After news broke regarding snippets of iOS code that referred to throttling, there were concerns that Apple may have built software into the iPhone and iPad for AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Wireless that would throttle users. However, closer analysis may indicate that this may not be the case.
According to a new report on Apple Insider, reports of throttling are now said to be “mistaken” and that the developer who had brought the issue to light has “withdrawn” his claims.
Writer Brian Klug had examined the code snippet on AnandTech and writes, “The reality is that this is simply not the case. Apple doesn’t limit cellular data throughput on its devices — there’s both no incentive for them to do so, and any traffic management is better off done in the packet core of the respective network operator rather than on devices.”
While Klug’s analysis is detailed and technical, it’s worth a read if you want to learn more about the code in question and what that means for your handset if you’re an AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon customer.
“The two keys here with the word “throttle” in them refer purely to a retry interval throttle to prevent the phone from continually trying to reattach to an LTE network in the case of some error,” Klug writes. “The name alone seems to be the burden of proof here that this is “throttling,” however it could just as easily be renamed “retry interval timeout” and serve the same function.”
There are similar “FAILURE_TIMER_5:720;” entries in the IPCC files for the rest of the operators which do exactly the same thing and set a retry timer for their appropriate networks. For example, Verizon has “DATA_TRTL_ENABLED” which is the equivalent setting for 3GPP2 networks. I’m not going to go through all of them since they do exactly the same thing and basically prevent your phone from wasting a ton of battery trying to retry endlessly when there’s some network issue, or creating a stampede or overload from too many handsets retrying to connect pointlessly fast.
So in essence, limiting the number of times the phone tries to ping to connect to an LTE network when there is some error may be beneficial to users. Pinging a network often, especially when a phone tries to decide if it wants to be on 3G, HSPA+, or 4G LTE, could result in worsened battery life. By limiting this pinging activity, Apple would help the iPhone 5 achieve better battery life in areas where there may be spotty coverage or if there are problems with the network.