What Is A Dead Zone?
A dead zone is a geographical area where cell phones have no reception. In a dead zone, you can’t make or receive calls, texts or most forms of data (the exception being GPS or GPRS data, as we’ll discuss later). The size of a dead zone can vary from a small pocket of terrain in an urban area to vast rural spaces where cell phone coverage is poor or non-existent.
What causes dead zones? Cell phones operate by communicating with transmitting stations known as repeaters, each of which covers a specific geographic area. These areas are known as “cells” since they join together in covering a much wider region – hence the name “cell phone’. When you move from one cell to another, your phone’s connection gets transferred from one repeater to the next, usually without any disruption. However, there are often gaps between the cells where your phone can’t contact a repeater, resulting in dead zones where you have no reception. The other main cause of dead zones is environmental disruption: thick concrete (such as in train tunnels), valleys and electrical interference can all cut off your reception in certain areas. Given their typically small size in urban environments, dead zones often lead to “dropped calls” when the cell phone user passes through a zone and has their call cut off.
There are a number of ways to provide reception in dead zones. Private repeaters can be bought for both businesses and individuals to address dead zones that encompass office-blocks or houses. However, these are often expensive and difficult to install without technical experience, making them a tool of last resort for most. GPS and GPRS data-streaming is another option in rural dead zones, since the required satellites can cover areas without local repeaters. Nonetheless, dead zones remain an annoyance and occasional safety hazard of cell phone reliance.
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