Saturday, August 11, 2012

Android GSM Reception Icons

Since I got my Galaxy Nexus and hooked it up to T-Mobile service, I've been wondering about the abbreviations next to the mobile signal reception strength icon. Everyone knows that more bars is good, but what about "E" versus "H"? After having very poor download speeds with an "E" status, I finally did some searching to find out.

The abbreviations refer to the technology of the network you are connected to:

  • H - HSPA - this is the fastest connection, with up to 14 Mbit/s download speeds (or up to 84 Mbit/s for HSPA+)
  • 3G - most likely refers to W-CDMA, the predecessor to HSPA, with speeds up to 2 Mbit/s
  • E - EDGE - a predecessor to 3G networks, with speeds up to 384 kbit/s (non-Enhanced)
So, even a week "H" connection can be much better than a strong "E" connection. Keep that in mind the next time you are checking reception!

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