There are a many elements that make your virtual phone system work, and one that is frequently taken for granted is your cell phone. Since Talkroute connects calls over the network that your phone already uses, it is a vital aspect of that system. The system usually works so seamlessly that it seems to happen like magic, but the truth is, we all know that sometimes the mobile network drops your call like a bad habit.
There is an invisible framework of connectivity that covers the entire country and plays an integral part in most of our lives—the mobile network, or cellular network.
When we place a call from a cell phone, we are instantaneously connected to someone else, sometimes on the other side of the country, or even the world.
Let’s take a look at how a call gets dropped, and what is responsible for it. There are a bunch of different reasons that a mobile connection fails, among which are those that you probably have already suspected, which are the problems on the side of the carrier.
To start, let’s examine the infrastructure that makes our mobile calls possible. The first thing to understand is that cellular devices are constantly communicating with base stations, more commonly known as cell towers.
These base stations are strategically placed and evenly spaced apart so your call can be passed between stations without losing the call. Every so often though, something goes wrong.
When you place a call, the nearest station picks it up, from which point it is carried and passed along as you move from one “cell” (each geographic area with a base station) to another, which is why, for a number of reasons, the network sometimes “drops” the ball and a connection is lost.
The first typical cause of a dropped call is when the local network becomes overloaded, so to speak.
Some areas are more densely populated than others, which means there is more cell traffic and consequently, there will be more stations to handle the traffic.
Each station has a maximum capacity of call traffic that it can handle, though, and if the number of calls coming through exceeds the capacity for that area, calls can potentially be dropped.
Base stations are packed with software that must be continuously maintained.
Another reason your call might be dropped is due to a malfunction of the software being used by the cell tower. “Glitches” are commonly found to occur in the software at these towers, and though it is reasonably rare, it does happen from time to time.
And of course, there are also dead zones.
In populated areas, this is not usually a problem, but remote areas are a different story. Installing the necessary hardware costs money, and carriers are not likely to pay for it if there are no people around to use it.
So if you find yourself caught out in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to have to rely on smoke signals, like our more primitive ancestors.
Sometimes, you can’t blame it on the carriers.
Finally, the very device you are using to make the call may actually be the weak point. A broken antenna will result in a failure to communicate with the local network during a call, which will cause it to disconnect.
Additionally, if the device’s software has not been updated, then it may not be able to consistently support calls.
The future holds a mobile network that we can really depend on.
So, as you can see, dropped calls are usually the fault of carriers, which is why we see marketing from service providers advertising superior performance and fewer dropped calls (and hopefully it’s true). Despite all of the potential issues that can arise from problems with the mobile network, we can generally depend on it to support our calls. We shouldn’t forget that the fact that we can instantly reach anyone we want, at any time, is pretty impressive, and the mobile infrastructure is always improving. If your call is ever dropped, chances are that when you try again, you’ll probably get right through.
1. “Mobile Networks Explained,” EMF Explained Series, http://www.emfexplained.info/?Page=25196
2. Jeff, October 26, 2012, “Causes of Dropped Calls and How to Fix Them,” Uber Signal, http://www.ubersignal.com/blog/causes-of-dropped-calls-and-how-to-fix-them/