Is there a way to get WiFi NOISE levels for a mobile device?

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by Paul B. Andersen, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. That's correct if you're uninstalling an app on the tablet or
    smartphone. I'm talking about using the Google Play Store at:
    on a desktop PC, not a tablet or smartphone. Google lets you add apps
    remotely to a tablet or smartphone, but not remove them. It also does
    not let you remove unwanted apps from the list of apps under "My Apps"
    even if you've already removed them from the tablet or smartphone.
    That leaves a mess in "My Apps" on the desktop which can only grow,
    not shrink. If you use the help ("?" on the "My Apps" web page), it
    offers instructions for how to remove apps only on the device, not the
    web page. So much for remote admin.

    I won't say anything nice about navigating through the icon forest on
    the "My Apps" pages. Also, if you reduce the number of icons shown by
    filtering it with the "All Apps" pull down on the top bar, the only
    option available is to rename the device. The good news is that if
    you do filter by your Android device, it does not include previously
    removed apps in the listings. If you try to use the search box at the
    top of the web page, it will search the entire Google Play Store, and
    not the apps on the selected device. If you decide to inspect one of
    the apps by clicking on the icon, when you exit the description of the
    app, it returns you to the top of the list, not where you left off.
    This can be painful if you have a large number of apps since the
    Google Play Store web pages were apparently written without the
    benefits of continuous scrolling. You have to wait for all the icons
    to slowly display before you can click the "Next Page" button just so
    clear the page, and start over with a new collection of icons.

    The list of Android devices under the "Settings" (gear icon) is
    consistent, where you can only add devices, not remove them. My list
    has 11 devices and is growing. At least it has a checkbox that lets
    you hide old devices.

    My guess(tm) is that the all important Google Play Store web pages
    (not the app on the Android device) was originally written with some
    consideration of using it to remotely manage a tablet or smartphone.
    They ran out of time, abandoned the idea in its current manifestation,
    and let it rot leaving users to try and manage their apps on the

    Please find a desktop and go to "My Apps" at:
    and try to do anything useful except add apps. You can't.
    Jeff Liebermann, Jul 2, 2015
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  2. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    ****, that's torn it. Too bloody early in the morning for me,
    I appear to have got it to do a full factory restore instead
    and that doesn't appear to be working.

    Got a screen which says


    Do not turn off Target !!

    And its been like that for quite a while now, not obviously doing anything.

    This is a wifi only device, god knows where it thinks its getting
    the download from, unlikely to be getting it from the wifi.

    Since you are unlikely to be replying any time soon given the time
    zone difference, I guess I will have to turn it off and risk bricking it.
    Rod Speed, Jul 2, 2015
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  3. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    Cancel that. Turns out you can just hold down the power button to
    cancel the download. Phew |-)

    Typical Samsung, the manual says nothing about it and that screen
    should have that on it.
    Rod Speed, Jul 2, 2015
  4. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    Bit of a saga.

    Turns out that that documentation is wrong, you need to
    hold down the power/lock key and the volume down key
    to get into the menu.

    When you select wipe the cache in the menu,
    and initiate that with the power button, it does
    claim to be clearing it, but then says Error.

    And it makes no difference to the crash in WiFi SNR.
    Rod Speed, Jul 2, 2015
  5. Looks like you have a GT-P5110 which is a "Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 inch
    wi-fi only". When I clear the device cache, it usually demands that I
    restart when it's done. If you're getting an error or not getting the
    restart message, you might be doing something wrong. Each device has
    different instructions because of the availability of different
    controls and buttons. The link I provided give you the instructions
    for the "Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 inch T-Mobile" which is probably different
    from yours. I couldn't find anything specific for the wi-fi only
    version, but this looks more like what you found:
    Any chance you're rooted the tablet and/or are running a custom ROM?
    Jeff Liebermann, Jul 2, 2015
  6. Just to let you know, but not to rub salt into the wound, it worked
    just fine for me and my daughter on our Android phones.

    It's a VERY NICE utility, as getting the NOISE level is critical
    when debugging WiFi connectivity issues.

    Without that, you're just shooting blindly when your Signal Strength
    drops below, oh, about 10 decibels of the noise level on a typical
    mobile device.

    The signal strength meter on the other recommended app, with the
    beeping, is also very nice, as you can walk around the room and
    easily see five or six decibels difference just depending on where
    in the room you sit.

    Bearing in mind that six decibels is FOUR TIMES the signal strength,
    this is a tool that is absolutely required for anyone who really
    needs to understand why they can't connect.

