From calls to texting to browsing the Web, today’s smartphones and tablets have the potential to keep us in constant communication while on the go. But for mobile users who suffer through dropped calls, slow downloads or delayed voicemails, that potential isn’t always realized.
In fact, 20 percent of respondents experience dropped calls “very often” (15 times or more per week), while another 15 percent experience dropped calls “often” (10 to 15 times per week), according to a recent consumer survey conducted by weBoost. When poor cell reception occurs on a daily basis, even the most amazing piece of mobile technology can lose a lot of its value to the user.
While those who report these common mobile challenges may be quick to blame their device or carrier, the real culprit may be neither. The surprising truth is anything interrupting the line of sight from a cell tower to a device – such as uneven terrain, dust in the air and tall foliage – can reduce signal strength.
Perhaps the biggest misconception of all is that there’s nothing we can do. On the contrary, it’s much easier than many mobile users realize to improve signal strength. Here are some simple tips for better reception:
Track your tower. Knowing which tower your device is using can go a long way toward improving your signal. A downloadable app called “Open Signal,” available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, will show you all the cell towers in your area, as well as which tower you’re connected to. By knowing where the tower is, you’ll know which direction to face when using your mobile device, which reduces the chance of any obstructions blocking your signal. If you find you’re not connected to the closest tower, simply reboot your signal by turning your phone off and on again.
Keep your device charged. If you’ve ever picked up your phone and suddenly noticed several delayed texts or voicemails appear at once, try checking your battery. When you’re actively using your phone, it pings the towers more frequently, which uses more power. However, it conserves power when it’s on standby mode – which means if your battery is low, your phone could be receiving updates less frequently. The solution is simple: just charge your battery.
Roll down the windows. Energy-efficient building products, such as insulation and tinted windows, can block a cell signal in a home or office building. Similarly, most vehicles are built with large amounts of metal, often with a metallic tint covering the windows. If you notice you’re struggling for a good signal indoors, or while on the road, the solution could be as easy as rolling down the window. Your cell signal could double in strength.
Compare carriers. If none of the above solutions seem to improve your cell reception, your carrier could be the problem. Not all carriers serve the same locations, and it's quite possible your carrier just doesn't provide a strong signal in your area. To know for sure, simply look up coverage maps for each of the major carriers and compare their service areas. Switching to a different carrier could be the best option where you live.
Boost your signal. While there are many effective ways around the problem of poor cell reception, it’s also surprisingly easy to fix it permanently. A weBoost cell phone signal booster installed in a home or car can greatly amplify a weak signal – essentially creating your own personal cell tower. The result is faster download speeds, clearer conversations and better battery life (since your phone will no longer need to transmit over long distances). Just like a cell tower, a weBoost cell signal booster works with every network, and there’s no limit to how many people can use it at once.