The signal strength of your BlackBerry is pretty easy to see from the number of bars displayed. It’s an intuitive way to measure the strength of the wireless network in your location. However, there is a question when you dig deeper. What do the signal strength bars mean in technical or physical terms?
There is an actual number associated with the signal strength of your BlackBerry. To see what it is, go to the home screen and type Alt-N,M,L,L. If you are on a BlackBerry with Sure Type keyboard like the 7100 series, you
will have to type Alt-B,B,M,L,L.
After typing the sequence, you should see your signal strength meter change from bars to a number. To change it back, just retype the sequence of keys.
The higher the number, the worse your reception. The number of bars is determined by the following chart:
5 bars -40 to -77
4 bars -78 to -86
3 bars -87 to -92
2 bars -93 to -101
1 bar -102 to -120
The minus sign isn’t displayed on your BlackBerry, but the number refers to dBm, which is decibels relative to 1 milliwatt. So just take the number displayed on your BlackBerry signal straighten indicator and put a minuse ( – ) sign in front of it and then you it.
If you want to save energy, then you should try to stay in a area with good wireless network coverage. In fact a low signal strength can severely impact the time between two recharge cycles of your BlackBerry. Luckily there are some tools to help you save energy in areas witch bad reception:
SmartWiFi remembers locations where there is access to a WiFi hotspot. SmartWiFi then deactivates WiFi whenever you are to far away from a WiFi location. Pretty smart.
Another sweet toy to save energy on the BlackBerry is BatteryBooster, which switches off certain functions on your BlackBerry when they are useless. This app is a good answer to the dreaded empty battery alert. However, with BatteryBooster you still have to charge your BlackBerry’s battery. Just the time between two recharge cycles is increased.
The latest gizmo to get a better reception is SignalBooster. If you permanently live or work in an area with low celltower coverage, it might be worth a try.