If you have a basement in your house, you have probably thought of at least a hundred really great ways to make it a useful space.
It’s a room with a lot of potential, suitable for not only keeping junk but it’s also a place you can turn into a game room or a quiet place where you can make a functioning office for yourself.
But those plans have to consider one small detail…
If you don’t have any reception in the basement or have a weak one, the plans are not going to go far. Now if your plans for the cellar are to create a man-cave or she-shack, an arts and crafts space or a rec room where you can get away from technology, you can always turn off your gadgets, leave them upstairs or not worry about reception.
But what you need for the basement to become a functional area, is it has to have a good mobile signal. Both for your calls and for the mobile data.
So let’s see what we can do about it and which way is more effective — oh, and of course all these tips are good for boosting your cell signal in other areas of the house too!
Use a Cell Phone Booster
Installing cell phone boosters is one of the most effective strategies people use to fight bad reception in general; and the basement is not an exception.
If you have a layer of concrete over your head, naturally no signal will reach you. You might have a sweet spot by the window, or close to the stairs, but you can’t use the basement effectively with that kind of signal. A cell booster will certainly save the situation and enhance your signal. But how does it work?
How Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?
Well, a signal booster has an external antenna, that is placed typically on the roof of the building, or by the window. It “collects” the outside signal, passing it down to the amplifier, which then enhances it.
After that, the new, strong signal is broadcast through the indoor antenna over your basement. The indoor antenna can be placed on the wall, or on the ceiling, depending on the overall shape of the area.
If your outside signal is strong enough, you won’t have trouble even with an average power device. But if you are already in a remote area with a weak outside signal, and you have an objective to boost up the basement, then you’ll need a really powerful booster.
Before you choose the right device for your basement, there are a few key points you have to consider.
- The territory you need to cover. Boosters vary in coverage, you can get a device that covers less than 1000 ft, or the one that can handle 20.000 ft. Naturally, you don’t need to overpay, so pick a device according to the area.
- Another important decision is considering the provider. All providers use different frequencies for different services (Call, 3G, 4G/LTE). And the boosters are wired to match those frequencies in order to function properly. So, you need to know whether you want a single band device (for one network), or a more versatile device.
- What service do you need to be boosted? Only Calls? Only mobile data? Or maybe all the services at once.
- Map out your basement beforehand, to determine the weakest and the strongest signal spots. This way you’ll know where to position the antennas: Outside antenna in the sweet spot and the indoor antenna in the weakest. Your basement will be covered, and plus, you’ll get just the right length of the cable, which is important. Excess cable always lowers the signal strength.
Despite the fact that a booster is the most effective solution to this problem, you can come up with some other remedies as well.
Use a Network Extender or FemtoCell Device
Some providers, for example, AT&T, have a device, called a microcell. This is basically a small cell tower that you can put in your basement and better the signal. FemtoCell towers are connected to your router. Obviously, it’s limited to one provider, but if you are getting your connection from them anyways, that’s a nice bonus you can use.
Verizon offers their own network extenders to boost signals for their devices, as do many other networks. Contact your provider and ask them for recommendations. Make sure to ask if they charge a monthly fee beyond the cost of the device because many to.
One thing to keep in mind about using a provider specific signal booster is this. What happens when you have guests who are on another network? That’s one of the significant benefits of using a cell phone booster that works across multiple networks.
The other thing to not about these microcell boosters is that while they will pull a stronger signal than your phone by itself, which is great if you need increased reception in your home as a whole, if you don’t get one with an outside antenna, in the basement you will still be “pulling” the signal through the concrete.
These are a good option though for people who for one reason or another, can’t attach an antenna outside — for example in apartments, condos, townhomes or homeowner associations with strict guidelines.
Tips for Increasing Your Cell Phone Signal
Before you take drastic measures such as purchasing a booster, make sure the basic measures were taken. For example, if your phone has a cover, remove it. Sometimes the case, especially if it’s a thick one, can create a disturbance and prevent the signal from reaching the internal antenna of your phone.
And believe it or not, at least for some Android phones, because of where the internal antenna is located, how you are holding your mobile device can actually impact the reception. Sometimes simply changing where you are holding the phone if you are using it against your ear, or switching to speaker phone can make a difference.
Another basic measure is making sure your phone is on sufficient charge. If the charge is low, it can significantly weaken the signal reception. So, keep that in mind as well.
How To Boost Your Cell Phone Signal
Ways to Increase Your Phone Signal in Basement | Courtesy of Tech Quickie
One more option is to see if your phone provider offers the ability for you to make calls over Wi-Fi. Depending on the strength of your internet connection in the basement — as in does your laptop work down there? — this may be enough.
Finally, if you are still using a 3G phone, upgrading to one that is 4G may solve the poor basement reception problem. And if you are in an area that is fortunate enough to already have 5G (or is scheduled to get it soon), consider going for a 5G phone. While this may not solve the issue, you’ll definitely get better reception ever where else.
By the way, if you are staying with your 3G phone, or are in a rural area that still only gets 3G signals, there are cell phone signal boosters just for that.
You can take the less costly measures first, and see how the result turns out. But if the house is relatively new and there’s a substantial layer of concrete over the basement, our bet will be on installing a signal booster. This way you can be sure that your basement will turn into a fully functional living space, that can become anything you want: a gym, a lounge with a pool table and a bar, an office, or a dance studio.
So good luck bringing your plans to life and be connected wherever you are!
And if you are planning on using the internet in the basement, you may also want to check into a Wi-Fi extender if your internet connection is separate from your phone or you want to try making calls over Wi-Fi.