How to Improve Cell Phone Reception in Your Home
Brought to you by our friend Jeff Morin:
Poor cell reception and dead zones can be frustrating and have been ever since cell phones were invented. Unfortunately, these problems are starting to occur more and more frequently for new homeowners. Advancements in building materials have allowed us to construct better, more energy efficient homes, but have also resulted in exteriors that can cause major interference for cell phone signals.
Our dependency on cell phones, as our primary means of communication with the outside world, is at a high; therefore, having interference with our cell phone signals is especially problematic. While dropped calls are definitely an annoyance, they can be catastrophic if an emergency arises. Fortunately, there are a few different options available for improving your cell phone reception and eliminating dropped calls once and for all.
Causes of Poor Cell Phone Signal
There are two major factors that may explain your poor cell phone signal: distance from a cell tower and obstructions that cause interference.
Distance from a Cell Tower
The further away you are from a cell tower, the weaker your cell phone signal is going to be. Eventually, the signal will be so weak you’ll experience dropped calls and slow data speeds.
Anything that comes between your phone and the cell tower can cause issues with your cell signal, including mountains, hills, large buildings, and even trees. In addition, the building materials in your home may be causing varying amounts of cell phone signal interference. Certain materials, such as metal siding, concrete and wire mesh can cause significant signal loss, while wood and drywall generally allow the signal to pass through more easily. Energy efficient materials, like radiant barriers and window tinting, are being used more frequently in new homes and also cause major havoc with cell signals.
Separately, each of these factors can cause problems with cell phone signal in your home, but together the effect can be even worse. Fortunately, there are a couple of different options available for solving your cell phone signal problem.
Cell Phone Signal Booster
The first option to consider is a cell phone signal booster, which is designed to amplify the existing outside signal and bypass the obstructions in your home that cause such poor reception. A cell phone signal booster works by taking an existing cell phone signal from a good location, such as on the roof, amplifying it, and then rebroadcasting it inside the house. The system is typically made up of an external antenna, an amplifier, an internal antenna, and cabling to connect it all together.
Cell phone signal boosters provide many benefits, including the ability to boost the cell signal for multiple carriers at the same time, uninterrupted cell usage when switching between outside and inside, no usage restrictions, and more. The one requirement to be able to use a cell phone signal booster is that there must be at least one bar of signal in the place that you’re planning to mount the external antenna. Other than that, a signal booster is a great choice for solving the problem of poor reception.
The second option to consider is a microcell, which is a device that connects to your broadband Internet connection and creates a local cell signal inside of your house. Instead of sending calls over the existing cellular network, the microcell routes calls over the Internet, so even if there is no existing cell signal outside your home, you can still use your cell phone inside.
The main requirement of using a microcell is that you must have a fast and reliable broadband Internet connection, otherwise you might experience dropped calls, static, and delays while talking on your phone. Additionally, each mobile device must belong to the same cellular provider and be authorized before using the microcell. Finally, microcells are sold and regulated by your wireless company, so there are some restrictions in place regarding location and usage.
Each option is ideally suited for certain situations. If a signal booster sounds like the right option for you, then check out the different cell phone signal booster options available for your situation. Otherwise, if a microcell makes more sense, then contact your wireless provider directly for more information. Whichever you choose, you’ll finally be able to use your cell phone in your home without the frustration of dropped calls and poor reception.