Dec 21 AT 5:15 PM Edgar Cervantes 93 Comments

Verizon: Galaxy Nexus not having signal problems, our fix will make it display more bars


After the long, very long awaited Samsung Galaxy Nexus release for Verizon, customers started reporting issues with the 4G LTE network. Verizon has acknowledged the problem, and says that it is working on a fix via a software update. It seems like the fix is not as big as we expected, though.

It seems Big Red has reached out to the guys at Computerworld, mentioning that the fix does not actually improve the signal strength in our shiny Galaxy Nexus devices. This update will simply change the way the system displays the bars, making the device display signal “the right way” (with more bars).

Verizon goes on to say that the Galaxy Nexus does not actually have a signal problem, but there is a conflict in the way that this specific device translates signal into bars:

There is no issue with the performance of the device. There is a difference in the way the signal is translated into bars on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus compared to other smart phones. A future software update will adjust the signal strength indicator to more closely match other Verizon Wireless devices.Verizon Wireless

This statement is parallel with certain claims that have been popping out online. AnandTech happens to have one of the best explanations to the Galaxy Nexus signal issues dilemma, and they state that this device is actually better than most of the other 4G LTE smartphones out there. The only issue is that the bar meter displays the signal in another way. The signal for 3G and 4G networks works very differently, and there is no reason why both networks should use the same meter system.

There are still many users claiming actual issues, though. Including 4G LTE dropping out constantly, and being switched to 3G. Whether this is an actual problem with the device or not, we will see. For now, though, the only change will be in the way that the bars are displayed.

What is your experience in the matter? Does 4G LTE seem fast, even if the signal doesn’t show up as very strong? Do you get dropped out of 4G speeds?

Via: The Verge

Source: ComputerWorld

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • zyphbear

    I hope this is a minor fix and doesn’t cause any other issues with signal, on 3G or LTE

    • sunrise

      All they are doing is changing the algorithm for it to display more bars. They aren’t doing anything else to improve signal from what I understand.

      • Homncruse

        I saw the diff file. It had one line added:

        signal_strength = signal_strength + 1 + ( rand() % 4 );

        • snarkbot


          Inspired by your comment, I checked again and they just updated it to:

          normalized_signal_strength = sqrt( normalized_signal_strength );

  • GeauxLSU

    Sounds like the Apple excuse of “You’re holding the phone the wrong way”

    • ArticulateFool

      This is exactly what Apple did.

      Shame on you Verizon…. Yet another reason why I am glad I imported the GSM version.

      • Sean the Electrofreak

        Going to quote myself from on the 19th:

        “Verizon is probably admitting to a “problem” because as Anand pointed out, the Galaxy Nexus is a lot more honest about displaying the right number of bars for 4G signal strength than other 4G Android phones, which have a tendency to show more bars than they should when signal is weak. Verizon will probably release a “fix” that causes the GN to show more bars when 4G signal is poor. Talk about weak.”

        It’s good being right. :D

    • goncalossilva

      Shamefully, it is *exactly* the Apple excuse. Maybe custom ROMs (or Google, in a future version) will have a proper fix for Verizon users!

      • Homncruse

        Did anyone actually do SNR comparisons with the iPhone fiasco though?

    • Oscar Ortega

      She is holding it right!

  • JakeSiemer

    In all the years I have been on Verizon I have never had dropped calls, spotty call audio, loss of data connection, etc. Since I upgraded to the Nexus, I have experienced all of these issues constantly. On top of that, my EXTENDED battery lasts maybe 6 hours and then the phone is dead. Not happy. Will return my phone before January 15th if this is not fixed.

    • StringsAttached

      Its growing pains. I think it well get better. I have a Rezound and other than the issue this morning its been normal Verizon service.

      • Jennifer

        Yeah no problems with my Rezound except the two all network data outages this month.

    • mm777

      and i have no problem with either data or the extended battery

    • Stephen

      Mine does the same thinking about getting the droid razr

    • Mark T

      Exactly the same experience, and ditto 1/15.

