Beautiful young woman on the street and the use of her mobile phone. (Credit: iStock)
In a perfect world, our mobile phones would work well, the whole day long. Every time we went out a number, a clear voice would say: “Hello?”
However, the real world is a labyrinth of obstacles: thick walls, metal frames, competitive signals, distant cell towers, and entire skyscrapers stand in the way.
Drive behind a mountain, and you will scream through the static until the signal eventually cuts off. Delays and echoes can make phone calls even more frustrating, and most of the time your environment is to blame.
There is an insider trick works wonders. Tap or click here for a secret smartphone trick that will boost your weak signal on the road.
Ironically, many people struggle with poor signals inside their homes. Your home, that used to be the only reliable place where you could make a call – can be filled with a signal-to-mute architecture and distracting devices. If your home does not afford a clear shot to the nearest cell tower, you’ve got a problem because you probably don’t plan to move anytime soon. Then again, what if your house is a huge dead spot? If you never have a call from your living room?
Related: Maybe you need a new phone? Tap or click here for the 10 best smartphones in the world.
There are at least three ways to keep the signal strong. Improve your mobile service is a trial-and-error task, and it is impossible to say whether these techniques will work unless you try them. In the end, you may just have to switch carriers. But if you’re willing to solve, you may find yourself with a much clearer calls.
More about this…
How to remove viruses from your iPhone or iPad
This new ransomware campaign paves the way for even more attacks
Uh oh, electronic voting machines are not difficult to hack
1. A signal booster
This is also known as a “repeater” signal booster does exactly that: it increases your mobile signal. Put the unit in an area of the home where you have good reception, such as a window sill, and it will expand that stronger signal to the rest of the house. Some repeaters are also equipped with an external antenna you can mount outside.
Boosters are a bit pricey; some providers sell reasonably priced models, but this is not always ideal, because the booster usually will only work with that carrier signal. So if you have family or friends to visit who use a different carrier, and they also have a weak signal, this will not help.
A third company as zBoost, or weBoost makes boosters that work with multiple carriers. However, you are probably going to pay for this out-of-pocket. On the lower end, these gadgets set you back about $200.
Plus, if you want a higher speed of 4G, you can expect booster prices balloon to $300 or more. However, 4G is mainly an advantage if you use your phone for internet connections. If you already have Wi-fi at home, you can use your home internet connection on your phone and not the more expensive 4G-booster.
2. Try a femtocell
Femtocell is also called a “microcell” (AT&T) or a “network extender” (Verizon), that sounds an awful lot like a booster. You can even use it in the same way: plug it in your house and femtocell sends a strong signal.
The difference is that the femtocell needs to plug into your router so that it can make use of your internet connection. That is how it connects your phone with the carrier servers. This enables femtocell to work in an area where you have absolutely no signal. Thus, it is suitable for rural locations, or in an apartment surrounded by tall buildings.
Related: Tired of the battery of the phone is not lasting long enough? Tap or click here for a list of the phones with the best and capabilities.
The disadvantage is that if you have one of these from a carrier, it will only work for that carrier’s phones. Also in this case, the third-party options that affect multiple carriers are almost non-existent. It also doesn’t work very well with satellite internet.
The strangest side-effect of a femtocell is that almost anyone can use it, as long as they are on the same carrier – even people who walk past your house. Their calls to go through your internet connection, possibly slowing down your Wi-Fi traffic and the impact on the high-volume activities, such as streaming videos or large downloads. With Verizon, you can set priority numbers, so you always get the service first. Still, other people may still be leeching off of your internet connection.
Number of times that your mobile provider will loan you a femtocell free of charge or for a fee. It is better for the carrier for a femtocell for free than to lose a customer.
If your provider does not loan to you for free, femtocells you anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on the brand and the amount of data.
3. Call via Wi-Fi
You can use a Wi-Fi network already set up in your house. If you for home access to the internet on your smartphone and tablet, then you are already saving money on your mobile data plan and avoid overages.
Wi-Fi can also call and text using apps like Skype, Google Hangouts, Apple’s iMessage and other third-party messaging apps such as WhatsApp. So if you don’t have a signal, not to worry. Historically, this meant that both parties (caller and receiver) have the same apps.
However, now, all four major carriers T – Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon – have developed Wi-Fi calling for their phones. When this feature is enabled by a signal is weak, your phone will automatically switch to a nearby Wi-Fi network, so you won’t even notice.
You can also switch to a phone system such as Republic Wireless, which uses Wi-Fi calling as the primary feature. Republic Wireless offers low-cost plans, because it usually relies on Wi-Fi for calling and texting and only uses cellular when Wi-Fi is not available. Again, the switch is seamless.
Of course, video calling over Wi-Fi means that you need a Wi-Fi network. Tap or click here to always the nearest free Wi-Fi. Easy!
What the digital lifestyle, if you have any questions? Call my radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. Of the buy of an opinion to the digital world problems, click here for my free podcasts.
Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Learn about the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.