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Essential tricks to boost your terrible cell signal

Published Sep 5th, 2015 11:00AM EDT
Cell Phone Signal Boost Tricks

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Do you notice that your cell connection just dies for no apparent reason on a regular basis? Well there likely is a reason for it, even if your phone doesn’t just jump up and tell you what it is. YouTuber Grant Thompson has put together a terrific video to help you improve your cell phone experience both inside your home and the great outdoors.

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The first thing you should learn to do is figure out just how strong your phone’s signal is. You may think that you can accomplish this by looking at the number of bars you have on your phone’s display, but don’t be fooled — those bars mean completely different things for different devices. In other words, a two-bar signal on a Samsung phone might really be a three-bar signal on an iPhone. There’s not industry standards about what those bars actually mean.

Instead, you should dial *3001#12345#, which will put your phone in a field test mode and will give you your exact signal strength. If you’re on Android, you can also access this feature by opening up Settings, clicking About, then clicking Network, which should display your signal strength.

If your signal comes in at -100 dBm or lower, then you’re effectively in a dead zone. You’ll want to carry your phone around your house and look for areas where you get a stronger signal. If you can find an area where your device’s signal reads -70 dBm or better, you should mark it down and use it as the place where you make phone calls.

Another trick to boost your cell signal is to turn on Airplane Mode for three seconds and then shut it off again. This will reboot your signal and may connect you to a closer tower that will give you better voice service. Thompson has also found that if you’re having trouble holding a signal while you’re driving, the best solution may be to roll down your car’s window, since your car is otherwise acting as a big metal box that’s difficult for cell signals to penetrate.

These are just a few of the tricks in Thompson’s video. To check out the rest, watch the whole thing below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.

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