Mobile phone signal annoyance

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aladds's picture
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Mobile phone signal annoyance

For as long as I remember, I've had awful mobile phone signal in my house and it's been quite annoying, but today I think I figured out why, although it's not a great discovery...

Basically, I was in the loft and I accidentally knocked my phone out of my pocket. Upon picking it up I realised the signal was lower than normal, at completely nil for all networks (it has been known to say "limited service" and have some signal, I suspect it's because you can make an emergency call through any network, but nothing else make any difference). I then held it up to the velux window and noticed a heavy signal increase to four out of five bars, I moved it back into the main body of the loft and it dropped fully again, I repeated this a few times, with conclusive results:

The insulation in our loft attenuates mobile phone signals!

The reason for this deduction is because it's foil insulation (weird stuff, it's like metal bubblewrap, it's really good though, and very easy to put in, me and my mum put it up ourselves) so I assume it's making some sort of cage which catches the signals, or at least lowers them to almost naught

This really doesn't help, but at least I know why the signal is so awful now!

Anyway, can anyone suggest a way to alleviate this problem short of placing an antenna on the roof and running a looong cable to plug into the phone? There must be a way to negate the effect this "cage" is having on my signal!

Jon
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That sounds like Eagle Shield

That sounds like Eagle Shield or some variant. FWIK it's got two foil sides and bubble wrap in between and has a decent insulating factor for it's thickness (or really lack of). Since it's foil and is made to reflect infrared radiation (heat) I'd also assume it was capable of reflecting radio signals. There isn't much I can think of other than to replaced the foil stuff with some other insulator like paper backed fiber glass or some of the foam sheet products. Of course that would be fairly costly just to fix phone reception.

Or stand next to the window...

aladds's picture
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yeah....

hmm, I was just hoping there might be some kind of counter-effect I could employ. That is basically the same stuff though, but yeah, it's a different brand

ah well...

I have actually considered switching mobile networks over this, but it's so much hassle changing my number, unlocking the phone etc. etc. that it's not really worth it. After all, it may not even cure the problem if I do change networks!

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Sounds like you pretty much m

Sounds like you pretty much made yourself a Faraday cage with that insulation. Switching networks won't do any good, as all RF is being reflected by the insulation.

They're not cheap, but companies make personal cell phone repeaters for locations such as yours. You place the repeater's receiving antenna in a location where you get signal, then the repeater passes through and amplifies certain frequency bands to another antenna. Last I checked they ran about $5k. It would probably be cheaper to rip out your foil insulation and replace it with standard fiberglass.

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$5K isn't accurate at all the

$5K isn't accurate at all these days. You can buy a personal mobile phone repeater that covers around 3000 square feet for around $300, but I don't know of any places in the UK that would sell them. If you'd like to try a different provider, O2 and Vodafone have 900MHz networks that generally penetrate further through building materials. 3G networks will probably be even worse.

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Oh dear

I'm currently on vodafone! oh dear it must be a darn good cage :-S
Although before we put it in it wasn't perfect...ah well, I guess I'm resigned to sticking my head out the window when i make a call Blum 3

Jon
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By it's very design the Eagle

By it's very design the Eagle Shield-like stuff is supposed to reflect radiant energy, and add to the R rating of the fiber/blown insulation. I guess by the situation with your phone, you know that it's working.

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