Is there anything I can do to boost a cell phone signal?

Mr. Athena’s office is in our basement. It’s a walk out basement, and he sits right next to a window. Even though the rest of the house gets really good cell phone reception, his area gets at most one bar. He’s been increasingly having problems with calls being dropped. The cell phone is his primary business line, so it’s pretty important that it works.

Is there anything we can do/buy to increase the signal right there? Like… an antenna for the phone (it’s an iPhone). I’ve tried to research it on the web, but most places talk about the antenna needing to be mobile (we don’t need that, it’s just in this one place that it’s bad) and nothing out there seems to get good reviews.

Do we have any options?

This looks quite promising. Here’s how it works (simplistic, click “How do repeaters work?” tab).

Basically there’s an external antenna, an amplifier, and an internal antenna (looks similar to a wireless modem/router).

I’m sure if you look around you can find other products for less. I have no experience with this, but the physics seem sound (minus the “less radiation to your brain” claim).

Yow! $350!

For that kind of money, he’d probably just go buy another cell phone, one with a better antenna.

You can buy external antennas for cell phones. They usually have a magnetic base to attach to the top of a car, but they work fine for office locations, too.

Check on eBay, there are usually a couple of retailers that sell them. Most cell phones have a plug for an external antenna, usually covered by a plastic plug. I don’t know about iPhones, but your owners manual should tell you.

You will have to buy the antenna, and then a specific adapter for your phone model. The whole thing should cost around $40 or so.

I’ve used one and had great results with it.

ETA: Do NOT get the little adhesive “antenna boosters” that stick onto the phone. They are less than worthless.

We just bought one at work for someone who’s on the fringe. It was to be used with her ATT aircard. No change in signal strength. It’s going back.

As always YMMV.

I’d like to know too. For $350, it would be cheaper to break my contract and go with a new provider. I would drop Verizon except for the fact that I’m on a family plan. Are there any solutions?

The antenna might not be the problem. Have you tried the same location with a different phone on the same carrier? It might be a signal dead spot for the nearest cell tower.

I would find friends with other phones and other carriers and bring them down to see what kind of signal strength they get. If all your friends with AT&T but with other phones also get only one bar, but your friends with Verizon get good signal strength, then changing carriers is the better solution.

(BTW, I use a cell phone as my business phone but I work in three different locations. It’s not clear why a cell phone would be a primary business phone for someone who works out of a home office, unless you have no land line service. Maybe switching to landline is the best solution.)

I’ve never heard of anyone getting an improvement with the external antennas.
Going on the assumption you have DSL or Cable internet you may want to either get a land line bundle or look into Vonage. Seems to me if the business calls are important enough either moving the office or finding another phone solution would be a priority.

Also, I second the idea of getting different phones with different carriers down there to check the signal.

$129? You have to plug the phone into it, though. There’s a similar one that has a 6’ range that is wireless. Look at that, I just saved you more than 50% and over $200! :wink: