With over four billion users around the world, mobile phones are undoubtedly becoming one of the most important electronic devices. So much so that almost no one chooses to leave home without it.
Launched as a business communication tool some decades ago, mobile phones have come a long way—now connecting families effortlessly around the world and making online transactions possible.
Despite technological advances, poor signal and bad reception can occasionally bug cell phone users. In this article, you’re going to discover easy and doable tips to fix a bad mobile phone signal. But first, here’s a brief discussion on how phones work.
How do mobile phones work?
In essence, a cell phone works in the same way as a two-way radio. It allows for back-and-forth communication between devices.
When placing a call, a person’s voice is converted into an electrical signal. A sound possesses an audio frequency and wavelength, which the phone picks up and matches to the frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Using electromagnetic waves, the audio frequency is transmitted from the caller to a cell tower which, in turn, transmits the signal to the other person on the line. The other person’s device decodes these signals through the mobile phone receiver.
Without major obstructions, the entire process happens rapidly, as the waves travel at 186,282 miles per second. The result is a seamless voice call for both mobile phone users.
How to fix bad reception
In ideal situations, phone reception shouldn’t be a problem. In some cases, though, one may experience a poor signal for various reasons, including heavy rains and both the caller and recipient’s location. With these easy tips below, users can enjoy improved reception in no time.
Locate the closest cell tower
Under ideal circumstances, a mobile phone’s signal can connect to a cellular or cell tower up to 45 miles away. However, due to various factors, such as the weather, physical impediments, network congestion, and other circumstances that impact the way mobile phones work, the ideal distance is often reduced considerably, at 22 miles.
This means that the farther you are from the cell tower, the less reliable your phone reception will be, regardless if you’re relying on more advanced technologies such as the 5G cellular network.
Check your phone for the nearest cell site and move closer to the tower, if you can. Otherwise, you can either try the other tips below or you’re stuck with poor reception and will have to call at a later time.
There’s a website that allows you to locate these infrastructures in your locality. Simply go to the site and enter your city name or zip code to find out the location of the tower nearest you.
As of 2020, a total of 417,215 mobile cell sites have been built in the United States. This represents an increase of over 21,000 in one year.
Get a signal booster
Despite these numerous towers, phone reception can still get awful in some instances. If you want a constant and reliable connection, consider getting a mobile phone signal booster. This device enhances weak signals in your home and even outdoors. As such, they’re capable of providing better call quality and enhancing data speeds.
Cell phone signal boosters work by drawing in radio frequency signals from the nearest cell tower through an external antenna. These boosters then amplify faint signals, pass them on to the internal antenna, which re-broadcasts the reinforced signals inside your home so they can be used by your mobile devices.
If you live far away from a signal tower, click here to find out more about cell phone signal boosters and choose the product that you need.
Avoid as many physical obstructions as possible
A cellphone uses radio waves that travel in a straight line. These signals can’t penetrate through solid barriers. This means obstructions negatively impact phone reception. It can even weaken signal transmissions even in phones located close to the tower.
Obstructions such as the terrain—trees, building, walls, and tunnels—can further diminish phone reception. Building materials, such as concrete and steel, block cell signals too. If you want to get better reception, don’t use your phone while you’re in the basement, as phone signals find concrete impenetrable.
Otherwise, try moving to an area with less interference before using your cellular phone. Going to an elevated area in your building can also help enhance reception because there are likely fewer obstructions around.
Similarly, an event where a high number of mobile phone users are present can severely strain cell reception too. Users mustn’t expect to be able to use their phones or a video call app seamlessly during this time. In these instances, it’s best to make a call once you’re outside the venue.
Other easy fixes
If you want to attempt some quick fixes, you can try the following:
- Make sure your phone software is updated
- Recharge your phone
- Turn your phone’s airplane mode on and off
- Switch off your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Near Field Communication (NFC)
- Re-select your network operator
The bottom line
Multiple factors affect an otherwise seamless phone reception; cell tower location, physical obstructions, and phone traffic—being the most common causes.
To overcome these issues, take heed of your surroundings and location. Once you’ve identified the source of the problem, perform the necessary adjustments by moving to another area or buying a signal booster.
Physical interferences and distance aside, other quick fixes can address signal problems, as discussed in the earlier section. With these tips, you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy a better connection indoors and outdoors.