Can a Metal Bowl Speed Up 3G? My Own Tests Seem to Support This Odd 3G Enhancement Notion

YouTube video courtesy of teemuruskeepaa

After reading this item on the Mobile Broadband Blog…

The Craziest Way To Boost Your Mobile Broadband Signal

…I watched the embedded video (see above) several times and discussed it with friends and co-workers after showing the video to them. It would be easy to fake the screens seen on the video. I had to check this out for myself. So, I found a metal cooking pot (sauce pan) in the office kitchen and ran a couple of tests using my iPhone 3G. My initial tests (3 outside of the pan and 3 inside) seemed to confirm that the downstream data speed was faster when the iPhone was in the pot. This definitely needed more testing. So, here’s what I did after getting home…


I don’t have any AT&T data signal at home. So, I continued my testing using a Droid on Verizon’s 3G network on a Touch Pro2 on T-Mobile’s EDGE network (T-Mobile’s 3G signal poops out about 2 miles from where I live). Here’s how I tested the two units. I tested each device and network five times outside of the bowl and fives times inside of the bowl. I alternated test positions (inside or outside) to try to get each pair of tests as close together in time as possible.

Downstream speed estimates were obtained using’s non-Javascript speed test found at:


I used the 400KB payload to test the Droid on the Verizon 3G network. As you can see from the graph above, results inside of the bowl (red) were consistently higher than tests outside of the bowl (blue ) using paired tests. The average download speed outside of the bowl was 354.6Kbps. The speed inside of the bowl was 474.4Kbps. The average downstream speed advantage inside of the bowl was 119.8Kbps (33.78%). Wild, huh?


I then tested an HTC Touch Pro2 on the T-Mobile EDGE network. A smaller 100KB payload was used for testing on the slower EDGE network. As you can see from the graph above, the results were reversed here. EDGE downstream speed outside of the bowl were, in 4 out of 5 cases) faster than inside of the bowl. The average download speed outside of the bowl on the EDGE network was 129.2Kbps while it was 121.2Kbps inside of the bowl. The average download speed inside of the bowl was 121.2Kbps. It was, in other words, 8Kbps slower in the blow (6.19% slower).

So, there you have it. It looks like with the right metal bowl, 3G downstream speed actually increases. But, the same conditions don’t help EDGE connections.

Via Slashdot: Boost a Weak 3G Modem Signal, With a Saucepan