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Guru I
Xandrex
Posts: 18,404
Registered: ‎07-29-2008
My Device: Z30, Playbook, 9320BES
My Carrier: B&You _ SFR
Accepted Solution

GPRS or WIFI : what's the best?


On another discussion, sali wrote:

I have the BB 8320. Can anyone tell me though - since I find this very confusing - if I should be using the GPRS or WIFI setting if the latter is available. What's best??


GPRS and Wi-Fi are two ways of getting data (especially email and the web). The main difference is :

  • coverage is different (you'll have GPRS (everywhere a carrier installed it) than Wi-Fi (anywhere some private or commercial people installed it))
  • and speed is different (Wi-Fi is 40x faster).

 

Here are some elements for you to understand why Wi-Fi is better : these are the max download speed, by network system (higher is better) :

  • 00,014 kbps: GSM
  • 00,056 kbps: dialup modem (before ADSL and Cable)
  • 00,056 kbps: GPRS
  • 00,256 kbps: EDGE
  • 00,512 kbps: old ADSL modem
  • 08,192 kbps: new ADSL modem
  • 10,000 kbps: Wi-Fi (depends on the device though)


About the Wi-Fi coverage, there should be some black and white picture Wi-Fi indicating whether there is Wi-Fi nearby. You can also buy (not from Blackberry) many gadgets to detect Wi-Fi networks. Be aware that some Wi-Fi hotspots are free (McDonald's, Starbuck's), and others require charge (some airports). GPRS on the other hand is available averywhere except maybe when you go to the country far from mankind (can happen on some highways), but you'd be extremely lucky to have Wi-Fi and not GPRS.




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New Contributor
sali
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎08-02-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: GPRS or WIFI : what's the best?

Thanks so much for that. Very helpful. Another question if i may...what about Edge? The spec for my handset mentions both GRPS and EDGE. How would you go about connecting through EDGE? I have spent so much time on the phone with my service provider and it takes forever to get the right answers cos they keep putting u on hold to chat with other departments cos they dont have the answers!

 

Your help is much appreciated.

Guru I
Xandrex
Posts: 18,404
Registered: ‎07-29-2008
My Device: Z30, Playbook, 9320BES
My Carrier: B&You _ SFR

Re: GPRS or WIFI : what's the best?

there is a line EDGE in my post. EDGE is better than GPRS.



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Developer
eaoliver
Posts: 205
Registered: ‎07-14-2008
My Device: 7230, 8700, 8820, 9000

Re: GPRS or WIFI : what's the best?

Xandrex,

Your throughput values for WiFi are misleading.   I have a WiFi test driver that sends data over WiFi to a TCP server on my computer (on the same LAN).  These are ideal conditions with VERY short round trip times.  Performance drops off dramatically when the device is connected to a server on the Internet.

 

Average throughput for WiFi on an 8820 is approximately 200 KB/s or 1,600 kbps.  Here's some graphs that illustrate throughput for various amounts of data transferred for different socket send buffer sizes (8 KB -> 128 KB).

 

WiFi throughput for in-memory data 

 

WiFi thoughput for data in persistent storage. 

 

Under tiny workloads (i.e. an email) WiFi can achieve a throughput around  950 KB/s or 7,600 kbps.  Throughput quickly drops off for higher volumes of data.

 

Earl 

Earl Oliver
Guru I
Xandrex
Posts: 18,404
Registered: ‎07-29-2008
My Device: Z30, Playbook, 9320BES
My Carrier: B&You _ SFR

Re: GPRS or WIFI : what's the best?


eaoliver wrote:

Xandrex,

Your throughput values for WiFi are misleading.


Thank you for your time, eaolivier ; The technical information you provide is very valuable. I wanted to give theoritical datas for the diffferent networks, but it's true that Wi-Fi theory is very different from what can be observed in real life.

 

Including your remarks, here is a modified version :

  • 00,014 kbps: GSM
  • 00,056 kbps: dialup modem (before ADSL and Cable)
  • 00,056 kbps: GPRS
  • 00,256 kbps: EDGE
  • 00,512 kbps: old ADSL modem
  • 01,600 kbps: Wi-Fi (up to 7,600 kbps for small datas like email)
  • 08,192 kbps: new ADSL modem



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Guru I
Xandrex
Posts: 18,404
Registered: ‎07-29-2008
My Device: Z30, Playbook, 9320BES
My Carrier: B&You _ SFR

Re: GPRS or WIFI : what's the best?

I have found a speed comparison of the browsers of a 8300 (EDGE) and of a 8320 (Wi-Fi) on boy genius report. Basically, EDGE is as fast or faster than Wi-Fi for browsing the web.

Here is the link :

http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2007/09/23/blackberry-8320-wi-fi-vs-blackberry-8300-edge-speed-test/

 

There is no information regarding the Handheld OS. But it's the Blackberry Browser, with tables and without javascript.




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Developer
eaoliver
Posts: 205
Registered: ‎07-14-2008
My Device: 7230, 8700, 8820, 9000

Re: GPRS or WIFI : what's the best?

Yes, I saw that when it was released. However, loading webpages is not an accurate way to measure the throughput of a wireless technology.

 

Earl

 

Earl Oliver
Guru I
Xandrex
Posts: 18,404
Registered: ‎07-29-2008
My Device: Z30, Playbook, 9320BES
My Carrier: B&You _ SFR

Re: GPRS or WIFI : what's the best?


eaoliver wrote:

Yes, I saw that when it was released. However, loading webpages is not an accurate way to measure the throughput of a wireless technology.


from a technical point of view, I cannot agree more. But from a user point of view, Wi-Fi is just a pipe to get things : email, webpages, downloads, and that's about all.

For email, as far as I know, in auguts 2008, very few today can use HTML email with color and inline images. Some people need fast download speed to open attachments (I'm thinking big exel spreadsheets or non-optimised Word docs), but usually EDGE is enough.

So in my opinion, Wi-Fi is the browser on Blackberry.

Some additional information could prove useful. On MS Internet Explorer, you can have two pipelines, meaning on a webpage, you can download two things at the same time : some text and an image, two images, mostly. On Mozilla Firefox, you can open up to 50 pipelines (better have a strong CPU...). I guess on Blackberry there is just one, meaning that the objects are downloaded sequentially (one after the other). and if the connection is well done, there is just one meaning it's a bit as if you were downloading a single big file. From your perspective of throughput, it means you cannot benefit from the burst of small files, and your wi-Fi is limited to an average 1600 kbps (still 6x faster than EDGE). But the test I linked says the opposite. I thought of something, maybe you know the answer. I believe it's like on the 8707v that had 3G. 3G was working but used so much CPU that the rendering was sluggish, much more than using just EDGE. Could this be the case on the Curve 8320 ?



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