Settings to Improve Your Cell Phone Reception
Nowadays, we spend so much time on our smartphones to run our lives. It can be frustrating waiting for a website to load or miss a very important call when you know you’re in an area with strong signal strength.
Even though there’s so much sophistication that goes into wireless networks, disruptive issues are bound to happen. In the beginning, the most common cell phone reception problems used to be dropped calls or poor voice quality. As of today, poor cell phone reception affects text messaging, browsing the internet, streaming live media, sending emails and using apps that require signal strength.
We are so glued to our phones that the thought of failing to upload a tweet or a photo on Instagram can be dreadful. Sometimes even turning Airplane mode off and on after a few seconds doesn’t seem to work. The main issue is that we need good cell phone reception wherever we are, at any time of day.
Apart from using phones, we also use the cell network to operate other devices such as tablets and laptops. Unfortunately, this is never the case as we may like it to be. So what really causes bad cell phone reception?
What Causes Bad Cell Phone Reception?
Here are the 3 main causes of bad cell reception:
- Location – In rural or secluded areas, there may not be enough cell tower to cover the area. There’s not much one can do in this case apart from moving to an area where the infrastructure is available.
- Physical Objects – The quality of cell phone reception is highly dependent on the absence of physical objects between the cell tower and your phone. The more obstacles block the signal, the worse the signal is likely to be. Urban areas with many buildings and structures act as obstacles and weaken the signal strength significantly.
- Traffic – The number of people using the cell tower’s signal can also influence the outcome. If a cell tower can only accommodate a few thousand, when hundreds of thousands access the same facility, it will result in bad or spotty service.
How to Check How Good the Reception Is
We have all been in the situation where the quality of a phone call was far less than perfect and it was difficult hearing the other person talk. One solution you could apply is walking around while talking as you try to find a spot where the signal is clear.
Another way to find out if you have good reception is by checking your phone’s signal bars. When you know of a specific building or place where you don’t get a good signal, walking around is also a trick that never gets old. Try walking around until you reach the spot where you the signal bars show and proceed to make the phone call or use it how you deem to.
The signal bars on every phone showcase a very rough representation of signal strength. Each carrier uses a different scale to represent the signal strength. As a matter of fact, all phones have a function in the Settings menu that shows the cell phone signal strength in dB (Decibels) – the unit of measurement for signal strength.
Conventionally, anything between -50 dB and -95 dB is a good working signal. Any reading with a -50 is considered full strength. Closer it is to zero, the stronger the signal strength. If your signal strength falls below – 95 dB, you’re likely to get spotty service. In fact, -113 and below means it’s a dead zone.
Using an Android device, you can see how strong your signal is by following these instructions to see dB reading:
- Access Settings
- The General
- Go to About Phone
- Network or Status
- You should see your dB Value
Practical Ways to Improve Cell Phone Reception
- Avoid Moving Around
When you move around while using the phone, the network has to constantly adjust to your new location. This makes it more difficult to hold the signal strength.
- Don’t Block Your Cell Phone Antenna
Modern phones are not like the ones that used to have the antenna outside the phone. With smartphones, the antennas are designed to be tucked inside the phone. By holding the phone in a landscape/sideways position, you may actually be blocking the antenna from the cell tower. To avoid antenna problems, hold the phone in an upright position with your antenna free from any blockage.
- Remove the Phone Case
If you have a case on your phone, removing it improves the signal strength. Phone cases block the cell signal and prevent it from reaching the phone’s internal antenna. If you check the dB in a specific location and remove the case, you can see the change in reception.
- Avoid Obstructions
Buildings and structures block cell signals and heading outside might improve the reception. If you are outside, an open area like a park makes it easier for the cell signal to reach you.
- Move to a Higher Position
Higher positions reduce the probability of objects getting in the way of the cell signal. Finding the highest point improves reception significantly.
- Use Wi-Fi
All smartphones allow Wi-Fi calling and texting using internet-enabled apps. You can even go as far as making video calls which improve communication. If cell reception is bad, switching to Wi-Fi is way better.
- Keep the Phone Charged at a Minimum of 25%
Smartphones, or phone in general, need enough power to allocate power for cell signal. If your battery is low, there might simply not be enough power for the phone to acquire and hold the signal.