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How To Boost Cellular Reception in Metal and Concrete Buildings

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

How To Boost Cellular Reception in Metal and Concrete Buildings
How To Boost Cellular Reception in Metal and Concrete Buildings

Whether it's in the workplace, at your apartment building, or elsewhere, you may find yourself constantly losing a cellular signal or dropping calls. Buildings made of metal and concrete can block cellular signals because they weaken the signal between your cell phone and the nearest cellular tower.

To learn how to get better cell reception in metal and concrete buildings, first track down the cause of the problem. Next, learn how to check the strength of your cellular signal. And finally, choose the best cell phone signal booster for your circumstances.

But first things first. It’s important you understand how cell phone signals work. Radiofrequency waves allow your phone to communicate with the nearest tower, but thick concrete and steel walls diminish the strength of your signal. Realizing this allows you to find the best solution as you investigate all possible problems.

Detect the Root Reason of the Problem

Start looking for and understanding the various reasons why your cellular signal is poor, because doing this will help you achieve your solution. The reason you're dropping calls could be a result of the building material; however, a poor signal sometimes results when the phone itself has problems.

Check Your Phone

Look your phone over for any signs of damage such as cracks or dents along the surface. Additionally, try to recall if your phone was previously working fine—the issue could be internal. If your phone has signs of breakage, this could be the reason for dropped calls, as something internal may no longer function properly.

However, dropped calls could also result from an out-of-date phone—make sure this isn't the case by going into your settings and verifying that your phone is up to date with the latest software.

Check the Property

If you've checked your phone and the issue isn't external or internal damage, the cause for poor signal is likely coming from within the property, or rather the building materials. Getting cellular reception in metal and concrete buildings is challenging because this material both absorbs and reflects radio frequency, which your phone puts out as it searches for the nearest tower.

Additionally, as you evaluate the inside of the property, ensure that other electronics such as Wi-Fi routers remain away from your cellular device. Various wireless devices can cause problems with calls because they cause electromagnetic interference.

If the problem isn't with your phone or electronic interference, it's most likely due to the building itself. To know if your building is the problem, go outside and try making a call; if you can do so with ease and receive high-quality calls, the problem is most likely with the building's material.

Get a Reading of Current Cell Signal

The next step of improving cell phone reception indoors is to get a reading of your signal's strength. Despite contrary belief, this is not based on how many bars you have but rather your decibel-milliwatts (dBm) reading. This number is typically between -50 and -120; you want your number as close to -50 as possible.

Finding this reading differs on phone brand and model. While IOS devices require you to call a phone number, on an Android you can check this by going into your settings.

After finding your dBm reading, determine how weak your signal actually is by evaluating the number. While -50 dBm is the best, a signal between -80 and -100 is still okay. This is a further breakdown of the numbers:

  • -50 dBm is the best.

  • -80 to -89 dBm is good.

  • -90 to -99 dBm is acceptable.

  • -100 to -109 dBm is poor.

  • -120 dBm or lower is horrible.

If you find your dBm reading is over -100, it's time to start looking into cellular boosters to enhance your calling ability. A metal or concrete building will result in a lower dBm reading because these materials reflect and absorb the signal.

Look Into the Best Solutions

Begin looking into various solutions. A cell signal booster for metal or concrete buildings is your best purchase. It amplifies call quality in the entire space thereby enhancing the way your phone communicates with the nearest cell phone tower.

Install a Cell Phone Booster

By knowing your signal strength, you can also detect where it's strongest, which is key when installing a cell phone booster as you want to place it in the best location for optimal quality.

A cell phone booster improves cell service in a building by amplifying the signal between your phone and a cellular tower. With this piece of equipment, you’ll be able to make calls within your building despite the previous struggles caused by building material.

A signal booster has several parts—an outdoor antenna, an indoor antenna, a signal booster, and a cable. Each of these parts works together to amplify then rebroadcast the signal your phone puts out.

How Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

The outdoor antenna searches for the nearest signal and then communicates that to the indoor cellular antenna which communicates with your phone. Both work with the booster to amplify the signal's strength so it can get rebroadcasted with better coverage.

Things To Keep in Mind

As you install an outdoor antenna, ensure it's in a proper place, such as on the roof. The fewer obstructions that block the pathway to the nearest tower, the better. And be sure that it’s secure once you mount it.

Moreover, as you install your inside antenna, know where you want the best signal—in a small room, the best place for an antenna is in the middle of the room on the ceiling. When you install your indoor antenna, make sure it's at least 20 feet vertical or 50 feet horizontal from the outdoor antenna and away from physical obstructions.

Having proper distance between the indoor and outdoor antennas ensures they can best communicate with one another. On the other hand, having them too close or too far will not work to improve cell service in the building.

Eliminate dead zones in your building by installing a high-quality cell phone booster. This enhances call quality and improves communication between your phone and the nearest cellular tower by amplifying the radio waves put out by your phone.

As you research how to get better cell reception in a concrete or metal building, shop our site for easy and effective solutions. SureCall Boosters ensure you always get the best cell phone reception possible. Call us at (888) 389-5799 or email us at with any questions!

How To Boost Cellular Reception in Metal and Concrete Buildings
How To Boost Cellular Reception in Metal and Concrete Buildings


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