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LTE Plus / Enhanced LTE (was "Sprint Spark" - Official Name for the Tri-Band Network)


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NOTE:   This information is starting to get obsolete.  It only pertains to single band Sprint LTE devices (2012-2013) running Android versions before 4.3.  This does not apply to any Triband LTE devices, iPhones and any LG Android devices.  They do show LTE signal accurately.  We are maintaining this pinned thread because there are a lot of older Uniband devices out there.  Many being resold on the market and being passed down.

Did you know that with many Sprint (Uniband) LTE Android devices, the signal strength indicator at the top does not show your LTE signal strength? Even if 4G or LTE is displayed next to it?

 

That's right!  This signal displayed here is your 1x (voice signal), and it is not your 3G EVDO signal strength, nor your LTE signal strength.  Regardless of whether it says 3G or 4G next to it. This is the cause of a lot of confusion.  Also, third party apps like NetMonitor do not show accurate LTE signal strengths. They also only show the 1x signal strength, even though they may reference being connected to LTE.

The purpose of this thread is to help educate the masses, because many people think they have a strong LTE signal, when in fact they do not. And then they are unhappy, thinking that Sprint LTE is really slow, even with a strong signal. LTE performance is very signal strength dependent. So, when you have a weak signal, you can expect much slower than peak results.

 

There is only one accurate way to get your LTE signal strength, and that is from your LTE Engineering screen in your Debug menu. And we will discuss the different ways to get that below.

 

...In HTC, Motorola & LG Sprint LTE devices:

  • Go in to your phone app, and dial ##DEBUG#
  • Select LTE Engineering
  • Go down to RSRP. The number under RSRP shown in dBm is your LTE signal strength.

...In Samsung Sprint LTE devices:

  • Go in to your phone app, and dial ##DEBUG#
  • Enter 777468 for your lock code
  • Select LTE Engineering
  • Go down to RSRP. The number next to RSRP shown in dBm is your LTE signal strength.

...In the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 5:

  • Go in to your phone app, and dial *#*#DEBUG#*#*
  • Enter 777468 for your lock code
  • Select LTE Engineering
  • Go down to RSRP. The number next to RSRP shown in dBm is your LTE signal strength.

The LTE Signal Strength Scale:

 

Now you have determined your actual LTE signal strength in dBms your device is receiving, you can use the following scale below to determine its strength:

  • Better than -88dBm RSRP is a strong signal
  • Between -89dBm and -96dBm is a very good signal
  • Between -97dBm and -105dBm is good
  • Between -106dBm and -112dBm is fair
  • Worse than -113dBm RSRP is poor

Feel free to link people to this thread for explanation. Hopefully, this will clear up some confusion out there!

 

 

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On Androids, and instead of going thru all of that, you could just load up Net Monitor and read your signal strength directly off of that. I currently on tower 394 at - 90(dBm).

 

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

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On Androids, and instead of going thru all of that, you could just load up Net Monitor and read your signal strength directly off of that. I currently on tower 394 at - 90(dBm).

 

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

 

That is the problem. That is not accurate. NetMonitor never gives the LTE signal strength, it only gives the 1x signal strength. This is the exact problem we are trying to avoid. Mistaken signal readings.

 

All the data in NetMonitor regarding LTE is not valid. The signal strength, tower/site info and map location shown are for your 1x connection, even though LTE is shown as the network connection type. The only place to get an accurate LTE signal strength is in your Debug/LTE Engineering screen.

 

Robert

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That's odd since I just verified the same reading in my Evdo engineering screen, on my Evo 4G LTE.

 

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

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That's odd since I just verified the same reading in my Evdo engineering screen, on my Evo 4G LTE.

 

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

 

You are much more likely to have a similar 1x and EVDO signal on most devices. However, your LTE signal will never be the same. They aren't even measured on the same scale, one using RSSI and the other RSRP. I repeat, NetMonitor DOES NOT GIVE YOU LTE SIGNAL STRENGTHS.

 

Android does not provide the information about LTE signal strength and connections to the Android API. So apps cannot even obtain the information from your Android device. So all the data that NetMonitor is showing it is getting from the Android OS, which does not include LTE site info. The site info displayed in NetMonitor is based on the 1x connection your device has. It currently is not capable of getting it from your device.

