Top 5 Things That Block Your Cellular Signal

From Wilson Electronics Press Release

Las Vegas – Jan. 8, 2013 – In our always-on, data-driven, 21st century world, a reliable cellular signal is not optional, it’s required. So why does it seem that acquiring and keeping a solid signal is so frequently a hit-and-miss proposition?

For more than a decade, Wilson Electronics ( has been developing technology and consumer products to enhance weak cellular signals in buildings and vehicles. Based on more than 10 years experience, here are the top five things that weaken or block cell signals. One or two of them may not be so obvious.

1. Distance from the nearest cell tower This is almost always the first thing we blame when a connection is dropped or service unavailable. After all, cellular signals are radio frequency waves and they behave like any other RF signal. If the receiver (in this case a phone, tablet, cellular modem, etc.) is too far away from the signal source – a cell tower – then the signal will be weak or maybe altogether undetectable. Or sometimes your phone or other cellular device may show that you have “some” signal, but it still won’t work. You hear the phone ring, but when you pick it up, no one is there. This happens because the cellular device you’re using does not have enough power to push the signal all the way back to the distant tower.

2. Local terrain features Hills, mountains, ridges, bluffs and similar types of terrain will block cell signals. Any situation in which there is higher ground between the cellular device and the cell tower can cause signal issues. An excavation crew working below ground level or workers at a site located in a low spot can have problems with weak cell signals.

3. Man-made obstructions In urban settings, buildings can be the main culprit that blocks cell signals. Large structures can deflect or distort RF waves. Driving into a parking garage is a virtually foolproof way to drop a cellular connection. Likewise, a nearby bridge, utility tower, highway overpass or almost anything else built by humans can interfere with cellular connectivity.

RF signals can’t easily pass through metal or concrete, so anything built with either or both can cause reception problems. Actually almost any material used in construction – shingles, masonry, wood, drywall, even thermally efficient glass (which is made with metal oxide) - will weaken or block signals as they attempt to pass through. Isn’t it funny that it used to be when the phone rang you’d run inside to answer it. Now when your phone rings, you race for the exit! Reception is almost always better outside a building.

4. Vehicles No surprise here. Most of us have likely experienced a poor connection while inside a vehicle, and then noticed a marked improvement in voice quality or data transfer speed once we step outside. Those metal-and-glass encased cocoons we drive do an excellent job of blocking cellular signals. Our research shows using your phone in a vehicle can block the signal by more than 50 percent in some instances.

5. Vegetation It may seem hard to believe, but it’s true. Trees, shrubbery, almost any kind of foliage can absorb cell signals. Ask anyone who lives in a heavily wooded area how their cellular reception is. They'll tell you – trees are wonderful things, but they do NOT enhance cell signals. Can Help

If you recognize one of more of the signal blockers above as likely reasons for poor cell reception in your office building, home or vehicle, visit us at

May 21, 2013 Jerome Hansen

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