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15 Ways to Get Better Cell Reception in Your Home

Getting lots of dropped and choppy calls at your house? Here are simple things you can do to fix the situation (that don't involve throwing your phone in frustration).

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Diagnose the problem

There are a few different issues that can cause poor cell reception in your home. It might be because your house is too far from a cell tower; there are tall trees, hills, or high structures surrounding your home; your house is built with heavy materials; or there could be an interference caused by electronics, weather, or something metal in your home. If any of these sound like they could be your problem, then keep reading to find a solution. Make sure to watch out for these signs that someone is tracking your cell phone.

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Get higher

The higher you go, the less likely something will get in your way. “Every time I get a bad reception, I tend to move up a floor. Signal tends to be better on higher floors, as you’re able to clear obstructions. If you are in a basement for example, then moving up to the ground floor can help immensely,” says Ahmed Ali, Content Marketing Executive at GigWorker. Get your hands on these cell phone accessories that will make your life easier.

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Use Wi-Fi calling

If your cell service is bad but you have good Wi-Fi, you’re set. David Lynch, Content Lead for UpPhone, recommends turning on Wi-Fi calling to help you get better reception for phone calls in your house. “This uses your phone’s Wi-Fi connection to make calls, rather than your cellular connection. This feature isn’t included with every cell phone plan, so double-check with your carrier to see if you can use it,” says Lynch. Here are 10 cell phone etiquette tips everyone needs to know.

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Restart your phone

If nothing else is working, simply try restarting your phone. “Sometimes, restarting your phone tends to get your service back because it clears glitches that occur in programming software when the antenna signal hops from one tower to another closer one,” says Ali. These are the warning signs it’s time for a new cell phone.

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Get near a window or go out in the open

Thick walls or nearby structures can block your signal, so calling from deep inside a building or underground could be useless. “As simple as it sounds, taking your call towards a window can boost its signal. Obstructions like walls, metal, and brick block the connection between your cell phone and the nearest cell tower,” says Julia Campbell, Connectivity Expert at All Home Connections. Heading outside, or near an intersection if you’re already on the street, could improve the cell reception. Make sure you know about the ways your cell phone company is overcharging you.

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Buy a signal booster

“Getting a cell phone signal booster is the most reliable way to increase the mobile network signal in your home,” says Ali. A signal booster will amplify the outside signal into your home for better reception. You will start getting faster data, better voice quality, and a stronger signal inside your house. Learn how to use less cell phone data and lower your bills.

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Switch carriers

If you’ve had the same cell phone provider for years, and you can never make a phone call in your house, it might be time to reevaluate. “If you have poor cell reception, I’d recommend checking your carrier’s coverage map to see if they actually have good service where you live. It’s possible [that] your carrier simply doesn’t have good service where you live, and that you could fix the problem by switching carriers,” says Lynch. By the way, this is the least reliable cell phone company in America.

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Get a network extender

These are devices sold by your carrier that create a cell signal in your home through the Internet. “A network extender reroutes the cell signals in your home over your broadband Internet. This is an especially good option if your home has lots of obstructions or [a] poor cell signal outside,” says Campbell. If you ever get these texts, delete them immediately.

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Update your software

Don’t ignore messages to update your carrier software. Without the right updates, your phone might not know which tower to connect to, so downloading the new software could clue your phone in. “Auto updates frequently tweak and refine the back-and-forth between your phone and the closest cell tower, potentially improving the quality of your calls,” says Campbell. Learn about the 12 hidden smartphone codes you should start using ASAP.

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Try to stay still

“Your phone keeps on re-calibrating and checking for signals every time you move,” says Michael Miller, CEO of VPN Online. If you’re trying to get better cell reception in your home, sit down in one place while you’re using your phone. These are the creepy things your smartphone knows about you.

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Update your network settings

Similarly to updating your phone, you also need to update your network settings on a regular basis. “This will look different based on the type of cell phone you use, but through your phone’s settings, disconnect your phone from the existing network operator it’s on and scan for a new network to see if that works better,” says Campbell. These are the red flags that someone is spying on your phone.

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Point toward the nearest cell tower

If you stand in the part of your house that is closest to the nearest cell tower (try using the OpenSignal app to find where it is), you are likely to get the best signal, especially if you stand outside with nothing obstructing it. Try these other 17 hidden iPhone hacks you never knew about.

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Turn airplane mode on and off

This is a great quick fix for when you know you should have service, but it isn’t showing up on your phone. “This works similarly to resetting your network settings: Enabling airplane mode automatically disconnects you from your existing network, so you can reset your current connection,” says Campbell. Find out some tips to cool down an overheating phone.

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Make sure your battery is charged

“Having enough cell phone power is needed to get good cell reception and hold a phone call,” says Holly Zink, a tech expert for Digital Addicts. “To ensure your phone can get a signal, make sure your phone battery is above 25 percent.” Learn how to fix the sneaky things that kill your phone battery.

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Don’t hold it in landscape mode

Every phone has a built-in antenna, and when you hold your phone sideways in landscape position, your hands may inadvertently be blocking it. Here are some tips to charge your phone faster.

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Take it out of the case

Likewise, if you have a thick case, it could be blocking your antenna’s ability to maintain cell reception. Removing it while you make your call could clear up the signal. Next, check out these other 13 easy ways to speed up your cell phone.

Sources:

Joe McKinley
Joe McKinley is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest, covering cars, careers, tech and more.