Waveform

Field Test Mode for iPhone and Android

If you're looking to purchase a cell signal booster for a building or stationary RV, there are two critical measurements of the outdoor signal you need to take in order to find the right device.

Once you have these numbers, our Signal Specialists can help guide you on the best booster.

The two critical numbers are:

  1. The RSRP, which measures the strength of the 4G LTE signal.
  2. The SINR, which is a measure of the quality of the 4G LTE signal.

You can find this information by entering Field Test Mode on iPhones, or using apps on Android devices (we'll discuss these later).

Why should I measure my signal?

We're all familiar with our phone's signal bars. But what do they actually mean?

Well, it varies from phone to phone. Each manufacturer makes a decision on how to combine "signal strength" (RSRP) and "signal quality" (SINR) and translate them into bars.

Getting exact RSRP and SINR values gives you a much more granular view of your signal. If you're buying a booster, having RSRP and SINR measurements is critical.

For example, if you have strong signal you can often use a lower-cost booster, and if your SINR is low you should make sure to order a high-gain outdoor antenna.

Field Test Mode for iPhones

Unfortunately not all iPhones support taking RSRP and SINR measurements in Field Test Mode. iPhones with Intel chipsets are capable of taking these measurements, but phones with Qualcomm chipsets are not.

The table below shows all compatible iPhones for each carrier: 

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint
iPhone XR iPhone 7/7+
iPhone 7/7+
iPhone XR
iPhone XS/XS Max iPhone 8/8+
iPhone 8/8+
iPhone XS/XS Max
iPhone 11 iPhone X
iPhone X
iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro/11 Pro Max
iPhone XR
iPhone XR
iPhone 11 Pro/11 Pro Max
iPhone SE 2nd Gen 2020 iPhone XS/XS Max
iPhone XS/XS Max
iPhone SE 2nd Gen 2020
iPhone 11
iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro/11 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro/11 Pro Max
iPhone SE 2nd Gen 2020
iPhone SE 2nd Gen 2020

 Note:

  • Your iPhone's supports depends on the original carrier you received your device from. For example, if you got your iPhone 8 from Verizon but are now using it with AT&T then it will not be compatible with the field test.
  • Want to double-check to make sure your phone don't support field test mode? Just follow the steps in the section. If your iPhone doesn't support RSRP and SINR readings, the menus we instruct you to follow won't exist.

    The following devices have Qualcomm chipsets and will not show signal strength and quality information:

    • All iPhone SE (1st gen), 6, 6S models
    • iPhone 7 and 7+ for Verizon and Sprint
    • iPhone 8 and 8+ for Verizon and Sprint
    • iPhone X for Verizon and Sprint

    How to Access iPhone Field Test Mode

      To access field test mode on an iPhone, you just need to follow these steps.

      iPhone Field Test Mode Instructions

       

        1. Go to your phone's dialer as if you were going to make a call, type in this code: *3001#12345#* then hit the dial button.
        2. You should see a menu with 4 options to choose from. Choose "LTE."
        3. Select the “Serving Cell Meas” option from the following menu.
        4. The page that make take a few moments to populate. If you're connected to WiFi, disabling it can help speed up the signal measurement process.
        5. You will see rsrp0, rsrp1, sinr0, and sinr1. We're still not exactly sure what the 0 and 1 represent, it's likely these are two measurements from the two antennas in your phone.
        6. If you're working a Signal Specialist at Waveform on a home or office project, please take screenshots of the signal readings on this screen on all 4 sides of building and send them to our team.

      Signal Measurements on Android Phones

      If you're using an Android device, we actually recommend using the Network Cell Info Lite application instead of Android's Field Test Mode.

      Once you open the app, your RSRP signal strength is shown, and SINR is shown as "RSSNR."

      If you're working a Signal Specialist at Waveform on a home or office project, please take screenshots of Network Cell Info Lite's home tab on all 4 sides of building and send them to our team.

      Field test mode on Android using Network Cell Info Lite

      Note: Some Android phones (like the Google Pixel) do not report SINR correctly. If the app is not showing "RSSNR," or is showing your "RSSNR" as 30 dB, that means it's not measuring SINR correctly. You can instead use the "RSRQ" measurement for signal quality. If your RSRQ is greater than -10 dB (e.g. -6 dB) then your signal quality is good. If RSRQ is less than -12 dB your signal quality is low.

      If you want to see Android's less detailed Field Test Mode information, you can enter "Settings" then select "About Phone." Your signal strength in decibels (dBm) will be displayed under “Network” or “Status.”

      What do my RSRP and SINR measurements mean?

      Signal Strength (RSRP)

      Signal strength (RSRP) is measured in decibels milliwatts (dBm). 

      A higher values means a stronger signal. But all the values are negative, so don't get caught out! -60 dBm is stronger signal than -80 dBm, -80 dBm is stronger than -90 dBm, etc.

      An RSRP -80 dBm or higher (e.g. -70, -60 or -50 dBm) is considered strong signal. This means that you can use a broadband signal booster, like those made by weBoost, Wilson, HiBoost and SureCall.

      If your RSRP is lower than -80 dBm (e.g. -90 or -100 dBm), you should use a 100 decibel single-carrier booster like the Cel-Fi GO X, or for larger buildings, the Cel-Fi Quatra 2000. Please note: If your signal strength is less than -115 dBm, even the GO X and Quatra likely won't work well without a very high gain antenna like our Grid Parabolic.

      Signal Quality (SINR)

      Signal quality (SINR) is measured in decibels (dB). Any SINR measurement over 10 dB is excellent, over 5 dB is considered good, while over 0 dB is acceptable. A negative SINR means that you have low signal quality.

      A booster will help increase the signal strength, but it won't help improve the signal quality. The only way to improve signal quality is to buy a high gain antenna like our Grid Parabolic, which requires careful aiming.

      As a general rule, -80dB or higher (ie, -70, -60, -50) is considered strong signal. -110dB or lower (ie, -120, -130) is very weak.