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Written by Sadia Jahangir
15th Nov 2022

Reliable cell service is a result of strong and high-quality cellular signals.

You need a strong, reliable cell signal for the greatest cellular connection. Calls, messages, and data are all impacted by both signal strength and signal quality, but they are not the same thing.


What's the difference between a signal's strength and quality?

The quality of the cellular signal indicates how much interference there is between your device and the tower or small cell. Calls can be heard more clearly, and data can be transferred more quickly. The strength of the signal your smartphone receives from the tower or small cell is referred to as signal strength, on the other hand. Strong cellphone signals make it simpler to make phone calls, send texts, and use the internet.

Both strong and weak signals are possible, as well as the opposite.

What Has an Impact on Signal Quality and Strength?

Radio frequency waves that are going to and from cell sites and devices are what 5G, 4G, and LTE signals are made up of. Both the strength and the quality of the signal are impacted by anything that disrupts the waves. Typical offenders that affect cellphone connectivity include:

  • Cell Tower Distance
  • Cell Tower Load
  • Competing Signals
  • Building Material
  • Weather
  • Barriers (Trees, Mountains, High-Rise Buildings)

How to Calculate Cellular Signal Intensity

For 4G, cell signal strength is expressed as RSRP (Reference Signal Received Power), and is measured in dBm (decibel-milliwatts). 5G NR (New Radio) signal strength is defined by SS-RSRP (Synchronization Signal Reference Signal Received Power). Since 5G is still so new, there isn’t much information on how to gauge its power. So, we’ll concentrate on 4G.

Signal strength could be measured with bars, but dBm values are far more precise. 4G signal strength typically falls between -50 dBm (excellent signal) and -120 dBm (extremely poor signal). Your cell signal gets stronger the closer you go to -50 dBm.

Android users may simply check their signal strength using an app or their phone’s settings. On the other hand, iPhone users can only measure RSRP through Field Test Mode. However, not all Apple devices support it.

How to Assess the Quality of a Cellular Signal

For 4G, the RSRQ (Reference Signal Received Quality) and dB (Decibels) measurements represent the quality of your cell signal, respectively. The 5G NR signal quality is defined by SS-RSRQ (Synchronization Signal Reference Signal Received Quality). We will concentrate on 4G because there isn’t much information available about 5G signal quality.

Typically, RSRQ falls between 0 dB (excellent quality) to -20 dB. (poor quality). Here is an explanation:

RSRQ Cellular Signal Quality
>-9 dB Excellent Quality
-9 to -12 dB Good Quality
<-12 dB Fair to Poor Quality

The 5G Store was used to obtain the values. They are estimates of the cellular signal strength. Results will differ between carriers and devices.

The stronger your relationship, the nearer you are to 0. Utilizing applications like Network Cell Info and LTE Discovery, Android users can assess the quality of their signal. The Apple store does not provide these apps. The majority of iPhone owners can utilize Field Test Mode to determine their RSRQ measurement.

The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR or S/R)(unpublished) is another metric of signal quality. The better, the higher it is. It is, however, a little trickier to compute.

Signal strength or signal quality: Which is More Important?

Signal strength is critical, but signal quality is crucial. Even though your phone has five bars of service, a bad signal might cause delayed data and missed calls. Some customers don’t have connectivity problems even with weak signal intensity in locations with high signal quality.

Does increasing signal strength improve the quality of the signal?

No, not always. Signal quality is degraded by noise, which cannot be reduced or eliminated by merely increasing signal power. Only boosting your cell signal’s strength won’t help if the quality of your voice calls or data speeds is poor.

How to Boost Cell Phone Signal Quality and Strength

A cell phone signal booster is the greatest approach to increase signal quality and strength. Your current outside cell signal is captured, amplified, and then broadcast again where you need it. Booster kits come with an indoor antenna, an amplifier, and a donor antenna in order to do this.

Their gain, often known as their amplification power, indicates how much they can boost the strength of your signal. Consider a cellular booster with increased gain if your cell signal is on the weaker side. In most situations, we advise combining the amplifier with a directional donor antenna to enhance signal quality. They can assist fine-tune the signal quality you get because their radiation beam is focused and smaller. You won’t have to be concerned about dropped calls, unread texts, or sluggish data speeds anymore.

Our most well-liked cellular boosters for homes, businesses, and vehicles are listed below:

For a full lineup, visit our cellular signal booster guide.

Why It's Important to Know Your Signal Strength and Signal Quality

You can find the source of connection problems by understanding the quality and intensity of your cell signal. You’ll be able to choose the best signal booster kit(unpublished) for your requirements using this information.

The best company for cellular boosters for the home, business, and car is BFTSync. Our signal specialists are prepared to provide advice and respond to any queries you may have. Contact us by phone at 1-281-616-5786, email at


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