QuickCheck: Does having more bars on your smartphone mean better connectivity?

IN THIS day and age, it is important to stay connected via your smartphone - whether it is to communicate with your loved ones, replying to a work email, or even playing a game of Clash Royale.

But is it true that the higher the number of signal bars on your smartphone, the better your connection is?



The bars graphic on the home screen of your smartphone is meant to indicate signal strength.

Technically, the bars measure how many decibels (a technical unit of measure used with power and sound which measures how intense an electrical signal is) of power your phone is getting from the telecommunication tower it’s connected to.

That’s the definition of signal strength.

The bars usually indicate the relative strength of the available signal.

You are able to tell whether the signal strength has gone up or down compared to where it was earlier or in a different location because the bars appear and disappear accordingly.

However, it does not actually tell you how much signal strength you have in measurable decibels.

But if you see a one-bar of service on your phone, it indicates that you are too far from the nearest telco tower, and you're receiving poor signal - and on the verge of not getting any telco service.

Root Wireless co-founder Ron Dicklin was quoted by CNET saying that there was no standard way to measure signal strength.

"Unfortunately, there is no standard way to measure signal strength. One of the steps Root Wireless performs to properly validate that its on-device metering software is working correctly, is to put each of the supported handsets in a lab which measures a known decibel rating against what the handset reads and displays in signal bars," he said. (Root Wireless is a company that tests and provides accurate data on wireless network and phone performance.)

Dicklin added that the company has seen rather large differences in how handset manufacturers relate decibels to bars.

He also noted that having five bars does not correlate with having a better connection.

"You can have full signal bars and if the network is heavily congested you will still have problems maintaining a good connection.

"This condition happens more in heavily populated areas where many people are using the network at the same time, like in big cities and at sporting events for example," he said.

So, the next time you see five bars and you can browse your favourite news site properly, perhaps it's best to log on to the WiFi network.


1. https://www.weboost.com/blog/what-do-the-bars-on-your-phone-mean

2. https://www.myamplifiers.com/articles/signal-bars-on-smartphone-303/

3. https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/5-bar-phone-signal-whats-it-get-you-faq/

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QuickCheck , bars , smartphone , connection


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