    • Tami Moyer

      i agree….never had dropped calls, spotty call audio, people hate talking to me on this nexus…have been back to the verizon store twice, but doesn’t prove my issues at the store, last time battery and sim card were taken out and re-installed…. they said they will give me a new sim card, if the problem continues and as a last resort …a new device all before January 15th. i love this phone otherwise, but do i want to be stuck with a phone that the call qualities suck…i don’t think sooo….

  • ben dover
    • DroidSamurai

      I don’t understand why it is sad — it is just stupid (may be that’s why you called it sad in the first place.) As shown in the Anandtech investigation, there’s no signal problems found. Yet, because a lot of people complaining, Verizon is going to change from displaying the signal strength correctly to a way that’s wrong, but comparable to other phones that report the same false signal strength.

  • oddball

    Only in the corporate doublespeak world would an item actually work correctly and the response is we will break it to make it more like the other things we have be ok. How about they have their phones actually show the real service level.

    • Futureboy

      It’s crazy, isn’t it! It’s like buying a new car and the dealer telling you, “I know that it’s frustrating to be driving your new sports car at the speed limit. What we can do for you is simply adjust your speedometer to a point where it SEEMS like your car is actually moving faster.”

  • redraider133

    I am not having any real issues with mine, but I do not think they should just make it display false info and more bars to compare it to other phones. Why not make other phones compare lte rather than cdma? The leaked radios are helping some with the signal issues no need to artifically inflate the number of bars. I would rather it be true reading.

  • Thomas Biard

    This “problem” always baffled me. I don’t look at my bars to determine if I will place a call or download a file. I just click go, and if it takes longer than normal I know that I’m probably in a weak spot. Everyone has put a lot of emphasis (Both Verizon and ATT) on the “algorithm” that changes the number of bars to display. Unless they’re updating the firmware to allow faster speeds or better reception, I don’t care if I have full bars or one tiny little one.

    -Rant Complete.

    • oddball

      But you are supposed to care about bars it distracts you from the network problems. The problem is that they are trying to sell the product to people who on the whole have no idea what the difference between phones are but “someone” told them item x was better so that’s what they bought and now the phone tells them that they don’t actually have the quality of signal they thought

    • redraider133

      The problem is the people who think that bars mean it has better service or connection. If they actually knew that most of the times they are inflated maybe then it would not be a huge issue.

    • diverbelow

      The VZW Nexus is reporting the true LTE signal and if VZW fixes the LTE signal then we would not have drop calls or drop data. That some people are experiencing.

      So VZW is just covering up their network issues with adjusting the scale to show us more bars on our phones.

  • YMS123

    Sure Verizon, and the date outage today was just our imagination right?

  • diverbelow

    In Portland/Metro area, my VZW Nexus LTE is quite faster than my Droid Charge, even with less bars. I average about 2 to 3 bars depending on my location. I have not lost 4G (expect with VZW had an LTE issue).

    I rather NOT have VZW pull an Apple and give us false bars but rather fix their LTE signal issue.

  • armando

    I believe them, when my car syncs with bluetooth to my phone, my car displays more bars and in some cases full bar where my phone only displays 1 bar. All my other phones (iPhone, Galaxy S, Droid X) would be 100% accurate to whatever the car was displaying. I always thought it was odd when i got the Galaxy Nexus that it wasnt the same and the car showing more so it makes sense.

  • Marc’us H.

    That’s an … odd “glitch”. I can’t think of an Android device (on any carrier) that’s had that issue. NexusGate continues.

  • nwilliam3

    Isn’t this what Apple did with the iPhone 4 when it was having issue too? I lucky to live in an area with strong 4g (tower about 1/4 mile away) so it has no impact on me, but sounds like a silly statement.

  • donnyb

    Bottom line is that I can understand if the bars are low and I get good performance, but the issue is that I will have 3 bar and lost total data connection. I had a Razr and never had a problem with losing the data connection in same areas I travel everyday. Verizon statement it total BS! The issue must be hardware related and they don’t want to replace the units.

