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Is there any way to control how/when the 3G radio goes to sleep?

Is that, in fact, what it is doing?

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JuiceDefender allows you to turn your radio on and off and to set triggers for this.

Tasker will also do this.

One thing to note, the "3G" radio is the same radio that you use to make voice calls, at least it is on CDMA phones. By controlling the APN you can turn on and off your 3g data and reap gains in battery life without turning off the radio.

I'm not 100% on this but I believe for phones that aren't yet on Froyo (2.2) an app is required to control the APN like APNdroid or QuickSettings. I'm not sure how well these work with the automated trigger apps mentioned above.

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What is APN...? –  Gus Paul Sep 24 '10 at 19:17
    
It stands for Access Point Name. Basically its a string of data that is used to identify and connect to a data network like your carriers 3G network or it's 2G network, or the MMS service or the other data roaming networks. Its more of a setting than a "thing" but for all intents in purposes, when the word is used in the context of the "end user" it is basically referring to the Data connection or the way the phone connects to the data connection... –  Matt Sep 24 '10 at 21:01
    
Since turning off the cellular radio disables both the data and voice connections, there are apps that allow you to use the APN to disable the data connection. These apps aren't actually disabling anything, they are rewriting the string of data so it no longer works and then fixing it again when you want internet. I don't know much about the technical implementation of this but I do know you don't want to uninstall your APN disabler while it's disabled because you won't be able to turn it back on (unless you reinstall it and turn it back on). Hope this helps. –  Matt Sep 24 '10 at 21:05
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