Best Ways to Improve Your Cell Phone Signal
Posted by Dennis Findley on 18th Sep 2017
There are a number of things (some simple, some not so simple) you can try to achieve a better cell phone signal inside your building.
In our last post we looked at the different types of materials that can negatively impact your cell phone signal. Today, we’re bringing you solutions; both paid and free to help you overcome some of these signal challenges!
Over Labor Day Weekend I was one of the record-breaking 880,000 travelers flying through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Looking around while waiting for my web-page to load, I was seeing that every other person was also struggling to connect on their phones, laptops, and mobile devices.
Dropping calls, 15-minute load times to send an email, “failure to load” prompts when attempting to open an article. Frustration was in the air and clearly on my face.
This being the case, I felt it a perfect time to discuss workarounds, hacks, and solutions that will give you the best cellular connection when there is little to none. Let’s dig in.
- Remove Inhibitors – Stand by a window, open a window, get away from metal surfaces and walls, distance yourself from other users, and get to a higher level that has less surrounding structures (trees, other buildings, etc.).
- Charge Your Device – As batteries lose voltage the amount of power they have to communicate with a cellular tower also decreases. We also suggest putting your phone on airplane mode while charging to speed up the process.
- Close Non-Used Apps and Pages – Closing the apps and pages you have running in the background enables your mobile device to devote all performance to the action at-hand.
- Airplane Mode – Turn airplane mode on for three seconds then turn it off to reboot your cell signal and try to connect to a better, stronger tower.
Slightly More Involved Fixes:
- Cell Phone Signal Booster – Also known as cell signal repeaters, these are great solutions for homes, offices, warehouses, cars, and pretty much any space up to 100,000 square-feet that has reception outside or nearby the building. These solutions are typically carrier agnostic and one system can support all carriers. Cellular signal boosters will use an antenna to grab a signal outside of your building and, with the booster and internal antenna(e), will repeat that signal within the structure to give you a great cell connection throughout. These range in price based on the square-footage of the application. A signal booster for a 5,000 square-foot application will cost a few hundred dollars whereas an 80,000 square-foot application could require a booster that costs in the mid-thousands.
- Evaluate Your Cell Phone Signal – Use a website like Antenna Search or Cell Reception, try an App like OpenSignal (for Android or for iPhone), and use field test mode to see your exact signal strength. We strongly suggest using field test mode as it can give you a signal strength reading for your specific device at that specific moment. Learn how to enter field test mode on your phone.
- Wi-Fi Calling – If you’re connected to the internet use FaceTime Audio, Skype, Google Hangouts, or other services that allow you to call over Wi-Fi rather than using a cellular frequency.
- Femtocells – These are paid solutions that you can purchase through your cell carrier. They are priced in the range of $100 to $300 and most often require a monthly subscription service that accompanies your Internet bill. These are great solutions for homes or small offices where there is no cell signal outside of the building and where cell usage typically occurs within one or two rooms of the building because these solutions are not quite as powerful as a cellular signal booster or Small-Cell (DAS) solutions.
- Small-Cell Distributed Antenna System (DAS) – This is a much more involved solution designated for large applications that exceed 100,000 square-feet and host a large number of users. These applications require approval from the FCC and carriers on nearby towers and, while costs range based on the size of the application, we would not suggest this option for most homes or small businesses.
When you’re in a pinch try using each of the simple fixes. When you’re running into a recurring issue we suggest you pursue one of the slightly more involved options that will provide you a more permanent and connected solution. Learn more about cell phone signal boosters for home, vehicle, and office.