 

Robert

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As far as I can tell, LTE signal strength is measured in dBm also on my Evo lte engineering screen rsrp/rsrq.

 

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

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As far as I can tell, LTE signal strength is measured in dBm also on my Evo lte engineering screen rsrp/rsrq.

 

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

 

You are mistaken and causing confusion. Sprint LTE is measured in dBms in the RSRP scale. 1x and EVDO are measured in dBms in RSSI. The numbers you are posting from NetMonitor are clearly in RSSI, and thus cannot be LTE.

 

We already know unequivocally that NetMonitor does not and cannot provide LTE signal strengths in their readings and they have admitted to it in the past in postings and comments with our members. This is not something debatable.

 

If you believe that you are getting LTE signal strength in NetMonitor, you are mistakenly getting incorrect readings. We are trying to prevent this problem. If you keep reading NetMonitor signal strengths, when you are connected to LTE, you are almost always going to think you have a great signal, and wonder why you are getting weak speeds and dropped from LTE. Whereas if you check your actual LTE signal strength in the LTE Engineering screen, as we have outlined in this thread, you will know when you actually have a weak LTE signal.

 

Currently, the EVO LTE is the only Sprint LTE device that shows a LTE RSRP signal reading in the Settings>About menu. And we noticed some variation at times between LTE Engineering and the reading in Settings>About during our LTE performance testing we did in the Sprint LTE FIT earlier this month.

 

The GS-III, Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper all show their 1x connection strength in RSSI in the Settings>About, even though they reference the LTE data connection. It is all confusing. That is why the only place that is guaranteed accurate and provides the signal in RSRP is in the LTE Engineering screen.

 

Robert

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Thing is, I'm not in a LTE area currently, won't be until Friday when I pass thru Baltimore on my way to Newark. There are 2 different receive measurements in my engineering screen. 1 is receive signal strength and the other is received power in dbm. Being a ham. I know the difference in the 2.

 

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2

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Thing is, I'm not in a LTE area currently, won't be until Friday when I pass thru Baltimore on my way to Newark. There are 2 different receive measurements in my engineering screen. 1 is receive signal strength and the other is received power in dbm. Being a ham. I know the difference in the 2.

 

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2

 

When you get into a LTE signal area and have a place where you can check while not moving, open up NetMonitor, your LTE Engineering and Settings>About and compare the three. In the EVO LTE, your LTE Engineering and Settings>About should be the same or similar. However, your NetMonitor will be different and will likely be the same as your 1x Engineering signal.

 

Robert

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Just for confirmation (and for others to read/learn from), the reason NetMonitor and other apps cannot tell signal strength of LTE is the same reason Sensorly cannot give 4G signal ratings. Signal "quality" (however your handset measures it) is available to the native test screens (perhaps in different units of measurement), but not via applications including the "bars" meter. Is that correct?

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Just for confirmation (and for others to read/learn from)' date=' the reason NetMonitor and other apps cannot tell signal strength of LTE is the same reason Sensorly cannot give 4G signal ratings. Signal "quality" (however your handset measures it) is available to the native test screens (perhaps in different units of measurement), but not via applications including the "bars" meter. Is that correct?[/quote']

 

Yes. Sensorly suffers the same affliction. It can only be told from the Android API that it is connected to LTE or not. But it cannot receive information about signal strength like it can from 1x and EVDO.

 

Robert via CM9 Kindle Fire using Forum Runner

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Yes. Sensorly suffers the same affliction. It can only be told from the Android API that it is connected to LTE or not. But it cannot receive information about signal strength like it can from 1x and EVDO.

 

Robert via CM9 Kindle Fire using Forum Runner

 

Maybe it would be helpful to add how not only bars lie but Netmonitor (and others) also lie to your original post. I feel that this is going to become a rather large issue as time goes on and more areas get peppered with Sprint's LTE Shotgun.

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Is there any general rule in terms of distances when looking at these numbers:

 

  • Less than -96dBm is a great signal
  • Between -97dBm and -107dBm is good
  • Between -108dBm and -114dBm is fair
  • More than -115dBm is poor

 

Up to how far from the tower would you expect to see -96dBm and under? You see a lot of people currently saying "I was standing next to the tower and I got..." In reality few of us are going to head to a tower just to use the internet but up to how far from a tower should we continue to see strong LTE performance?

