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Troubleshooting the BlackBerry signal bar

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BlackBerry can provide (arguably) the best global email delivery solution. That is, until something goes wrong at which point it can be a nightmare to troubleshoot. The log files on a BES can only be decoded by an expert and some of the errors that get reported on the handset are ambiguous to the point of being irrelevant. So, where do you start? Well, the signal bar can give you some useful guidance. Look at the signal bar in the top right corner. There will be something written next to it. Whatever is there could point you to your problem.

1. OFF - Your BlackBerry mobile signal has been turned off. Go into Manage Connections and put the check in the box.

2. X - Your BlackBerry mobile signal is switched on, but you don't have a signal. Wait a few moments or move to somewhere where there is a better signal.

3. SOS - You don't have any network coverage on a usable network. Move until you do.

4. GSM - You have a signal that you can use to make and receive calls and send texts, but that's it. You typically see this flash past as the BlackBerry connects to the network. If it stays there, try pulling the battery to reset it then contact your mobile network and ask about faults in your area.

The next few depend on your make and model of BlackBerry and the country you are in.

5. gprs/edge/3g - Note the case. These are in lower case. You have a data signal, but no BlackBerry connection. The BlackBerry will typically pause on this as it boots up while it is registering on the network. If it stays here, contact the network and check your tariff and ask if there are any known BlackBerry faults at the time. If you haven't done so already, contact your network provider and make sure that you have an appropriate data plan that is suitable for BlackBerry. Without it, the BlackBerry will be not much more than just a phone.

6. GPRS/EDGE/3G - Again note the case. These are in upper case. You now have a BlackBerry that is properly connected to the mobile network and is enabled for BlackBerry communication. Try sending a PIN to PIN message or using BBIM. These should work now. Additional note: the 3G will have the BlackBerry symbol next to it. If you don't see it, assume you are at step 5.

Now that you know about the signal bar, you can continue to troubleshoot your BlackBerry. Don't look for the complex solutions until you have checked the simple stuff first, though.
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by:Mike Sullivan
Thanks for that. I'll see if my style of writing is helpful to people. If it is, I'll look to add some more BlackBerry articles.
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