Which materials are bad for mobile phone coverage?

Natuur die de gsm-signalen tegenhoudt

Nature (-3 tot -20 dB)

Trees and leaves contain a lot of water. This allows them to reflect and absorb many radio signals. Many companies that are surrounded by trees, bushes, etc. notice that their mobile phone signal is better in autumn and winter. This is because leaves fall in autumn and the surrounding crops consequently allow more radio signals to pass through.

Besides the physical obstruction of Mother Nature, the weather conditions can also affect the mobile phone signal in your area. Only one aspect is the cause of a falling mobile phone signal: water.

The high frequency that mobile phone signals use do not travel well through water. This is because water conducts electricity, which in turn allows it to reflect radio waves. Unlike liquid water, water vapour absorbs the energy of radio signals and converts them into heat. You can compare this with what happens in your microwave – a Faraday cage, as it were.

Gipsplaten die het gsm-signaal tegenhouden

Plasterboard (-2 dB)

Your interior walls and ceilings are most likely made of plasterboard and are the first line of defence that prevents the signal from entering the room.

Plasterboard blocks the mobile phone signal to a lesser extent. However, if you already have a weak signal, it can cause you to lose your signal completely. Even the smallest fluctuation in decibels can have a visible impact on the mobile phone signal.

Glasvezelisolatie die het gsm-signaal tegenhoudt

Glass fibre insulation (-2 dB)

Although porous, fibreglass insulation in walls and in the attic can slightly interfere with the mobile phone signal. When you add in plasterboard, there is already a 4dB reduction, which means that the signal is reduced by 50% by the time it enters your home.

een foto van glas dat het gsm-signaal tegenhoudt

Glass (-4 dB)

There is a misconception that you will receive a good signal if you stand next to clear glass. While the bright room is ideal for letting light in, they can encircle a signal or reflect it away from the house. This is especially true for windows that are double insulated. It is true, however, that they allow the mobile phone signal to pass through more easily than brick, for example, and so it is quite possible that you will have a better range if you stand next to a window. Walking outside or opening the window is still the better solution.

OSB dat het gsm-signaal tegenhoudt

OSB (-4 tot -6 dB)

OSB is another sheet material that reduces the 3G and 4G signal. If you use a non-waterproof OSB and it gets wet, it will act as a sponge that can attenuate the signal by up to -20 dB.

Hout dat het gsm-signaal tegenhoudt

Solid wood (-5 to -12 dB)

Solid wood, as used in the floors of the house, builds on the blocked signal of OSB. Any wood species such as beech, oak, mahogany, maple, etc. is very good at absorbing and blocking signals. The thicker the wood, the more it will reduce the signal strength. Softer woods, such as birch and alder, do not reduce the strength much, but you could still see a significant loss.

Bepleistering dat het gsm-signaal tegenhoudt

Plastering (-8 to -16 dB)

Gypsum is a building material made of gypsum, lime or cement that is used to protect walls and ceilings. Often this is only a thin layer, but it can still cause a lot of damage. If you add some OSB or plasterboard, your mobile phone signal will be a little harder to find.

Brick (-8 to -28 dB)

Incredibly sturdy and aesthetically pleasing, brick is one of the top materials if you want to keep mobile phone signals out. The mobile phone signal is blocked by a wall at different levels. First you have the thickness of the brick that slows down the signal. Secondly, there is the mortar between the stones which, like cement, blocks the signal. Finally, bricks often have additional materials on the inside of the building, such as electronics, sheet metal, shelves, etc., that obstruct the signal.

Beton en cement dat het gsm-*signaal tegenhoudt

Concrete and cement (-10 to -20 dB)

It will come as no surprise that concrete and cement also block and absorb radio signals. Many modern buildings use concrete. Many architects rely on the industrial strength of concrete & cement to create robust structures. Consequently, many urban areas have challenges getting a good mobile phone signal indoors.

Getint en zonnewerend glas dat het gsm-signaal tegenhoudt

Tinted and solar control glass (-24 to -40 dB)

Newer buildings now often use energy-efficient materials such as solar control glass that keep the elements out to keep you warm or cool depending on the weather outside. Sunproof glass contains a metal coating that greatly blocks signals.

Metaal dat het gsm-signaal tegenhoudt

Metal (-32 to -50 dB)

Aluminium, lead, copper, steel, iron, etc. The biggest culprit is metal. Metal roofs, as well as metal interiors, will block the signal. With such constructions, you will need a GSM amplifier. Find out what we can do for you>

Xavier Bracke

Xavier Bracke

Xavier is de stuwmotor achter Mercuron. Als CEO en mede-oprichter brengt hij nieuwe communicatietechnieken naar alle gebouwen.

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