Engineering Menu Option how to: Manual cell site selection
I decided to make this post as an FYI to people that have their Bold's unbranded and want to make use of this option in the Engineering Menu. I will say now, obviously, I cant be held liable for any mistakes you may make while messing around in the menu, but Im more than happy to share with you what I have done. Sorry this is a long read, but I wanted to be as descriptive as possible.
Basically, there are usually many different cell sites, whether it be antennas or full tower base stations, that may be in your area. I myself was shocked to find which tower/antenna i was connecting to while I sat here at work. You will wont technically need the following programs, but they will make this alot more fun.
First, download Google Maps to your Bold. Then, download the free application Signal Location Utilities v. 1.0.1134 located here...Signal-Location Utilities for BlackBerry
This program will show you cell site information pertaining to the tower/antenna you are connected to (cell site ID, frequency, channel and its location). It will intigrate this onto google maps, so you can see where this tower is located in reference to your location.
Once its installed, open it up. You will first see the current time, signal, network carrier, the cell side ID number and channel and its location as latitude and longitude. Hover over the cell site ID/channel and click the menu button. scroll down to "show cell site on map". this will open up Google Maps and show you with a red dot and a tag, where that cell site is located.
Now, for people with Engineering Screens that feel like having some fun, follow into the next steps....
Open the Engineering Menu (alt+right shift+h). Select "Mobile Network Engineering Screens" > "Cell Information". This will now show you basically the same thing the Signal Location application will show you. At the top, it will show you the frequency you are on. Second line from the bottom, it will say "Cell" followed 5 or 6 numbers. This is your cell site ID number. Mine shows it as Cell 33536 followed by Arfcn=146 (which is the channel I using). The other nuumbers, I dont know what they are for so dont mess with them.
Now go back a menu, back to Mobile Engineering Screens. Now click on "Neighbour Cells". The first one or two entries will show you the tower you are currently connected to. For me it looks as follows.....
SE 146 -60 50 50 33536 22 33036 126 with all the others looking similar.
I think the "SE" is EDGE, since a few towers down, one says "G", possibly for GRPS. The 146, again, is my channel. the -60 is my reception power in dBm. The 33536, again, is the cell site ID im connected to.
Now, you will see a list with different cell ID's and the further down the list you go, the higher the dBm levels get. The last cell site on my list is -99 dBm, so obviously i dont wanna choose that one since it will have poor reception.
Now, if you are willing to try, scroll down to a different tower. Maybe the next one down on the list from the one you are currently connected to. Hover over this next tower and press the menu button. The two options I used were "Select this cell" and "Lock to this cell". Selecting this cell will manually force your phone to choose this cell site over the other one you are connected to. Locking to it will force it to stay connected to it, and Im pretty sure it wont hand off if you go out of its range. Once you select either of the two, you will see the phone switch towers and regain connection. Just remember, if you select Lock, make sure you go back into this menu and "unlock" it so you can freely roam away from it.
Now that you are connected to the new tower, go back into the Signal Location program and select "show cell site on map" again to see where this tower/antenna is. Its pretty cool to be able to finally see where the site is located.
This would be good for anyone who knows there may be stronger towers in their area, while their phone is choosing a lesser quality tower. Now you have the ability to make your selection, overriding the phone, and physically see on a map where it is.
I figured this was pretty neat and didnt see anything else on it so I hope this brings a little more freedom when it comes to playing with the Engineering Menu, for those who feel they can do it properly. Enjoy.
Any questions, feel free to ask here and ill see if I can help ya out.
Last edited by dictoresno; 04-14-2009 at 11:12 PM.
screen shots below, thanks again chris for the hosting!!
Last edited by dictoresno; 04-15-2009 at 12:26 AM.
- 04-15-2009, 12:16 AM #3
Very nice post dictoresno. I'm gonna add that to my site as soon as you get the images I'm hosting for you up and included.
PS - @ST79, hey buddy! If you see this, would you mind making it into a PDF for the site?
The first pic here is of the Signal Location application showing my current tower information in its main screen. (33536 is the tower Im connected to)
This picture shows how it intigrates into Google Maps to show you the tower location and identification as shown above.
This pic shows the Engineering Menu screen, which shows pretty much the same info as the Signal Location application does.
This pic shows the Engineering Menu which shows neighbour cells. Note the cell im connected to is 33536 (first 2 lines) and the next few cells are 33534, 11165, 32175...etc. Notice again how the signal quality decreases, in dBm, as it lists the towers in order from closest to farthest. Signal Location will actuall give you the distance to the tower in feet if you have an established GPS connection....pretty neat!!
This pic shows the menu where I can Lock a cell site or just Select it.
I hope this helps you guys out a little. Thanks to Tronyx for hosting the pics and helping me load them here. Any questions, just let me know.
Last edited by dictoresno; 04-15-2009 at 12:32 AM.
- CrackBerry Genius
04-15-2009, 04:43 AM #5
- 3,062 Posts
- PM Me !!
I have made the instructions a PDF document ...
@ Chris :- I will send it your yahoo mail id...
@ dictoresno :- Please PM me your email id, if you want the PDF copy of the instructions ...
Thanks guys ... Great job !!!!
- CrackBerry Genius
04-15-2009, 04:51 AM #6
- 3,062 Posts
- PM Me !!
Hope you guys got the document ... Howz it now ???
ill check it when i get out of work. funny thing, i had one of my coworkers drive by the site where the map says the cell site is (located as an antenna on the side of a church) and he said he didnt see anything. ill have to look for myself lol.
oh and make sure you never select "discard cell" i have a bad feeling it will no longer let that cell site appear on your phone for possible use and could shut out your options on handoffs in your area.
