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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default What does the signal bars in the notification bar indicate?

    I thought that the signal bars indicated data signal strength, but I noticed something odd. I was always on 4GLTE at each of these times and am using Verizon.

    85 dbm - 5 bars

    73 dbm - 4 bars

    83 dbm - 3 bars









    dpham00, Android Central Moderator
    Sent from my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3
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  2. #2  
    jpr
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    Default Re: What does the signal bars in the notification bar indicate?

    The signal bars are for voice signal strength. I know you have an app to see your data signal strength, but if you want to see both and compare the voice signal strength to the signal bars you are seeing, try Network Signal Strength. You can choose GSM to see voice and LTE to see LTE. Also, in the widget options you can uncheck the data box and choose to show signal in the notifcation bar and it will show the voice signal there. See if that matches what you are seeing better.

    Just adding that this works well for me on my TMO Note 3. I can't say how it will work for Verizon. And maybe it will say CDMA instead of GSM for you.
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  3. #3  
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    Default Re: What does the signal bars in the notification bar indicate?

    On a GSM phone (AT&T, T-Mobile), the bars bear some relationship to 2G signal strength (but they're not a direct signal strength indicator). On a CDMA phone (Verizon, Sprint), they indicate something called signal quality, which is really a measure of how much the channel your phone is on is being used. You can get a perfect call with 1 bar and have all sorts of problems with 5 bars. The indicator is there more because people expect one than to actually indicate anything that would be of use to anyone except an engineer troubleshooting the network. (Even signal strength apps won't help much - a strong signal on an overloaded tower face will give you dropouts and "underwater, while a weak signal on a tower face on which you're the only user will give you a good quality call.)

    The indicators were useful back in the days of analog cellphones, but as of February 18, 2008, carriers were no longer required to provide analog service, and most of them had already converted to digital and dropped analog. But people were used to "signal strength" indicators, so they're still on the phones, even though they're useless.

    And that's for voice. The indicator has nothing at all to do with QoS (quality of service) on your data connection.
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  4. #4  

    Default Re: What does the signal bars in the notification bar indicate?

    Also keep in mind its possible your signal bars and the app your using to look at the decibels of the signal are not updating at the exact same time.
    So while it showed -83db it might have been a few seconds behind the signal bars.
    anon8380037 likes this.

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