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May 24, 2022

How far does cell signal travel?

Usually this question needs to be judged according to the scene. There are many objective factors here. For example: connectivity technology, landscape features, power of transmitters in towers, cell size of cell phone networks and the designed capacity of the network all play a role. Sometimes base station transmitters are deliberately set to low power so as not to interfere with neighboring cells. Hills, trees or buildings often interfere with transmissions. Any of these factors can prevent you from receiving a signal, even if cell towers are in close proximity.

Maximum Distance

A typical cellphone has enough power to reach a cell tower up to 45 miles away. Depending on the technology of the cellphone network, the maximum distance may be as low as 22 miles because the signal otherwise takes too long for the highly accurate timing of the cellphone protocol to work reliably. Usually cellphone signals don’t reach anywhere near these maximum distances. Typical cell size outside of urban areas means cellphone signals may have to travel up to several miles.

Sources of Interference

Cellphone signals are in a frequency range that travels in a straight line and has limited penetration capabilities. Interference weakens the signal and means that cellphones may not be able to reach a cell tower that is quite close. Sources of interference are natural obstacles such as hills and trees or man-made structures such as buildings, walls and tunnels. In urban areas, cellphones blocked from one cell tower may connect to another one nearby, but in rural areas, interference with coverage from a single cell tower may make reception unreliable.

Capacity Planning

Carriers often reduce the distance between a cellphone and a cell tower due to capacity issues. A cellphone carrier receives a certain number of frequencies to use in his network at a given location. Each cell tower can handle a maximum number of calls determined by the number of separate frequencies. If the carrier expects that his customers may make more calls, he reduces the size of his cell and re-uses the frequencies in a neighboring cell. This means that, especially in urban areas, cell towers may be a fraction of a mile from the cellphone.

Cell Size

When cell sizes in a cellphone network shrink, carriers reduce the power of the transmitters on their cell towers to eliminate interference with neighboring cells using the same frequencies. Operating on such low power, a cell tower may have to be within a few hundred yards of a cellphone for the cellphone to pick up its signal. If interference blocks one tower with a weak signal, a cellphone may connect with another nearby tower.

What is the range of 4G tower?

4G wavelengths have a range of about 10 miles. 5G wavelengths have a range of about 1,000 feet, not even 2% of 4G’s range. So to ensure a reliable 5G signal, there needs to be a lot of 5G cell towers and antennas everywhere.

How far can a 5G signal travel?

In general, the 5G Ultra Wideband network’s signal can reach up to 1,000-1,500 feet without obstructions. Verizon is leveraging small cell technology to help deliver more 5G signal which directly increases the coverage and speed of the network.

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