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Is there any general rule in terms of distances when looking at these numbers:

 

No, there is no general rule because factors such as ERP and downtilt vary from site to site, even sector to sector. To use two extremes as examples, some sites are configured to cover only a few city blocks; others are designed to cover hundreds of square miles. Obviously, the great/good/fair/poor signal strength levels will be at vastly different distances in those two examples.

 

AJ

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Is there any general rule in terms of distances when looking at these numbers:

  • Less than -96dBm is a great signal
  • Between -97dBm and -107dBm is good
  • Between -108dBm and -114dBm is fair
  • More than -115dBm is poor

Up to how far from the tower would you expect to see -96dBm and under? You see a lot of people currently saying "I was standing next to the tower and I got..." In reality few of us are going to head to a tower just to use the internet but up to how far from a tower should we continue to see strong LTE performance?

 

Plus, obstructions, like trees, between you and the tower can effectively weaken that signal before it gets to you.

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There is only one accurate way to get your LTE signal strength, and that is from your LTE Engineering screen in your Debug menu. And we will discuss the different ways to get that below.

..

 

I mentioned it in another thread, but you can make a shortcut instead of entering dialer codes to get to this screen.

Download "QuickShortcutMaker" from the Play Store, run it and enter "field" in the search box. It should find Field Trial. Click on it and it will create a shortcut to use instead of the codes.

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I mentioned it in another thread' date=' but you can make a shortcut instead of entering dialer codes to get to this screen.

Download "Quickshortcut" from the Play Store, run it and enter "field" in the search box. It should find Field Trial. Click on it and it will create a shortcut to use instead of the codes.[/quote']

 

I use "Any Cut" and keep the shortcut on my main page. Works great.

 

Robert via Samsung Galaxy S-III 32GB using Forum Runner

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Does anyone have any input on G-MoN?

 

https://play.google....nue.gmon2&hl=en

 

It looks a little unpolished compared to Sensorly or NetMonitor, but it looks like it might collect some information relevant to what we’re looking for. I’m having trouble with importing a valid .CLF file (not sure what the “comments” are that they say to remove). I used a .CLF file found on the developer’s website- http://nobbi.com/download.html. Here is another resource for the app- www.wardriving-forum.de/wiki/G-MoN.

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No, there is no general rule because factors such as ERP and downtilt vary from site to site, even sector to sector. To use two extremes as examples, some sites are configured to cover only a few city blocks; others are designed to cover hundreds of square miles. Obviously, the great/good/fair/poor signal strength levels will be at vastly different distances in those two examples.

 

AJ

Plus, obstructions, like trees, between you and the tower can effectively weaken that signal before it gets to you.

 

So let me ask it in a different way. For my situation my house is somewhat in between a triangle of three different towers. The closest is about 4,500ft away, the middle is 8,000ft and the furthest is 10,000ft. Is there any good way to determine if I can receive strong enough reception based on these distances? I'm trying to decide if I should switch from AT&T to Sprint. My wife is on Sprint and has not been happy with her service but I think with the improvements things are going to be much better. She still hasn't felt things are any better which is making me nervous so I'm trying to understand if part of the problem is that our house is just too far from nearby towers and short of Sprint building a new tower (not gonna happen), we won't ever really be happy with the performance.

 

Thanks.

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So let me ask it in a different way. For my situation my house is somewhat in between a triangle of three different towers. The closest is about 4,500ft away, the middle is 8,000ft and the furthest is 10,000ft. Is there any good way to determine if I can receive strong enough reception based on these distances? I'm trying to decide if I should switch from AT&T to Sprint. My wife is on Sprint and has not been happy with her service but I think with the improvements things are going to be much better. She still hasn't felt things are any better which is making me nervous so I'm trying to understand if part of the problem is that our house is just too far from nearby towers and short of Sprint building a new tower (not gonna happen), we won't ever really be happy with the performance.

 

Thanks.

 

4500ft is less than 1 mile, and the other 2 are within 2 miles from your house. You should have excellent coverage. Unless of course your house framing is made of metal. Then that could really cause problems. One question: Can you see the closest tower from your house?

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