Before you accuse your mobile of being sluggish

Posted by Mister Mobility

I have used scores of phones in the course of my work here at The Mobility Company. The Nokia N9, which I currently use, is number 67.




I also have a SIM card for every GSM network in the country, so I am able to interchange SIMs in each and every one of the phones I handle so as to compare performances.

That experience cannot be purchased in the market and comes in handy. I’ll use something that happened with the N9 in the last few days as an example.

Because I have an MTN SIM that had been cut down to microSIM size months back for iPad use, it was this SIM that I initally put in the N9. During that period, because I wasn’t subscribed to an MTN internet bundle, all data connectivity on the N9 was via Wifi (I have a Mifi device running Etisalat Easyblaze).


All through that time, the N9 performed fluidly. No hiccups. No slowdowns. All activity was zippy.

Suddenly, the Picture Changed
However, a few days ago, I noticed occasional slowdowns and pauses while using the N9. I wondered what could be wrong. Earlier today, I had to share my Glo HSI via the built-in hotspot app, but found that the connection kept breaking.

That was when I remembered. I had gotten my Glo SIM trimmed down to microSIM size and put it in the N9 some days back and was using Glo’s internet service on the device.

Here’s the catch: Glo’s data service has been troublesome for a while. The connection terminates at random, and even just hybernates as well.

Now, here was what was happening: with all of two email accounts, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype always looking for a connection at the same time, and the connection breaking and disappearing at will, this resulted in the pauses and slowdowns that I observed on the N9.

Switching back to the more stable Wifi connection solved the problem. The N9 went back to being zippy. I remember experiencing this with every other device that I have reviewed.

The Point
Your network data stability affects the performance of your phone, affects how fast your email is fetched or sent, affects how fast or at times how well web pages are rendered, and affects how long the device runs for.

If you want to arrive at sound conclusions concerning a device, especially one that depends on an always-on connection for multiple services and apps, try out the device on connections from multiple sources. You will be surprised at the variations in performance that you will notice.

Your network data stability affects the performance of your phone, affects how fast your email is fetched or sent, affects how fast or at times how well web pages are rendered, and affects how long the device runs for.

Device Comparisons
When comparing two devices that rely on an internet connection, it is better to share the same Wifi connection between them to get more accurate results. Different SIMs in the devices will likely result in slightly skewed statistics. Even SIMs from the same network (believe it or not) may result in skewed statistics.

In A Nutshell
Don’t be quick to conclude that an internet-connected mobile device is bad because it is being sluggish or freezing if you haven’t tried it out with alternative stable internet connections. For all you care, it could simply be that it is your network operator who is messing with your head.


17 comments

  1. Thanks Yomi for this piece!! I’m so tired of explaining this to people who keep blaming the phones for things like maybe their mails arent dropping or something but when connected to wifi its drops in secs….Thanks o jare!

  2. this done with forensic clarity.No wonder on wifi my phone does thrice the speed from sim enabled.

  3. I am nodding my head so vigorously that Agama lizard is turning green with envy!

    To add to this, when browsing, and you experience a slowdown, or there is no connexion at all, it may be your particular network, the particular cell site serving you, the connection mode (3G, EDGE or GSM), the particular browser you are using (a server-assisted browser sometimes experience schizophrenic seizures!).

    Additionally, if you install and install lots of app, your c: drive will gradually get cluttered with useless files. This slows down performance over time.you can even experience inexplicable crashes! Those uninstalls almost always do shoddy jobs.

    Depending on how much free phone memory you have, this also affects how reliably youe app runs (e.g Opera Mobile and SpB mobile Shell do not run reliably on my NOKIA 5800).

    Avoid multitasking as much as you can. It promotes system stability..

    If you hardly ever switch off your phone, over days, you’re memory may leak, leading to slow downs. So give that phone a restart from time to time.

    Also, a malware- trojan, virus-whatever- (or badly written app) may be compromising your device stability. This may cause freezes, lockups and spontaneous reboots.

    Lastly, if you install an app, carefully observe your phone’s behaviour for some time for a diminution in performance. This is particularly true if you get apps from ‘doubtful sources’ ..

  4. A very nice one.

    @tornado

    so which network is more stable in lagos ?

    Probably MTN, though I don’t use MTN actively for data and I don’t think I will be using it any time soon and certainly not for data connection stability sake.

  5. @tonardo

    To honestly answer your question to the best of my knowledge, no network is ?or? stable or anything.

    According to eye bee kay, all depends on cell site n bla bla.

    My case: I used to think mtn ws d ish cos of 3g, my blackberry messenger crashed n I needed to download a new one, mtn failed me completely. couldn’t even download up to 1MBb4 d download cuts, anyway I borrowed a cousin’s glo sim n I downloaded this 4.4MB software within 5mins. Glo won my heart mayne. I had to get a glo sim d next day.

    Nw I’m on glo. Meanwhile my location is ketu n if you ask me to recommend anything, I will choose glo ryt nw. Fine there are tyms services disappear n cuts, but functional service is better than “fake” service that dsnt do anything useful.

    That’s all I can contribute.

  6. Real talk.This is 1 factor that is usually not recognized by reviewers.
    P.s. Anyone know any site that gives reliable ‘long-term’ reviews.Especially laptops.

  7. Thanks for this tip.

    I had always wondered why gsmarena and other phone review websites always tested the web browsers of phones only via Wifi.

  8. Yeah, it’s what I’v been experiencing with glo since last year on my homezone. The connection keeps breaking on my N8 and all the apps that require regular internet connection like mobile documents, check in, slick and the most rebellious app of all “whatsapp” keep trying to connect then phone starts getting really hot and stuff and might restart.

    Glo, ‘sup with your submarine cable ? I use 2 Nokia phones one on the glo network the other on mtn. Truth be told mtn is stable even when I’m in transit (switching from cell to cell within Lagos) my mtn connection never breaks and whenever I get back home to lay my head I notice the connection has been running all day without breaking so I sign out my yahoo messenger and disconnect since I’m not subscribed to any mtn bundle.

    Of which my glo would have been going through mood swings all day on the N8 and when I check connection manager I’ll see a long thread of disconnections and it hurts because I subscribe to thier internet service, glo gives me more data but I think mtn gives better Qos (stability) …

    Glo, after all the money spent to finance your glo 1 cable is this what you get across to the last mile ? Uncle Adenuga, I think some people need to loose their jobs !

  9. Nice article indeed.
    I think its high time network providers pay more attention to network stability than useless expansion.

  10. Glo with 1 cable bla bla, 45% in stability but once connect very fast…

    Empty N 80% in stability still slow & steady.

    Airtel 70% in stability but very slow, and cant find airtel 3G again wats happening?

    So Etisalat ? ? ?

  11. Oh yeah, wanted to ask, what did you use to trim your SIM card down to microSIM size? Also, any idea if any of the networks are offering microSIM replacements and what the requirements are? I really don’t want to risk losing the SIM card for my primary number when I pick up the N9.

  12. oh yes, just received new glo mobile apn settings .. Since i started using it my E6 connections is now stable…bye bye 2 gloflat……
    Welcome 2 glo mobile internet plus d free MBs 4 browsing…
    Glo has beat Empty N hands down………………..try 2 get glo mobile internet 4 connectns stabilit
    y……no more
    connectn fail.
    connectn unavailable.

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