    Of course, I do understand that, here in the USA, we often have
    such HUGE signal strength, that none of this measurement matters.

    It only matters when it matters, and it doesn't matter when things
    are going so well that you have low noise and high signal strength.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 2, 2015
  7. I downloaded every tool that was suggested onto my Samsung
    Galaxy S3 unrooted phone, and it all worked perfectly (well,
    except for not seeing 5GHz results in one app, but I must
    have missed it somehow).
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 2, 2015
  8. Hey Jeff,
    I love the WiFI SNR app you found, and I don't know HOW you found
    it without me having known about it prior, but I'm glad you did!

    Rest assured, I have been playing with it for two days straight
    now, and I can't get over how it tells me such useful information.

    One question only of you, which is maybe a device-specific problem,
    and I don't want you to research it but just to let me know what
    you "see" on your screen.

    QUESTION: Do you "see" the yellow SNR graph?

    Here is a test I just ran now:

    I don't "see" the yellow SNR graph on my Samsung Galaxy S3:

    I had to go into the WiFi SNR settings to turn on the option to
    "Display results in text" (which you can see in the shot above).

    So, it's not a big deal (since the SNR *value* is what matters).
    But, I'm just wondering why I don't see the yellow graph?

    Does anyone else see that yellow graph?
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 2, 2015
  9. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    It does restart auto just after it reports the error.
    Unlikely once I get the menu, all you can do is scroll
    thru the menu entrys with the volume up and down
    button and select the one you want with the power
    button. That does work fine, and it initially claims
    that its Erasing, and then shows Error, so I must
    be telling it to clear the cache properly.
    It does in fact have the same buttons as are documented,
    its just that the action of the Volume up down button is
    reversed on the device from the documentation.
    In the sense that that one is not wifi only presumably.
    I did find someone reporting the same error in the
    documentation, which is how I worked out the right way.
    No, that one has the same problem, you actually use the Volume down
    button, not the Volume up button to get to see the menu.
    No, completely standard.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  10. I looked again, I do see the 5GHz channel now, but I no longer see
    the 2.4 GHz channel! :)

    I figured it out.

    Both are on the same screen, but you can only see one at a time.
    So, you don't slide to the next screen.

    You hit the little button that says 5G or 2.4G at the top left,
    and then it gives you lovely little parabolas for each WiFi
    access point it sees.

    These little parabolas are GREAT because you can see OVERLAP and
    you can see how many decibels they are, even when multiple SSIDs
    are the SAME (e.g., I have a wifi repeater in my home with the
    same SSID, so I can see exactly which router I'm connecting to).

    I don't know how I lived without this stuff before, but, it
    isn't needed, I agree, when everything is working perfectly
    and you have huge signal strength and puny noise levels.

    It's needed when things aren't so good, which is what is
    happening in Europe right now for my kid and her friend
    with their iPads, iPhone, and Android phone.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  11. One more bit of detail.
    That little button at top left that says 5G or 2.4G doesn't
    show up for more than a second or two.

    But, if you tap the middle of the phone, it shows up.

    If you ask me, that's not the best user interface, because you
    have to actually know it before you'd do it. But, it's easy
    enough to do once you know it.

    So, with the Moto G, you probably can *see* the 5G graph
    also. Another of my kids has a Moto G (first generation), so,
    I can test it tonight when he comes home (he's way more technical
    than my daughter, and he is years younger, so he probably
    wouldn't have these kinds of issues that she's having).

    At least neither is as slow as the other kid in Europe
    with the Apple-only equipment. She's almost not worth
    talking to for details, since she expects it all to just
    work and, well, it would, if they had better signal

    At least my daughter is roaming around the place with the
    signal strength meter trying to find the best location to
    get signal (which is something positive, instead of just
    moaning that it doesn't work).
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  12. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    It works fine for me too except that it crashes when I enter the settings.
    Yeah, and I found that when allowing my neighbour to use my wifi.

    But WiFi SNR doesn't allow me to see the wifi extender separately
    which is a real downside for me.
    Which one ?
    Yeah, that would be handy.
    And why the connection is so flaky. That's what I would
    have liked to know when setting up the wifi extender.

    It would also be handy to be able to see when its stopped.
    That has only happened the once so far in what must be
    about 6 months now. It got water into the mains cable
    on a reel. I have the extender down the middle of the
    neighbour's backyard, plugged into a long extension
    lead on a roll up cable. I put that under an upturned
    plastic bin and didn't notice that there was a crack in
    the bottom of the bin and the mains socket on the
    reel filled up with water after a big storm.
    We have very little public wifi here, just the public library and McDs
    and they are nowhere near my house. Country town in Australia.
    I share my wifi with both of my neighbours, one of them with a metal
    fence between the wifi extender and their house, surprised it works fine.
    I was planning to mount the wifi engender under the eaves at the back
    of the house that is nearest to both of them but didn't need to bother,
    it works fine under the bucket half way down one of them's backyard.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  13. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    I did see it yesterday when I first installed it but haven't seen it today
    for some reason.

