Verizon hasn’t had it easy with their 4G LTE service lately. Adding insult to injury is users of Google’s latest flagship phone, the Galaxy Nexus reporting “poor signal strength” or “low bars” in the notification bar.
Does the Galaxy Nexus LTE really have poor LTE performance? Luckily the answer is “no”, but there is more than one reason for the misconception.
First off, when users have run speed tests with similar LTE phones, the results are nearly identical, pointing to the bars-indicator rather than the signal strength as the source of the problem.
When comparing various phones, some report nearly full bars where the Galaxy Nexus reports nearly none. The reason? Different phones calculate bars differently — and some even report different signal strengths than one would suspect.
We’ve seen bars being manipulated before, but it’s almost comical what some are seeing here: the EVDO signal strength is being reported by the bars on some phones, not the LTE signal strength!
Verizon says they’ll push an update that will “address the issue” on the Galaxy Nexus LTE, but we don’t know exactly how they plan on “fixing” it, which makes us wonder, how should bars be reported?
We already separate WiFi bars from cellular data bars, should we separate CDMA bars from LTE bars? EDGE from HSPA+? GPRS from EDGE? Voice from Data? Or should phones (accurately) report the signal strength of the “fastest” network to which they’re connected? If so, should the phone report EVDO signal if it’s “faster” than data that could be delivered through a low signal on LTE?
We’re curious to hear your thoughts!