Cell towers / base stations are also known as the cell sites where telecommunications equipments including antennas are mounted. These antennas help in radiating signals in the surrounding area. These signals are used to connect wireless communication devices such as mobile phones and radios. Basically, cell towers are deployed to facilitate network connectivity across a large geographical area. To expand network coverage, wireless carriers place cell towers and check 3G/4G/5G cell phone signal strength using app-based 5G Network Testing Equipment and tools & 5G Speed Tests Tools, premium RF Drive Test Tools. These tools ensure assessment of signals and improve it further for better reception in the specified area.
Factors affecting cell tower signal strength
Signal strength of a cell tower is not an absolute value and changes dynamically as it involves many variables to connect to a mobile device within the signal range. These variables comprise:
- Height of the antenna covering the desired landscape
- Signal frequency in active mode
- Transmitter power
- Site located antenna array characterization based on directions
- Absorption and reflection of radio energy by buildings and vegetation near the cell tower site
- Regulatory factors, environmental and weather conditions
Requisites for placing cell tower to connect mobile phones with the network signals
- Distance limit – Typically, a mobile phone has the capacity to reach a cell tower located 45 miles away. However, it relies on the mobile network technology and the distance can be up to 22 miles only as the signal otherwise may drag for the highly accurate timing of the mobile network protocol to work in a proper manner.
- Capacity arrangement – The distance between a mobile phone and a cell tower is reduced due to the rising capacity issues. A mobile network operator receives a specific number of frequencies that can be used in his network for a particular location. Separate frequencies in a cell tower determine the threshold of calls to be handled. Expecting a rise in the number of calls made by his users, the operator needs to reduce the cell size and recycle the existing frequencies in an adjacent cell. With that being said, cell towers located in urban areas maybe just a fraction of a mile from the mobile phone.
- Size of the cell – As cell sizes in a mobile network contract, MNOs decrease the transmitter power on their cell towers in order to remove interference with adjacent cells utilising the same frequencies. For the mobile phones to pick up the network signal, it is advised to place a low-power operating cell tower within a few 100 metres of the mobile device. If a blockage occurs due to a weak signal of one tower, a mobile device may connect with another cell tower in that location.
Unboxing accurate measurement of cell signal strength
Cell phone / Mobile phone signal strength is accurately measured in decibels. The standard unit of measurement of signal strength for mobile phones is calculated utilising dBm (or decibel milliwatts). On a mobile phone signal strength meter, a negative number, for instance, -86 is used to represent the dBm value.
Determination of a good signal strength for a mobile network
Considering the dBm value for assessing mobile phone signal strength, the closer to zero is the negative value, the stronger is the mobile phone signal. Below is the list of dBm values to give a clear idea of the non-existence of mobile network signal strength to excellent signal strength:
- Non-existence of mobile signal strength= -110 dBm
- Poor mobile signal strength = -85 dBm to -100 dBm
- Good mobile signal strength = -65 dBm to -84 dBm
- Excellent mobile signal strength = -64 dBm to -50 dBm
Technology is continuously growing leaps and bounds. Though it’s incredible to be mindful of what technology is used behind these towers, the main crux of the story is to impart seamless connectivity to thousands of global consumers and businesses. With more and more cell towers being induced to make 4G/5G available in almost every part of the world even in rural areas, MNOs are ensuring 24X7 excellent cell phone signal strength to users wherever they go. They need to have a proper planning and take into consideration the list of requisites as mentioned above to expand their network coverage and top-notch 4G/5G mobile network signal strength.