Move Away From Bars
Terrible wireless service can quickly get you caught in an awkward tango of hello’s before angrily hanging up. If you’re wondering what’s really going on, there is a little trick you can do to help see more clearly why you can’t dial out. This trick will enable you to see the actual numeric value of your signal strength in decibels (dBm), it’s an extremely simple and reversible process.
For the iPhone
Step 1: Dial: *3001#12345#* and press call.
Step 2: This will bring you to Field Test Mode. In the upper left corner of your screen, there is a signal strength indicator where you can alternate between bars and numbers by a tap of your finger. You can leave this mode by simply pressing the home button. If you’d like to keep the decibel indicator, continue on (it’s reversible).
Step 3: Click and hold your Power button until the ‘slide to power off’ bar appears. Do not slide to power off the device.
Step 4: Click and hold the Home button until the app closes and your home screen returns.
The closer your number reads to -1, the stronger your signal. For example, a -90 will be a much weaker signal than a -60. My iPhone seems to average around -75, having yet to see my signal drop below -60. I’m not sure if this is normal for AT&T’s cellular towers here in Las Vegas, or I’ve just dropped my phone one too many times. I also seem to drop calls once I hit a value of -105 and higher.
Reverse the Process
Step 1: Dial *3001#12345#* and press Call.
Step 2: Click and hold the Home Button once.
For the Android
If you have an Android, you can check out your (dBm) number under Settings > About Phone. Depending on your phone, it will be under Network Status.
Let us know in the comments below how well this works for you and what numbers you’re seeing specific results.