For Apple iOS Phones you can configure your iphone to act as a basic signal tester
This enables you to see the signal strength in dBm for both 3G and 4G
You can view the process at the following website http://www.ubersignal.com/field-test-mode
This site also includes details of how to use your android phone to perform field tests to obtain your mobile network signal strength. Please note that Uber Signal sell signal boosters which are illegal to use in the UK.
To test for 3G – disable your 4G service in your phone settings and to test for 4G then simply enable your 4G LTE service
The optimum signal strength you should be aiming for is around -65 to -70dBm which will offer excellent performance.
If your signal strength is getting to -98 to -105 then this is very poor and we would recommend a different mobile network.
Remember to test your signal strength in the location your will be installing your router. If the location of your router is in a poor signal area (-99 to -105dBm) then test the signal in a location where you could install an external antenna where there is a better 3G or 4G mobile signal (-70 to -80dBm) that way if you position your antenna in the better signal location and run the antenna cables to your 3G or 4G router then by the time the signal reaches the router you will have achieved a better signal for example a -70dBm signal outdoors in your antenna position along 5 to 10m of cable to your router would probably mean your router receiving -75 to -80dBm signal based upon antenna and cable length and environment)
Of course this will only show the signal strength for the SIM card / mobile network that your phone is using and signal strength is not always an indication of the best speed. Just because you have a strong signal your download and upload speeds are determined by other factors such as the number of users connected to the same mobile base station and how much data they are all using.
It is also worth mentioning that if you use a speedtest on your mobile phone that this may be faster than the actual speed you get on your 3G or 4G router. Typically speedtests performed on routers are 10-30% slower than on a mobile handset, especially when testing M2M type routers that have slower processors and 3G/4G modules than are installed in the latest mobile phone handsets.
When testing your 3G or 4G router we recommend connecting to the router with an Ethernet cable and ensuring that the connected PC has any auto updates turned off so the PC is not connecting to multiple vendors such as Microsoft, Google, Java etc and downloading updates when you are performing speed tests.
To obtain the average speed tests you should test at 5:00AM, 9:00AM, 12:00PM, 2:00PM, 4:00PM, 6:00PM, 8:00PM and midnight that way you will see the difference in speeds between peak times and off peak – many users of 3G/4G routers will perform a test at peak times during office hours and see significantly slower speeds and blame the router rather than the network, so by performing tests out of hours you will actually see improved speeds which confirm the router is functioning correctly.