    Uninstalling and reinstalling made no difference, still don't see it.

    Maybe its been snooping on my usenet posts and has turned
    it off to spite me, even tho I don't do usenet on my tablet.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  14. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    It never shows up for me.
    That doesn't happen either.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  15. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    I've just noticed that the orientation of the tablet is what makes the
    difference. Its there when vertical but not when horizontal and with
    it vertical and laid on the crap to the left of my chair when typing
    here, it usually goes away even when vertical.

    And both the signal strength and the SNR to vary quite a bit
    when you turn the tablet from vertical to horizontal, not very
    surprisingly, presumably that's because the antenna is mostly
    vertical in this Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 P5110
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  16. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    I don't have any button there, presumably because
    there is no 5G service on the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 P5100.
    I don't see that at all.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  17. I'm so glad Jeff suggested WiFi SNR!

    I tried WiFi SNR on the Moto G when my teen came home
    and the yellow SNR line shows up perfectly on that

    I turned on the text output anyway, but it's not needed:

    So, these two suggested freeware apps are definite keepers!
    1. WiFi SNR
    2. WiFI Analyzer

    As someone mentioned with WiFi Analyzer freeware, the Moto G
    must not have 5GHz capability though, as there was no 5GHz
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  18. That's interesting.

    I noticed that this seems to happen with the Moto G also,
    but, since I can't see the yellow graph on the Samsung Galaxy S3,
    I can't as easily tell what you've seen.

    I don't know how anyone lives without this wonderful data!
    It helps me understand what is really going on.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  19. Wow. RodSpeed, that was a great observation.
    You're only slightly wrong in that observation, but, I only know that
    because I just tested it.

    I'm glad I did test what you said because I was wondering if we
    even needed Wifi Analyzer anymore, but, clearly WiFi Analyzer does
    a MUCH BETTER JOB of showing you *both* signal strengths of both
    SSIDs when they're the same using a WiFi extender.

    What I did was walk next to my router1, and then walk over to
    router2, both of which have the same SSID but are on different

    Bearing in mind that at the top of the WiFi SNR page you see
    the frequency and the SSID, I was hoping that I would see the
    frequency change as the cellphone switched over from one router
    to the other.

    THE GOOD of WiFi SNR:
    WiFi SNR did show the *different* frequency at the top, but,
    THE BAD of WiFi SNR:
    It didn't switch the readout automatically. I had to restart
    WiFi SNR and only *then* did it show the different frequency
    at the top.

    The good news is that WiFi Analyzer showed both SSIDs perfectly
    the entire time, and it shows the signal strength of both, where
    you can see one parabola shrink as you get further away and the
    other parabola grow at the same time.

    The bad news of WiFi Analyzer is that you can't tell which SSID
    is the one being used, since they're both the same name.

    The good news with InSSIDer is that it gives you the BSSID at
    the same time, and, most importantly, it puts an asterisk next
    to the one parabola that the phone is connected to.

    So, I watched the asterisk start at the tall parabola, and then,
    as I walked away from that router toward another router, I saw
    the parabola shrink and the other parabola grow but it didn't
    switch then. Only when the second parabola grew appreciably
    bigger than the first did the asterisk switch over to the new

    So, in summary *all three* programs do something useful that
    the others dont.

    1. WiFi SNR gives you the signal to noise ratio.
    2. WiFi Analyzer gives you a really nice signal meter (with beeps)
    3. InSSIDer let's you debug when you have a router extension
    with the same SSID.

    I feel sorry for the people who haven't downloaded these
    wonderful tools yet! :)
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  20. I had posted a picture of it before (but I don't remember the URL).
    The WiFi Analyzer has a wonderful signal strength meter that looks
    like an analog voltmeter.

    It's really pretty, and it moves quickly keeping in tune with the
    signal strength changes with just the right amount of damping.

    Best of all, it beeps, so, if you're on a ladder or needing your
    hands, you can tell what the signal strength is just by the
    increasing frequency and sound of the beeps.

    With that meter alone, you can walk around a room and find
    the best (and worst) spots for your wifi signal.

    It's a keeper for that one thing alone, and it has more.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
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