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Metal Building and Cell Phone Signal Reception - How to Get Full Bars?

Jan 04, 2020

Metal Building and Cell Phone Signal Reception - How to Get Full Bars?

Metal buildings have always been known to block cellular phone signals. It is expected to continue as construction using metal such as aluminum and steel, fiberglass and other composites continues to go up across the world. 

In United States, industrial construction has been growing by over 10 percent. This includes non-residential buildings by over 4 percent. It includes office buildings by over 18 percent. Healthcare building constructions have increased by over 10 percent. Public buildings such as education institutions have risen by 6 percent. Thus, metal building constructions is expected to go up with over capacity use of steel in the United States averaging around 78.2 percent in 2018 and seemingly on the rise.

Composites such as fiberglass are critical in the modern building construction, particularly for use in doors and windows as the ultimate modern patio and entry door choice. In its entirety, the composite market globally will grow to $131 billion in four years and keep increasing by 7.8 percent thereafter.

In USA, the composite industry was valued at slightly above $25 billion covering all manner of items used in construction including bath tubs, tanks, pipes and rebar, especially glass fiber as a reinforcing material. In fact, among construction materials such as vinyl, aluminum and wood, composite such as fiberglass has been found to even grow by over 100 percent.

Metal building, from mere storage facilities and warehouses made of steel and other metal materials reinforced by fiber glass and other composites are notorious at blocking and weakening cell phone signals.

The cellular signal on outside in most of these buildings can be a strong 5G, 4G LTE or 3G with quality voice, text and data services but really weak to 1-2 bars only indoors. As such, communication inside all metal buildings is a hurdle and tenuous chore. Metal, whether steel, iron or aluminum remains the most cell-reception disrupting material.

Strong from the source.

The cellular signal that leaves the carrier's cell site or cellular tower is really strong and reliable. As it moves towards any user, the cell signal has to go through natural obstructions like thick woodlands, valleys, open prairies and mountains. Even with such obstructions, the signal while still outside is usually strong and reliable.

However, once it has entered the building the metal materials and composites used for reinforcing, insulation and in doors and windows, such as fiberglass weakens it further. In the process, the cell phone users in the building will have a weakened cell signal, dead zones and spotty reception throughout.

Sending text, browsing Internet and making calls becomes an agonizing undertaking. If you don't find a solution and start receiving full bars on your phone you could start blaming your cell carrier for nothing.

Signal bars differ.

Before you seek the solution that gets you full bars again on your Smartphone, note that it is not the surest way of measuring cell signal strength. A single bar on Sprint can translate to 3 bars on Verizon Wireless, and vice versa. Even so, on your Smartphone's settings you can actually check the signal strength more accurately.

Irrespective of the make, brand or operating system on your phone, you can find the details in the settings, particularly on the section about the phone from where the "signal status" or "SIM status" can be found.

Signal strength is usually in dBm (decibels) and range on average between -50dBm to -120dBm. In most devices, -50 dBm or anything close is usually full bars while -120 dBm means the signal is very weak, spotty or basically a certified dead zone.

What metal buildings do is that as the cell signal enters the buildings, the decibels are subtracted, weakening the overall cellular reception. In fact, metal such as steel can take away -50dBm in one instance.

Loss of decibels by construction materials:

Material Decibel (dBm) loss
Metal (iron, steel, etc.): Between -32dBm and -50dBm.
Low-E and tinted glasses: Between -24dBm and -40dBm.
Medium-thick Cement and concrete: Between -10dBm and -20dBm.
Brick material: Between -8dBm and -28dBm.
Plaster: Between -8dBm and -16dBm.
Solid wood materials: Between -5dBm and -12dBm.
Plywood material: Between -4dBm and -6dBm.
Clear glass etc.: Up to -4dBm.
Insulation with glass fiber alone: -2dBm.


If all these construction materials were used in the same building, chances are the cell phone signal loss would be exponential. Dead zones and unreliable cellular coverage would be too much to ignore.

In case you work or live in a metal building and you have already observed the internal cell signal is so weak, then it is time to find a solution to get full bars and strong signal strength close to -50dBm.

Passive DAS simple solution.

In 2020 and beyond, cell signal weakened by metal buildings and other construction materials as well as natural factors should be a thing of the past in homes, offices, warehouses, large commercial buildings, cars, boats or even RVs.

Passive DAS (Distributed Antenna System) or cell phone signal boosters are perfect solutions considering they are somewhat affordable. They are largely available for all types of homes, vehicles and terrains. What a cellphone signal booster does is take the strong cellular signal outside, and amplify it through its unique system and rebroadcast it inside the metal building. The cell phone signal amplifier makes the most of a signal that is already in existence and improves it by tens of times over. See how it works to improve signal inside metal buildings.

Why a cell phone signal booster system sense.

  • It enhances outside cellular reception and amplifies it many times over for indoor use.
  • Fairly easy to install and affordable for many.
  • Works with all carriers in United States of America.
  • Certified by the FCC and doesn’t require extra permissions to install except registration with respective cell carrier.
  • Amplifies 4G LTE, 3G, 2G voice, data and text fast.
  • Great for home and medium offices of up to 250,000 square feet and extendable to reach up to 500,000 square feet internal spaces.

Cellular signal boosters are diverse and you’ve a good pool to select from. For instance, for an indoor space of around 100,000 square feet and below, the WilsonPro 4300 should be perfect while WilsonPro 1100 is great for indoor spaces of up to 35,000 square feet.

For spaces up to 250,000 sq. ft., multiple SureCall Force 5 kits can get the job done. For mid sized buildings, SureCall Fusion 5X would get the reception problem fixed over roughly up to 20,000 sq. ft.

Call for FREE consultation:


Check out more cell phone coverage booster choices today that meet your individual business, residential, vehicle or marine needs.

Or request cell phone signal booster service, to get started.

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  • How do you get full bars in a metal building that either weakens or blocks signals? My first guess would be you climb the roof and enjoy five bars of full cell phone reception. That’s not your only option though because a good signal booster can do the trick. I’ve read a bunch of case studies involving buildings thicker than Fort Know that were able to get a strong signal thanks to installing a cell phone signal booster system.

    Zach Rutkowski on

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