Irregular cell signal? Boosters and other ways to increase your strength

Today’s technology means we’re always connected – when our connections are actually working the way they should.

Is your Wi-Fi network crawling? No one has the time or the patience for this. Tap or click to discover 10 smart ways to fix your slow internet connection. Know the tips before you need them.

While you’re at it, there is a lot you can do to speed up your computer. Tap or click to discover six easy ways to get a boost. No computer science degree is necessary, I promise.

Next on the list is overcoming an uneven cell signal. It can be downright dangerous not being able to make a call when you need to. These tips can help.

1. Spread the Basics

A fully charged battery is your friend. A near-dead one could interfere with your signal. Charge and see if that fixes the problem. I always keep one Anker portable chargers in my bag in an emergency. It is reliable and inexpensive.

Are your signal problems new or worse? Try to remove the shell from your phone. Depending on its thickness and composition, it could make your blanket dirty.

Finally, make sure your phone is up to date. Running the latest OS security patches (always a plus!) Can make your device run smoother. Older versions of the software could cause, or at least contribute to, connection problems.

To update your iPhone, open Settings > press General > select Software update. If an update is available, select Download and install.

To update your Android, open Settings. To choose System > Advanced > System update. Follow the steps on the screen.

Note: If your phone is no longer receiving updates, it is time to upgrade to a newer model.

2. Try the good old IT standard

What’s the first thing an IT professional will ask you to do if a gadget isn’t performing well? That’s right, turn it off and then turn it back on. It’s a classic because most of the time, it works.

Before you shut down completely, first try turning on Airplane mode. Enabling and disabling this setting forces your phone to reestablish its connection to the network.

On an iPhone or Android, go to Control Center by slide up or down on your phone screen, depending on your model. Then press the Airplane mode button.

Wait at least five seconds and press the Airplane mode button a second time to deactivate the function. If that doesn’t work, turn off your phone completely, wait a moment, and then turn it back on.

True or false: You need to restart your computer every day. Tap or click here for my review.

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3. Find another location

The clearer the path to the nearest cell signal, the better your service will be. If you have a weak connection, change your location.

Some building materials can function almost like a Faraday cage, killing your connection. If you are indoors, try to get closer to a window or go outside. Go upstairs if you are on a lower level.

To optimize your location, try a mobile phone tower search site. CellMapper is easy to use and has a ton of filter options. Set your country, provider, and network speed, then enter your address in the location search field. Press enter and you will see the nearest cell towers.

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4. Boost your signal

Let’s say your house is a cellular dead zone. You can call over Wi-Fi (more info below), but you can try a cell booster first.

A booster works in any location with an existing cell signal that needs to be boosted. They are relatively easy to use and install, but they can be a bit expensive, since cell signal boosters contain cell radios.

A popular option from Amazon is the WeBoost Home Boost signal kit. It works with all US carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Straight Talk, and US Cellular. You simply connect the booster to an outdoor antenna. No tools or drilling is required.

With a maximum gain of 60 dB, the booster will not interrupt carrier signals to and from the cell tower. With 20dBm uplink output power and 12dBm downlink output power, the booster easily reaches mobile phone towers.

Alternatively, you can purchase a femtocell from your carrier. It uses your internet connection to establish a better cellular connection. Make sure you have a solid internet line before you get one or you are wasting money.

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5. Switch to Wi-Fi

Bad luck so far? You can completely ignore a bad connection with Wi-Fi calling. If you often experience signal problems at home or at work, your Internet connection may be a more reliable option.

On an iPhone, open Settings > scroll down and press Call > Wi-Fi calling. Next, toggle the button next to Wi-Fi calling on this iPhone to the right to turn it on. Wi-Fi calling is now enabled.

On Android, open the Call app, and then tap After or the three dot icon to open the menu. Tap Settings. To select Wi-Fi calling. If you don’t see the option, your carrier may not support it.

Making calls over your Wi-Fi connection may give you clearer reception than your cellular network. Keep in mind that signal strength may always be low when browsing the internet or using an app.

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6. Communicate at 40,000 feet

Now, this trick won’t increase your signal strength, but it could help you get a message across in an emergency.

I was on a plane last week between Santa Barbara, Calif., And Phoenix. There’s a part of the desert where an airplane’s Wi-Fi goes down for about seven minutes. My mother was in intensive care and the hospital needed my permission to proceed with immediate intervention, as I am her proxy.

With no Wi-Fi or a way to make the call, I opened the Voice Recorder app on my phone and recorded a note giving the required consent. Fortunately, I was able to text the recording to my sister in the hospital, who distributed it to the attending physicians.

Bonus tip: How Bezos, Musk, and Buffett pay no federal taxes and a bonus for anyone who owns a home

Discover my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

ProPublica has obtained information from the IRS showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett pay little income tax compared to their enormous wealth – sometimes, even nothing. I sat down with an experienced tax accountant who works with high net worth clients to get the scoop. In addition, we talked about special tax credits to reduce your taxes.

Discover all the latest technologies on the Kim Komando show, the country’s biggest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.