Losing Signal with Your Cell Phone
We all know that aggravating feeling when a call on your cell phone suddenly vanishes and you are left talking to air. You look at your phone and it indicates no signal. Before you go storming off to find a phone you can use to blister the ears of the technical support agent for your wireless company, try to fix the problem yourself.
The first thing to do is to turn the phone off. Power it off completely and leave it off for a few seconds. That may be the only step you need to take. Often you will find, after you turn it back on, that not only do you have a signal, but it is strong and steady. The reason you lose signal and the reason re-powering your phone (power-cycling is what techies call it) are rooted in the design of the network.
Each phone tower covers an area (called a cell) that is small in urban areas, where there are a lot of towers and a lot of users, and larger in sparsely populated areas. When you move from one tower’s coverage area into another tower’s cell, the first tower hands you over to the new one. It is almost instantaneous and under normal circumstances you will not know that it happened. Occasionally, there is a glitch and the handoff does not occur. Your phone is still connected to a tower, but the tower is too far away for you to get sufficient signal strength. When you turn your phone off, it disconnects from the network. When you turn it back on, it searches for the strongest signal.