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Understanding RSRP, RSSI, and RSRQ in 4G and 5G Mobile Broadband Routers

When setting up a 4G or 5G broadband connection using your Bluespot antenna, it's important to know about the key measurements that show the quality of the radio link. RSRP, RSSI, and RSRQ are three important indicators that help determine the strength and quality of your wireless signal in both 4G and 5G networks, and they directly affect the internet speed. The indicators are expressed as negative numbers.

We recommend you look at the RSSI or RSRP numbers when aiming your antenna, rather than running a speed test, as they directly reflect the radio signal you receive. They also update much faster than a speed test, so installation will take less time.

Finding the RSSI, RSRP and RSRQ numbers on your router

To find the RSSI, RSRP or RSRQ number on a 4G router, follow these steps:

  1. Log into the router's web interface. To do this, you will usually need to know the IP address of your router and enter it into a web browser. Check the documentation that came with your router to learn how to do this.

  2. Find the signal information: Once you have logged into the web interface, look for the section that displays information about the router's connection status. You should be able to see the RSSI, RSRP or RSRQ number in this section. Some routers do not show all three, but one number is usually all you need.

Using RSSI to aim your Bluespot antenna

Aiming an external 4G/5G antenna using RSSI or RSRP is much faster than running speed tests, and can help improve the signal strength and provide a stronger, more stable connection. 

Before starting, remember that the RSSI readings are negative (this might be obvious, but it's an easy mistake to make!). -80 is better than -85.

  1. Install the antenna: If you haven't already, install your Bluespot antenna outdoors. Ensure it is clear of vegetation and mounted on an external wall, or roof, up high. Use the supplied adapters if needed to connect it to the 4G router.

  2. Access the router's signal information: To view the RSSI number, log into the router's web interface and find the section that displays information about the connection status.

  3. Take note of the initial RSSI number: Record the initial RSSI number before making any changes to the antenna's position. This will give you a baseline for comparison later.

  4. Rotate the antenna: Start by rotating the antenna in small increments, making sure to pause for a moment between each rotation so that the signal can stabilize. Pay attention to the RSSI number and note any changes as you rotate the antenna.

  5. Elevate or lower the antenna: If rotating the antenna doesn't produce any noticeable changes in the RSSI number, try elevating or lowering the antenna to see if that has an impact.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the signal is optimized: Continue rotating and adjusting the antenna until you find the position that provides the highest RSSI number. This will be the optimal position for the antenna.

  7. Verify the improvement: Once you have found the optimal position, verify that the signal strength has indeed improved by comparing the final RSSI number with the initial one.

What the numbers mean

RSRP (Reference Signal Received Power): Think of RSRP as the measurement of the power of the main signal you're getting from a cell tower. This signal is important in figuring out the quality of your network connection, and it's shown in decibels (dBm). A higher RSRP means you have a stronger signal, which leads to faster internet speeds and a more reliable connection.

RSRP Signal strength Description
-60dBm to -80dBm Excellent Strong signal. Data speed will not be limited by the radio connection - other factors (such as congestion or throttling by your mobile provider) will affect performance. Improving the signal strength further will not improve speed.
-80dBm to -90dBm Good Strong signal. Improving the signal strength further will produce only small speed improvements.
-90dBm to -100dBm Fair to poor The connection is likely to be reliable, but slow. Drop-outs are possible. Improving the signal strength should produce a good improvement in speed.
-100dBm to -120dBm No signal Disnonnection

RSRQ (Reference Signal Received Quality): RSRQ looks at the quality of the main signal you're getting from the cell tower, and it's shown in dB. It's figured out by comparing the RSRP and the power of all the signals from the tower, along with any interference. A higher RSRQ reduces dropouts and also improves speed.

RSRQ Signal quality Description
0 dB to -10 dB Excellent Strong signal. Data speed will not be limited by the radio connection - other factors (such as congestion or throttling by your mobile provider) will affect performance. Improving the signal strength further will not improve speed.
-10 dB to -15 dB Good Strong signal. Improving the signal strength further (or reducing interference) will produce only small speed improvements.
-15 dB to -20 dB Fair to poor The connection is likely to be reliable, but slow. Drop-outs are possible. Improving the signal strength (or reducing interference) should produce a good improvement in speed.
-20 dB to -30 dB No signal - interference too strong Disconnection

RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator): RSSI looks at the overall power of the signals you're receiving, not just the main signal.

RSSI Signal strength Description
-50 dBm to -65 dBm Excellent Strong signal. Data speed will not be limited by the radio connection - other factors (such as congestion or throttling by your mobile provider) will affect performance. Improving the signal strength further will not improve speed.
-65 dBm to -75 dBm Good Strong signal. Improving the signal strength further will produce only small speed improvements.
-75 dBm to -85 dBm Fair The connection is likely to be reliable, but slow. Drop-outs are possible. Improving the signal strength should produce a good improvement in speed.
-85 dBm to -95 dBm Poor Performance will drop drastically
 -95 dBm to -110 dBm No signal Disconnection

In 4G networks, these three measurements are used together to give a complete picture of your network connection quality. In 5G networks, these measurements are still important, but they may be used in different ways or with other measurements to show the quality of your connection.

It's important to remember that these measurements aren't the only factors that affect your wireless signal. Other things like network traffic, the way the network is set up, and your mobile carrier can also impact the speed of your connection.

In short, understanding RSRP, RSSI, and RSRQ helps ensure that you have a high-quality mobile internet experience. These measurements show the strength and quality of your wireless signal and can help you make informed decisions about your network and device usage.