How to Boost Cell Phone Signal and Get Better Reception

Weak or patchy cell phone signal in your home or office can be the source of much frustration. At best, it’s a mild chronic annoyance – and at worst, unreliable cell coverage can end up being a serious problem in a crisis situation. Despite cellular networks improving their coverage every year, weak, patchy and lost signals are common enough to be a significant issue for many people.

If you live or work in an area with consistently weak reception, you’ll find it can hamper many aspects of your daily communications. Particularly frustrating is the presence of a “dead zone”. Dead zones are small areas, sometimes even in populated, well-connected cities that are devoid of any cellular signal. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a dead zone in your home or place of work, you’ll find yourself having to go upstairs, downstairs or outside to communicate via cell phone, which can be a frustrating drain on your time and energy.

Why do Some Areas have Weak Signal Strength?

There are a couple of reasons why you might have a weak cell phone signal in a given area. Cell phone signals are transmitted via radio waves, and to make a call, your phone needs to send and receive radio waves to and from the nearest base station. This is a transmission outpost set up by your cellular network. The radio waves don’t need a completely clear path to your cell phone, but if there are large, solid obstacles between your cell phone and the base station (such as mountains! ) then you may have trouble getting a signal. The strength of the signal also depends on how close you are to the nearest base station – the further away you are, the weaker the signal will be. Cell phone signal strength can be an issue if you live in a rural or remote location.

So what can you do if your signal is patchy or weak, and you really need to get better cell phone reception? A cell phone signal booster system is one solution, and it’s an effective way to obtain strong, consistent signal strength inside a given building.

What is a Cell Phone Signal Booster System?

The underlying concept is actually fairly simple. The purpose of a cell phone signal booster system is to pick up a cell phone signal from an area where the signal is present, and transmit it to where you need it – typically inside your home or office building. The system amplifies the signal to ensure that it’s consistently strong enough in the area in which you need to improve cell phone reception.

To boost cell phone signal with such a system requires three key components. First is the external antenna, which is placed somewhere where there is existing signal. If you’re looking to improve cell phone reception in a building such as your home, you’d find the spot on your roof where the signal is strongest, and place the antenna there. It’s important to find a good spot – the strength of the signal picked up outside will determine the range of signal you get inside, so it’s worth taking the time to place the external antenna carefully.

The external antenna is connected via cable to the second part of the system inside, the amplifier. The crucial job of the amplifier is to strengthen the signal to the point that it’s strong enough throughout the area that you need to get better reception in.

The amplifier is connected to the internal antenna, which broadcasts the signal through the space inside your home, where it can then be picked up by your cellular phone.

The benefits of a system like this are obvious – when properly set up, a cellular signal booster system eliminates unreliability, weak signal and dead zones and provides a consistently strong signal inside your building.

How do I Choose the Different Components?

It is possible to put together a cellular signal boosting system on your own, but if you choose to go this route it helps to be aware of the options for each component.

When selecting your external antenna, bear in mind that there are different kinds of external antennas, designed for different purposes – and they have trade-offs. A directional antenna is more powerful and will result in a stronger signal, but it can only communicate with towers in one general direction, so it may not work if you need to boost multiple cellular networks. An omnidirectional antenna will transmit and receive in all directions, but the signal will be weaker so it may not be ideal if the outside signal is very weak.

Additionally, different networks can operate on different frequencies. Some networks even use more than one frequency, depending on the type of service – 3G or 4G internet may be transmitted on their own frequency. Not every amplifier receives every frequency, so this means that you’ll need to choose your amplifier based on the cellular networks and services you’d like to receive. The easiest way to do this is to start by choosing the carrier that you need boosted, and then selecting the booster that fits your situation.

Internal antennas vary in their size, shape and mounting. Your choice here will depend on where you’d prefer to place the antenna – on the ceiling or on the inside of a window, for example.

Can Someone Help me Pick the Best System for my Needs?

The answer is most definitely yes. Unless you have a unique situation or a very large space, an all-in-one signal boosting kit could be the right fit for your home, office or vehicle. The advantages of buying the equipment in a combined package are obvious – you'll have a well tested system that's in use all over the world and can see ratings showing how well it has worked for other people. A specialist will be able to assess your needs, and make sure you walk away with the combination of equipment that’s right for you. As a result you’ll be able to get better cell phone reception, with the network and services you want, exactly where you need it most.

When you’ve had enough of poor reception and dropped calls, give us a call at (800) 590-3564 or send us an email at sales@ubersignal.com to get started!

Do You Have Cell Phone Reception Problems?

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30 thoughts on “How to Boost Cell Phone Signal and Get Better Reception”

  • Wayne Biddy

    My computer seems to interfere with my signal so I have to get up and move to another part of the room. I seldom get more than 1 bar with my iPhone 4 with AT&T. This is at my studio about 300yds from my home which also only gets 1 bar and the basement only gets text messages. Can you help me? I was hoping to expand the signal to include both buildings with one repeater/booster, but it seems that I will need two. Let me know how you can help.

