As the pandemic’s shadow starts to lift across the world to be forgotten forever (hopefully), it leaves an enduring mark of digital transformation in many parts of the world as an abiding effect when it upended workplaces with unprecedented shifts to remote work, proving that technology is central.
Remote work or work from home made way for big steps in digitization as individuals, businesses, and firms, in collaboration with governments and other policymakers, made adjustments to maintain the continuity of business activities and flow of services.
One such area that experienced accelerated digitization is the mobile network sector, with many major economies taking on the next-generation network, 5G, for improved connectivity to increase productivity.
Even though Africa still lags in the adoption of emerging technologies, Kenya is an exemplary trailblazer and is among the few countries in Africa to embrace the fifth-generation network with two major mobile operators – Safaricom and Airtel – offering the service. The 4G network is fully developed in the country.
As Covid-19 recedes, many are still working from home, and one of the main challenges, if you speak to one of those, is slow connections which make remote work miserable, slowing down productivity. To minimize these tech problems, it is important to know the signal strength of your network so that you can work on necessary corrective measures or locate cell towers or network masts to decide whether you will relocate or buy a directional outdoor antenna to boost network connectivity. All these are possible through the OpenSignal App.
OpenSignal: how to test signal strength and find network mast in Kenya
OpenSignal is a mobile application for Android and iPhone users which provides precise information on network availability in your location and other 35 other countries globally. With this app, you can also map out the network masts of all mobile operators in Kenya: Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom, and Faiba Jtl.
OpenSignal checks the coverage of 4G and 5G and other connection types, 2G and 3G. However, you can only check supported networks. If your mobile phone is Safaricom 4G, you will be limited to only checking network data of 4G. Further, you cannot use another mobile carrier to check network speeds and the availability of a different operator.
When conducting OpenSignal network speed tests, the result will be displayed in three data sets: latency (also ping), the time a data takes to be sent, processed, and received on internet servers in milliseconds unit, upload speeds, the rate at which the internet can transfer or receive file data and download speeds, simply the speed of transferring data from a remote server, typically over the internet.
Upload speed and download speed are measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or kilobits per second (Kbps). For 4G networks, a good download speed should range from 25-100 Mbps, upload speeds of 10Mbps or higher, and latency of less than 55ms for Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom, and Faiba JTL lines.
To test your network speed in Kenya, download and install the OpenSignal app > open the mobile application > click ‘Speed Test’ >get the results.
How can I locate a network tower near me?
Here is how you can locate the cell towers of all mobile operators in Kenya;
- Download and install the OpenSignal app on Google PlayStore or Apple Store Online
- Launch the app to open on your mobile phone
- In the navigation menu below the screen at the far right, click the locate icon
- Allow location access for the OpenSignal app
- Click ‘Cell Towers’
A detailed map of the network mast that you are using will appear. The OpenSignal app will also show you its direction and distance. When you click the drop-down menu at the far right corner of your screen, you will see the unique identifier (Cell ID) of the cell tower plus its location area code (LAC).