I have been visiting S4GRU for quite some time, and one of the most common issues I see popping up is confusion from users--especially when they first get 4G LTE devices and/or LTE service--regarding their signal strengths. For some reason, the signal bars on many devices do not display what most users expect them to display. It seems strange that we have to enter special dialer codes just to see what our LTE signal is!
With that in mind, I started creating an Android app from scratch. I had never created an app before, so it took a few months before it was ready for the public, but its time has come. Robert and a few others have been beta testing it for me since October, and I recently released it onto Google Play. Robert gave me the go-ahead to give it a mention here on S4GRU, so here goes..
It's called SignalCheck, and it is available on Google Play here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Blue+Line+Computing
The "Lite" version is free; the "Pro" version has a small one-time fee but includes a bunch of extras, including signal bars in the notification area, a widget, the ability to alert a user when they pick up an LTE or 800 SMR signal, one-button instant connection reset, the street address of the connected 1X site, and menu shortcuts to some screens that are usually only accessible with dialer codes. I intend to offer S4GRU Premier Sponsors special benefits in the near future, as soon as I figure out a feasible way to do that.
This is the first app I have ever developed, so I'd appreciate any and all feedback, both positive and negative. I have been trying to educate myself as much as possible regarding cellular technologies, as I didn't know much before I started this project. My goal is to make this app as accurate and useful as possible for all the "nerds" on here.. myself included!
I intend to continue squashing bugs as they are reported, and adding features as they are requested. As I learn more about Android programming and cellular technology, I'll improve things. Please let me know what you would like to see, and I'll do what I can.
My "Beta Crew" helps test out the app before public updates are pushed out. Membership is by invite only but anyone is welcome to join in our discussions or get a sneak peek at what is going on (see thread here).
Links: SignalCheck Help / FAQ | Change Log | To-Do "Wish" List | Known Issues | SignalCheck on Google Play
Here are some screen shots from a previous version.. there have been tweaks since this release, but this is basically what you get:
With the FCC and Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon have agreed to this new unlocking policy. How does this effect sprint phones such as the IPhone. I have heard that Sprint can unlock your phone but you can not take it to other carriers such as Verizon and the IPhone can only be used overseas. (Correct me if I am wrong). I am glad that this has finally happened. But when it comes to Sprint how would this work?
Since people often don't like change, I could see a mad rush once the merger is approved but before it takes effect. The first of three hurdles has been jumped (national security demand that parent firms get rid of Huawei has been accepted). DOJ and FCC remain.
At least in Samsung markets with AirHarmony small cells, the PCI of small cells is 450 or greater. EARFCN would be another way, but that sometimes gets location specific. GCI would be another way, but then you would need to know the MM cutoff point for each market (we have those for Ohio)
The app already uses EARFCN as the primary means to identify the LTE band.. it will try to match a GCI pattern first, but if there are no matches or the "guessed" band does not match EARFCN data that appears to be valid, it uses the EARFCN instead. Since there are so many B14 sector possibilities right now, I don't think I will continue adding them beyond what is programmed now. Most newer devices on newer Android builds are properly reporting EARFCN, with some exceptions (issues with B66/B71 most notably). GCI pattern matching has become most useful to identify "special" cells (MM/SC/MB/Airave/etc) as well as multiple carriers.
I know this was answered elsewhere, but for the benefit of anyone who comes along later -- a small cell second carrier has been identified that follows the same GCI pattern as one sector of a Mini-Macro second carrier. Since the app has no way to know which one it is, it displays both indicators when this occurs.