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  1.    #1  
    Ok, I have a Treo 650 for Sprint and an unlocked Treo 650 on Cinuglar.

    Here's what I've noticed:

    - Cingular, outdoors, there is service EVERYWHERE. I live in south Florida and driving in my car, I get 5 bars of service just about everywhere.
    - Sprint, outdoors, I rarely get 5 bars but consistently get 2-3 bars everywhere.
    - Cingular, indoors, service drops IMMEDIATELY. I can be outside with 5 bars and then go inside and be down to 1 bar.
    - Sprint, indoors, stays pretty consistent - you may lose a bar but usually nothing more.

    HERE IS THE KICKER:
    Cingular (or maybe GSM in general) is many times completely unusable with only 1 bar of service. Some times it works fine but at least half the time if I only have 1 bar of service, I can't make or receive calls. And if I'm on a call, it's impossible to hear or be heard.

    Sprint sounds almost the same at no bars or 5 bars.

    Is this a Treo 650 behavior or just the way their respective networks work?
  2. #2  
    Quote Originally Posted by adamrogers
    Is this a Treo 650 behavior or just the way their respective networks work?
    It is just the way the networks work.

    GSM is a weaker signal in terms of the amount of bandwidth it carries. CDMA signals carry more bandwidth. This is why a medium like a building can more easily kill a GSM signal.

    CDMA signals are stronger, but go a shorter distance than GSM signals. So CDMA providers need more signal repeaters than GSM providers because of this. And that is why CDMA network rollout cost more than GSM rollout.

    This is why 1 bar on a CDMA (Sprint) network can carry a call while 1 bar on GSM (Cingular) may not. That 1 bar CDMA signal can carry more bandwidth.
  3. Silver5's Avatar
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    #3  
    I have noticed something similar, but cannot attribute the difference to the type of network. I have T-Mobile and am on my trial period with Cingular. I am noticing that in places where I have full signal with T-Mobile while indoors I have 1-2 bars with Cingular and am unable to make or receive calls. However, I must also say that with Verizon I have the same problem in the same building(s) as I do with Cingular. Only T-Mobile seems to have service here. I can't say whether Sprint does, or does not, have service here, but I seriously doubt it. I may end up trying their service though and will hopefully be pleasantly surprised.
  4. #4  
    Generally, the rule for building penetration is that the lower the number, the better the signal indoors. For example, Cingular operates on both 1900 and 850 MHZ towers while T-Mobile only runs on 1900 MHZ. So, theoretically, Cingular should have better indoor coverage.

    However, there are a ton of factors involved. For instance, if Cingular doesn't have an 850 MHZ tower nearby and T-Mobile's 1900 MHZ tower is better than Cingular's, then T-Mobile will have better coverage.

    Both Verizon and Sprint use 1900 and 800 MHZ towers. However, I've heard that Verizon has more 800 MHZ towers than Sprint does, so Verizon has better indoor penetration. But, again, there are a lot of factors involved.
  5. #5  
    I have sprint in the tampa fl region and I notice poor penetration inside the office bldng I work. I wonder if this is less likely w verizon?
  6. #6  
    I'm in Port St. Lucie and as far as signal strength it is the opposite here. I have a Sprint 600 and a Cingular 650. The 600 always has a weak single indoors while the 650 is always strong.

    I tried activating the 600 in my bedroom and the call continually kept dropping. My 650 gets 4 bars strong in there.
  7. #7  
    I have to agree with DaleReeck...It's going to depend on the Frequency that cingular is using in your particular area. The lower the frequency, the better that signal will penetrate the buildings...

    Sprint uses 800-850mhz and 1900-1950mhz for their CDMA bands...Sprint towers generally run both signals at the same time...800-850 for traditional AMPS (analog) and digital phones, and 1900-1950 for digital PCS bands.

    Cingular does use both 800 and 1900 mhz for their GSM phones, however, cingular generally doesnt run both at the same time...you may just be in an area where there is 800mhz sprint coverage and 1900 mhz cingular coverage, in which case, yes the cingular signal will drop of significantly indoors, while the sprint signal will remain mostly unaffected.

    The signal frequency is probably the biggest reason...Im sure someone could find a place where there Cingular had the 800mhz signal and Sprint had the 1900mhz signal and then the situation would be reversed.

    You may also have to consider that different phones (yes, the GSM 650 and the CDMA 650 are TWO different phones) have different algorithms for determining what a "bar" of signal means. You can't really compare signal quality on two different phones from the bars. You will need to be able to get to the raw signal strength reading (not sure if there is a way to get this info from either the sprint or cingular phones) which is measure in -dB from the original broadcast power (i.e. the phone receives a signal that is -20db in strength compared to the signal the tower sent) Since at the root of the phone, the GSM and CDMA versions are completely different, it is extremely probable that they use a different algorithm for determining signal strength.

