Sunday, January 30, 2011

Help, I have an extra cellphone tower! Anyone wants it?

We complain that we have poor connectivity because there aren't enough mobile towers, but I have a problem that is exactly opposite; I have an extra tower!

The Airtel network on my cellphone keeps dropping, and when I registered a complaint last year, the engineer came to check the signal strength. He confirmed that the signal from the nearest tower was weak (I live on the 12th floor and face a hill, so the problem was compounded). He promised that a new tower would be set up, and sure enough, within a month, the network strength really increased. I was happy for a few months, then the problem came back. Again, I registered a complaint. This time, the Airtel engineer presented a different reason for my problem.

According to him, my house picks up a network signal from two towers which are roughly equidistant from my house. As a result, a section of my house - the kitchen and part of the living room - form a sort of 'dead zone' between the two towers. This causes the signal to drop suddenly if I walk from one room to another, or even move within my living room, as the cellphone drops the signal from Tower 1 and picks up the signal from Tower 2.

So, the only way I can speak on the phone is by disposing myself at a certain angle on the sofa facing the window, which seems to attract a good signal. And I cannot move out of this zone by so much as a foot, or the signal drops again. Alternately I could lean out of the balcony and talk, with an extremely strong signal, assuming I want the neighbours to hear everything.

So when a friend posted this link on Facebook today, I became very happy. Cellphones that work without towers sound like just what the doctor ordered. Meanwhile, there is no solution for my problem unless Airtel removes or shifts one of the towers. Ironically, the signal was just fine while they had only one tower! It's a case of abundance causing a problem.