I seem to be connecting to towers that are further away than close ones

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Using the Open Signal Application (Android) I can see which tower I am connecting to, but I know I can connect to towers closer (because I have previously). Currently I am running around -116dB signal which is enough to make calls and data but the battery on my device drains faster than it should.

Is there anyway to force the phone (Nexus 6) to connect to specific towers? A restart of the phone did not help.  forcing it to 3G only did not help either (It connects to different towers but the signal is not much better -95dB)
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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Posted 2 years ago

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Chadwick, Mobile Master

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I do not know of any way to connect to a certain tower. The app may possibly putting out false information as to towers or signals(not for sure but possible) .
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Chadwick, Mobile Master

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possibly be*
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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Yes that is true... but the phone itself echoes the signal power which is never good
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Ivan, Mobile Master

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Maybe there's a technical reasons as to why you're being connected to more distant towers. Perhaps the closer ones are down or overloaded.

How much of an extra battery drain are you experiencing?
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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Very hard to quantify because I am always connecting to distant towers... but I can see that my signal is always orange and sometimes red... never green (battery status on Android)
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Chadwick, Mobile Master

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Your not the only one having issues with the app.
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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haha... yeah the app showing false info is one thing, but the phone itself is not lying about the signal power (or is it?)

I can walk <10 minutes to my closest tower (Telus) but most of the time I am not connecting to it (presumably because I barely ever show a green cell signal status)

I am in South Ottawa on the east side of the bridge to Barrhaven 

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Paul Deschamps, Mobile Master

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How much better of a signal do you want, I mean I have no issues with battery drain ever on any phone and I've always hovered around 100db, I think your battery drain issues are with something else on the phone not the signal strength.
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Chadwick, Mobile Master

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I'm also around 100db more of the time I'm usually below and I'm getting 6hours SOT with minimal radio battery drain.
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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Do I want?  I am not sure that is a quantitative question.  All I know is, I see 10% overnight (giver or take) battery drain while the only thing that is consuming the battery is the radio.

Question:

When you look at your signal status, is it green at 100dB?

This is a bad shot as I just took it off charge, but I get 4 hours SOT at best (typically 3.5)

(Edited)
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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What Ia m going to do when I get home is post up a shot of the towers in my area (as above) and the tower I am connecting to (as displayed in the app - which I know can be misleading).

The thing that erks me is the signal fluctuates between -110 and -120dB when I can throw a stone to my (presumably) closest tower...

I am not unhappy with the service (out of the 3, Telus gets the best signal in my hood - I can make clear calls in the basement); I am just wonder if it can be better (from a battery consumption point of view)
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Chadwick, Mobile Master

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Which phone are you using
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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I am using a Google Nexus 6 (but independently straight from amazon). Popped in my old SIM (from an iphone 5) and was up and running. I was thinking that maybe the phone was not configured properly (APN, et al.) but checked and it is (said SIM was configured at a Koodo Kiosk)

My wife is using a Moto X PLay purchased at a Koodo Kiosk (in Barrhaven no less), and her's gets the same signal levels (as read from the phone as she is not using a location app).

From that I determined (or assumed from an amateur's point of view - lol) that it was not phone specific.
(Edited)
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Chadwick, Mobile Master

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Go into your settings >mobile networks > network mode. Remove lte from the equation so try wcdma/GSM auto or lte/wcdma. See if that helps bring up Ur signal bar
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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Thanks, I actually tried something like that (my phone does not have that setup. I am only allowed to choose LTE, 3G or 2G in Settings -> Cellular Network)


I had to go a bit deeper...

What I did was:

- dial *#*#4636#*#*  to get to the hidden "TESTING" menu
- choose Phone Information (see SS below)
- changed the preferred network type
- chose an option GSM/CDMA

Results:

I connected to a 3G tower really close to me and the signal was great... for 5 minutes. I checked the tower (via open signal, which yes may not be accurate) and it was close. While watching it it switched to a tower further away and the signal went to crap (for 3G) at -95dB.

Even after restarting the phone, nothing changed... Oh well, out of ideas lol.

Thanks though...

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Chadwick, Mobile Master

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Try lte GSM CDMA auto. Just play around to see if u can get better signal. Unfortunately there is no tool that you can use to pick what tower u connect to as far as I know and that would actually work.
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rikkster, Mobile Master

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You beat me to it Ross. If you want a broader range of network types to experiment with, dial *#*#4636#*#* and select Phone Information. Scroll down to 'Set Preferred Network Type:' Eliminate the GSM part of the equation altogether because Koodo does not operate on a 2G GSM network. I took these screenshots earlier this morning to compare signals between 3G and LTE. I too am puzzled as to why 3G comes in stronger than LTE. My thinking is that the phone, (Moto X Play) is searching for a tower with LTE that is not near my location.

Battery drain is noticeable, dropping up to five percentage points over the course of an hour or two, particularly when LTE reception is in the higher -dBm range. This is why I often switch to WCDMA Only.



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Ross L.B. Laugher

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Where I am at work:

I selected LTE/CDMA and the network goes to UTMS (with a better signal)
I selected WDMA only and the network stays UTMS and the signal is the same

both cases: -73 to -89 dB
(this falls into the "good" range if this site has any credibility: http://blog.industrialnetworking.com/2014/04/making-sense-of-signal-strengthsignal.html)


On LTE is -110 around so that is an improvement

(I can access the menu by the code, or through this application). Here is a SS of both radios active.  If I choose LTE/CDMA (auto PRL) it often switches back to include GSM so I have it set to WCDMA only (but the network says UTMS...will try again at home)

The app is a bit wonky as it is assuming the stats are for the GSM network which they cannot be.

In another test, I left the preferred network type as default (LTE/CMDA/GSM) and just dropped my preferred connection to 3G in my settings - cellular network - preferred network type) and the results were the same...
(Edited)
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Ross L.B. Laugher

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BTW: I am going to leave it like this but right now, my cellular strength bar is showing Green!

I am going to chalk this one up that between home and work, the LTE coverage is not as good as advertised (I am on WIFI so I don't care)... I was more concerned with battery drain.

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