Why do I lose cellular signal in my building?

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Many types of buildings, like multi-family, commercial offices, hotels, hospitals, warehouses, schools, etc., are prone to having poor cell phone reception and the causes for losing cell signal can vary:

  • Building materials used in their construction – heavy concrete, low-e glass, steel beams, metal roofs, stucco wire frame, and others
  • Distance from cellular transmit/receive tower
  • Surrounding buildings that may block signal from reaching your building
  • Surrounding topography – hills, mountains, trees, that may block signal from reaching the lower floors of the building
  • High rise floors – the nearby cellular antennas are aimed in a downward position, so for high rises above 14 floors, the upper floors may not be serviced by the cellular carriers
  • Carrier dead zone – poor signal strength could be due to an infrastructure problem that’s bigger than your building. Your building could simply be in a dead zone in of one or more carrier’s service

What does it mean if I get good signal outside the building and the problem only within the building?

If your reception is fine when you’re outside your building but drops off when you enter the building, the problem is probably that the building materials used in construction are blocking or reflecting the signal. The carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint) are now openly declaring that they are responsible for getting their cellular signal TO your building—they are not responsible for getting their signal THROUGH your building. That is the building owner or tenant’s responsibility.

If the signal is strong outside your building but not inside, the best solution is a signal amplification or booster system with broadcast antennas spread throughout the building where these are dead spots or weak signal.

How does signal enhancement in a building work?

It works by taking cell phone signals for each carrier via a roof-mount antenna, amplifying it through a b-directional amplifier (BDA) and rebroadcasting it throughout the building. Remember, the carriers take no responsibility for propagating their signal throughout the building—this is the building owner’s responsibility. Keep in mind that if the signal strength is weak outside the building, a roof antenna may not receive a strong enough signal to amplify, thus making this solution ineffective.

Proper diagnosis of the cause leads to implementing the right and most cost effective solution. IBT is in the business of diagnosing in-building cellular dead zone problems and designing the right solution to fix your building whether it be one, two, or more carriers.