No Signal? 6 Ways to Boost Your Cell Phone Reception
Several years ago, a great cell phone signal was a nice thing to have. These days, it’s absolutely essential for almost all of us. We are permanently switching from landlines to cell phones, with many of us no longer wanting to pay for two phone services when one will do just fine.
However, one doesn’t always “do just fine.” You’ll know this yourself if you have experienced dropped calls, broken voices, no bars, and a frustrating lack of service when you’re out and about. But it can be even worse when you live in an area with very weak cell phone reception. But don’t worry, there are ways to boost your signal and keep in contact with the world. Here are 6 of the best.
Ask Your Provider For a Free Signal Booster.
The first tip really is that simple, and yes, there is actually a device called a signal booster. It’s also known as a repeater, and it improves the reception at your home or office by amplifying and repeating the signal. Now, there are many variations of this kind of device available for sale, and can be picked uip at places as common as Walmart and Best Buy. BUT, they’re expensive. Some can cost over $500, which is a big chunk of change. And what’s more, it’s infuriating to have to pay for something else because you are not getting the coverage you are paying for.
What you may not know is that many most service providers will let you borrow these devices for a very small deposit; or better yet, no deposit at all. T-Mobile, for instance, offers customers a Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster to anyone having trouble getting a good signal, and you are only required to pay for shipping (a measly $6 according to this customer). This is smart on T-Mobile’s part. They know signal strength is a huge issue, and do not want you leaving for another provider, when a simple equipment upgrade will make you happy. So, check into it today.
If You Have Wi-Fi, Use It To Make Calls.
This may seem like an obvious idea to those of you already making Wi-Fi calls, but for many people, it’s an option they had never considered. Most of us are lucky to have Wi-Fi in our homes, and we tap into it with our iPads, computers, DVD players and gaming consoles to access the Internet and online content.
However, it is also very handy for making phone calls, and several smartphones and providers have a Wi-Fi calling feature. You can even set up your phone to automatically connect to Wi-Fi when you get home, and you will not even notice that you are making and receiving calls over the Internet rather than via a cell phone signal. What’s more, the switch between the cellular network and your home or office Wi-Fi network can be seamless. You can enter the house talking on the phone over 4G, and finish your conversation over Wi-Fi. If you don’t have high speed Internet and Wi-Fi at home, but your neighbor does, maybe you can negotiate a small monthly fee to gain access to their Wi-Fi signal.
For an Extended Battery, Bring Out The Foil Tape.
By far the biggest issue most of us face with cell phones, other than poor reception, is battery life. That’s why the extended batteries and cases are becoming so popular. Unfortunately, it’s a case of getting more battery life at the expense of the good signal. Many of the aftermarket batteries interfere with the reception, making it weak, or sometimes non-existent.
Instructables user Geezer Nelson had this problem, and decided to do something about it. All you need is a roll of foil tape (copper or aluminum) that you can buy at any hardware store, and a few other small items. This was very a helpful when I had the same reception problems after I added a larger battery to my Galaxy S4. As you are making modifications to an aftermarket battery, and not one that came with the phone, or the phone itself, you are not doing anything to invalidate your warranty.
Try a Femtocell.
This is certainly not as good as a signal booster, but it may be worth a try if your options are limited. To start with, you need to understand the difference between a signal booster and a femtocell. Basically, a signal booster captures the signal outside of your home or office, amplifies it greatly, and then repeats this stronger signal inside. A femtocell is more like a mini cell phone tower. It’s about the size of a router, and works in much the same way. Femtocells work with one specific provider, and can eat up your Internet bandwidth. BUT, they are easier to install, and are a better option for people who have absolutely no coverage (a signal booster NEEDS some kind of signal to boost). You can read more about femtocells, and the pros and cons of the technology, right here.
Use an External Antenna.
A Jack External Antenna plugs into the headphone jack of your phone and promises to boost the signal. Depending on the make and model of your cell phone, there will be different options available to you. And as always, different options means different prices. Of course, the major drag with these is that they are bulky, inconvenient, and are a horrible looking addition to any phone. Some of them even look like old-fashioned TV aerials. But if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, maybe camping or fishing, it’s a possible option. It’s certainly not one you can just pop in your pocket when you’re out dancing at the club.
Make Your Own Booster Antenna.
If you’re feeling handy, and don’t want to pay money for one of those external antennas mentioned above, you can always build your own discrete version. It can be done very quickly and easily with simple materials.
Complete instructions are available on the easy to follow video below, and will take you under a minute. It’s much less conspicuous, very cheap, and it works. But, as the video states, you do this at your own risk. It may invalidate your warranty, or perhaps even brick your phone. But, that’s highly doubtful.
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