Poor cell phone reception is actually one which can be solved. Here is a list of options put together for ways to improve cell phone reception and make it that much easier to find your perfect place.
1. Jump Ship
The first option is the most straightforward, and that is to switch cellular carriers. If you’re not in a contract and another carrier provides better service in your apartment, switching carriers might be the easiest way to solve your signal problem.
The second option is a device which the cellular carriers sell or give away themselves, called a femto cell (also known as a microcell). A femtocell is a device that looks like a wireless router and acts like a mini cell phone tower right in your apartment. It connects to the broadband Internet connection in your apartment, and it routes all of your calls through the Internet, rather over the cell tower network. In the past, some customers with exceptionally bad reception were able to get a femto cell for free, but that happens very rarely these days. Femtocells may also help with reception problems related to cell tower congestion, rather than just signal strength issues.
A femtocell could be a great solution, but there are some downsides to be aware of. The device requires a fast and reliable Internet connection, so it won’t work if you have a slow or spotty connection. Most femtocells have a built-in GPS receiver to ensure that it’s being used in the authorized location, so you’ll often need to place the femtocell near a window to receive a GPS signal. If everyone in your apartment has the same carrier and you have a reliable Internet connection, a femtocell could certainly be the solution to your cell phone signal troubles.
3. Signal Booster
The last solution is a cell phone signal booster. Instead of creating a new signal like a femtocell does, a cell phone signal booster amplifies an existing cell phone signal so that it’s strong enough to cover your entire apartment. Installing a cell phone signal booster is a little more difficult than a femtocell, but it has some advantages that may make it worth the effort.
The major advantage of a cell phone signal booster is that it can amplify the signal of multiple carriers at the same time, unlike femtocells which only work with a single carrier. This may be important if you have other people in the apartment with different cell providers, or frequently have visitors over that need to make calls or have 3G data access. Additionally, a signal booster does not require an Internet connection to function. Finally, when you purchase a cell phone signal booster, it’s not regulated by a third party, so you’re free to place it wherever you’d like in your apartment without it being monitored.
Signal boosters require the outside and inside antennas to be far enough apart so that there isn’t any feedback between to the two (think of holding a microphone too close to a speaker) which can make installation more difficult, especially if you need to put an antenna on your building’s roof to get enough separation or a decent signal. Finally, with the introduction of 4G, choosing the best signal booster has become more difficult. A standard dual-band signal booster will work for most carrier’s 2G and 3G networks, but the new 4G networks use completely different frequencies so if you need 4G data signal boosting in addition to phone calls, you will need a booster specific to your carrier.