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The engine-side sensor signals the mixture entering the converter and the rear sensor signals the mixture exiting the converter.
This code may and may not be noticeable less for the check engine light.The perfect mixture will average the signals around 0.45 volts. An oxygen sensor will not function at low temperatures such as start up -- for this reason most forward sensors have a pre-heater to reduce their warm up time.The mission of the oxygen sensors are twofold -- to indicate the unburned oxygen in the exhaust and secondly, to indicate the proficiency of the catalytic converter.The higher the oxygen content the leaner the fuel mixture, conversely the opposite is a rich mixture.It does so in a series of pulses called "cross counts." There is zirconium on the tip of the sensor that reacts to oxygen in a way that when hot, creates its own voltage.