This week has seen the advent of the UK’s first 4G network after the firm formerly known as Everything Everywhere rebranded itself as EE and announced that it would be introducing the new, high-speed service.
Mobile users who sign up to the network will experience online performance up to five times faster than that seen with 3G, with HD video streaming being something that could become commonplace as a result.
However, there are still some areas where the existing 3G signal isn’t as strong as users would like. In this week’s top five we’re taking a look at what you can do to boost the signal of your phone, making the most of the reception that is currently available.
5. Signal Boost Case
A variety of smartphone cases are available that claim to optimise the signal a device will receive. Many of these are for the various iPhone iterations, with the more recent handsets in Apple’s range being particularly well-served, and appear to work by preventing obstruction to the phone’s antenna, therefore making sure that the signal is as strong as possible whilst in the hand.
Back in 2010 Apple made a free case available to every iPhone 4 owner following widely-reported reception problems known as the ‘Death Grip’ saga, with the tech giant claiming that the use of a case would solve the issue.
4. Antenna Boost
There are a range of antenna boosters available which can be fitted inside a handset to increase the strength of its signal, although these are perhaps more suited to older feature phones and will almost certainly be of no use for iPhones and higher-end devices.
Attaching to a handset’s battery, these gadgets aim to reduce the static generated by the power source which in turn prevents it from causing interference to the signal a phone receives. While such devices were developed some years back (well before the advent of the smartphone) there are some devices of this type available for more recent handsets such as Samsung’s Galaxy S II.
3. Vodafone Booster Brolly
UK network Vodafone has come up with a novel way of making sure your phone gets the best signal it can, creating an umbrella which connects to the device and works as an extended antenna.
The smartphone peripheral was designed with Britain’s summer music festival seasonin mind, events to which the more cautious visitor may well take an umbrella, and is a fitted with solar panels that can recharge a handset’s battery. Power won’t be wasted if your phone is fully charged as the umbrella has a power cell of its own in which to store generated power for later. It also comes with a handy torch built in, so no more stumbling back to your tent of an evening.
Open Signal Maps is a great idea – an app which combines with your phone’s GPS and Google Maps to show you the exact location of the mobile mast to which your device is currently connected. Moving closer to that mast (or towards another one) should make a difference to the strength of signal, improving handset reception.
Directions to the nearest antenna are denoted either as a large arrow which points towards the mast in question or overlaid on to the familiar Google Maps interface. This app could spare you a lot of time that would otherwise be spent walking around waving your phone in the air.
1. Moving closer to a window
This may sound too obvious to even be worth a mention but the difference that can be made to the strength of mobile signal by simply moving closer to a window can be incredible. Put simply, radio waves (and especially 3G signals) find it much harder to move through walls than they do through thin air, so using a phone when deep inside a building will affect how well it connects to a network.
Metal roofs are known to be particularly problematic for mobile users but even thin walls and doors can cause difficulties. Moving closer to a window or stepping outside could be a simple solution to the problem.