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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Really slow T-Mobile EDGE connection via Bluetooth


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I use my laptop tethered to my Samsung t809 cell phone via Bluetooth for almost all my Internet operations. I publish all my blogs on-the-go this way, and check my e-mail and do my billing. I love my EDGE connection as it gives me a very consistent and quick access to the web without the need for broadband.

In some areas, I get really bad connection speeds as the EDGE speeds aren't available. Instead, the cell phone goes back to the old GPRS standard -- about dial-up speeds if not better. This is still pretty decent as the connection isn't bogged down with delays.

In the past week though, my connection speeds have been awful! I didn't call T-Mobile as I figured I'd spend some time looking through the system to see what I might have done. I spent a few hours throughout the week going through all my settings, reinstalling my Bluetooth stack, even resetting my phone from scratch and testing and retesting -- still bad speeds. A call to T-Mobile was going to be coming, I figured, but I was going to wait a day.

The next morning I woke up and my laptop was dead -- I forgot my charger at my last stop. I picked up my PDA (with Bluetooth) and proceeded to jump on the web to check my e-mail. I read my e-mail quickly, and realized I was getting a great connection speed, leading me to realize that the problem was on my end, not T-Mobile's.

Later yesterday I picked up my laptop charger and immediately plugged it in and went to work finding out why my download speeds were so bad. I turned off all my processes, and the speed picked up immediately! Back to normal. It must be something running, I had guessed.

I rebooted the laptop, reconnected to the web via my Samsung and T-Mobile EDGE connection, and proceeded to turn off services in Windows one by one. I'd retest the connect speeds in between, but it wasn't until the absolute last program that I turned off that the problem because evident -- and all my fault. I had installed a BitTorrent application a few weeks early on my laptop (to use on my T1 at one of my offices). I didn't realize it was running very silently in the background.

I closed the app, and the web speeds were great. I reopened the app, and the speeds dropped immediately. I was only sharing 1 file with the world, but it is evident to me that the EDGE connection doesn't do simultaneous downloading and uploading well -- like a broadband connection would. This makes sense, actually, but it never occurred to me that it would affect the speeds that much -- especially since I wasn't downloading any information over BitTorrent.

Just a word of advice for those who complain about bad connection speeds -- check and recheck everything. If it still is slow, try a different computer or device to connect. You might be surprised that the slow connection might be happening because of software on your end.

Discuss this article here.


  • FYI, I had the same problem with TMO edge in my area. But magically today I got a replacement phone and I now get 250K out of my BT tethered connection. I sent the phone back for the dust problem, maybe they are tweaking some firmware as part of the renewal process. Let me know what version is your phone and I'll cross check with mine.

    By Anonymous Scott, SE VA, at 8:54 AM  

  • Hey, I am having problem with storing information on memory card of T809 from my laptop....

    i can transfer the files from laptop to the memory card when i insert it in the laptop...but when i remove the memory card and insert it in T809 i dont see any files in the memory card...but when again i insert the same card to laptop i see all the files....can someone help me with this....

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