If you have a cell phone, then you’ve certainly experienced dropped calls or had a message or photo upload or download come to a standstill in mid-send. That’s because a number of factors — whether environmental or man-made — can block cell signal.
Whether at home, at work, or riding in a car, 72 percent of Americans say they experience dropped calls, at least occasionally. If you’re among them, you may be looking for ways to increase your signal strength. More importantly, with the high cost of mobile devices and the contracts and service plans required to operate them, you may be wondering how to boost cell phone signal strength for free.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to improve your cell phone signal without breaking the bank.
1) Check your signal.
First, it’s important to know the signal strength you’re receiving on your device before you can improve it. The bars we see on our phones are an unreliable measure of actual signal strength because there is no standard across devices and carriers, and no standard for whether bars measure 4G LTE data or 3G voice performance. Three bars on one carrier network may be two on another, for example.
If you’re really curious about your phone’s signal strength, you need to determine its decibel milliwatts, or dBm — the standard unit of measure for signal strength. This can be found using your phone’s ‘Field Test’ mode. The steps vary between iPhone field test mode and Android field test mode, but it essentially requires entering a sequence of commands into your device, which will then display a dBm reading.
2) Perform an update on your phone.
Most of us are guilty of delaying software updates on our mobile devices because — let’s be honest — they always seem to pop up at the most inconvenient times. Still, getting behind by even one version can result in sub-par performance and connectivity. Software updates can fix bugs and enhance call quality, so it’s important to ensure your phone is running the latest version of its operating system.
3) Switch to a less-crowded network.
The less congested the network you’re on, the stronger your cellular signal will be. The bars you see on your phone account for signal strength, quality and demands on nearby cell towers.
If your phone is showing 4G/LTE, but only a single bar, that means the network is congested, which will weaken signal strength and cause poor service. You can manually switch to a less congested, 3G network in your phone’s settings to achieve a stronger signal.
4) Use Wi-Fi calling when it’s available.
If you have a strong Wi-Fi signal, you can switch your phone’s settings to Wi-Fi calling. While this isn’t a great solution for how to boost cell signal in a car for free, it could be the perfect answer to the question of how to boost cell signal at home for free. Just be sure to switch your phone back to cellular calling mode when you are away from a Wi-Fi connection or you won’t be able to complete the call.
Turning on Wi-Fi calling is simple. For iPhones, go to settings on your phone > Cellular > Turn on WiFi calling. For Androids, it may vary by phone model but you can easily find it by searching “Wifi Calling” in the search area.
5) Upgrade your phone.
Voice call and data speed quality are continually improved with every new iteration of a cell phone. Of course, this option is only free if you’re eligible for a device upgrade through your carrier so be sure to check first.
6) Switch carriers.
If you are continually plagued by poor cell phone signal, it may be time to consider switching carriers. The bottom line is that some carriers have stronger signal than others across different areas. Many carriers offer incentives to new customers, such as a free phone or reduced introductory price, to mitigate the cost of switching. Some will even pay your existing contract cancelation fee. However, this option requires a fair amount of effort since you would need to get a new phone and plan.
7) Find the nearest cell tower.
Do you know where your nearest cell phone tower is? If you have bad cell service, chance is that you have something between you and the cell tower that’s blocking the signal or you are very far away from it. To find the nearest cell tower, you can use a cell tower map website or an app on your phone (Open Signal app is a good one for iPhone and Android).
Once you’ve located the nearest tower, you can make sure there aren’t obstructions between you and the cell tower. Things like building materials and weather can block the signal from getting from the cell tower to your phone. Try moving to a room in your home that’s nearest to the cell tower if you can.
8) Use a Hotspot.
Hotspot’s are like a portable Wi-Fi connection that you can use if you have weak signal. Whether you’re at home or on the road, you can use your phone to create a hotspot signal that any Wi-Fi enabled device can connect too.
Learn how to use your hotspot and increase its speed here. If your signal is to weak your hotspot may be slow and watch out for increased data rate fees since it uses a fair amount of data to connect.
9) Look into a Microcell.
A microcell is a low-power source of cell signal that when connected to a router it works with broadband internet and typically boosts signal into a few rooms of your home. So your phone will be using the internet instead of the cellular network to make calls and send texts.
However, there are some disadvantages. If you happen to move out of the microcell’s signal range, the device doesn’t always “pass-off” a connection to the network seamlessly. Instead, it may just drop your call.
Extra Way to Boost Signal
If you’ve tried some, or all, of the above solutions, it may be time to consider a cell phone signal booster. weBoost signal boosters are an affordable solution for boosting cell phone signal in homes, and even vehicles like trucks, RVs and cars. It’ll boost signal for all carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and all phones types.
Once installed in your vehicle or home, it will instantly boost your cell signal so you start experiencing faster data speeds, better voice and call quality, and no dropped calls. The booster kit comes with everything you need for an easy DIY installation including the booster, antennas and more.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get strong signal at home or in your vehicle check out our cell phone boosters we offer below.
Cell Phone Signal Boosters for Cars & Trucks:
Cell Phone Signal Boosters for RVs:
Cell Phone Signal Boosters for Homes: