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What is dBm? And how does it describe your mobile signal?

Let’s imagine that somebody asks you: “How strong is your mobile signal right now?”, what will you say? Probably you will have a look at the display of your smartphone and say, for example, “4 bars”. 

What is dBm? And how does it describe your mobile signal?

Yes, we use these bars for describing the power of our mobile signal at different locations and at different moments during the day. But can these bars really tell a lot about the real signal power at a particular moment?

To find an answer to this question let’s consider the following situation. If you look at your smartphone, you will see 3 bars. But at the same time, you may feel that the signal is really perfect. One of your friends who is sitting just nearby may see the same 4 bars but may have some issues with connection (for example, a social media app may be updating rather slowly). But there is also one more friend near you, who has just 3 bars but doesn’t have any reasons to complain about the signal. What's that? Magic? Definitely not.

We should realize that the bars that you can see on the screen are not a unit of measure. They are just a representation of this measurement. And that’s the reason why many smartphones show the signal power in a different way.

However, let’s admit that when you own a device for some time already, you can understand its “bar language” and you always know when your signal is expected to be perfect and at what moment you can lose a connection.

But are there any more reliable ways to estimate the signal power? Yes! And that’s when figures expressed in dBm (decibel-milliwatts) enter the game.

What is dBm?

First of all, let’s explain what dB (decibel) is. It is a standard that is taken for measuring the level of a signal or sound intensity by comparing it with a level on a scale. We can use this relative unit for seeing whether the signal is increasing or decreasing.

dBm is decibels per milliwatt, it is not just a dimensionless expression, it is a unit of measure of the power level.

In other words, dB shows a relation between two values and dBm expresses the exact power.

dBm and signal power

A signal in the range between -50 and -70 dBm is considered to be a good one, while if a signal is below -100 dBm, it is a sign that your connection will be very unstable (or it will be close to zero).

It is interesting to note that signal power doubles with every 3 dBm. It means that a signal of -50 dBm is twice as strong as -53 dBm. And -60 dBm will be 4 times as powerful as -66 dBm.

You can check the power of your signal with the help of a special mobile app (there are a lot of them available on the app marketplaces). But there are other options as well, for example, you can switch on a test mode.

Is it important to know the exact signal power? Actually, in the majority of cases, signal bars will be a sufficient indicator but for a closer network performance tracker, knowing decibels per milliwatt is a must.

-30 ... -50Excellent
-51 ... -60Good
-60 ... -70Fair
-71 ... -85Poor, better with boost
-86Unreliable, needs boost

How to improve the signal power

We can offer you an excellent solution that will help to improve the quality of your connection at home or in the office once and forever. Yes, you enhance the power of your signal on your own. And to do it, you need to buy just one device. And it is a mobile phone signal booster. It is a special device that is intended for catching a low signal from your operator, increasing its power, and sending it to your smartphones and tablets within the coverage area.

What does a typical booster set have?

  • One outdoor antenna (for catching the signal)
  • One booster box (for increasing the signal power)
  • One (or more) indoor antenna (for transmitting the signal)
  • Cables and mountings

If you decide to order a booster on our website, you will get a full kit which means that there won’t be necessary to buy any elements additionally.

We have boosters to deal with GSM, 3G, 4G, 5G and wi-fi signal issues. And what is extremely convenient, some models can improve several types of a signal at the same time.

In our catalogue, there are models not only for buildings of different sizes but also for cars and boats.

If you need any assistance in choosing the best device. Do not hesitate to ask for help! We are always at your disposal.

Emma McCarron

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