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A man climbing a cell tower

Let’s Talk About 5G: How It Works 🤔

In this installment of our Introduction to 5G, we’ll be explaining how this new form of communication functions and how it compares to our existing network.

Let’s Talk About 5G

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

First things first, let’s explain how wireless communication works in the real world. All wireless phones and devices operate along the electromagnetic spectrum. The spectrum is the complete range of all types of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and that radiation is just energy that travels outward in all directions at the speed of light. A lamp, for instance, will trasnmit EMR within a segment of that spectrum (what we see as visible light) and our eyes can interpret that transmission. On the lower end of that spectrum are radio waves which power technologies like AM/FM radio, television broadcasts, WiFi and cellular phones. Radio and micro waves are similar to visible light in that they operate on the same spectrum, just on a lower frequency (30Hz to 300GHz).

Differences: Current and 5G

Bandwidth

Much like our existing 3G/4G infrastructure, 5G is a type network used to transfer data between devices. Each one of these networks operate within a specific range on the electromagnetic spectrum. For decades, we’ve been using the same range for the majority of our devices: 1GHz to 6GHz. As technology progresses, the increasing amount of wireless devices we have are all competing with each other for the same limited bandwidth. The new 5G network is designed to operate within a much larger range above 6GHz all the way up to 100GHz! That’s a substantial increase in the amount of bandwidth in which our devices will now be given for a variety of applications.

Range

Our current 3G/4G signal can travel over longer distances as they operate on a lower frequency which gives them extended range. However, 5G devices will operate on much higher frequencies and those signals can’t travel the distances that lower 3G/4G frequencies can. To work around this, the infrastructure for this new network will require a combination of our existing towers and a much smaller, more condensed grid of “mini” towers every block as these waves aren’t able to penetrate foliage and inclement weather.

Also, most 4G devices were designed to be backwards-compatible with older networks. However, 5G is not meant to be merely an incremental update to existing mobile communication standards. Having said that, your new 5G phone will also still likely work with legacy networks via additional antennas as the transition rolls out.

If you’re having trouble connecting to any of your existing networks, be sure to stop by one of The Fix Hut’s four shops and have one of our technicians check it out. Antennas are usually replaceable, affordable and the turnaround time is quick. Call us if you have any questions!

Worth Noting

There has been much discussion surrounding the potential health hazards regarding the increased exposure to radio/microwaves that 5G will bring. These frequencies for communication have been in use for quite some time, though they’ve never been used on the same scale which we anticipate will be the case with 5G. The arguments for that debate are well beyond the scope of this post, so here are some links to some differing opinions on the matter:

A City Connected By Wireless Communication

Let’s Talk About 5G: An Introduction 📱

5G is coming! And it’s not only going to replace our current existing 4G LTE infrastructure, primarily used by mobile devices. The move to 5G will represent a fundamental shift in the way all of our electronics connect with each other, negating the requirement of hard-wired coaxial and fiber optics for high-speed, low-latency communication.

Let’s Talk About 5G

What network do we have now?

Our current wireless communication networks have predominantly operated within the same 5GHz bandwidth range on the electromagnetic spectrum for decades. That includes your AM/FM Radio, cordless phones (remember those?), bluetooth devices, mobile phones, and both 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi routers which, if you’re sitting at home or work, you’re likely utilizing to have this content delivered to your reading device. We’ve reached a point where there are too many devices competing for the same radio waves and colliding with each other in a traffic jam of sorts.

What is 5G?

While 5G, as you may have guessed, stands for fifth-generation, the changes aren’t merely just a version bump. The implications of this change will be massive! We’re not talking just a speed boost in how fast web pages and YouTube videos load, but also an awareness and focus on location for optimized transfer of data, enhanced security, and reliable, low latency (ultra-responsive) communication. These attributes will enable smart cars, augmented reality, detailed logistics for homes, businesses and agriculture, as well as mission critical data for health and automated appliances at home, work and industry. 5G will enable us to cater to specific aspects of communication depending upon the requirements. We’re only just scratching the surface of the opportunities this level of communication can bring to society.

