Daily Android App: Open Signal


open signal app for android

A while back, I was having trouble with my WiFi at home. I looked in the Play store for some geeky tools to help me diagnose the problem. When I found Open Signal, I knew I need look no further, as it had everything I needed in one free app. It not only allows you to find your nearest Cell tower, but will also give you details about your WiFi and its signal strength.

This shows the Cell signal details (top) and WiFi Signal (bottom)
This shows the Cell signal details (top) and WiFi Signal (bottom)

If you click on the maps, it allows you to see where the cell or WiFi signal originated and the (rough) coverage area. Clicking in the advanced button, you are shown a lot more detail about both signals, most of which may be a mystery unless you are a cell or WiFi engineer.

A really neat and helpful feature I like is the coverage map. This will allow you to see what cell coverage is like in your area, or any area in the world (handy if you’re going on business/vacation). You can filter by operator, signal type (GPRS, 3G, HSPDA or 4G) as a heat map. It is also dynamic, using your results to update the map (no personal data is collected, just signal strength and cell location).

This shows you a heat map of the Cell Signal. This is for all signals.
This shows you a heat map of the Cell Signal. This is for all signals.

Open Signal will also allow you to test your routers speed (or over cell signal if you like) to see what speed you’re getting. This way, you can see if your broadband service is providing what they promised. It will also allow you to see if there is any problems with your signal via the router.

One final useful feature for the average user is the cost screen, where it allows you to keep track of your texts, usage and minutes. One caveat however, you have to set this up through the settings. It’s also not much more detailed than the data details you get in the settings screen, although maybe easier to understand.

This is a useful app, not only if you’re a network engineer, but also if you are a regular traveler. If you regularly go on business trips, only to find you have little or no signal when you get there, this app will allow you to see before leaving if you need to seek alternatives. The app also has a neat little widget that will automatically show you what the cell tower signal is and what the connection type is, what WiFi signal you’re connected to, and the noise on the network.

Open Signal is available through the Play Store here.