on November 30, 2016 Donna Capodelupo
You’re sitting on your living room couch, walking in your neighborhood, or sitting in your car waiting for your kids to get out of school. You’re texting or chatting on your mobile phone, when suddenly your call drops off or your conversation disappears.
Poor signal again?
You think to yourself, “I’ve got to change carriers.” Not so fast! Chances are your carrier is not at fault (well, not always).
Here are some reasons why cell phone signals can suddenly go bad:
Take a look at all the other parents sitting in their cars in front of the school. Chances are, most if not all are doing the same thing you are: texting or talking on their phones.
All those signals are fighting for space on the nearest cell phone tower. Once your phone has linked to a tower, you are unlikely to lose your call, but the more phone traffic that fights for a spot, the weaker your signal can become.
If your call is transferred to a tower that’s already full, your call could be dropped.
Cell signals can’t go through metal. If you’re in your car, or in a building constructed with a metal frame or gridwork, your signal can be weakened or lost.
If you routinely notice service fading in and out as you walk around your home, or if your signal improves when you stand near a window or door, it’s likely your signal is being blocked by metal construction material.
The metal frame of your car, as well as the treatment on the windows that blocks some UV-A and UV-B rays, can interrupt signals, too.
Eruptions on the surface of the sun send plumes of gas into the atmosphere, and have been known to disrupt mobile phone communications. These so-called solar flares produce shock waves that travel through space.
They can disrupt the signals sent to and from a satellite, and produce changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.
Your phone needs energy to send or receive a signal. If your phone’s battery is low, it has a tough time mustering the strength to maintain its connection to a cell tower.
Cell phones transmit and receive electromagnetic waves, which can be affected directly by weather phenomenon such as humidity, heavy cloud cover, thunder, lightning, wind, rain, snow and ice.
Close your eyes and picture the early days of mobile phones. Sure, they were as big as shoe boxes, but they also had exterior antennas. The phones were heavy and unwieldy, but they very rarely dropped a call. That’s partly because of those exterior antennas. Today’s phones have antennas embedded inside the phone. If you’re not careful how you’re holding the phone, you can block the antenna, and lose your signal.
Did you just walk into a grove of trees? The leaf canopy can block some cell signals and cause your call to fade or drop altogether.
Geographic features are a common reason for cell signal obstruction. If you live on one side of a mountain and the only cell tower in the area is on the other side, you’re not likely to get a good signal.
Ever heard of a cell phone signal booster?
They're legal FCC-approved devices that increase your weak signal up to 32 times, whether at home, in your car, or in a public place such as an office building.
A signal booster takes a weak cell signal, whether 3G or 4G LTE, amplifies it multiple times, then rebroadcasts the boosted signal to an area inside your home or car, which your cell phone picks up.
Boosters work with all cell service providers and work on any phone that uses 2G, 3G, and 4G signals.
Learn more about improving your bad cell phone signals with by checking out our guide on cell phone boosters:
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