When do we get to live in the matrix?

We might all have to exercise a bit of patience for this to rollout, so hold your horses. This transition won’t happen as quickly as we’d all like as the infrastructure currently in place must first either be upgraded or completely replaced in order for us to move up to 5G… and it will be costly! You’re more likely to visit our store and get your screen or battery replaced before you start reaping the benefits of 5G in the years ahead. Over the course of the next month, we plan on discussing examples of applications for 5G and what sort of technological innovations we might expect to see in a thoroughly connected world. Stay tuned!

This Year’s New iPhone

Last year, Apple released their brand new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max to the public. As with each annual release of the iPhone, a question of “is it worth upgrading?” comes about. In 2017, apple released the iPhone X, with its edge to edge curved screens like those seen on Android devices, even dating back to the Galaxy S6 Edge from 2015. This was the first major device redesign since the iPhone 6 was launched and it appears they’re sticking with it moving forward.

The iPhone XS and XS Max aren’t terribly different from their predecessor in terms of actual technology within the device itself. Of course, there’s the highly boasted A12 Bionic chip, new antenna lines (located towards the bottom of the phone near the charging port), a better camera for the rear facing side of the phone and a few other minor changes here and there. The new iPhone XS has 30 minutes more battery life compared to the previous iPhone X, but actually has a smaller battery than the latter. The iPhone X’s battery clocked in at 2,716 mAh, whereas the iPhone XS’ battery is smaller at 2,649. The new iPhone XS Max’s battery sits at 3,179 mAh, which makes sense given its larger size and larger display. In fact, while Apple is reporting an increase in battery life between the iPhone X and XS specs listed on their website, the iPhone XS has the exact same estimated time for uses such as internet usage, video playback and audio playback. The only exception is the call time which has gone down by one full hour compared (at 20 hours) to the iPhone X (which has a reported 21 hours).

However, it’s not all doom and gloom on the horizon for the newest iPhones. The yet to be released iPhone XR has an increased battery life compared to both as well as a notably cheaper price point. Additionally, newer hardware in the devices mean that they can do more for less energy, new software made for these newer phones allows for more high quality pictures to be taken and edited, better videos to be made and so on. In the end, it’s up to each consumer to make an informed decision on whether they think it’s worth their time and money to upgrade to one of these newer devices.
An iPhone Teardown

Avoiding the Headache: Choosing a Repairable Phone

A lot of people, ourselves included, get swept up in the marketing hype whenever a new phone comes out. New features like beveled glass edges, 4k cameras, and all-glass bodies seem innovative and attractive… until you drop the phone.

Suddenly an all-glass body or a beveled edge is much less appealing when it means spending upwards of $400 or more just to fix the screen! This information isn’t common knowledge for a lot of people until they break the phone and can be quite an unwelcome surprise.

We here at the Fix Hut feel your pain, and want to help you make an educated choice regarding what phone is not only a good blend of features, but also fast and cheap to repair.

Our friends over at iFixit have put together a handy chart to help you choose what phone is the best. Their Smartphone Repairability Scores list a number of popular Apple and Android phones with a 10-point rating system to separate the best and worst. A perfect 10 is always going to be our top recommendation to the consumer, but any device that is a 7 or up, would also stand to be a solid choice.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to give any of our four shops a call. Repairing phones is our passion, and sharing the knowledge of what is possible helps make the world a better place for everyone.

Greener Choices: Ethical Consumer Electronics and You

In 2017, Greenpeace released a report unprecedented in its scope. In Greenpeace’s “Guide to Greener Electronics 2017”, a comprehensive analysis of seventeen of the world’s leading manufacturer’s of consumer electronics was made. Heavy hitters such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Amazon are listed, as well as other brands that have a significant effect on the environment through their choices.

