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Is there a difference between a 3G connection and a HSDPA connection?  I recently went from the ACM program to the 3G Watcher, which I like much better than the ACM.  We are traveling right now and  the area We are in now I have a HSDPA connection versus 3G when we are at home.  I noticed that when I opened a YouTube video it started and stopped on this HSDPA connection.  When I was on ACM with 3G service the YouTube video's played thru with no stop/starting.  Is this because of the HSDPA connection versus the 3G connection of is it because I am running the 3G Watcher.  I currently have 4 bars and a -86 dbm, whatever that means.  Which is better a high dbm or a low dbm?


If the problem is with the 3G Watcher program I will just  put up with the YouTube video's start/stopping as this is the only problem I am having with it.   I am really happy with the way the 3G Watcher program functions.


Thanks ahead of time to anyone that can answer my questions.  I am not real computer literate so any info is appreciated!!!!


Message 1 of 5


When using the Sierra Wireless Watcher, the 3G symbol appears when the connection is idle. When there is data transmission, the symbol turns to HSDPA.

As to the YouTube situation, i would say that is caused by the tower you happened to be connected to. Different towers will give you better connections than others, regardless of the signal strength. This is said not to be the case with 3G signals, but in my traveling around to different part's of the country, i find this does happen.

Message 2 of 5
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Accepted by Yoakum
‎09-30-2015 1:39 AM


This thread has a great summary of 3G and HSPA.


dBm shows your signal strength. The highest is -50. Signal below -95 indicates a poor connection.


I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s positions, strategies or opinions.
Message 3 of 5


thank you so much for your reply.  You answered my question.  I to am noticing a variance in towers as we travel.  I am amazed at the reception I receive when we are at home.  We live in a small rural farming community and have 3G connection which is better than what I am receiving where we are now.  But at least I have internet service. I still do not understand though what dbm constitutes a good reception.  A low minus dbm number or a high minus dbm number.  Any ideas?  I meant to mark your reply as solved but I clicked on the wrong one.  Have a good day and thanks for your info.
Message 4 of 5


Engineers sometimes like to make things more complicated than they really are. For example, dBm's are often measured with negative numbers. So, as mentioned in the previous post, -50 might be a good reception while -95 might indicate poor reception. Numerically, -50 is a larger number than -95.


Imagine measuring "How much money I have". $50 would mean "I have $50". -$50 would mean "I am $50 in debt". So, if you have -$50, you "have" more money than if you have -$95.





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