How to Get Cell Signal Inside When There's No Signal Outside

25th Aug 2020 by Wilson Amplifiers
How to Get Cell Signal Inside When There's No Signal Outside
Our expert discusses how to get great cell signal indoors when there is weak signal outdoors

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Cell phone boosters work wonders at amplifying cell phone signals… but what if there is no signal to begin with? Will a cell phone booster work with no signal? Sadly, no. Signal boosters strengthen existing 4G LTE signals, but they can’t create these signals on their own.

Cell phone signal boosters work by targeting a signal from the nearest tower via an external antenna (even the weakest signal will do!), then amplifying that signal internally, and rebroadcasting the newly strengthened signal back to the 4G LTE devices in your home, office, or vehicle.

However, if there is no signal to be detected, it can’t be boosted. Unfortunately, you can water a pot of dirt all you like, but without a seed, no flowers will grow.

First things first, just because you don’t see bars on your cell phone does not necessarily mean that there is no signal at all. Signal boosters have stronger antennas than cell phones, making them much better at tracking down the nearest signal. So even if your phone doesn’t appear to find a signal, a network extender still might be able to hunt down a cell phone signal for you, then boost it to the speeds you need.

How Do I Know if There's No Signal Outside?

The difference between a weak signal and a nonexistent signal can be discovered with a few quick tests. First of all, is there a certain area of the house that gets a flicker of a signal? Maybe near a window? Sitting on the back porch? Then a signal booster can help. If you can capture a connection while standing in your driveway, then your issue could be as simple as building materials, trees, mountains, or even weather getting in your way. If this is the case, a cell phone signal booster can get you the service you need, quickly and easily.

But, if you’ve climbed up to the roof and circled the yard to no avail, you might be out of range and out of luck.

How Do I Get Cell Service Where There is None in the First Place?

In order to get the best idea of how much signal you’re working with, it’s best to measure your signal in decibels (dBm) instead of bars. Apps like Network Cell Info or inPocket Software can help to monitor and measure dBm easily and in real-time. Or, if you have an Android phone, you can access a decibel-reading function under Settings, while most iPhones can access this information by turning on “test mode”. Simply “call” the number *3001#12345#* from the keypad, and the dBm reading will either appear in the top left corner, or can be found by sliding down from the top edge.

Ideally, you’d like to see an outside signal clock in somewhere around -50 to -70 dBm. If your dBm reading is above -85, you’re probably not getting much of a signal on your phone, but you’re in luck, because a cell phone booster can hunt down that faraway signal and make it work for you. Anything below -100 dBm, however, puts you outside the range of even the best signal booster. But don’t toss your phone in the river quite yet, because there are still options.

How to Get Cell Signal Inside When There’s No Signal Outside

Once you’ve done all the troubleshooting and determined that your nearest cell tower is just too far away, it may be time to look into femtocells (or microcells). Like your own personal cell tower, these network extenders convert your broadband internet connection into a 4G/4G LTE broadcast for your data-enabled devices.

The catch? You need access to that aforementioned broadband internet connection. Unfortunately, satellite internet, which is a popular* option (*or shall we say, last resort) for truly rural areas is rarely fast enough to support a hotspot.

Microcells and femtocells are also carrier-specific, so your visiting friends and family can only access your signal if you share the same network provider.

Short of requesting a cell phone tower near your location or building your own, a microcell might be your only option. But don’t give up hope. Wilson Amplifiers offers a wide range of powerful signal boosters for buildings, vehicles, and even boats, and our customer support team can walk you through any questions and concerns you might have. Before you give up streaming for DVDs, or phone calls for postcards, give our team of experts a call (send us an email at to discuss your options.

Not Sure if a Signal Booster Will Work for You?

Wilson Amplifiers is a leading provider of cell phone signal boosters, devices that amplify 4G & 3G LTE for any phone with any carrier for home, office, or car. We’ve boosted over 10,000,000 sq ft of signal for homes, buildings, and vehicles across America and Canada.

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