    Wayne

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hello Wayne. You're correct that with 300 yards between the house and the studio, you would need two separate systems. To figure out which boosters would be best for your home and studio, we need to know about how large each of the spaces are. I'll follow up in an email to find out more information.

      To everyone else who needs help figuring out which signal booster will work best for you, please use the Contact Us link at the very bottom of the page.

      Reply
  • jacey

    My cell service sucks! I live in a tiny town & have verizon. I cant make calls & can rarely send texts. Help me!

    Reply
    • Dan

      Use the Contact Us link at the bottom of this page to send us a message and we'd be happy to help you find a Signal Booster that will fix your signal problems!

      Reply
  • Nina

    I have verizon and my cell phone dose not work when I go see my husband,He live in an RV and he stay where there's a lot of tree he to has verizon and yes his phone dont work... I have try that willson booster and no it got to hot when we try to use it, so it there another one that might be better



    Nina

    Reply
    • Jeff

      Choosing the right booster can definitely be challenging. We're happy to help you find the right signal booster for your husband's RV, just contact us at support@ubersignal.com. Thanks!

      Reply
  • Melissa McCartney
    Melissa McCartney March 9, 2013 at 1:32 am

    I'm a retiree living in a rural area and have tried every "Major Carrier" and tried their respective brands of phone.I have had very marginal signal strength plague me,and everyone I known for years .The coverage maps they provide show us as well within their territory.Ive had their sales people tell me "I am probably too far from a tower",but I can see one off (A mile away?).Then they told me "Your probably too close to the tower".Ive even had them suggest putting tin foil in the back of the phone?Then they said I should stand in the street to make calls,maybe they were hoping I would get run over? An Anntenna mounted at the house wouldnt do much for me.When Im driving into town on our rural roads is when I want it most.Now heres the really amazing thing,My Husbands 10+ year old "Dumb Phone" gets an amazing signal anywhere,even in the mountains of Colorado.So obviously the technology for making a good antenna built into a cell phone exists.Why have they stopped using it?

    Reply
    • Jeff

      From what you've mentioned, it sounds like there might be a physical problem with your phone. If other people are able to receive good signal in the same location that you're at, with the same carrier, then that is the most likely scenario. If you're sure it's a signal related problem and not your phone, then we'll be happy to recommend a booster that will work for you, just contact us at support@ubersignal.com.

      Reply
  • Kathy gove

    I work from home as a medical coder and I use a Verizon air card which
    I loose Signal a lot. I live in a rural area but towers are close. I need
    Some type of boost where I can work without having to stop and start
    All day long

    Reply
    • Jeff

      Hi Kathy, it definitely sounds like signal booster solution could help your situation. The best place to start out finding the right booster for your situation is our page dedicated to Verizon Wireless signal boosters: <a href="http://www.ubersignal.com/verizon-cell-phone-signal-boosters-repeaters" rel="nofollow">http://www.ubersignal.com/verizon-cell-phone-signal-boosters-repeaters</a>. Based on your coverage area and outside signal strength, that should point you to the right booster for you. Happy to help you personally as well, just shoot us a note to support@ubersignal.com or call us at 1.800.590.3564.

      Reply
  • theresa Hoffses
    theresa Hoffses July 25, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Terrible cell service. What can we do?

    Reply
    • Dan

      If you get at least one bar of signal and can text or make a call when you're OUTSIDE your house, then you have enough signal that it can be boosted to cover the inside of your house. So the next step is to go to our Carriers page (http://www.ubersignal.com/carriers) and click on your carrier. Then select the size of your house and based on your weak outside signal strength, a single booster will be recommended for you.

      Reply
  • wendy

    Hi, I live in a rural area and my house is 400 feet off the street down in a little valley. I use my cell phone here and can't get reception in my home but if I walk 50 ft in front of my home I can use it. My landline inside my house also gets distorted and need to clear up my signal or help streghten it. I hope you can suggest a good booster. I have frontier for my home phone and would like to upgrade my generic net10 phone to one I can use. Thanks, Wendy

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hi Wendy,

      We don't have any products that will help with landlines unfortunately, unless you have one of the newer "landlines" that plug into a device that sends calls over the cellular network.

      For you cellular service, if you can get a signal from the roof of your home, then a signal booster will likely work for you. If you get absolutely no signal at all from your roof, then you may not have enough existing signal to amplify. So first, check the signal on the roof and then use the contact us page at the bottom of the site to let us know what you find out.

      Dan

      Reply
  • tyrell burley

    My phone signal sucks I try to call it hangs up I try you tube and that's a waste of time I live in Baltimore city is there any thing to help my phone signal

    Reply
  • Michelle

    Why does my phone get excellent reception in our house, but my daughter has to walk outside to even make a call?

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hi Michelle,

      It could be for a number of reasons. Do you both have the same carrier? Different carriers use different networks which would explain the difference. Some phones work much better in low signal situations than others. Or your Daughter's phone may have an issue that's causing this trouble. If they're both from the same carrier, you should probably talk to the carrier and see if they have an explanation.

