Question on cell phone signal strength

So I was doing some reading about signal strength and how to actually see it on the phone. So when I get to the screen, I see that it bounces from -101dBm to -108dBm. From what I read, at those numbers I have almost no signal. But I have 4 to 5 bars and I don’t think I have any signal problem. So any idea what’s up with that?

That’s pretty typical, actually. Thislink gives you the normal ranges.

“RSRP – The average power received from a single Reference signal, and Its typical range is around -44dbm (good) to -140dbm(bad).” 101-108 is a fair signal. Keep in mind your phone will have a variable sensitivity compared to others.

Thank you. That explains it then.

Note, the available signal strength naturally depends on the radio network/standard in use. Based on your post you are using LTE; if you were hypothetically using GSM or 3G then at -100 dBm (RSSI) your call would probably get poor or dropped. RSRP is Reference Signal Received Power, more of a narrow-band measurement, which explains why your LTE phone still works down to -120 or whatever (while the RSSI is much higher). In other words, you should check what your signal strength screen is actually displaying to be able to interpret the power level correctly.

If I may tag along…

We live in an area with very, very poor signal. 2-3 bars, 1x. You could make a call, but you had best not move. If you went outside, it was better.

I installed a yagi directional antenna on the roof and pointed it at our closest cell phone antenna about 14 miles away. Coax runs from the yagi to a booster in the house that ‘repeats’ the signal.

We now get 1 bar of 4g. But it’s -120db. But, we can talk on the cell phone anywhere in the house without losing the signal. :shrug: beats me. Seems to be better.

Can you read the other parameters, eg RSSI, RSRQ and similar in addition to RSRP? Not sure why 2-3 “bars” would sound worse than 1 “bar”, nor what the bars in fact represent on your phone.

-120 dBm RSRP is close to the edge of usable LTE coverage according to swampspruce’s link, but evidently it works. Yours might be -120 dBm from your booster, though, not from the cell tower. I guess in that case the question is how much power is coming from the Yagi antenna before it gets amplified, and/or what is the RSRQ value, which is proportional to RSRP divided by RSSI and therefore is some indication of the quality of the signal.

I read a long time ago that the ‘bars’ mean very little:

If you add a commercial booster you’ll see better results. we’ve had to do that on our remote sites that sit about the same or more distance from the towers.

Wilson Pro 70 Plus Cell Phone Signal Booster Kit Pricy but you’ll be able to sit outside with your laptop…:smiley: Until the snow drops!

Note that, by amplifying the signal, the basic repeater/booster makes it stronger, but more noisy. Unless I misunderstood something. But it is useful for rebroadcasting a weak outdoor signal indoors.

That seems to be he case for us. We can actually use our cell phones at home, inside. We are trying to get rid of our land line as we are the only ones on the wire. It gets knocked out by weather and snow plows about 3 times a year. Um… this makes no sense for anyone. Just pisses me off and it’s basically a waste of resources to have them fix it.

I dropped my landline years ago when I figured out I was paying about a buck a day for the privilege of receiving commercial calls.* Everybody I knew called the cell number instead.

“We will clean the carpet in three rooms for $100! Solongasthethreeroomsdonotexceed100squarefeettotal.”