Accuracy of signal strength bars on iPhone

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Rob7152

New Member
May 9, 2013
6
0
1
Scranton, Pennsylvania
#1
When I am at work, my phone usually shows at least 4bars of 4G service. However, when I try to access anything network related, all I get is the loading sign. Can this actually be a "false" signal?


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Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,505
113
Utah
#2
The signal strength bars are not always accurate, and they certainly aren't a good way to gauge the likelihood of dropped calls. I drop calls all the time with five bars.
 

Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,505
113
Utah
#4
You can reset your network settings and see if it helps.

Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings

You'll have to put your wifi passwords in again afterwards.
 

up10ad

Genius
Gold
Aug 1, 2007
3,606
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83
Fruita , CO
up10ad.com
#5
I see that issue as well. My experience working for a provider suggests that the bars are solely related to cellular signal strength, and have no relationship to data bandwidth or availability.
 

up10ad

Genius
Gold
Aug 1, 2007
3,606
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83
Fruita , CO
up10ad.com
#7
Yup, it is all carried by the same radio link. For both major cell technologies there are specific ways of routing voice and data once a connection is made to a tower. Typically a radio access network unit negotiates and manages user connections and often negotiates what we think of as signal strength. A cell site also performs lots of other chores which are handled by several internal or remote elements, including a packet data gateway that handles connections to either other phones or the Internet. The gateway is often located at a central location. Depending on the packet type (voice, data or other carrier protocol), the packet is sent to different control units. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where voice traffic is operating fine but data packets are challenged by throughput limitations either at the tower or at the gateway location.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that having good signal bars is needed for any connection, but good bars doesn't necessarily translate to good data throughput for the end user.
 

RBNetEngr

Contributor
Bronze
Jun 17, 2013
170
27
28
#9
I have ATT. You can try this to get more information.

Open the phone app and put the following code in, and press 'Send':

*3001#12345#*

This will provide diagnostic info. The top area where the signal strength bars normally appear will be replaced with a signal strength value. It will always be a negative number, but the closer to zero that the value is (less negative), the higher the signal is.

Generally, once you get above the mid 80s (-85 and more negative) you are getting into a marginal signal level, and performance will be less.

I'm not sure how much info (if any) you will get if your phone is on another provider network.

Hope this helps.

-rb



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Dec 15, 2010
2
0
1
#10
I have ATT. You can try this to get more information.

Open the phone app and put the following code in, and press 'Send':

*3001#12345#*

This will provide diagnostic info. The top area where the signal strength bars normally appear will be replaced with a signal strength value. It will always be a negative number, but the closer to zero that the value is (less negative), the higher the signal is.

Generally, once you get above the mid 80s (-85 and more negative) you are getting into a marginal signal level, and performance will be less.

I'm not sure how much info (if any) you will get if your phone is on another provider network.

Hope this helps.

-rb



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And where would you enter that code RB?