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With 98 percent of the U.S. population owning a cellular phone, and 92 percent owning a smartphone, adequate cell coverage is something Americans have come to expect. We want to be constantly connected whenever — and wherever — we’re using our mobile devices. And we’re using them a lot. U.S. consumers spend an average of four and a half  per day on mobile devices. 

No matter how much time you spend on your mobile device, you’ve no doubt experienced dropped calls and lost connections. Whether driving through a tunnel, riding the subway, driving into a parking garage, or stepping into a large office building, we’ve all encountered  the dreaded “dead zone.”

Dead zones exist, even in the most populated cities, like New York and Los Angeles. But what exactly is a dead zone, and what causes it? Actually, there are several reasons why, in certain areas, calls are dropped, download speeds are slow, or online access simply isn’t available.

What causes a ‘dead zone?’

Cellular signals come from towers that transmit a signal. While there’s no shortage of cell towers in all but the most remote locations, many other factors can prevent these radio frequency (RF) cellular signals from reaching your mobile device. Areas where something is standing between the nearest cell tower and your mobile device are known as dead zones. In these spots, devices cannot access a strong enough signal to function properly on a cellular network.

Celluar Dead Zone

Let’s take a look at some of the culprits that cause dead zones:

  1. Distance from cell towersIf you’re in one of the few remaining remote areas that lack sufficient cell tower coverage, connections will obviously be tricky. Even if you do get a signal in these areas, it is often spotty, resulting in dropped calls, lost connections, and a drained battery as your phone or device searches endlessly for signal.
  1. Terrain/EnvironmentThere are several types of terrain that can obstruct signals from cell towers. Mountains, hills, and bluffs can all render an area a dead zone by absorbing cell signals before they reach a mobile device. Tall trees, dense forests, and other vegetation can also act as barriers to cell signal waves.
  1. Metal and glass in vehiclesThe materials that are used to keep us safe inside of our cars, or on trains and subways, can also keep cellular signals out. Most of us willingly accept this tradeoff, but those materials are often the reasons we experience dropped calls while in transit. That’s why you’ll often find that rolling down a car window can quickly boost the quality of a call.
  1. Building construction materialsBrick, concrete, and the steel materials used in the construction of commercial buildings, bridges, tunnels and parking garages are notorious cell signal obstructors. Green building materials, including LEED-certified windows, can also hamper cell service. All of these materials can be difficult for cellular signals to penetrate, and can render an already weak signal useless.
  1. Atmospheric/weather conditions – Turbulent storms, thick fog, and other weather conditions can easily disrupt cell signals.

How to fix a dead zone

While there is little you can do to control the weather, or the occurrence of dead zones out on the open road or on your daily subway commute, signal can be restored to dead zones in just about every indoor space. Through distributed antenna systems (DAS) technology cellular signals can be boosted to these dead zone locations.

DAS solutions capture the strongest outside cell signals and amplify them as much as 32 times. Devices known as cell signal boosters use antennas to detect any existing signal and bring it indoors. The signals are then rebroadcast to provide the strongest signal possible. Because passive DAS is carrier agnostic, it amplifies and broadcasts signals from all carriers equally. Anyone can access a boosted signal. DAS is an affordable and effective solution for restoring cell signal to dead zones and can even be employed for large areas up to 100,000 square feet or more.

You don’t have to accept dead zones as a fact of life. Cell signals can be improved in just about every indoor space or structure. If you’d like to know how WilsonPro can help you fix the dead zones that are hampering your cellular connection, contact us today.

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