Why Does My Neighbor Have Better Reception? 8 Real Answers About How To Improve Cell Signal at Home

Updated: Apr 8

  1. Why Do I Have Difficulty Making Calls Inside My Home?

  2. Why Does My Neighbor Next Door Have Better Cell Phone Reception Than Me?

  3. Will My Carrier Fix The Cell Signal Problem In My Home?

  4. What Technologies Can Improve Cell Reception In My Home?

  5. What Size Cell Booster Should I Buy For My Home?

  6. How Well Do Cell Signal Boosters Work In Multi-Floor Homes?

  7. Are There Fees And Licenses Associated With Putting A Cell Signal Booster In My Home?

  8. Can I Save Money By Buying A Refurbished Cell Phone Signal Booster?

houses in a neighborhood

1. Why Do I Have Difficulty Making Calls Inside My Home?

If you're having cell reception issues in your house or cottage, more than likely you have at least one of these four things happening:

Building Materials

Building materials such as concrete, stucco, low-e glass, and stone walls aren't friendly to cell signals. Depending on how your home was constructed, cell signals may have a hard time getting inside.


Basements have been giving cell signals a hard time since mobile phones were first invented. Partial walk-out basements aren't where the trouble lies. It’s the underground basements that cause problems. The main issue is that almost all residential and commercial basements are built with concrete walls. The more of these concrete walls in your basement that stand between you and the cell tower, the worse your reception will be.

Shadowed Areas

Shadowed areas refer to landscape-related signal impediments as opposed to building materials. Things like dense forests, big buildings, or large hills that may be blocking the line-of-sight. The fewer hurdles a signal has between the phone and the tower, the better the reception will be. In some situations, the available signal that a home receives is being reflected off of a nearby structure rather than reaching the home directly. This results in a weaker signal.

view of the sky

Weak Outside Signal Strength

Are you able to get an adequate signal only when you step outside your cottage? If so, your issue is more than likely a weak outside signal. In other words, the signal outside your home is weak enough that once it tries to penetrate the walls of your cottage, it's too weak for anyone inside to make a call. Hint: a booster from SureCall Canada will fix this problem instantly.

2. Why Does My Neighbor Next Door Have Better Cell Phone Reception Than Me?

When this happens, it's almost always because of building materials or location. And more often than not, it's location.

Despite how far mobile phone technology has come, cellular (radio) frequency still has the same resiliency issue it's always had. In some cases, a difference of 15 or fewer feet can be the difference between being able to make a call or not. It's possible (especially where property elevation varies) that your neighbor's line-of-sight to the cell tower is perfect but yours isn't, even when you are next-door neighbors. Thick groves of trees between property lines can also cause this.

If it's not location, then it's almost certainly building materials. And when it comes to residential homes, it's the roof that's the biggest culprit. If your neighbor's roof is wood or shingles and yours is metal, there's a very good chance he's going to have better cell signal. Walls can also have an effect. If her walls are drywall while yours are plaster and wire mesh, cell signals will have a harder time penetrating your walls. Even tinted windows create yet another hurdle for cell signals. This is because most window tint material is made from metal-infused low-e glass. Note: a cell phone signal booster from SureCall Canada will fix this problem.

woman on her cell phone

3. Will My Carrier Fix The Cell Signal Problem In My Home?

No. Though every Canadian carrier is constantly taking steps to increase their coverage area, fixing every individual customer's unique coverage issue is not on their daily to-do list. Fortunately, every network in Canada has a coverage map on their website so you can know which provider has the best coverage in your area before you choose one.

Some American and Canadian carriers offer devices called femtocells that are designed to boost signals. These little accessories plug into your home internet router. But they are really limited as far as what they can do for you, especially compared to an actual signal booster from SureCall Canada or other company. In fact, signal booster technology has come far enough that femtocells are becoming obsolete.

4. What Technologies Improve Cell Signal at Home?

There are little hacks here and there that people have discovered over the years that can help boost cell signals. But far and away the most effective way to boost signal in the home is with cell phone signal booster technology that involves three main components:

  • An outside antenna

  • A signal amplifier

  • An inside antenna

the flare booster box

It works like this: The outside antenna locates the signal outside your home, sends it to the amplifier to be boosted, and then the inside antenna broadcasts it inside your home. Coaxial cables connect all three of these components together, allowing them to communicate with each other. There are many different cell signal boosters on the market with varying prices. The price of a booster is mostly based on how many square feet it’s designed to cover. The more space, the more the price (usually).

5. What Size Cell Booster Should I Buy For My Home?

This is a question that gets asked a lot. But the truth is that the size of the booster device itself isn't relevant. They are all roughly the same size. The question you should be asking is what cell booster model should I buy for my home? And the answer depends mostly on one thing: how many square feet do you want covered?

