Why do I need to know where the next cell tower is?
- To help point the external antenna in the right direction
- To measure decibel (dB) gain
Methods to find the closest cell tower
- Using your phone built-in antenna (the most accurate)
- Using a strenght meter
It can be difficult to understand why your cell phone is experiencing poor signal reception while other cell phones in your location
have good signal. You would agree with me that almost everyone has experienced this one day. You make a phone call to a friend chatting about the weekend’s game only to lose the connection in the middle of the phone call. To make the
matter worse, you realize that you were chatting to yourself the last 30 seconds before the signal you lost the signal. It sounds like a cliché but this is what most people have experienced. So what could be the reason contributing
to poor cellular signal? The 2 main reasons contributing to this problem include structural obstruction and distance from the cell tower.
If you are living in big towns, buildings are the biggest obstructers of cellular signals. Usually, RF signal that our cell phones uses
find it difficult to pass through concrete objects, metals and oxide coated glass. These materials are used to construct buildings. Therefore, when you make a phone call inside these buildings, you are likely to experience poor cellular signal. Also, because the exterior of vehicles are made out of metal, making a phone call inside one of them may lead to poor cellular signal. If you
are experiencing poor cellular signal, you might be wondering what you can do to improve your signal. Well, you don’t have to
switch your carriers just yet. Not until you try one or more of the following tips:
Move next to a window
Like you have read earlier, buildings that are made of concrete walls tend to block cell phone signal. However, a glass window allows
signal to pass through easily. If you want to find the best signal while you are inside a building, you can move next to window before you make a phone call.
Stop walking or driving
In case you are trying to make a phone call while you are driving and it is not going through, the other option is to pull over and try to
make your phone call in a safe location. In case you are walking, stop and try to call again. Usually, cell phone signal tend to fluctuate when you are in motion. However, when you are not moving, it easy to find a strong cellular signal.
Move to a higher positions
If you are in an area where there are many signal obstructers such as building, cars or trees, moving at a higher position can help improve your signal. For example, you move in higher floors of your building and try to make your phone call.
Why you need to know where the next cell tower is
In case your cell phone has a poor reception, the best thing to do is to find the nearest cell tower location. Major carriers such as
T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon among others have a nationwide network coverage. However, it doesn’t mean that all carriers have invested their cell towers in the same location. Most people have experienced network issues while making or receiving a phone call. Just because you are using one of the major carriers, it should not imply that you can never experience signal problems. In case you are living in an area where the carrier you are using has not invested in a cell tower, brace yourself because you are going to experience signal problems throughout the period of your service agreement. It is important you know where the next cell tower is because it
will help you know the direction in which your cellular signal is coming from so that you can measure decibel gain. This will help you understand why your cell phone is experiencing poor signal and what measures you can take to improve it. For example, if your cell phone is experiencing poor signal, pointing the external antenna to the right direction can help improve your signal. Also, knowing where your next cell tower location is can help you reduce obstructers such as buildings that are contributing to poor cellular signal.
Methods to find the closest cell tower
There are apps you can install and use on your cell phone to find the closest cell tower. Even though these apps are useful, it is hard to
tell whether the information they provide is 100 percent accurate. Here are some of the apps.
1. Open Signal
Open Signal is a wonderful app that you can use to locate the nearest cell tower. This app is available in both Android and iOS device. This app will display to you on a dashboard the carrier (e.g. AT&T) and the network you are using (e.g. 3G or 4G). The Open Signal dashboard also displays the strength of the cellular signal. You can view the closest cell tower location and see the tower your signal is coming from.
2. Cell Map
Cell Map is another app that you can use to find the closest cell tower. It is easy to use and comes as a free download. This app displays your carrier in addition to the signal type (such as CDMA) and RSSI or Received Signal Strength Signal that is read in dB.
There are certain website you can use to find the closest cell tower location. One such website is antennasearch.com. With this website,
you can enter your location details and it will show you cell towers that are within 3 miles. This website uses Google Maps to find cell towers. If the cell tower was registered using a street address, it will show you in the search results. Other websites you can use include cellreception.com and antennasearch.com.
Use your cell phone built-in antenna
Using your cell phone built in antenna to locate the closest cell tower is the method we recommend you to use. If your cell phone is
experiencing signal problems, you can reverse engineer the whole process so that you can find the closest cell tower. Cellular signals are similar to AM/FM signals and are measured in dB. All mobile phones operate at a signal of -50 dB to -120 dB. Cell phones which have a signal of -50 dB have full bar while those with -120 dB have zero bar or no service. However, there are no industry standards where the number of bars is similar in all carriers. Therefore, you could find a situation where one carrier has one bar, the second carrier with two bars and the third carrier with three bars. This could happen even when the carriers are operating at the same speed and have similar signal.
How to find and measure signal on your phone (iOS and Android)
If you are an iOS user go into Phone Mode, then call *3001#12345#*. Enter the field test mode, then drag down the notification bar
where you will see the dB readings on the left side. For Android users, go to Access Setting. Then Go to General and then About Phone. After that, go to Network or Status. From there you will be able to view the dB readings. After finding the the dB reading, go outside of the house and check for the signal that is nearest to -50 dB. This might take a few minutes depending on your carrier or phone model. After measuring the signal, you will know the areas in your house that has the best signal.
Use a strength meter
You can also use a strength meter to find the closest cell
tower location. A strength meter is a handheld gadget that helps you to
accurately locate cell tower direction, including display the signal strength
in dB and all 3G and 4G frequencies.
What is dB and how does it influence your cell phone connection
dB that is also known as decibels, is used to measure the strength of cellular signal. Usually, when your dB is -50, it means that your
cell phone connection is at its strongest. While -110 dB means that your cell phone connection is weak. If you are experiencing poor connection, a cell phone signal booster can help improve your cell phone connection.