    • redraider133

      Idk if its hardware related otherwise everyone would have issues which isnt the case.

  • halo0

    This is unsurprising. No software fix is going to make the phone’s antennae receive signals any better than they currently do.

    • redraider133

      Actually it could help with what range it receives signals and at what strength the phone would be able to detect, allowing for better reception.

  • ramenchef

    Figures they’d try to weasel out of a potential issue.

  • rashad360

    I sincerely hope this is the real fix instead of just a quick patch job for an actual connectivity problem. Verizon finally gets their hands on a Nexus device and everything seems to be going wrong…

  • Kris

    I live in Vegas where where we have GREAT LTE coverage. I can say without a doubt my Nexus does have 4G issues. Its constantly switching to 3G and in areas i spend a LOT of time in that I know 4G coverage exists (such as work and home). My old Droid Charge got 4G in these same places yet my Nexus does not at times. Its really hit an miss.

    This morning I had no data signal and had to restart the device to get data … not sure if that related to the outage this AM but its the 2nd time this week I have had to do it for the same reason.

  • Billy

    So …. they are going to fix the problem by breaking the reporting of bars/signal strength. HAH! Love it.

  • inerdtia

    Come again?

  • Skis03

    I hope that it is just a software issue in how it displays and not an actual problem because I am getting this beast soon.

  • thekaz

    This one goes to eleven…

  • JLix

    I don’t have anything to compare to becasue this is my first 4G device, but my phone constantly goes between 3g and 4g and sometimes drops signal all together for several minutes where i know i should have excellent coverage. I just hope they fix it soon.

  • Deter

    I actually have similar issues with my droid bionic. even when my indicator states otherwise my signal can be fine and I can get great speed.

  • Steve Heinrich

    This reminds me of when the iPhone 4 came out with all of its signal issues and one of the fixes from Apple was to make the size of the bars on the screen a few pixels taller.

    Except, in this case I think there probably isn’t actually a physical issue and they’re not lying about it. The early ICS CM9 ROM had a short lived signal problem… probably unrelated, but I think things will be ok here.

  • Richard Yarrell

    I call BULLSHIT on both Anandtech and Verizon BOTTOMLINE there is an issue and it needs to be fixed YESTERDAY. If you get great LTE 4G service everywhere at 80dBm and 55asu with 4bars of service then you reach home and you recieve 3g service with no bars and your at -120dBm and 1asu what does that mean exactly. VERIZON IS FULL OF SHIT PLAIN AND SIMPLE AND THEY BETTER CLEAN UP THEIR LTE NETWORK AND SOON….

    • pitacrisps

      Thanks for that article Richard. I went through FOUR bionics because of data issues. FOUR. Very, very frustrating. No 1x, no 3G, no 4G, nothing. They replaced mine with a Razr. I haven’t had the constant issues, but it still seems to rarely have a delay going from a call to data, or wifi to 3G/4G. Turning airplane mode on and off usually resolves it, but still. It’s a little annoying. (I still love the phone though.)
      I don’t know what Verizon’s issue is, I’ve had VZW since 2005 and never had coverage issues. They need to fix whatever the hell is wrong with their network!

      • pitacrisps

        I was negged cause I thanked Richard for the article wasn’t I? Haha

        • Richard Yarrell

          They can NEG every comment I make Honestly WHO CARES what they think. The issue here at hand is VERIZON needs to work on their LTE technology plain and simple. Androidpolice is on to something without question and YES verizon NEEDS TO GET BUSY…..YESTERDAY on this issue. Does this mean I will take back my Galaxy Nexus …NOPE because it is the best android device period. Google will get this straight you can trust that…….

