- Nice, Simple, easy to navigate
- Gives info that could help improve your reception
- One or two force closes, but may be device dependent
- Speed test seems to have some inaccuracy
RATING: 4.2 Stars
UPDATED: September 16, 2011
CURRENT VERSION: 1.08
REQUIRES ANDROID: 1.5 and up
INSTALLS: 500,000 – 1,000,000
CONTENT RATING: Low Maturity
For some time now, ive had issues with my 3G / HSDPA signal strength, mostly at my place of work, but sometimes at home too. This lead me onto the path of Cellular radio towers.
Where are they? What could be affecting my signal? Am I too far away? Did I pick the wrong network? Many questions started popping into my head.
After a little research, I came across Open Signal Maps http://opensignalmaps.com/ and discovered they have an Android App! Brilliant!, off i go to download….
Once the app is fired up, you are greeted by a large signal meter, and a pointer. The pointer, from what I can make out, indicates the direction of the tower that’s supplying the greatest signal. This must use a combination of the gps location, compass bearing, and information supplied by the tower identifying which one you are connected to.
On the bottom right of the front page, there is an “I” icon, tapping this gives full detailed information like, the tower you are connected to, connection type, and its longitude and latitude, and most important, the signal strength. On the bottom left, there is a button for WiFi mode, although i cant really see what the purpose of this is.
On to the second tab, is the map view, This seems to indicate the tower you are receiving the greatest signal from, and a line point to point between you and the tower. There are also layers to show satellite pictures, or a radar view. I didn’t really get the point of the radar view. Maybe that was just me not understanding what it was showing me.
Now I thought I would do a quick check on 2G/GPRS and see what that showed, if anything different. and it seems to show which other towers you are connected to. OR, it could be that i only have one 3G tower that my phone will connect to, either way, this is what was shown.
As you can see from the few screenshots so far, my signal level is a bit all over the place. so i thought id use the pointer / line direction to see how much my signal improved. I had varying results, and this leads me onto the next tab along. the signal strength history graph. As you can see i had varying results pointing the phone in different directions. the peak flat part of the graph was when i was pointing the phone directly at the tower. Obvious really, but only if you know where the tower is! ;-)
In the setting, there is also an option to allow the logging to continue in the background, which could be useful to see history over slightly longer periods. Although i’m sure this will eat some battery life.
The 4th tab is a speed testing utility, and from what i saw, didn’t seem too accurate, I had some very low figures over my 3G connection, and from checking against “Speedtest.net’s” app, It seems inaccurate. All the same, its worth having a play with, and see if you get similar results.
So, to wrap up, it can be quite a useful app in poor signal areas, you know which side of a building to stand for best reception for example, and its also quite interesting, if somewhat rather geeky, to try and spot these cell towers for yourself (I have seen one disguised as a tree!). On the whole, a nicely laid out, useful and informative app, full of info you don’t really need to know, but always wanted to know ;-)
Review by: Ross