How to Check and Boost your Tracfone Cell Signal
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|10 Tips to Boost your Cell Signal|
Don’t you hate it when you lose signal while on the phone, or when you can’t send a text because you are in a dead zone?
In this post we look at how cell signal strength is measured, how to check your signal, and tips for improving it. We often get questions relating to signal strength, and hopefully this will help clear some of those up.
Tracfone users several other cell phone networks, including Verizon and AT&T, and the coverage is usually pretty good in most cities and towns. However, there are plenty of places where the signal can be partially blocked, or has much further to travel.
The information provided here is to help you get the most from your cell phone, so let’s get started.
How Cell Signal Works (And How to Check yours)
Cell signal is measured in dBm (Decibel milliwatts) where about -60 dBm is a very excellent signal, and -110 very poor. Ranging between -70 and -98 dBm will usually result in a very adequate signal. As we will see further on in our tips for boosting signal strength, little things like holding the phone in certain ways, can significantly affect the signal.
The signal strength bars at the top of your device don’t have any standardized correlation to your actual signal strength, but are a general representation. Different phones may report a different number of signal strength bars even with a similar dBm number. So, for example, if two phones both have -93 dBm signal strength, one might show three bars and the other four.
But how can you know what the actual signal strength is on your phone if you can only see the service bars? Well fortunately there is an easy way to check, for both iPhones and Android devices.
How to Check your Cell Signal Strength
Knowing your cell signal strength is very handy for avoiding dropped calls, and checking if there are ways to improve it. Here is how to check your signal (measured in dBm) on an Android device and an iPhone:
On an Android device go to Settings > About Phone > Status (or Network Status) > Signal Strength (On some devices you may need to tap SIM Status)
Dial *3001#12345#* on your iPhone then press Call. The signal strength will be displayed in the top right corner.
Once you see the number, try moving around or covering your phone with your hand, you should see the signal strength change. In our testing with a Moto G4, placing a hand over the top of the phone resulted in a loss of about 5 dBm signal strength.
Below is the steps for checking your signal strength on an Android, but be aware it might be slightly different for you. Start by going to settings, and then scroll to the bottom, following the steps below.
|How to Check your Cell Signal Strength on Android|
Now that you know how to check your signal strength, here are ten tips for improving it.
10 Tips for Improving your Cell Signal
There are a number of different ways you can improve your cell signal and some of these may help more than others, depending on your situation.
1. Remove Obstructions
Anything that can block the radio waves reaching your phone could be reducing your signal strength. Things like a thick phone case, or leaving your phone in a purse or bag, could result in a worse signal, or even no signal. Test your phone case by checking your signal strength with it on, then off, and see if that makes a difference. Remember, closer to -60 is better, with anything between -70 to -100 still good, and beyond -110 very poor. If you notice your phone receives a lot of texts when you pull it out of your bag or purse, it could be getting blocked while in there.
2. Put your Phone in a Cup
This may sound a little odd, but it can actually helps amplify the reception in certain cases. If you get a poor signal, and are located in the lower levels of a building or the basement, try placing your phone in a cup to boost the reception. It might be hard to make any calls, but you will at least be able to check texts and voicemail. This also works well for improving the sound of your phone. You can also test with other objects that can catch and funnel the waves to your phone.
3. Check How you Hold your Phone
Cell phone manufactures put the antenna in a variety of different places, and sometimes the way you hold your phone could be reducing your signal. Check your signal strength with different ways you hold your phone and see if you might inadvertently be blocking the internal antenna.
4. Check your House for the Best Location
It can be helpful to walk around your house and check the signal strength in various parts. If you find a much stronger signal in certain areas, you can try and go there for making phone calls to help improve the signal.
5. Go Outside
Going outside, and away from buildings that might be blocking your cell signal, can make a huge difference in improving the connection. If you need to make an important call and find yourself with a low signal inside, make a quick trip outside and it will likely improve.
|Using the Open Signal App to find the closest Cell Tower|
6. Locate and get Closer to the Cell Tower
There are a number of free (and paid) apps that will show you where the nearest cell towers are, and which one you are currently using. This is very helpful if you need to get a better signal for an important call, or if you’re just curious about where the cell towers are located.
Open Signal is available for free from the Google Play store and displays the nearby towers, and which one you are currently connected to.
Take a look at the screenshots from the app: on the left, it shows the dashboard which indicates which direction the cell tower you are currently connected to is located, and the map on the right side shows all nearby cell towers.
7. If in a car, open the window
Cars are basically large metal boxes and they do a pretty good job of reducing your signal strength. If it is not too noisy, try opening your window to improve your service. Obviously, you shouldn’t be driving and talking on the phone, so maybe consider pulling over.
8. Create your own DIY Signal Booster
Using some everyday items you may be able to boost your signal with this DIY hack. There are lots of online guides and tips for creating and attaching signal boosters to your phone, but one we found was very simple, and made an improvement.
Simply attach the charging cord to your phone, and then wrap the other end around a metal object, such as a pen, and hold it up in the air. Try it for yourself and see what kind of an improvement it makes for you.
9. Keep your Battery Charged
Constantly sending and receiving signals does use a lot of battery power, especially when your phone has a weak signal, it has to send and resend several times. Keeping the battery charged will help your phone have plenty of juice to keep sending information even at low signal strength.
10. Use WiFi Calling
WiFi Calling works by using your home WiFi (or any WiFI) to transmit texts and calls for your device. You still have to pay for calls/texts, but at least you will be able to stay connected in locations with poor or no service.
We’ve just created a full Guide to WiFi Calling with Tracfone which includes more details about how it works, and how to check if your phone is compatible.
Bonus Tip! – Cell Phone Signal Booster
Cell phone signal boosters usually work by collecting the signal from outside your house, and sending it to another device that broadcasts it inside your house for a much stronger signal. They can be fairly expensive, sometimes several hundreds of dollars, but if you can’t find another way to improve your poor signal inside, it may be an option worth looking into.
WeBoost (available form Amazon) is one such option that offers several different solutions. If you live in an area with a weak signal, this could dramatically improve your signal.
If you find that you still can’t get a signal in places you commonly visit like your home or work, check with others to see if they have a better signal using a different network, and then consider switching. Tracfone uses several different networks, including Verizon and AT&T, so if you are using one service, you could consider switching to the other if you know that it has better service.
We hope this information about improving your cell signal helps boost yours! And let us know in the comments below if you have any thoughts or questions (and share your best signal boosting tips too!).
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