SIgnal strength - Argon and B542

I recently received a B542 and have commenced evaluation against a 3G Boron (my preference was to use an LTE Boron but these do not work in Australia with the Particle SIM)

I am puzzled by differences in signal strength. The console warns that the B542 has lower than normal signal strength 35% -102 dBm whereas the 3G Boron shows 100% -72 dBm. The antennas are within 20 cm of each other on my desk and the situation does not change as I move to different locations in my home. I have yet to try different locations across Adelaide (Australia).

The B542 is connected to the Optus network and the Boron to the Vodafone network. This is unexpected since Vodafone coverage in Australia is usually more patchy than either Telstra or Optus.

On the positive side the 3G Boron takes 90 seconds or so to connect to the network whereas the B542 regularly takes 22 seconds.

The round trip time is 500 msec on the Boron but can vary between 500 and 1500 msec on the B542.

Suggestions on how to resolve this conundrum would be appreciated.

The B542 signal sitrength/quality is shown below

@rickkas7 I am still testing this device but am concerned that the console reports that this device is suffering from lower than optimal signal level. The signal quality is also showing as very low. On the other hand I am able to do OTA flashes without any difficulty. I intend moving the device to other locations on Wed to check performance in other localities where potential shading is unlikely.

This device regularly connects to the Optus LTE network. The Particle documentation indicates that it can connect to the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks in Australia. How is this connection determined. Thanks.

The signal strength is calculated differently between 3G and LTE so the numbers cannot really be compared that way. For LTE, it’s a formula derived from the RSRP and RSRQ. For 3G, it’s the RXLEV and RSCP.

Also, 2G/3G is a u-blox SARA-U201 and the B524 is a Quectel EG91-E, and that could also affect the comparison.

In some cases, a carrier may be listed as a secondary or backup carrier, in which case they are only used if one of the higher-ranked carriers is not available. In the case of Australia, they’re all of equal priority so it’s up to the modem to decide. It presumably picks the strongest available, but it’s really a mystery and neither modem manufacturer explains exactly how they decide.

@rickkas7 Thanks. While I appreciate there are differences between 3G/LTE and the different modems what caused me some concern was the warning issued by the Particle Console as per the image below. The signal strength varies between 20-35% and the roundtrip time varies between 540 and 1600 msec. Not only does the signal strength vary between these limits but the signal quality (as per diagram above) is consistently reported to be very low.

I naively assumed that the warning was based on measures expected for each type of device - am I correct in assuming that the warning is more or less meaningless for the B542 devices?

The modem’s choice of carriers is another mystery since our iPhones have historically reported a stronger Telstra signal compared to Optus or Vodafone at our home. I understand from your message that Particle are as much in the dark as I am when it come to choice of provider connection.

I will continue to experiment… Thanks

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