          • squiddy20

            If you read reallllll close Dick, you’ll find that he wasn’t talking about your comments getting “negged”. Good job at attempting to make everything about little, childish you. -_-

    • redraider133

      You were the first to come here and run your mouth about how great verizon and the nexus are and now you are bitching? Pretty sure anandtech knows a hell of a lot more and does way more testing than you do…..

    • squiddy20

      What you seem to fail to realize is that the material your home is made out of affects the signal strength. For instance, if you live in an steel and/or concrete box, signal strength is bound to be little to none. And judging by the area of NYC you live in, there’s a ton of highly dense building materials used to construct homes (steel, brick, poured concrete, concrete blocks, etc).

      What you also don’t seem to understand is that your shiny new Galaxy Nexus is reporting the ACTUAL 1x/3G/4G signal you’re getting. All other LTE phones Verizon’s released (including your LG Revolution) have exaggerated the the number of bars of signal you have been getting. So now that sooo many people have complained about “shitty” reception, Verizon’s releasing an update to skew the signal bars to make it appear as if you’re getting more signal than you actually are. You’re only “bullshitting” yourself on this one.

      • Richard Yarrell

        Yes SIR ….You are correct on this one…100% on point …Nothing else needs to be said. I can be standing right outside my house with 3bars of 4gLTE then go into the house and WHAM..lose 4gLTE signal drops to 3g with no bars at 100dBm 1asu to -125dBm 26 asu. My old BRICK ans STEEL house I should BLOW IT THE ROOF OFF…..

        • squiddy20

          I assume by your last line you intend to “blow the roof off”? If that’s true, then you’re more of an illogical moron than I had originally thought. See, most people prioritize food, water, shelter, and a few other things over whether or not they get 4G signal. Not to mention that even if you magically made the roof disappear, you’re still left with walls and ceilings that are made of “brick ans steel” which would STILL result in poor signal reception. What a delusional old fool. And you wonder why, with the mentality you have, you were dirt poor and living on the streets? You don’t understand even the most common sense things in life. How sad.

          • Dritzz

            Squiddy are you retarded?

  • beatrixasdfghjk.

    Well, I think that sucks. I’d rather all the other Verizon phones used the Galaxy Nexus’ version of reporting bars, it’s just a stiupid placebo effect ==’

  • jamal adam

    They are trying to play us.

  • jaymzie

    Signal strength bars are completely arbitrary anyway and there is no industry standard on how to display them, my HTC desire often displays 0 bars and is still perfectly capable of making a call, I think that the placebo affect of looking at more bars and assuming it means more reception is all people need

  • Jimmy13

    sounds about right lol. “it’s totoally fixed now”

  • cxandroid

    These are not the droids you’re looking for.

  • Haas

    not having signal problems? I can’t even connect to a damn tower half the time

  • David Hughes

    Why do I have a feeling Big Red rasied its hand and said “these are not the droids your looking for”

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    This just enforces T-mobile getting it first :P

  • txbluesman

    This exact same problem happened when the Nexus S 4g came out and they did a software update to correct it the same way. I have the ns4g and have never had any actual signal issues like dropped calls. The phone only has 4 bars on the display compared to most phones with 5 or 6 bars for signal strength. The dBm number is what matters, not the number of bars. They will fix it with a OTA update so that the bars match up withe the dBm signal strength number. Galaxy Nexus owners, don’t get too worked up about it. Enjoy your great Nexus device!

  • jdawg334

    This is almost the exact same excuse Apple and AT&T used for the Iphone. The signal was really ok but was being displayed incorrectly. Worked for the Apple sheep so guess they figure it will work for Samsung fans too. Except on a droid, you can find out if this is right or not by rooting it and making it display in # dBm instead of bars.

    • jdawg334

      Found a story about apps to measure your phone signal and find out what it really means

      Full story is here

      The problems with the iPhone 4 antenna are now the stuff of internet lore. You cannot spend more than five minutes on the interwebs without seeing a story, or a test, or a complaint about the negative effects caused by holding the iPhone 4 in an unapproved way. Some (Apple included) have pointed out that all phones suffer some signal attenuation when held near the antenna. Most of the testing done on the iPhone 4 is anecdotal, with Anandtech and Consumer Reports being the notable exceptions. Apple chose to remove the field service interface from iOS4, making it harder to get real readings from the phone.

