you. and that, boys and girls, explains a whole lot about AT&Ts crappy service! There techs don't know what they are talking about! I expect that sort of incompetence from the first tier support people, but a tech guy in the filed who is suppose to be resolving an issue? Gah!
- 12-24-2010, 03:03 PM #6
I'm an electronic engineer with extensive training in digital electronics and radio systems, in addition to programmable logic controllers and linear magnetic acceleration. It's just a coincidence that I can put any of it to use in this dead economy with most of the tech jobs in India.
Don't expect a customer service representative or tier 2 employee for ANY carrier to know even a tenth of what I know about the technology, because "technical support" is not "analyze the radio signal attenuation and S:N ratio in each cubic meter of the customer's domicile from no fewer than three sample points, accounting for average atmospheric density at average air temperature of 28ļ Celsius with 50% humidity". Simply put, nobody you will ever talk to has been specifically trained to explain the details of every aspect of the service. Not technological, legal, financial, or hypothetical. This is why every company has multiple departments.
Anyway, time for work.
As a retired Control Systems engineer i hear where you are coming from, but i would expect a tech support guy to know the basics. And to not know the difference between GSM and EDGE strikes me as pretty basic!
- 12-26-2010, 02:18 AM #8
Customer support for all providers is trained to correct a narrow band of issues, and escalate up to higher tiers if something falls outside of its deparment. Nobody below tier 3 is expected to have any intimate knowledge of the technology.
Your best bet is to ask Google and Wikipedia for information, not a real person.
I do this, so I NEVER call for support. Among other reasons.
I hear where you are coming from, and i find i get better answers, as you suggest, from Google, Wiki, and this forum. But unfortunately there are times when something does not work and you have no choice but to call. I now understand that ATT deserves it's extremely low rating in Consumer Reports!
- 12-26-2010, 11:54 AM #10
Wikipedia is monitored intensely by an army of pedants, ensuring that at least some of the information has been printed in other sources at least once. Google just indexes the more popular stuff, which is likely to be popular if it's useful.
Yeah, AT&T sucks because it signed an exclusivity agreement with Apple to get sole rights to the iPhone in the US, forgetting that Apple hasn't been synonymous with quality since the eighties.
Never mind the fact that CR is about as credible as Youtube comments. Apparently I have to mention in every fifth post; most of AT&T's problems are the iPhone. Over 90% of persistent dropped call reports involve an iPhone on at least one end. Not to say that the whole network is perfect, but if it were always the network, then there would be a more even distribution of reports across all makes and models of phones. The whole line is a nightmare of hurdles to activate, where other phones just work (sorry, I thought that was Apple's line) when the SIM card is switched on.
In fact, I had to miss dinner because Apple decided that people with OSX 10.3 shouldn't be allowed to activate an iPhone 4, but this was somehow AT&T's fault. Funnily enough, if you have an eight year old installation of Windows XP kicking around on a Pentium 2 system, you won't have any trouble. Oh Apple, you so crazy.
- 12-26-2010, 01:33 PM #11
You're going get get a lot of spin from at&t customer service! I've been having crappy coverage at home for over 6 months.
A few days ago my gf lost signal to her TMO phone(weather related)- from edge->gsm->SOS. A quick phone call to CS said it maybe a bad cell site and will look into it. I was skeptical if they were spinning me excuses like at&t but a few hours later she got a phone call to see if she had signal! That's service!
I would be happy if at&t tried...
- 12-28-2010, 02:38 AM #12
It's not spin, it's just that nobody accepts the fact that a cell phone operating at a certain frequency just might not work inside their house.
Go through enough troubleshooting, and someone just might come out to your house in person to tell you that.
- 12-29-2010, 01:35 AM #13
at home, I had pretty good signal with the 8310- solid EDGE.
When the 9700 came out last year, I was loving the 3G speeds and signal was solid. I don't what happened around summer, my signal started to act like a roulette table.
This sorta sucks because this is also my business number and blows when clients get bumped to voice mail!
- 12-29-2010, 02:38 AM #14
Turn 3G off, and bam, you're back to where you were, with a faster phone. Just turn 3G on when you're out and about.
I try telling people who have iPhones about this, and they balk, claiming that they pay for 3G. Pshaw, it's a free bonus. You pay for 2G. Nobody cares when their internet connection trips out for five seconds, so why not reduce the risk of missed calls when you're in a virtual radio deadzone?
- 12-29-2010, 01:05 PM #15
LOL... I've been through at&t's playbook of troubleshooting.
Switched phones: 8310 and nokia 6210 backups, signal bounces everywhere
Turned off 3G on the 9700, same issues as above.
My main concern is when it goes SOS and hangup on my clients.
It's definitely a cell site issue since summer but I'm in the minority of complaints. The only way at&t will look into this when a boat load of iphone users complain!
- 12-30-2010, 11:56 AM #16
Nah, it's just because iPhone users have.... Well, I wouldn't use an iPhone west of Illinois. I don't need to explain my findings on that line.
Look, to get a solution, keep track of the locations you have issues in, 2G and 3G, and the times the problems seem to have started. Multiple phones having problems in those spots? Good information to have. Multiple phone numbers having trouble? Even more valuable data.
You've been aware of it since summer and it happens on 2G and 3G? Ask to speak with technical support to see if a network case can be filed to investigate.
The more information you have, the more likely someone will be sent to perform site surveys. I know it's a pain, but customer care doesn't always know what technical support would see as a network problem instead a phone problem.
Here I am, working on my day off. Let me get out of here....
- 12-30-2010, 05:57 PM #17
I hate to put the blame on the iphone 4 release since the problems surfaced around the same time.
A few of my neighbors with iphone 4 have free micro-cells from at&t. I tried to get the freebie but no-go.
I guess I have to lose my sanity for another year and off to another carrier.
- 12-31-2010, 12:24 AM #18
Yes GSM is voice/texting only no Data, I would just call AT&T and let them know that data keeps dropping, need to check the tower or something else most likely. Usually if you have GSM you will either get EDGE or GPRS (before EDGE its slower) but if it is dropping to just GSM theres something wrong.