Last edited by dictoresno; 04-15-2009 at 05:38 AM.
im guessing if i switched to 3G & 2G, the cell information would say "Active RAT (radio access technology) is UTRAN"
- 04-15-2009, 05:43 AM #13
I'm saying that the screens and fields are different, to be expected, they're different cell ID types. I mean that it's beside the point because I understand that one would want to do this for signal reception eg., in places where 3G reception is spotty, and you would get better reception by flicking to 2G in this instance.
yea, im gonna make a post when i get home in a few mins with a list of the acronyms listed above so people know what they are looking at. i havent got around to that yet.
ST79, can you include the following as part of the pdf you made if possible??
i used numerous sources to find the definitions of these acronyms and i take no credit on how complete/accurate/thorough they are. please feel free to help me amend them if necessary. i didnt write these on my own and dont take and credit for them.
Acronyms used in the Engineering Menu
CS - Circuit Switched: Identifies the circuit switched domain and the use of circuit switched data.
PS - Packet Switched: In a packet switched network, data may be transferred by dividing it into small blocks or pieces known as packets. Each packet contains information in its header to allow it to be routed by packet switches across the network. This is a more efficient means of transferring data.
PDP - Packet Data Protocol: A packet transfer protocol used in wireless GPRS networks
MCC - Mobile Country Code: A three digit number uniquely identifying a given country
MNC- Mobile Network Code: The Mobile Network Code is either a two or three digit number used to uniquely identify a given network from within a specified country
LAC - Location Area Code: Uniquely identifies a LA (Location Area) within a PLMN (Public Land Mobile Network). It may range from 0 to 65,535
RAC - Routing Area Code: Routing Area Code is a fixed length of 1 octet and identifies a routing area within a location area. The RAC is part of the RAI (Routing Area Identity)
MSC - Mobile Switching Center: A telecommunication switch or exchange within a cellular network architecture which is capable of interworking with location databases
SGSN - Serving GPRS Support Node: keeps track of the location of an individual MS (Mobile Station) and performs security functions and access control. The SGSN also exists in a UMTS network, where it connects to the RNC (Radio Network Controller) over the Iu-PS interface
DTM - Dual Transfer Mode: supporting simultaneous voice and packet data in a GSM network
ARFCN - Absolute Radio Frequency Channel Number: Within the spectrum allocated for cellular mobile communications, the radio channels are identified by ARFCN. If the system is operating in FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) mode then the channel number is associated with both the uplink and downlink radio channels. Within the GSM900 spectrum ARFCN 1 to 124 are used. In GSM1800, ARFCN 512 to 885 are used and in GSM1900 ARFCN 512 to 810 are used
PCH - Paging Channel: This is the downlink transport channel in UMTS that carries the PCCH (Paging Control Channel). It is used to broadcast paging and notification messages in a cell
TBF - Temporary Block Flow: a physical connection used by the two RR (Radio Resource) entities to support the unidirectional transfer of LLC (Logical Link Control) PDU (Protocol Data Unit) on packet data physical channels. A TBF is temporary and is maintained only for the duration of the data transfer, i.e. until there are no more RLC (Radio Link Control) / MAC (Medium Access Control) blocks to be transmitted
NMO - Network Mode of Operation: Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD)
NCO - Numerically Controlled Oscillator: An electronic system for synthesizing a range of frequencies from a fixed timebase
RAT - Radio Access Technology: This indicates the type of radio technology to access the CN (Core Network)
GERAN - GSM EDGE Radio Access Network: a type of RAT
UTRAN - UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network: a type of RAT
RSSI - Recieved Signal Strength Indication (in dBm)
C1 - A cell selection algorithm employed in GSM and GPRS: The algorithm uses the power received from cells plus additional parameters in order to assess the cell that will provide the best radio connection for the MS (Mobile Station).
C2 - A GSM cell reselection algorithm: Once the MS (Mobile Station) has camped onto a cell it will continue to assess the surrounding cells to ensure it is monitoring the cell that will offer the best radio connection. As the user moves the camped on cell may become unsuitable. This situation will generate a cell reselection
CellID - The cells ID number on a network
BSIC - Base Station Identity Code: This is a code in GSM which is broadcast on the SCH (Synchronization Channel) in order to identify the NCC (Network Colour Code) and the BCC (Base Station Colour Code)
many of these were located at the following link, which has many many many radio related acronym definitions. you may also find alot of them explained in detail on Wikipedia
if you read my post, it was all explained at the top. you go into the Signal Location program and theres an option to show the tower on the map. please read the post carefully. and to force onto 2G only, you must have an unbranded or non AT&T branded Bold.
- CrackBerry Genius
04-15-2009, 07:26 PM #20
- 2,011 Posts
- KY AND THE BRAIN, BRAIN, BRAIN...
This is a good post, I was starting to write something similar after creating a similar reply in another thread, BUT I notice you say it still needs to be unbranded. I can perform every one of the steps Croe mentioned from the eScreen alone and my phone stays on EDGE, and I haven't debranded. I thought this might be a good thing to include so people can avoid the MFI route and keep their warranties.
My post primarily just uses info provided by other CB posters, but if you want to read it it's here:
Last edited by digitalb0y; 04-15-2009 at 07:31 PM.
- 04-15-2009, 07:41 PM #22
That is amazing, you guys rock!!! What a wealth of information on CRACKBERRY.COM!!! I love this place!Him - 9800 Unlocked 184.108.40.2060 OS , 16Gb/C2 MicroSD <---> Her - 8900 UL 220.127.116.115 OS , 8Gb/C6 Micro SD
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I don't know why its not showing up on the map for you. Unless your tower if out of sight on your map settings. Try zooming out. Someone else that has this work should post results. Mins shows tower locations as posted. I said its should be unbranded just so u can view the e screen. If u can view it otherways then yes, it won't have to be unbranded.
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