      Android has not restricted access to this data. In fact, there are even some third party apps you can use to assess your signal strength. We show you how to get a good read on your signal, and even check for dead spots.

  • megatec45

    Didn’t Apple already say that?

  • Emmanuel Lazcano

    Oh Verizon.. oh.

  • sap 26

    Wait wait wait wait… So now Verizon is claiming ownership of the phone? To them the phone didn’t even exist a week ago. I guess all that matters now is they’re involved. Way to catch on, Verizon.

  • donger

    i’m on hspa.

  • lolobabes

    Verizon is exposing its head to a lawsuit from apple, the latter has the pattent to this solution! Remember apple implemented the same solution as an aftermath of the deathgrip. ahihihi

  • Ari32

    Ok, so i bought two GN’s on launch day from the same Verizon store, one for me and one for my fiancee. My phone works flawlessly while hers never gets a data signal (4g OR 3g).

  • Sean-Franc

    Maybe its time for Bars to go away. I really don’t care about bars. I wanna know if I have signal, can I stream, can i surf, can i twitter? Thats enough for me

  • john garmon

    sounds just like apple when they said the exact same thing!

  • blg

    this is the biggest crock of bull I have ever heard. I was just using my phone and I had a connection to the android market and then it disappeared, look up at the bars it is solid gray, no bars. it then goes to solid grey with 3G over it still no connection to the market, the internet or anything. how can they say there is no problem, so now I will have 4 bars showing after the update and still have no connect, Great!!! great fix verizon!!!!

  • ama332

    I’m happy with my Nexus. I’ve had the phone for a full week, and no dropped calls. I live in NYC, so most of the time I’m on a 4G network. Sometimes it drops the 4G and the connection basically dies and can take awhile to renew. I’ve taken to cycling to airplane mode to reset, and today was the first time that didn’t work either. Overall, I love the phone, but if Verizon is going to be shady about this, I will be severely rethinking my allegiances (8 yr client).

  • humidity

    I know I’m having actual connection issues. My phone randomly drops to 3G while using it. Then there’s times where I’ll have no connection at all!

  • jimtravis

    I have experienced very fast (16 to 20Mb) results with only 1 or 2 bars showing on my Nexus. Maybe their explanation is more accurate / reasonable than some expect.

  • Kent Burton

    I seem to get great signal and i am getting as good as 30 Mbps down

  • joe

    My 3g work better than4g i dont like galaxy nexus i go back to droid increible

  • vinny

    I am experiencing data connection issues where i had never in two years with old droid. Regardless of the number of bars displayed.

  • Scott

    I upgraded from the Droid 2 just two weeks ago. I am a heavy user and run much of my business on a smartphone.This Verizon GN is overblown. A marketing success but mediocre product at best. It is a crime with 4-6 hour max battery if I manage it every few minutes. Not sure ICS is a better OS either after exploring all the features. Not sure witch features are GN or ICS driven but this phone has slower screen rotation speeds, fewer voice command features, too low volume, really poor camera regardless of all the photo editing stuff. If the lens array is not good the rest is just clutterware. I am surprised that for the first time I am considering the Iphone 4s as a result. Really surprised that Verizon would offer the less featured, lower powered version of the nexus unless it knew there would be problems and time to market was the driving force. Good way to get us all back into a Verizon store to buy upgraded battery and promise a “future” software update to resolve a minor “power bar” visual.

