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How to Stretch Cell Phone Signal

Updated on December 16, 2015
Reach 79 antenna
Reach 79 antenna
GoTenna with no service
GoTenna with no service

How many times has your cell phone call dropped, or there is no or limited service. This usually occurs in remote areas away from the urban and suburbs. If you look at coverages, most of the cell phone towers are along major highways or main roads. Carriers are different, some signals can be found in more remote areas where there are signal towers. But, there will be at least few times, you wished you could stretch your signal somehow.

Well, there are two methods. One product is the GoTenna. It is a high-tech walkie talkie of sorts except you can only communicate via texting, not voice. Essentially, the product is sold in pairs for $150 and uses the 151-154 MHz spectrum radio waves for users to send texts and GPS coordinates. It is for use in remote areas where a signal is not around because it needs no signal, but it will work only with another GoTenna (which is why they sell in pairs). The devices transmits via Bluetooth. Texts are limited to 160 characters. The GoTenna also utilizes its home phone’s GPS for its best feature: users can share their GPS location and view others on a detailed, preloaded offline map, all for free. There is an Emergency Chat, where anyone within range with the GoTenna will get the text. Texts sent to another are stored, should the receiver no have his GoTenna operating. Where would this device be useful?

  • Hiking in back country
  • Disneyland to locate the dislocated family members
  • Traveling in remote locations
  • On airplanes if you partner is not seated next to you
  • Disaster situations when there is no service
  • Biking in areas with no service

As to its range, it varies depending on the environment. In urban areas- up to 1 mile, in forested areas- 2-3 miles, in flat areas like oceans, lakes or deserts- 4-6 miles. If both are on high terrain, up to 50 miles on rare occasions. When texting, the message sent will indicate if the message was received or not. However, it will not tell you if it was read. Messages are encrypted.

Another product to boost signal strength is Reach79 for the iPhone 6 only (so far). For just $60-70, you might be able to stretch the signal strength somewhat. Basically, it is a protected case with a built in gold plated antenna that increases the size and automatically connects to the internal antenna. Depending on your location, it might, on average, improve download times by 50%, or it might not help at all. A more realistic expectation is that download speeds might improve by 25%. This is in field tests around a city environment. The company states that in its tests using 200 users, download speeds of 3.8 Mbps rose to 5.8 Mbps. That IS a nice improvement for just $60. If your reception and speed are always iffy, it is worth a try. Your signal might improve by two decibels, which is significant many times (two bars is better than one) and on LTE might be 50% improvement. The one thing all outside tests had in common were the results were always inconsistent due to location and environment.


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