How to Get a Better Cell Phone Signal Indoors

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Cell phone reception indoors is tricky sometimes. You might have wonderful reception in one part of your house, while the in the next room you’re struggling to keep a call from dropping. While you won’t be able to change the laws of physics and how radio waves work, there are some tips and methods to make indoor cell phone use a little less aggravating.

Some require changes in habits or the purchase of new phone accessories, others using features already found in your current phone. Either way, you’ll drop calls less.

Do you have Wi-Fi calling? Use it!

Wi-Fi calling is a fairly new feature which is found on a lot of newer phones. Instead of using the cellular network, your smartphone connects to Wi-Fi and your call is transmitted over the Internet much like a Skype call. If you’re looking for a bit more information on this feature, check out The Cheat Sheet’s explainer on the topic.

Since Wi-Fi networks are typically indoors, that signal is going to be quite a bit stronger than most cell phone signals, especially in interior rooms. Wi-Fi calling itself has improved quite a bit over the past few years, and in some cases will even transfer the call to the traditional wireless network once you’re out of Wi-Fi range. It’s a simple and easy fix for reception issues for many.

Get a femtocell



Femtocells have been around for quite awhile, although most of us may have never heard of them because they aren’t widely used. The simplest way to think of them is like a repeater for the nearest cell phone tower, according to TechRepublic.

Both the femtocell and the tower work on the same frequencies that your cell phone signal uses, but what happens with the femtocell is that it is programmed to receive and then retransmit your signal to the main tower.

While Wi-Fi calling only works with phones that support the technology, a femtocell will work with any phone using the same cellular technology. This is a great solution for families or offices where you will have a variety of different types of devices.

Femtocells can be obtained from your wireless provider. Do remember though that the femtocell will only work for customers of that carrier. Others are out of luck.

Get a signal booster



There is some controversy as to their overall effectiveness, but cell phone signal boosters might be a good option for those locations where you’ll have a variety of phones on a variety of networks. A unit is placed indoors with an antenna placed outside to both receive and transmit signals. ZBoost is one company that produces cell phone signal boosters.

There’s one caveat to use these effectively: You’ll need to be in an area where outside there is ample signal from a nearby tower. If incoming signals are weak, a signal booster is not going to create more signal for you, it’s only going to amplify what’s there. Thus, you might need to consider other options, like Wi-Fi calling, instead.

Keep in mind cellular service limitations

Finally, it wouldn’t be right to not talk about cellular service itself. Radio waves behave a certain way thanks to the laws of physics, and there is not going to be any technology that is going to change that. As such, you’re going to want to avoid making calls underground or in far interior rooms.

This is because the more objects radio signals pass through, the weaker and more diffused the signal becomes, explains If you’re going to need to make a phone call, and can’t use one of our suggestions above, you’ll need to either get to a nearby window or step outdoors. Maybe get on a roof if you can.

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