  • Unhappy Nexus Owner

    Is anyone actually looking at their signal strength reading in Settings/about phone/Signal ? I have compared my Nexus against my wife’s Samsung regular Galaxy , my original Droid, and even a 3 + year old laptop built in Verizon air card 3g signal and the Nexus has a noticeable worse signal reception(no 4G in my area yet). When the other devices are showing say -74-75dbm my Nexus is only receiving -93-100dbm. That is NOT a software fix issue. I am on my second Nexus after Verizon Tier2 techsupport did a signal survey in my area and confirmed a good 3G signal and had me exchange my phone. Same crappy reception numbers and I frequently get a Network Problem Check your internet connection message while using apps. I don’t see a software fix helping and will likely be exchanging my phone for a Rezound or returning alltogether and waiting it out.

  • jcdalman

    This phone signal sux

  • Scott Holstein

    I live in a weak 3g no 4g area but have used the gnex in a 4g area. If you live in a strong signal area you probably think there are no legitimate claims to signal strength issues, however there are some real issues with this phone. Coming from the dx2 I can vouch that the DB signal strength of the dx2 is much stronger than the gnex. Whether it is software or hardware I don’t know, but my dx2 makes calls much better and is much faster on data connection in a 3g area. That should not be the case. Giving me more bars on the gnex without improving actual signal strength will not improve anything for me.

  • Vadim Ivanov

    It makes sense. The phone thinks it’s signal strength is worse than it actually is, causing it to want to switch back to 3g. However, the service problems, at least for me in Wayland, MA happens at that moment. A lot of times when my phone tries to switch over from 4g to 3g, i loose all data service for a good 10 minutes. But not to worry, because even if Verizon’s update won’t fix the issue, I am confident google will come up with an update that will. There is no way Google will let their baby developer ice cream sandwich phone fail.

    -Vadim Ivanov

  • Shaun Bingham

    This is much more than a signal display issue. My Galaxy Nexus drops about 4-5 calls per day, which my iPhone never did. Not saying iPhone is a better phone, just saying something needs to be fixed.

  • bf

    WRONG- Nexus sucks ..I’m comparing it to my 3 year old Droid X which NEVER dropped calls or failed to get a data connection..This POS can’t so either one !! Keep your crap hardware ..When is the update coming or do I just sell this because I listened to vz lies AGAIN and did not return it in time!

  • Richard Barth

    I purchased the Nexus. Although the signal was a bit erratic in normal use (switching from 3G to 4G often, or even dropping 3G occasionally), I tried to persevere. However, after pairing the phone with my car’s bluetooth, the situation became impossible. Using the car’s bluetooth (2005 Toyota Prius) the audio was filled with static. Then the calls would either drop of the Nexus would reboot in the middle of a call. After 3 days in which I was unable to complete even a single call, I returned the unit to Verizon and went back to my old reliable Droid X.

    I love ICS, but the phone situation was totally unacceptable. This has nothing to do with the display of bars; it has to do with the signal itself.

  • Tracy Rankin

    The GN is a terrible phone, extreme poor receive and now I have several dead zones at my work location where I cannot use the phone where my Samsung Wave would work. The fact the Samsung abandon updates for the Wave in Canada, and then turn around and product this piece of crap of a phone, its game over for any future purchases of samsung products for me.

    Cant return to the phone for my money back as talking more then 30 minutes or having the phone longer then 2 weeks spoils this. Just waiting for an iphone 5 .

  • Cassie

    So is the 4.0.4 update not going to fix the fact I never get a signal or service on my new Nexus? My old one I when it just came out worked fine, this one is crap and I can barely ever can send a text or make a call with out it dropping out.

  • Dom

    I have been having issues with my Nexus for the past few weeks and after talking with verizon they sent me a new phone and sim card and i still have the same issues.
    I completely loose all voice/data/messaging on the device even when it shows that it should have something and then after a few seconds the bars are gone, give it a min and then they will come back and evertyhing will be fine, but the problem is for how long i am not sure.
    The phone is awesome when it is working but to me this isn’t working at all and struggling to get it resolved

  • igo slow

    I always show 2 bars everywhere I go on 3g. But on 4g I am unable to stay connected at all. Sucks ass. This is my 2nd nexus with Verizon. Frustrating.