Before you move, check your cell signal

Most people don’t have land lines these days. If you’re relying on cell service to connect to people, places and emergency services. It’s important to see what your signal strength is if any.

Check your bars
Start with the obvious: your first indication of a strong or weak signal is checking to see how many bars/waveforms your phone has.  Not the best way to measure cell phone signal strength.

Think of it like cooking without using measuring cups and spoons. Sure you can eyeball everything and get a decent meal, but when you want to produce the same reliable results, you need to get accurate.

Check for cell towers in the area
To find out how many cell towers are near you and if there are any plans for future development, enter your street address on the Antenna Search website. You can compare your signal strength to other areas of the city, state, or even nation.

Check your phone’s decibel unit of measure (dBm)
Go to settings: Settings – About phone – Status – Signal strength. Typically, decibels are shown as a negative number. The closer the dBm is to zero, the stronger the signal in the area. A measure of -55 is one of the strongest (and rarest) signals you might see, while a rating of -100 dBm is considered a weak signal.

  • -50 to -40 means an excellent signal (your phone is close to the base station).
  • -60 to -50 indicates very good signal.
  • -70 to -60 shows good signal.
  • -80 to -70 means less weak signal.
  • -90 to -80 shows weak signal.

How to Find an Accurate dB Reading on your iPhone:
Starting with iOS 11 and 12, Apple has hidden dBm readings in iPhone field test mode. However, depending on your iPhone chipset (Intel or Qualcomm) and your carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint), there’s a slim chance to find your dBm readings through this workaround.

AT&T or T-Mobile iPhone with Intel chipset (iOS 11 & 12)

Dial *3001#12345#*
Tap LTE.
Tap Serving Cell Meas.
Your dBm is read as rsrp0.
Verizon or Sprint iPhone with Qualcomm chipset (iOS 11 & 12)

Dial *3001#12345#*
Tap 1xEV-DO.
Your dBm is read as RX AGC0.
For any iPhone pre-iOS 11

Dial *3001#12345#*
Swipe down notifications bar.
Your dBm is in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

Try downloading an app
Network Cell Info Lite is a favorite of installers, and it’s more or less interchangeable with LTE Discovery. These two are the best options. The Network Cell Info Lite doesn’t mess with bars, but it shows neighboring towers, and is extremely user-friendly.

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