How is signal strength displayed?

Discussion in 'Motorola Droid Bionic' started by km75, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. km75

    km75 Member

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    I ask this because with all the 4glte problems people always refer to how many "bars" they have displayed when referring to data signal strength. I've been wrong before but I thought those "bars" dealt with the signal for calls. Not data. Am I missing something?

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    #1 km75, Jan 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  2. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
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    Signal level is a measurement of how much power is received through the antenna of the phone. It's usually defined by Decibels against the inherent background noise level. Whether the signal is carrying data or voice is irrelevant. Those bars are a visual representation of the range of useable signal level from maximum to minimum but are only an approximation of the true levels. There may be different minimum levels needed in order to lock into the 3G or 4G carriers versus what the cellular voice carrier needs but the level is the level.

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  3. km75

    km75 Member

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    So those 4 bars in my notification bar represent signal strength for voice and data? So what does it mean when I turn off data and those bars are still there and I can still make calls and text? Whereas if I go into airplane mode the 4 bars are gone and as a result I can't make phone calls or text. Also what about when im using wifi? Those bars are still there even w/o 3g/4g.

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    #3 km75, Jan 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  4. bbtkd

    bbtkd Active Member

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    Slightly off topic of the OP, but am I the only one that thinks the stock shades of the bars make the meter almost unusable? The two slightly different shades of blue make it difficult to determine how many bars I have. They need to ensure that the bars that are on are much brighter.
     
  5. smalltowngirl13

    smalltowngirl13 Administrator
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    If you want to see what your signal strength is (some Custom ROMs build this in as a display for the notification bar, stock does not) you can find it under phone settings - about phone - status...then you can compare to others around you.
     
  6. INCREMENTAL

    INCREMENTAL Member

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    Maybe its just u, idk but I don't have any problems in reading them, could they be better? Yeah they could be.

    Also I have a question and this is what throws me for a loop. They recently just put 4G in my area but its off of one tower and still a lil ways away so I get 4G sometimes but its only 1 to 2 bars, mostly 1. But when I was in 3G or when it switches to it I have full signal (4 bars). I've noticed that even with 0 to 1 bar on 4G its still WAY faster then full signal on 3G so I guess what I'm asking is 1 bar on 4G that bad? And how does that relate to signal when using the phone for phone calls since u can be on the phone and still have 4G at the same time? When I see that low 4G signal I'm like jeez I have no signal hardly but is it still better then full signal with 3G, in terms is it like having 5 or 6 bars of 3G in comparison or something?

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  7. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
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    When you turn off data you are turning off the 3G and 4G radios on the phone and telling the cellular tower to disconnect you from the web, but the tower still continues to provide a cellular voice communication carrier. When you turn Airplane mode on, you are actually turning off all the radios.

    When you are on WIFI, unless you turned off the data and voice cellular radios they remain on and at the ready in case the WIFI connection goes down and so you can still make and receive calls and texts.

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    #7 FoxKat, Jan 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  8. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
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    The signal level bars on my phone are either light gray or medium blue while connected and very dim gray when there's no signal so they are easily distinguished by me.

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  9. kptphalkon

    kptphalkon Active Member

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    Stop griping about signal so much....

    Yes the number (represented as a negative DeciBel watts per squared Meter, which you would see as -95 dbm for example) is a direct corrolation for the "quality" or "strength" of the signal. Yes, as a matter of fact, the data speed you get is directly tied to this number. The closer this number is to 0 (best I've ever gotten is -36, in a parking lot a block away from a major tower) the faster your ping times, download and upload speeds will be >capable< of. There are also other things like how many people are using that tower, etc. that make your speed fluctuate.
     
  10. km75

    km75 Member

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    That much I already know. I guess what I'm asking is does that signal bar in the notification represent strength for voice and data? So for instance if I have two bars while on 4g is that referring to my data signal strength as well as voice signal strength? I ask this because when the phone drops 4g and is searching for 3g obviously there isn't a signal there (sometimes for a minute or two) for data but yet I can make calls. So those bars at that time obviously are for the voice signal strength only. Unless I'm missing something. So how can those bars represent both data and signal strength?

    And if anyone feels I'm griping please feel free to unsubscribe to this thread. For those that are trying to clarify this for me I appreciate you taking the time out to do so.
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    #10 km75, Jan 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  11. km75

    km75 Member

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    Actually I've went a step further and did the *#*#4636#*#* thing so I have seen the actual numbers that way as well.

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  12. aaf709

    aaf709 Nice Guy
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    It look like there are several apps/widgets to show signal strength. I'm trying OpenSignalMaps now. Also Phone Info, which does the *#*#4636#*#* thing.
     
    #12 aaf709, Jan 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
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