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Verizon signal strength - Is it lying?

Member

I ran into a situation this past weekend.  I'm a recent convert from AT&T to Verizon with the release of the iPhone 5.  I was out hiking and on the drive home our fan belt broke.  I had noticed during the drive that my signal strength was at 4 bars of "o" which I was surprised and excited since in this particular area with AT&T I would have had "No Service."  Anyhow, when the fan belt broke, I pulled over and proceeded to send my wife a text to let her know I would be late (again, I have 4 bars of "o"), but the text would not send (not using iMessage, this is real sms).  So, I gave up on texting and tried to call.  The call never would go through, it would be "dead silent" and eventually would show "call failed."  I was super frustrated at this point, mainly because the signal strength was so great yet I was unable to text or place a call. 

Fast forward to after the hitchhiking to town, getting separate car, grabbing replacement belt (yes, next time there will be one or two or three spares in the vehicle...lesson learned), driving back, installing the new belt and driving towards town.  I continued to try to text/call (I was the passenger...) and was not able to.  Eventually when we were just on the outskirts of town, the signal went to "no service" then to 1 bar of "o" - (NOTE, 1 bar, not 4 bars) and I was able to place calls, text, everything.  As I got closer to town, switched to "3G" then eventually "LTE" and all was well.

So, my question is whether or not you have ever experienced where you appear to have wonderful signal but are unable to place calls or send/receive sms?

Couple additional details: yes, I did hard reset the phone, airplane mode on/off, cellular data on/off, reset network settings, all that - had plenty of time on my hands...

I dragged my wife along when we decided to switch from AT&T to Verizon and she is ready to kill me for it.  I promised "more bars in more places" (ironic..) and generally more happiness. It hasn't been the case.  Let alone the voice+data debacle.

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Re: Verizon signal strength - Is it lying?

Novice

You can access the field test menu on your iPhone 5 by dialing *3001#12345#* This will report your RSSI or RSRP dBM (depending on 3G or LTE) which will give you the real strength that the bars are based on.

While I have a plethora of other VZW iPhone 5 LTE related problems you can read about at:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4329076?start=0&tstart=0

I would start by trying a nano SIM swap based on what you are reporting.  If this doesn't work, you can join the club at the thread above.

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Re: Verizon signal strength - Is it lying?

Member

Thanks. Next time I'll try look at the Field Test data to see if it reveals anything.

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Re: Verizon signal strength - Is it lying?

Novice

Yes, tt's ALWAYS lying, if you notice the way it shows info compared to how it was before the cingular's "more bars" ad days.

Back in the day, it was typical for phones to show signal strength in terms of only 4 bars. As people started to associate "call quality" with the number of bars (and yes, the cingular ads are also to blame), the manufacturers/carriers got smart and the usual corporate deception came into play - let's make it 6 bars, so even when the phones with 4-bar signal strength display shows no bar, the 6-bar system will still show 1 or 2. Get it?

The other day I was checking my mom's samsung flip phone and it was showing 2 bars at -105dBm. -105dBm is UNACCEPTABLE for decent quality voice calls, yet it was showing 2 bars. But if you were in the market, and you were comparing, you'd think this samsung pulls signal really well. That's the idea.

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