3G and LTE signal details for cellular modems explained

Both InControl and the router web interface show detailed cellular information in several places.
But what do the acronyms and values mean? Let’s have a look.

The cellular WAN quality is one of the first things to check when cellular routers are deployed.

The following acronyms are used to indicate 3G and LTE signal quality:

RSSIReceived Signal Strength IndicatorSignal Strength3G and LTE
EC/IOEnergy to Interference RatioSignal Quality3G
RSRPReference Signal Received PowerSignal StrengthLTE
RSRQReference Signal Received QualitySignal QualityLTE
SINRSignal to Interference-plus-Noise RatioThroughputLTE

Below is an indication of the signal interpretation.
When installing cellular solutions you are often limited by environmental factors and the available networks in the area, but by using a site survey you’ll always be able to pick the most appropriate location for the router. Additional external antennas can make a huge difference if you can’t install the router in the optimal location.

Excellent0-6-70 dBm> -90 dBm> -9 dB>10
Good-7 to -10-70 dBM to -85 dBm-90 dBm to -105 dBm-9 dB to -12 dB6 to 10
Fair-10 to -14-86 dBm to -100 dBm-106 dBm to -120 dBm-12 dB to -15 dB0 to 5
Poor-14 to -20> -100 dBM-120 dBm-15 dB to -20 dB<0

The Ninja’s View

Both InControl and the router web interface show the cellular details in several places.
We use the router’s web admin console if we need to view real-time values, because there can be a slight delay in sending these details to InControl.

We use the InControl WAN quality report for regular monitoring and fault finding.
The report shows the signal information in a selected time period and also includes latency details for the selected time-period.
This makes it possible to investigate historic issues with a cellular connection.

Erik de Bie
Erik de Bie joined Slingshot6 in 2020 after working for Peplink as a Technical Consultant. Over the years he has supported network engineers working for big global brands as well as every shape and size and type of managed service provider, reseller and end user.

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