Nexus S WiFi performance compared to the Nexus One
Right off the bat -- this is not a flamewar in the making. I'm disappointed with a few things about the Nexus S, and part of my job here at Android Central is to share and discuss things I see -- both good and bad. So far, I haven't seen anything that makes me want to go running back to Best Buy for a refund, but if I do, you can bet I'll tell you.
OK, now that we're all holding hands and singing Kumbaya, here's what I'm seeing:
This is the Nexus S
This is the Nexus One
Both phones are side by side on my coffee table, there's no trickery involved, and you can download the WiFi Analyzer app from the Market yourself and try it.
I understand that Google and Samsung are using some ultra-low power WiFi chip in the Nexus S. Maybe it's a bit too low?
Anyone else seeing less-than-stellar WiFi performance in the NS?
- 12-17-2010, 05:13 PM #2
- 12-17-2010, 05:15 PM #3
- 12-17-2010, 05:18 PM #4
- 12-17-2010, 05:37 PM #5
There are similar issues on the Galaxy line of phones with WiFi...signal just seems WAY too weak, even when I'm practically on top of the darn thing. I'm beginning to think this is something hardware related and not software, seeing as how the Nexus S now seems to be having this issue.
- 12-17-2010, 05:46 PM #6
- 12-17-2010, 06:22 PM #7
- 12-17-2010, 06:23 PM #8
- 12-17-2010, 06:54 PM #9
- 12-17-2010, 06:59 PM #10
Let me nip that in the bud real quick --
There is no way any sane, normal person can say the Nexus S is not a HUGE improvement over the Nexus One in a normal use case. Everything is faster, everything looks better, and everything works better. If you feel the need to argue, load up the new maps app. Or any game. Or just open the app drawer.
You can fight over things like no SD card slot, Samsung build quality, GPS, etc etc somewhere else. Hell I have some complaints about it, too. But we're not gonna crap all over this thread, which I'm using to get some feedback from everyone, with hate, jealousy, or the need to reinforce your ego on either side.
Now keep the data coming guys. I appreciate the heck out of it!
- 12-17-2010, 08:59 PM #12
- 12-18-2010, 03:49 AM #14
- 1 Posts
No weak signal on my end
I have a Netgear router, model WNDR3700. This thing is a beast. The best router I have ever owned.
Well, about the signal strength... The router is located in my living room, at the northwestern most point of my apartment.
42.65 feet (13 meters) away at the southeastern most point, inside the bathroom, 2 doors and walls in the way, the signal is still around -65.
Maybe the Nexus S has a low power WiFi chip, but this monster router compensates for the phone's low signal. I paid $100 for the router back in the day. I don't know much it is now.
One thing... It would be nice to see the Nexus S connect to 5 Ghz wireless networks. The throughput would be amazing! I transfer all my media from my computer to the phone using TuneSync, and if this phone had this capability, the file transfer speed would rival that of USB!
But hey, small baby steps. I'm just glad I got rid of my Samsung Vibrant, skipped Froyo and went straight to Gingerbread!
- 12-18-2010, 09:21 AM #15
- 12-18-2010, 09:54 AM #16
- 22 Posts
- CM7 Nightlies
Side by side on my desk, about 50ft from my router through 2 walls, both my Nexus One and Nexus S have nearly identical signal strength. What is interesting is I'm facing the router and hold the phone vertically with my fingers behind it, the signal will drop by at least 10 dBm on the Nexus S. I do the same with the Nexus One, and the signal stays fairly constant instead.
Question for the OP, what kind of network are you running on b/g/n ?
- 12-18-2010, 01:36 PM #17
- 12-18-2010, 02:30 PM #18
- 12-18-2010, 05:09 PM #19
- 12-18-2010, 07:58 PM #20
No difference that I can tell between the Captivate and Nexus S. I will note though that while both Nexus S devices and the Galaxy S stay around 2-3 bars, the iPhone 4 here is showing full wireless signal strength.
Maybe it's just jealous that it's being replaced, though.