      Reply
  • Elizabeth

    Please help me find a signal booster for my cell phones (two different carriers) neither get hardly every any reception where I live. Try running a home based business with this horrible service. I live in Morongo Valley, CA fairly high up but on the side of a large hill. Even the neighbors across the street further away from the hill scramble to the outside street to try to pick up a signal (we all use different carriers) to no avail.
    Hoping you have an answer. I own the side of the highest hill and have contemplated taking my digital antenna up there for placement in hopes of helping the cell service, right now it works fine for the second tv in the back of the house. We also have Direct TV, and a service called Excede for the internet, isn't there a way to make all of these systems talk to each other (and make some kind of music together?) Most importantly my business is suffering with unconnectable calls, dropped calls, and the in ability to find a signal to make a call. Help!

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hello Elizabeth,

      If you can get at least one bar of signal when standing on your roof (or wherever else you would put the outside antenna), then a signal boost will be able to help you. If you can't get at least one bar of signal when you're outside, then there may not be enough existing signal for a booster to amplify. If possible, try to get a signal reading from your roof and then give us a call and let us know what you find out.

      Dan

      Reply
  • Paul

    Hey mate,

    Im working on a ship in the north west. We sometimes get reception but its quite low when we do get it.

    Is there anything that could get a constant signal as well as making it good enough to be able to use the internet on the phone?

    We are basically on the outer edges of the phone signal area.

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hello Paul,

      Our signal boosters are great at taking that fringe area signal and making it usable, as long as you're not so far from a tower that no existing signal is available. If you click on the Vehicle Kits link on the top of the page, you'll see our Wilson Sleek signal boosters which are the least expensive but also least powerful, and at the bottom, you'll see our Marine Kit which may be the best option for you. Take a look and give us a call with any questions.

      Reply
  • Janis

    I live in an area that doesn't have coverage (no cell towers) I may get a signal in one spot of my home (1 bar) that last about 30 seconds.

    What can you recommend and cost please.

    Janis

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hello Janis,

      As long as you can stand on your roof (where the outside antenna would be mounted) and get some signal up there, then a signal booster will likely be able to help you. To help recommend a signal booster, I need to know the following information:

      - What carrier(s) do you need to cover with a boosted signal?
      - How strong is the existing signal where you would mount the outside antenna, typically on the roof (See http://www.ubersignal.com/field-test-mode)?
      - Over how large of an area inside do you need to cover with a boosted signal (in sq ft)?
      - Is that area over one floor or multiple?

      Once we have that information, we can help recommend a system for you.

      Reply
  • Richard Hammitt
    Richard Hammitt May 27, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    At hunting camp on a tree farm I get 1 or 2 sometimes three bars on my I phone 5 between trailers and camp house on a little knoll. No signal in my camper about 40 feet away. For I phone and I pad connected to att. at camp I am about 7 miles from San Augustine Texas.Any way you can help me?
    Thanks
    Richard

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hi Richard,

      If there's a place within 50 to 75 ft from the building where you need a boosted signal, then a signal booster will likely work for you. Our entry level ZB545 comes with a 50 ft. outside antenna cable while our FlexPro comes with a 75 ft outside antenna cable. So it just depends on how far away the outside antenna will be.

      Reply
  • adam

    I live in sea level north Carolina and I have a prepaid t mobile phone and I have no signal at all where I live until I get in Beaufort north Carolina about 24 miles away from my house and I have no signal until I get there and I have no signs until I get there and only when I'm in Beaufort can u help me

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hello Adam,

      Unfortunately, if you don't get a usable existing signal in the area around you, then there likely isn't enough existing signal for a signal booster to amplify. So it sounds like a signal booster would not be of any help to you. I'm sorry I don't have better news!

      Reply
  • MARK

    Greetings!

    I live in a rural area where most times, I have to walk outside my house in order to have a conversation with someone over the phone. I usually set my phone on the window-sill and use it as a "hotspot" to my laptop...but...the signal is shaky at best.

    I don't know if they are 'one in the same' but can you recommend a booster that would boost my phone and data reception?

    Also, the above posts mention directional antennas pointed to the local tower for the best signal strength. I do not see any towers on the horizon when I walk around my property so how could I get this information?

    -I live in a mobile home.
    -service provider is Verizon

    Thanks in advanced,
    Pleasanton Texas

    Reply
    • Dan

      Hello Mark, thanks for your question. To boost your cell signal for both data and voice calls, you have a few options. The lease expensive would be a Wilson Sleek 4G with a Home Accessory Kit which would work for one phone only and that phone would have to stay in the cradle in order to receive the boosted signal. So it would be similar to your existing setup where you would have to leave your phone near a window but the booster would help it get an even stronger signal.

      Other options include our new zBoost TRIOs and the Wilson DT4G. Give us a call and we can talk you through all of the option.

      Reply
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