By 2017, the global volume of waste produced in the manufacturing and use of consumer electronics surpassed 65 million metric tons of waste. That’s enough waste to cover the entirety of Manhattan, from street-level to it’s tallest building. That’s a lot of waste. The final results are sobering… but there is a way that you, as a consumer, can affect immediate change:

  • Step One: Research your brand. Check out Greenpeace’s company report card. See what decisions companies are making to fight their environmental impact, and vote with your dollar.
  • Step Two: Push for legislation that holds companies accountable to a better environmental impact in its manufacturing processes, and fight for your Right to Repair.
  • Step Three: Bring your phone in to get repaired by us! Extending the life of your phone by having it repaired in our shop drastically reduces the impact to landfills, and also sends a message to corporations that planned obsolescence is unacceptable. We at The Fix Hut believe in a world where future generations don’t suffer under the weight of a disposable society. Help us change it!
  • Step Four: Let us recycle your old phones. We understand that sometimes a broken phone is a broken phone, but even in the end of your phone’s life, there is a way to decrease the impact of throwing it away. Choosing to let us recycle your old phones not only decreases clutter in your home, but is an ethical way to make sure that impact to the environment is as low as it possibly can get.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to drop by at your local Fix Hut and say hello!

3 Easy Steps to Fix Wet Phones

Does this sound familiar?

You’re texting a friend in the bathroom, your fingers slip, and suddenly…. *plunk* your phone falls into the toilet.

 

Or how about this?

You’re getting out of the car, it’s raining cats and dogs, and *plunk* your phone slips out of your pocket into the gutter.

 

Or this oldy-but-a-goldy…

You’re having a blast at the river/lake with your friends, things get a little rowdy, and… *plunk* your phone falls into the water.

 

We here at Fix Hut have heard it all, and although everyone can universally agree what can happen that leads to a phone getting wet…. not that many people seem to know what the best steps are after you’ve pulled your phone from it’s watery grave. Fret not, and follow these three important steps to ensure the best chances of us recovering your phone from it’s water damage.

Step One:

Assume water is in the device, even if it’s a “water proof” or “water resistant” device. Water wicks into small electronics surprisingly fast, and even if the phone doesn’t appear to have water in it, you don’t know what’s going on inside. You’d be surprised how many phones we’ve opened up where the owners have snatched it out in seconds, and it’s soaked on the inside.

Step Two:

Try and turn the device off. Water and electricity do not mix, and the sooner you can prevent power from circulating in your device, the less damage will be done to your phone. Can’t turn it off? Don’t fret…. the next best thing you can do is to let the battery drain naturally. This means not plugging it in. Remember: electricity = bad.

Step Three:

Do not put it in rice. DO NOT PUT IT IN RICE. Putting it in rice is an old wives remedy that is just as ineffective as wrapping your phone in toilet paper, or sticking it in a drawer for a few days. Corrosion happens as soon as the water hits the device, and rice is not going to remove that corrosion and in fact the longer your device is sitting in a bag of rice the more that corrosion is going to spread within the phone. Do yourself a favor, avoid the hassle, and save the rice for a meal. 😀

 

There you have it. Three things that will turn the tide of any water damaged phone. All you have to do now is find the closest Fix Hut to your location and drop off your phone. Using our special water damage service, we meticulously take apart and clean your phone of any and all corrosion. Three passes in a sonic cleaning bath and a battery of tests give your phone the greatest chance of bouncing back from it’s dip.

 

The Fix Hut’s Teal Pumpkin for Trick of Treat Alberta Street!

We’re proud to have our phone and tablet repair shop, The Fix Hut, participate in the second year of Trick of Treat Alberta Street, organized by Alberta Main Street in NE Portland. We will still be open to repair broken iPhone screens, broken glass on iPads, and other devices too while we hand out non-food treats to cool kids in cute costumes. You may notice we’ve painted our pumpkin teal, and it’s not just because it’s our store’s color. It’s because we’re participating again in the Teal Pumpkin Project, creating safe places for kid’s with food allergies to trick or treat as well. Our non-candy treats this year include a fun variety of halloween goodness like tattoos, glow sticks, stickers, and vampire teeth! It’s so much, we hope you stop by to see us later this afternoon or follow along on our Instagram page for The Fix Hut or on Facebook to see all the action! And if you drop your phone in a puddle this Fall, keep in mind we repair water damage too! Happy Halloween, Portland!

