How to boost your cell signal

Low cell phone signals can cause all sorts of inconveniences when you’re trying to stay connected. Phone calls can drop, messages don’t send, and streaming services can stutter.

While we can’t build new towers to get more bars, we still have some control to avoid interruption in cell service. Take a closer look at these tips for making sure you have the best possible signal, how to boost your cell signal, and a few other solutions.


Figure out what’s causing the poor signal. There are many factors that play into your phone’s reception — your wireless carrier, the phone itself, the size of the crowd you’re in (if you’re in one), the materials your house or car are made out of, and even your geographic location all play a role in determining your signal strength. Do your best to narrow it down to which one is causing the most trouble.


Move to a better location. If you have poor reception inside your home or office, but it drastically improves whenever you go outside, there’s a good chance that the building is impeding your signal. If you’re outside and still can’t get good reception, try moving away from tall buildings, trees, and anything else that could cause interference. If you’re in a rural area, try moving to a higher elevation. It’s also common that crowds such as concerts, music festivals, or even downtown areas with major events in town can create stress on the wireless towers, limiting signal and data speed on your smartphone.


Check for coverage issues in your area. Before you drive yourself nuts trying all these steps, you can reach out to your carrier and ask if there are any coverage issues such as a downed tower or one under maintenance in your immediate area.


Perform a signal refresh. Sometimes your phone gets stuck searching for the nearest cell tower, and all it needs is a signal refresh to establish a strong connection. Luckily, it’s not a complex method and it’s pretty easy to do. This can be done by rebooting your phone completely by turning your phone completely off, or by switching on airplane mode (if your phone has one) for a second and then turning it back off again.


Install a repeater. A repeater, or signal booster, will catch incoming signals and rebroadcast them, effectively strengthening your signal reception. If you have a weak wireless signal in your house or car, a wireless signal repeater may be capable of fixing the issue altogether. These devices can go anywhere where there’s access to a power outlet.  Before you place your signal repeater, though, make sure you choose a place that makes sense for catching a signal. For example, if you place your repeater down in your basement, it might not detect the signal in the first place. A window sill is a much better choice. Keep in mind that boosters can be pricey, too.


Check your network’s coverage map to make sure you’re in a well-covered area. This is a great thing to do before moving houses or switching to a new cell service provider. Just about every cell carrier (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile) will offer a detailed coverage map on their website. That way, you can check to see if you’re in a spotty or uncovered location before troubleshooting other options. If the map shows that coverage is spotty in your area, you may want to consider switching cell phone networks.

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