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- 12-19-2010, 12:58 PM #21
I'm new to both the Nexus S and the Android platform in general - my former device being an EDGE/Wifi-only Blackberry Curve. Inside my home, 3G coverage is sparse (blame Low-E glass?), thus I tend to rely on Wi-fi to augment T-Mo coverage and to lower my likelihood of hitting the soft 5GB cap. Previously, this worked reasonably well except in the far opposite corners of my house w/ the Blackberry.
I handle Wi-Fi as part of my day job and will profess my router location is not ideal being on one edge of my house. That said, I have the phone setting 3 ft from the router side-by-side w/ the Blackberry. The Blackberry consistently reads 3-6dBm higher than the Nexus S in the same location. In the opposite end of the 2400 sq ft single-story house, the discrepancy can be as high as 12dBm, putting the Blackberry as barely "usable" and the Nexus as unusable.
Because moving my router isn't an option at the moment, I've bought some 9dBi gain antennas for the router w/ the hope that I can reduce Tx power (not sharing so much w/ neighbors) and improve reception at the same time. My chosen channel is clear and not overlapping any nearby neighbors. Interference is generally low. The router is set to 84mW (a DD-WRT recommended max to avoid distortion).
That said, having compared the Nexus to a nearly 2 year old phone, the results are alarming and make me question whether there's a bad batch of phones or whether the antenna design is just "poor" (or my aging router is just on its way out).
Does anyone know what the specs on this "low-power" Wi-Fi chipset (max Tx power) and antenna (gain vs attenuation) for the Nexus S?
Are there any MT4G users out there w/ similar problems? I'm tempted to return this phone for the MyTouch4G based on the Wi-Fi performance, a buzzing ear-piece, support for UMA, and general stability of the device. Feedback welcome.
- 12-22-2010, 02:45 AM #22
Exchanged my phone tonight due to a buzzing ear-piece and with the hopes that WiFi would get a bit better. Ironically on the Best Buy demo unit, the performance was a bit closer to the Galaxy tab we compared it to in the BB store. Sadly, my exchange didn't fare as well. When I got home, the exchange unit is just as bad as the first unit for WiFi performance. Sounds like high-gain antennas on the AP, or a new 802.11n router are the only tricks left in my bag unless there's something Samsung is willing to do for us.
What's worse is that BB only permits one exchange in the 30 day period, so no jumping ship to the MT4G unless I sell and buy at the off-contract price.
Despite that, they were pretty cool about the whole process since I just "dropped in" w/o the box, receipt, etc. They performed the exchange w/ just the phone and waited patiently while I copied the data from the old phone to my laptop (their transfer device didn't "understand" Nexus yet).
- 12-22-2010, 10:13 PM #23
- 12-23-2010, 03:14 AM #24
Summary: While the WiFi performance of the Nexus S is still sub-par compared to most devices, my router, or more specifically, DD-WRT on my router had something to do with it after all.
Tonight, I switched from DD-WRT to Tomato after I discovered that no matter what Tx power I chose (50, 71, and 84mW), the resultant RSSI on the Nexus S was constantly poor in a fixed location in my house - even after upgrading the antennas to monster 9dBi units. This meant to me that DD-WRT wasn't really applying the Tx power value after all and some sort of default prevailed.
I then flipped the router to Tomato v1.28 which defaults to 42mW on WRT54G v1.x hardware and observed the same RSSI on the phone (-73 or worse). I bumped output power to 50mW (17dBm) and saw an immediate improvement on the phone all over the house. What was easily -73dBm is now -63dBm in the same location. At last, WiFi on the device is usable.
I'm also using a pair of Alfa 9dBi gain antennas on the router which vastly reduced the receiving error rate - great for lower powered devices like the Nexus. I've also moved the router to a slightly more centralized location and away from metal wire shelving.
Others having a similar problem can try these avenues if the options are available to you. Remember to not exceed legal Tx powers (84mW is a WRT54G reasonable maximum and still within legal limits).
- 12-25-2010, 10:08 AM #25
I too have awful wifi performance. I am sitting about 6 feet from my router and I have 2 bars. If I place my hand over the top back portion of the phone it drops to 1 bar. Needless to say I am a bit disappointed. My previous phones (iPhone 4, dell streak, nexus one) all had excellent strength. I really hope a fix is on the way.