What to Do When Your Home is a Wireless Dead Zone

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In 1973, Motorola invented something that, at the time, had never been seen before: A phone that you can carry with you from place to place. The first mobile phone was a pretty ridiculous-looking thing. It was even larger than a regular phone headset, and it weighed two and a half pounds. But a few decades later, nobody is laughing at Motorola’s silly-looking mobile phone. It is now clear that the first mobile phone was just the first salvo in a revolution.

Today, cell phones are everywhere. So are their descendants, smartphones, which offer not just cellular service capable of sending and receiving voice calls and text messages, but a true mobile internet connection, as well. Mobile phones have overtaken landlines in popularity, and increasing numbers of people are ditching their landlines.

Mobile phones are quite obviously more convenient than landlines because they work both within your home and on the go. Or, at least, that’s how they’re supposed to work. But what if they don’t? What if, every time you’re at home, you miss calls and texts? What if your wireless provider’s network just doesn’t seem to reach your basement or your bedroom strongly or consistently? If you’re living in a wireless network dead zone, here is some advice.

Consider changing wireless providers

Most of the major wireless networks are pretty powerful, and most of the minor ones are piggybacking on the major ones. Still, that doesn’t mean that they’re all equally effective in every spot. There is some variation in coverage between wireless networks, and it is perfectly possible that your provider’s network doesn’t reach your home with the same reliability that a competitor’s network does.

Of course, changing wireless providers can be a headache, so you don’t necessarily want to do this on a whim. Check with friends to see if their phones get service in your home . Is this a problem with all networks, just yours, or your specific phone?

Amplify your wireless signal

Your phone has an antenna that it used to pick up wireless network signals, but it can only make use of signals that are strong enough. Fortunately, there are ways to improve the strength of signals going to and from your phone.

Cell phone boosters are standalone devices that you can install in your home. They’ll amplify the signals that your phone relies upon to stay in touch with your wireless network. Just like a guitar amplifier turns the sound wave coming from your Stratocaster into louder notes, a wireless network booster will quite literally amplify the waves of the signal from your wireless network. You can think of it as helping your smartphone to “hear” the signal by making it “louder.”

Troubleshoot your phone

Though you may assume that the problem with your home’s wireless network reception is the fault of the signal strength of the network, you should do a little troubleshooting to confirm that is the case.

As mentioned above, it’s useful to ask friends and family members how their phones do in your home environment. If your phone has half the bars of a phone that’s on the exact same network, then the issue may be with your phone’s built-in antenna.

You should also perform basic troubleshooting steps. Turn your phone off then back on again. Go into your settings and toggle wireless, Wi-Fi, and airplane mode settings to get your phone to reconnect to relevant networks. Finally, consider bringing your phone into a repair shop or back to your wireless provider’s shop for diagnosis. This can help you decide what steps to take next, be it a simple fix such as a signal booster or a need to change your device altogether.