    Now, im not saying that your comparisons are completely wrong...Obviously the Sprint service works better than the GSM service where you live simply because the GSM phone has quality problems inside...However, you can't make a broad statement by saying "the CDMA Version is better than the GSM version" with this comparison...As I said earlier...you could easily find a situation where the Sprint Version drops off sharply indoors and the GSM version does not, and this would be caused by the GSM version using the 800mhz frequency and the Sprint Version using the 1900mhz frequency.
  8. #8  
    You may want to try the command ##debug (##33284). There is some interesting (mostly Greek) information here such as RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) value, SID, NID pairs (indicating where which mobile system your phone is on), etc. Perhaps you can find raw signal strength here in a standard unit of measurement.

    Additionally, I notice my RF Mode toggling between CDMA 800 and Sleep(!). That doesn't look too good.
  9. #9  
    If I buy a 650, will I get better penetration?
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    #10  
    adamrogers,

    I've found the same thing. My Sprint will work in elevators where my Cingular won't get a signal. The same is true for being in a store, etc. Also, I've noticed that my call quality at 1-2 bars on Sprint sounds great where with Cingular call quality and signal strength are more closely aligned.
  11. #11  
    I not sure we make a true comparison without unless you had a building with a Sprint tower and a Cingular tower outside the building. The signal will be strong from the carrier with the closest tower to your test site. Is that not so?
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  12. #12  
    I've used Sprint for almost 3 years now and can say without reservation that my new 650 gets reception in a lot of areas inside buildings that my former Sprint phones did not.
  13. #13  
    Sprint DOES NOT have any 800 MHz towers. They operate solely within 1900 MHz PCS band, hence the claim "The only nationwide all-digital, all-PCS network built from the ground up." Anyone who tells you otherwise is misinformed.
  14. #14  
    My experience has been the opposite. I know it depends on frequencies and proximities of towers, etc., but my Cingular T650 gets better indoor reception than my Sprint T650 did in several locations.
  15. Minsc's Avatar
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    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by darnell
    It is just the way the networks work.

    GSM is a weaker signal in terms of the amount of bandwidth it carries. CDMA signals carry more bandwidth. This is why a medium like a building can more easily kill a GSM signal.

    CDMA signals are stronger, but go a shorter distance than GSM signals. So CDMA providers need more signal repeaters than GSM providers because of this. And that is why CDMA network rollout cost more than GSM rollout.

    This is why 1 bar on a CDMA (Sprint) network can carry a call while 1 bar on GSM (Cingular) may not. That 1 bar CDMA signal can carry more bandwidth.
    Darnell, not sure where you came up with this stuff but...
    First, neither GSM nor CDMA is "stronger" than the other. RF is RF. GSM and CDMA are merely interfaces that sit on top of the RF layer. In other words, 1900 mHz RF is 1900 mhZ RF. It matters not what air interface you're using - the penetration will be exactly the same.

    So to say that CDMA is stronger and requires less "repeaters" (???) is just plain false. CDMA does cost more to deploy, but for different reasons.

    Finally, as others have since mentioned, measuring signal strength by the number of "bars" on your phone is like trying to tell time by staring at the sun.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by Minsc
    Darnell, not sure where you came up with this stuff but...
    I come up with this stuff from in depth graduate study of networking technologies.

    I am fully aware that plenty of things factor into what may show a stronger signal for a given individual since all things are not equal.

    On the new EDGE network that offers more bandwidth than previous GSM networks, but outside of that CDMA does carry more bandwidth.

    So to say that CDMA is stronger and requires less "repeaters" (???) is just plain false.
    I never said CDMA requires less repeaters. I said CDMA requires MORE because its signal does not travel as far as GSM signals before needing a boost.
  17. #17  
    Sprint does share with verizon in certain places, Verizon does have 800. The bandwidth one operates at has zero to do with it being a digital signal or not. Sprint just happend to have purchased 1900 when that came up for auction in the 90's.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by MisterFuhrman
    Sprint DOES NOT have any 800 MHz towers. They operate solely within 1900 MHz PCS band, hence the claim "The only nationwide all-digital, all-PCS network built from the ground up." Anyone who tells you otherwise is misinformed.
    For now. Notice all the recent Sprint phones have 800 CDMA support. Nextel has lots of 800 spectrum. Sprint just bought Nextel. Kinda makes you think, no?
  19. Minsc's Avatar
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    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by darnell
    I come up with this stuff from in depth graduate study of networking technologies.

    I am fully aware that plenty of things factor into what may show a stronger signal for a given individual since all things are not equal.

    On the new EDGE network that offers more bandwidth than previous GSM networks, but outside of that CDMA does carry more bandwidth.
    Can you provide a link to anything to back this up? I'm not sure how carrying more bandwidth would affect building penetration.
  20. Minsc's Avatar
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    #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by DrWowe
    For now. Notice all the recent Sprint phones have 800 CDMA support. Nextel has lots of 800 spectrum. Sprint just bought Nextel. Kinda makes you think, no?
    Sprint has had 800 roaming support on their phones for some time now. It's because there are a number of CDMA providers in the US who operate on that frequency. (Verizon being one of them) Has nothing to do with Nextel, just a coincidence.
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