How to get the Best Cell Phone Coverage in Rural Areas

If you live in or travel to remote or rural locales, then you understand the struggle. Getting the best cell phone coverage in rural areas can seem hopeless. I’ve seen friends deal with constant service alerts, dropped calls, missed or unsent emails and text messages, the inability to use data-hungry apps like snapchat, etc. I have a friend that lives in a cabin that is not very remote, but his entire home is a dead zone, and any time I go to visit he has his phone resting on a specific windowsill. He will walk over to the window and stand there to make calls or use his phone at all. He’s definitely a great candidate for a cell booster.

In some ways that’s the joy of visiting remote locations. We relish the idea of getting away from technology and noise for a short time, and leaving our responsibilities behind for a moment. But, at the same time, we want to have the option to use our phone if it’s necessary or if we change our minds and need to connect with a colleague, client, family member, or friend. You might need to look up a recipe or tutorial online, send a quick email, post something awesome to your social media account, call a friend to remind them to pick something up, or get in touch with emergency personnel like police officers or firefighters.

When we think of traveling to remote areas, most of us think vacation, but for others that frequently work in rural or remote areas (loggers, truckers, technicians, utility workers) bad cell service is a chronic problem that must be mitigated. Communications with other cell-enabled devices and with your boss, colleagues, family, and emergency personnel will be much more simple and stress-free with a cell booster for your car, truck, SUV, van, or motorhome/RV.

Whether you live, work, or vacation in the woods, islands, or mountains, the peace you enjoy is second to none. You can enjoy cell signal in a remote location without it affecting your up-north, out-west, down-south, far-east, mid-west, or off-grid state of mind. You can still “ghost” everyone without sacrificing emergency communications. So, what’s the deal with getting the best cell phone coverage in rural areas? There are some unique factors to consider.

What’s preventing you from getting the best cell phone coverage in rural areas?

If you look at a coverage map of northern Minnesota, you’ll see there are plenty of “dead spots”. Red zones indicate poor signal, green zones indicate good signal, and everywhere else doesn’t have enough information available. Different coverage maps have more detailed information, so you could use a few to measure signal strength in your location.

Best Cell Phone Coverage in Rural Areas - Coverage map of northern MN

Then, if you look up nearby cell towers for a specific carrier in northern Minnesota (I searched for AT&T towers), you can see that they are few and far between in comparison to metro areas. Cellular companies just don’t have the same demand to install a bunch of cell towers in locations that are predominately “vacation areas” with a sparse population except on occasional weekend holidays.

Do cell phone boosters work in rural areas? Map of cell towers in northern MN

Low user load = Less demand for cell tower installations

Since rural areas are less populated, the towers that are installed nearby can support more users than they would if they were installed in a metro area. Each tower has a “user load” capacity, which is why you can still have cell signal problems in urban areas that are overcrowded.

Mother Nature Affects Your Cell Signal

If you live in a valley surrounded by hills or a flat embedded in thick woods, then foliage and terrain can block the cell signal transmitted by towers from reaching you. Water can also deflect signal and cause it to bounce around, preventing it from traveling in a straight line toward you, so living near a lake or pond could also cause problems. There’s a lot of different things that influence cell signal, even the weather.

How do cell phone boosters work in rural areas?

Here’s the thing: Cell phone boosters do not create cell phone signal. If there is zero cell service in your location, then you will have to consider a satellite phone, or a microcell/femtocell if you have internet service. Some external antennas might work for you if your demand for data is low and there’s only one person using a mobile phone. There are ways to improve your cell signal for free by using best practices, but for the most reliable and dramatic improvements, you’ll need a powered cell phone booster system with an amplifier. So, you’ll also need to have a power supply. The amplifier plugs into a regular AC/DC outlet, or into a 12v accessory outlet in vehicles.

Cell phone boosters work in rural areas by obtaining signal from towers that aren’t close enough to you, amplifying it by up to 32x, and rebroadcasting it throughout your cabin, home, or RV. You see better call quality, faster text or email messaging, quicker uploads/downloads, and high-speed internet or app browsing.

• Obtains and amplifies cell signal by up to 32x, then redistributes it indoors
• Compatible with all mobile phones, carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and small carriers/MVNOs in the US and Canada), and cellular-enabled tablets or computers
• No Wi-Fi or broadband connection required
• One-time purchase and no reoccurring fees

How to Install a Cell Booster

1. Do a little research before you begin to see what service(s) other people in your area are using. If you recently moved to a rural or remote area, then you might not have as much experience with using your phone in different locations or on various carriers/devices.

Phones operating primarily on the 1900 MHz frequency have the most problems in rural areas because that frequency barely reaches beyond visual line of site from the tower for ten miles or less. Look up the frequencies your cell carrier uses in your location.

2. Start by finding the spot in your house with the best signal, or by looking up nearby cell towers, because you’ll need to install the outdoor antenna in a place on the roof that points toward the closest cell tower or gets the best signal from your experience but isn’t obstructed by something like a chimney.

3. Install the indoor antenna in a place that most needs help with signal improvement. The signal will be amplified throughout your house, but if there’s a certain location that needs the strongest possible signal (an office, for example) then that’s a good spot for the indoor antenna.

Best Cell Phone Booster for Remote Areas

To get the best cell phone coverage in rural areas, you can work with nature and use tools like coverage maps and cell tower locators to better understand your cell service and work to improve it in your location, or travel to a specific spot to use your mobile device(s).

Do cell phone boosters work in rural areas? Yes, absolutely, if there is some signal available. In certain cases, it can appear as though you have no signal, but a cell phone booster can still pick it up. You’ll want to measure your signal with a professional meter or by measuring your cell phone signal from your phone. The best cell phone booster for remote areas is one that is simple to install and is guaranteed to last. We understand how much our customers depend on cell service and we work hard to create products that are durable and robust.

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