Poor cell signal can be a real hassle, and for families that rely on cell phones as their main line of communication, it could even be a safety or security issue. But when you find yourself playing a game of “can you hear me now?” or walking your property to find the best place to make a call or send a text, who can you blame for your frustrations?
It’s tempting to lay the fault for poor cell signal at the door of your carrier. However, signal strength isn’t always in your carrier’s control. Find out more about what causes poor cell signal and what you and your carrier can do about it.
What Are Some Causes for Poor Cell Signal?
Poor cell signal can be a temporary issue or a plague that seems to hover around your residence. Some commons reasons for issues with cell signal can include:
- Heavy traffic on the network. Each tower and the network associated with it can only handle so many calls and data transfers at a time. If you’re in an area where a lot of people are using the same tower, signal can be spotty. That’s because your phone has to wait its turn before connecting.
- Being too far from a tower. Being too far from a tower can weaken your phone’s connection with it. The signal degrades over distance, and the farther it travels, the weaker it is until it’s nonexistent. A weak signal can lead to poor connections and dropped calls.
- Materials that interfere with cell signal. Some types of building materials can interfere with cell signal. Metal, certain types of glass, and even thick concrete can all disrupt cellular signal.
- A low or poorly performing cell phone battery. Your phone needs power to make connections, and if it’s running low on juice, it might have trouble maintaining a solid connection with signal of any kind.
- Certain types of weather conditions. Changes in weather conditions can change how cell signal moves through the air. Thunderstorms may seem like an obvious culprit, but even heavy humidity or a very foggy or cloudy day might reduce cell signal performance.
- Landscape elements. If cell signal can be disrupted by steel in the walls, it’s not surprising that a mountain, a large hill, or even an impressive grove of trees might cause a problem. If the landscape rises up substantially between your home and the nearest cell tower, then it may reduce how much signal actually reaches your devices.
- Actual problems with the network or cell service being provided. Some temporary problems are the carrier’s fault — or at least within their purview. If you’re having sudden issues with your cell service, a tower might be in disrepair or something else might be wrong with the network.
When Might It Be Your Carrier’s Fault?
If you’ve never had a problem with signal in your location and nothing’s changed — including your phone, carrier, or the materials used to construct your home — a sudden change in cell signal could mean something’s up with your carrier.
It also could mean that something else is amiss, such as some extreme weather or high levels of traffic on the network. Still, putting in a call to your carrier’s customer service or tech support lines or queuing up chat support isn’t a bad idea.
Let the carrier know what is happening so they can run any trouble-shooting processes they have. If they discover any issues with the local tower or network, they can work on fixing them to help increase the performance of your cell signal.
What Can You Do to Improve Cell Performance in Your Home?
If your carrier can’t offer you hope about better cell signal once they fix a problem, then you may need to take action into your own hands. After all, your carrier isn’t going to take on problems that aren’t their fault, such as mountains or the fact that your home is on the fringes of a tower’s reach in a rural area.
Here are a few things you can do to battle poor cell signal:
- Try various areas around and outside of your home. If either building materials or the landscape is an issue, then you may find better signal in another area. Stepping outside on your front porch could make calls clearer or using your phone from a second-story room could help you bypass the interference of a hill.
- Remove barriers that you do have control over. Some phone cases can block cell signal, especially if the signal is already weak. If you get better performance after removing your case, then you might try a slimmer case or one made of different material.
- Charge your battery and keep it at 25% or more. If you’re someone who finds themselves with a 10% or less phone battery on a regular basis, consider changing up your charging routine. Your phone may not have enough power on a regular basis to support a quality connection.
A Cell Signal Booster Is a Better Solution
Stepping outside or into the second-story bedroom closet every time you want to make a call isn’t ideal. And while an organized person can usually manage to keep their phone charged most of the time, life is full of obligations, and you can’t always be worried about whether you’ll be near an outlet at the right time.
Instead of trying to put a Band-Aid on your cell signal problems, consider installing a cell signal booster.
A booster is a device that amplifies the signal received from the nearest tower — even if that happens to be a tower that’s fairly far away. As long as any signal reaches your home, an amplifier boosts it to be strong enough to support calls and cellular data use.
You can find a variety of cell boosters for use inside of your home, ranging from options that increase signal in a single room to equipment that covers your entire home. If you find you have cell problems wherever you roam, you might benefit from a cell signal booster for your car.