Can You Hear Me Now? Cell Phone Reception in Metal Buildings

A lot has changed since April 1973 when the first call on a cell system by Dr. Martin Cooper at Motorola was made. According to, the cellphone is a combination of a telephone and radio. The signals that come into and go out of a cellphone are like the ones TV and radio are received on, just formatted differently. Signals are sent back and forth between the cellphone and a base station. Radio signals can bounce around and go through wood, sheetrock walls, and windows; however, buildings with a lot of metal can interfere with cellphone signals. Steel causes the signal to bounce around - sometimes missing your phone.  

When choosing to live or work in metal buildings, there can be a give and take outcome. You want the durability and longevity of metal, but that can result in sporadic cellphone reception indoors. Fortunately, there are several affordable options that can help improve cellphone reception in your metal structures.  

The following tips will help to boost mobile signals in your metal structures as reported by

Download a Signal Map Tool

Try downloading a signal map tool for your smartphone. These typically work by pointing the user in the direction of their nearest cell tower and can be extremely effective in locating better coverage.

Cell Phone Jammers

Keep your phone away from other electronic devices that might interfere with your reception. These include laptops, iPads, microwaves and other electronics.

Smart Signal Booster

A new category of Smart Signal Booster is emerging. This new category of boosters utilizes super-powerful baseband processors to clean the signal before it is rebroadcast (hence the "Smart" in the name Smart Signal Booster). Most of the Smart Signal Boosters have gains of 100db (compared to analog booster's gain of 63 to 70db). Some of these new boosters, while more expensive than the traditional analog booster, are completely plug and play: you plug them in, and they usually work right away without the need for complex installation of outdoor antennas (usually the donor antenna is inside the booster box). Truly plug and play, they can be used with almost any carrier, require no installation, and actually work. Most of the time, Smart Signal Boosters are carrier-specific (i.e. you need to get the one that works for your carrier).

Signal Boosters aka Cellular Repeater

A cellphone signal booster can only amplify the existing signal. It cannot create a signal, only boost a weaker one. The booster consists of three components: an external antenna, a signal amplifier, and an internal antenna. Almost all major cellphone carriers have compatible cellphone signal boosters. Confirm with your cellphone provider; they might change signal frequencies of their cellphones.

“Hi-gain” Wifi Antenna

With its omni-directional waves, along with your current WiFi signal, a high gain WiFi antenna typically features gain of 12-14dBi and greater. By coupling the higher gain with the narrow, focused beam, long distance WiFi communications can be achieved.

Host a Cell Site

This may take time, but where cellphone reception is inadequate, property owners can host small cell sites on their properties for major wireless carriers. 3rd parties with Wireless Revenue Programs allow you to register your property to be eligible. Then when there is carrier interest in the area, you'll be on the short list of places they choose from and will have optimal coverage. They may even pay your phone bill.

I hope this information has helped you in deciding the best way to increase your mobile signal. If you are in the process of researching metal building options, contact us @ 337-625-5051 in Sulphur or 409-384-5777 at our Jasper location. Our sales representatives will be happy to discuss your metal building options.

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