How to Boost Cell Phone Signal at Home: Free & Paid Solutions
You're not alone. Spotty cell phone reception and limited cell signal are common problems in the digital age. According to a Pew Research Study, 72% of Americans drop calls and 77% of them experience extremely slow internet speeds on a weekly basis.
And with the growing number of smart-enabled devices and slow development of cell phone towers, mobile internet bottlenecking is the new traffic jam of the 21st century. But luckily, the signal experts at SignalBoosters.com have developed the definitive list of free and paid options to help improve your cell phone reception and coverage.
Free Methods To Improve Cell Signal
1. Find Out Which Part of the House Has The Best Reception
Do you know where your cell tower is located?
If not, then you need to find out, because the area of your house closest to the cell tower gets the best signal.
The best way to find cell phone signal strength is to look at decibel (dB) reading. You see, the bars on your phone vary from one company to another. For example, what might be 3 bars on Sprint is 2 bars on Verizon, 1 bar on AT&T and full bars on T-mobile. Confusing yes?
There's no industry standard for bar readings.
However, cell phone signals are radio frequencies that work in a certain range: -50 dB to -110 dB. -50 dB is great signal, full bars. -110 dB is basically a dead zone.
While you could use a dedicated signal meter for super accurate results, any iPhone or Android phone can show dB readings just fine. Here's how:
So to see how strong your signal is, use the following instructions to see dB reading if you own an iPhone:
- 1.Go into Phone Mode
- 2.Dial and Call *3001#12345#*
- 3.You'll enter Field Test Mode
- 4.Drag down your notifications bar and you will see your dB reading in the left-hand corner.
So to see how strong your signal is, use the following instructions to see dB reading if you own an Android:
- 1.Access Settings
- 2.The General
- 3.Go to About Phone
- 4.Network or Status
- 5.You should see your dB Value
Walk around your house and look for the number closest to -50 dB. Once you do, you will have found the best area in your house for cell service.
2. Get Away from Obstructions and Interference
Now remember cell signals are basically radio waves, the AM/FM kind. They're great for covering long distances, but they're terrible at penetration. Almost everything can affect cell signals. Here's the complete list:
- 4.Any tall structure
- 1.Thick Building Material
- 5.Lots of clutter
All these can impede or block incoming cell signals. So best tips are to get near a window or balcony and be elevated, since the second story of a home more likely gets better signal than the first floor.
3. Get Away from the Crowds & Public Events
Ever noticed your cell phone starts crawling even slower in public places, especially at venues and crowded events? That's because cell towers are only able to hold a certain number of connections simultaneously.
So if you're at the baseball game or concert and everyone is taking photos and trying to upload to their Facebook or Instagram, it'll slow down the network dramatically and even worst, won't let you connect.
So the best solution is to get away from the crowd and find a less populated space meaning less competition for signal for your phone.
4. Keep Your Battery Fully Charged
This is a bit of surprise, but it's true, especially with today's smartphone. It's not just a phone, but an internet device, music player, calendar, book reader, game player, etc. With so many resources and just a limited battery, your cell phone needs to use more battery to not only make a call but also find a signal.
So it's best to keep your phone fully charged and at least above 10%. After that, your phone may go into conservation mode and affect its performance.
5. Use Wifi Calling
While apps like Skype and WhatsApp have been doing internet calling for some time, the four major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile) are slowly embracing wi-fi calling.
Instead of using your cellular signal, when connected to Wi-fi, your smartphone will use it instead to make and receive calls. T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T have joined the wifi calling game with Verizon to officially join in 2016.
So if you have landline internet, this is a function that should be definitely used.
Paid Methods To Improve Cell Signal
1. Femtocell & Microcell
A femtocell (also known as microcell) is like a mini cell tower in your home. They work by using your broadband landline internet and converting it into cell signals. While powerful and convenient, there are some drawbacks.
First, it's only carrier-specific, meaning an AT&T femtocell will only work with AT&T phones and service. So if you change carriers, there goes your investment. And secondly, you need to have broadband internet. And if you do, expect slower internet since the femtocell now uses some of that bandwidth to make cell signals.
2. Cell Phone Signal Boosters & Repeaters
Cell phone signal boosters (also known as repeaters and extenders) are powerful devices that take incoming weak signal, amplify it, and then rebroadcasts the boosted signal to an area in need inside the house.
Solutions vary from cheap one-room boost to multi-story building coverage, although the most popular is a whole house booster like the weBoost Connect 4G. They work on all phones and all carriers. Cell amplifiers have gained in popularity the past few years as people without broadband internet depend on just their cell signal as their only means to connect to the internet.
However, one setback is that they're dependent on having a signal, so a signal booster can enhance weak cell signals but not create it. They're also pricey, but reviews are very positive since they are seen as investments.
3. Change Carriers
After you've done everything you could, it just may be time to switch carriers. With today's easily transferable phone numbers and competition paying for you to switch carriers, it just may be the right time to make the jump and possibly get a new phone in the process.
(Stupid) Methods That DON'T Improve Cell Signal
1. Antenna Boosting Stickers
No. Please. Just no. They don't work. Wrapping your phone in tin foil probably has a better chance than these gimmicks. I also have a plot of land on Saturn if you're interested in buying some.