Is it just one room that you're hoping to cover or the whole cottage? If it's the whole thing, how many square feet is it? Knowing the intended size of coverage area will help you choose the right cell phone booster model. All of the companies that manufacture boosters (including SureCall Canada) are very meticulous in calculating the specifications of each model they produce. Each online product description and physical packaging will display the potential amount of square footage that booster can cover. However, these numbers are assuming there is a decent signal outside your home. If the signal outside your home is really weak, you'll still get a boosted signal but the device probably won't be able to reach the maximum coverage specifications as advertised.

empty basement

If there's a booster that says it'll cover up to 4,000 square feet, in all likelihood it won't cover quite that much space because the signal outside your cottage is probably pretty weak, otherwise you wouldn't be buying a signal booster in the first place. The booster will most certainly do wonders for you. It just may not always reach it's maximum coverage area potential in every scenario.

Before you make a final decision on a SureCall Canada signal booster, we recommend calling (888-389-5799) or emailing (sales@surecallboosters.ca) us first. That way you'll know with absolute certainty that the one you're purchasing is the very best option for you.

6. How Well Do Cell Signal Boosters Work in Multi-Floor Homes?

Really well. Just remember that—as we said previously—concrete ceilings between floors can present an issue in some cases.

Let's say, for example, that you live in a two-story cottage with a 1-foot ceiling between them and each level is 10 feet from floor to ceiling. The booster kit box says that its maximum broadcast range is 50 ft. You decide to mount the inside antenna in a central location on the main level. Will the boosted signal cover both floors? Almost certainly.

However, if your cottage was built with concrete floors, it's possible that it won't—or at least not entirely. In cottages like these, two inside antennas (one upstairs, one downstairs) might be in order if it's imperative that the whole cottage be covered.


7. Are There Fees And Licenses Associated With Putting A Cell Signal Booster In My Home?

Nope. No fees, no licenses, no registration. Purchase the product, set it up in, and you're done.

8. Can I Save Money By Buying A Refurbished Cell Phone Signal Booster?

At SureCall Canada, we periodically have a limited number of refurbished cell phone signal boosters available for purchase. Yes, they cost less, but there's a few things to know first.

What Is A Refurbished Booster?

All refurbished boosters at SureCall Canada were originally bought new, returned for one of a variety of reasons, and then verified that they are in like-new condition before being made available for purchase again.

Why Would Somebody Return Their Booster?

Almost every time it's because either the customer didn't know there was an installation process, they bought the wrong booster, or they had unusable cell signal directly outside their home.

Reason 1: Customer Didn’t Know There Was An Installation Process

The installation process, though very easy, is more than just opening the package and plugging it in. In most cases (not all, but most), you'll need to drill some holes to feed the coax cable through. For some people, this is too much effort. When they realize after they've already purchased it that this is the case, they just send it back. Seems a bit strange, we know. But it happens more than you'd think. We still have to call these refurbished boosters since the box was opened.

surecall booster set

Reason 2: Customer Bought The Wrong Booster

As we've already said, you have to know the square footage you're hoping to cover before making a choice on a signal booster. Unfortunately, not everyone does. They make a hasty decision and the booster arrives only to discover that the booster isn't strong enough for what they need. Some of these customers make it all the way to the end of the installation process before they make this realization. These get sent back to us in exchange for a different model. We then sell them as refurbished devices after close verification.

Reason 3: Customer Has Unusable Cell Signal

There must be an existing (even if it's weak) signal outside the walls of your home or cottage in order for a signal booster to function properly. This is cell phone signal booster rule #1. But it still gets overlooked sometimes. A person who lives in an area with no cell signal at all will falsely assume that a signal booster will create one for them. Once they realize this is not how they work, they send the device back.

To summarize, refurbished signal boosters from SureCall Canada are not the result of malfunctioning hardware or faulty equipment. In almost every case, the purchaser made a mistake in their purchase but because the product packaging was opened, we have to categorize it as refurbished.

signal tower

Does SureCall Canada Resell Devices That Have Been Repaired?

No. With a product success rate close to 100%, there isn't a need for us to repair damaged equipment and resell it in the very rare circumstance that it happens. In almost every one of those cases, we just discard the device.

Does SureCall Canada Test Refurbished Boosters?

We most certainly do. If the box was opened, resealed, and then returned, we test every aspect of the device—including aesthetics—to make sure it's in like-new condition.

Can Refurbished Signal Boosters Be Returned?

Yes, as long as it's within 30 days of purchase.

How To Boost Your Cell Signal at Home (8 Residential Booster Questions Answered) – Conclusion

If you have more questions, make sure to visit our Blog. We post regularly about all things related to signal boosters.