Cell Signal Strength
Your mobile phone connects to the cellular network through cell phone signals and the quality of the connection depends on the strength of these signals. It is measured in decibels and the approximate range is -30 dBm to -110 dBm. It might seem counterintuitive but the closer it is to 0, the stronger it is. Good signal strength is typically better than -85 dBm.
You must have noticed the number of bars at the top of the phone display. The bars keep wavering as you change your location and these bars are perceived to be the signal strength but the reality is different. While the bars do give you a rough idea of the cell phone signal strength in your location but it does not represent signal strength accurately. One of the reasons is a lack of industry standards. Nobody knows the difference between a single bar or multiple bars and whether it’s related to voice performance on a 3G network or data performance on a 4G network.
Simply put, 3 bars on the Sprint network might represent the same signal strength as 2 bars on a Verizon network. The number of bars on your device also depends on the way you hold your phone, activity on your phone as well as a phone manufacturer.
There is a way for you to find accurate signal strength on your phone. You will need to take your android phone into Field Test Mode for this. Make sure your phone has an active cellular connection.
Go to the menu. Its location may vary depending on your model, phone manufacturer, and android version. Follow these steps: About Phone >> Network or Status >> Network Type and Strength or Signal Strength.
For other android devices you might have to follow a different path: Settings >> More Settings >> About Phone >> Mobile Networks >> Signal Strength.
If you have an old android device, you might be able to get into the Field Test Mode following this path: Settings >> General >> About Device >> Status.
If you are not able to locate the signal strength of your android device by one of the above-mentioned methods, read the operations guide for your device. In fact, Play Store also has certain applications that allow you to check the signal strength of your device. One such example is SignalCheck Lite.
Always keep in mind that the reading goes from a negative number to 0. The closer your signal strength is to 0, the better your signal is. For instance, -40 indicates a strong signal whereas -90 is a poor signal.
Naturally, signal strength is at its highest when you are really close to cell towers. While most places have nearby cell tower infrastructure but certain environmental factors can also affect cell signal strength by preventing those signals from reaching your phone. If you are looking for a mobile signal booster then see here.
Factors Responsible for Cell Signal Blockage
Everyone has had the experience of dropped calls. If you have experienced failure when sending or receiving a document or message, it is due to something blocking those cell signals from reaching your device. It means you have entered the dead zone. It could be a parking garage, subway, tunnel, or office building. As per a survey done by Pew Research, 6% of Americans experience dropped calls many times per day whereas 72% of the population in America complains about dropped calls.
There are a number of things that can diminish sell signal strength in areas with a lot of cell towers. While theoretically there shouldn’t be any lack of coverage in areas with many cell towers but natural environmental barriers can impede cell signals. Common examples include thick forests, mountainous terrain and vegetation. Common building materials used indoors such as concrete, steel, brick and LEED-certified glass windows also have the potential to impede a strong sell signal.
Also, the increase in the number of cell users is also bogging down cellular networks as more devices compete for the same signals. This is the reason many people experience a lag when they are at an event where many people are using their mobile devices such as a conference or a concert.