Cell Phone Repair In Portland

It sure was a busy summer, but we are proud to now offer 4 locations in Portland for cell phone repair and tablet repair services! Not only did we open our new Milwaukie phone and tablet repair location, but we kicked off the summer by moving our NW Tualatin phone and tablet repair shop from 7010 next door to 7014 SW Nyberg St. in Tualatin. Our new SW Portland shop offers a lot more space and it’s much easier to find, especially thanks to our brand new big light up LED sign! It’s fun to see our original Wired iRepair sign still up to remind us we aren’t tucked down an office hallway anymore, but we sure do prefer our new big THE FIX HUT one! We even have room to keep a fun foosball table up front for you to play while you wait for your repair, and of course we still offer the same cell phone repair services; specializing in iPhones and iPads. This includes broken glass, busted LCD replacements, buttons that aren’t working, battery replacements, water damage and so much more!

Our new cell phone repair store in Tualatin specializes in iPhone and iPad repair

iPhone screen repair and iPad repair shop in SW Portland Tualatin

 

iPad Repair for Broken Glass Here in Portland!

Did you know we work on iPads and other tablets as well as iPhones and smartphones? We can fix cracked glass, broken LCDs, busted buttons, and even often repair water damage. If you’ve broken your iPad, swing by one of our 4 Portland-area shops soon to get it fixed. We are located in NW Portland by the streetcar line by the Pearl, on NE Alberta St., in Tualatin right off the I-5 exit for SW Nyberg, and in downtown Milwaukie at the MAX stop right after the Sellwood neighborhood.

For our most current iPad repair prices, call the shop nearest you or check the “pricing” page on the website. We drop our prices as our part’s costs drop so we can pass the savings on to our customers.

Thanks for supporting local keep being awesome, Portland!

Excited to announce our iPhone repair shop in Milwaukie!

We are thrilled to announce we’ve just opened our 4th phone and tablet repair shop in historic downtown Milwaukie, Oregon. Like our other Portland-area shops, this one in Milwaukie also specializes in iPhone and iPad broken glass repair and water damage services. Located right at the trimet MAX orange line stop for Main St./Milwaukie, we are directly across the street from the new Milwaukie Station food cart pods and beer garden. Next door, we have local Rohst coffee shop, owned by the grandson of the man who built the building (how cool is that?)!

Grand opening of The Fix Hut Milwaukie and Food carts

The iPhone and iPad repair techs at The Fix Hut Milwaukie party

Trimet MAX train stop orange line passing through to Sellwood from Milwaukie

Inside the new Milwaukie iPhone and iPad repair shop for The Fix Hut near Sellwood

MAX train headed for Sellwood from Milwaukie

Milwaukie iPhone repair shop mouse pad in new store

Milwaukie MAX train stop from The Fix Hut window iPhone and iPad repair shop in Milwaukie OR

Milwaukie Water Damage phone repair tablet and smart device information brochure at the new The Fix Hut shop

Our grand opening party was a blast, with lots of balloons, high fives, food cart meals, and little kids passing out free cookies and coloring in broken iPhone glass drawings! It’s always fun to get our team of repair techs together, who all specialize in iPhone and iPad repair!

Coloring in broken iPhone glass coloring pages

The Fix Hut Milwaukie phone and tablet repair shop opening party and balloons

Milwaukie Food Carts and cookies in an iPhone costume!

Passing out cookies at Milwaukie Station food cart and beer garden by the MAX stop from iPhone and iPad repair shop The Fix Hut Milwaukie

We are excited to be in this neighborhood, right by Sellwood Portland, offering iPhone repair Milwaukie!