Why Phones Don’t Work in Elevators

Why Phones Don’t Work in Elevators

So I’m in the middle of the most important
phone call in the world. No, really, it’s the one that changes your
life, your happiness and future depend on it! I think you know what kind of calls I’m
talking about, right? And then, excited and distracted, I enter
an elevator. End of story. I mean WHY??? People have been to space, they have invented
antibiotics, you can chat with your friends with the help of your watch! But once elevator doors close, all our gimmicky
phones just quit! But the worst thing is that there’s nothing
we can do about it. Look at the phone in your hand. Most likely, you don’t remember how you used
to survive without this gadget. But what magic makes it work? To put it simply, your cell phone is something
like a two-way radio. Inside, it has a radio receiver (which gets
signals) and a radio transmitter (which sends signals). Now, imagine you are having an important talk
with a friend. While you’re updating them on the most recent
developments in your life, your clever gadget is busy, converting your voice into a series
of electrical signals. Then, your phone uses its radio transmitter
to send these signals (via radio waves) to the closest cell tower. After that, the process repeats, but in the
opposite direction. Cell towers begin to send radio waves from
one to another until, finally, your coded voice reaches your friend’s phone. Finally, their gadget converts the received
radio waves first to electrical signals and then to your voice, which is telling your
friend how your latest date didn’t go according to plan. But let’s get back to that pesky elevator
and the way it can wreck even the best conversation! Come to think of it, this phenomenon has a
perfectly logical explanation. I don’t want to scare you or anything, (mu-wah-ha-ha!)
but an elevator is a compact box made of thick sheets of metal and stuffed with electronics. This box moves inside a narrow concrete shaft
through the building’s multiple floors made of bricks or stone blocks. In most cases, radio waves easily penetrate
all kinds of materials, but massive chunks of solid stuff, such as rock or metal can
stop them. For example, if you’ve ever driven in a
mountainous region, you might have noticed that your phone signal vanished and reappeared
again. This mystery has a simple explanation: if
there is a cliff or a mountain between your phone and the nearest cell tower, it will
easily prevent radio waves from getting to you and it may sound like this… “The number you’re trying to reach is
unavailable or out of the coverage area.” Boy I hate hearing that… Something similar takes place when you’re
in an elevator. Radio waves from your friend’s phone are
desperately trying to reach your cell phone. But they meet a barrier they can’t penetrate. Let’s see: a metal box that doesn’t let
radio signals in and out; an elevator shaft built inside a narrow concrete space and reinforced
by steel; numerous floors and walls of the building surrounding it. It means that there are several layers of
solid materials between your phone and the perfect reception. That’s why those poor radio waves are physically
unable to reach your gadget during an elevator ride. But let’s imagine that there is a super
strong and powerful cell tower that can deliver signals to your phone (which is trapped inside
an elevator). Happy ending? Unfortunately, far from it: the transmitter
on your beloved gadget is so weak that its signal won’t burst through the walls of the
metal elevator car, let alone all those layers of steel and concrete! I’ll admit it doesn’t sound too inspiring
for my elevator conversations. Well, at least, I can understand the reasons
and accept reality. But have you ever noticed how your phone refuses
to work properly once you enter certain grocery stores? (Really? Who does that?) Despite a popular myth, it’s not because
stores want to prevent you from looking for better prices online. For one thing, it’s illegal in the USA to
jam a cell signal on purpose. What’s more, there are tons of supermarkets
with perfect cell reception. But most commercial buildings (shopping malls
or big supermarkets) are built with the help of massive iron supports, are covered with
aluminum roof tiles, and have walls filled with concrete. Just like an elevator, such construction will
either prevent signals from getting to your phone or seriously weaken them. But let’s say there is a powerful cell tower
very close to the store, and it manages to get through the concrete walls and pass radio
waves to your phone. And here we go again, back to the elevator
situation: even though your phone receives the signal, its transmitter and battery are
too weak to establish a two-way connection. Some stores install baby cell antennas that
are no bigger than a good old household router. It can help you to receive a signal even when
you’re inside this huge cage made of steel and concrete. Clearly, not all businesses do it, but it
might be better for business! Statistically, the more you stare at the screen
of your smartphone in a grocery store, the more money you spend! And it can be as much as 41% more! Just FYI. Anyway, elevators and grocery stores are solid
boxes no signal can burst through. But what if I tell you that my phone also
regularly lets me down at concerts, big conferences, and even sporting events? Do you know what I mean? Then sound off in the comments below! And now, imagine yourself in a stadium: a
lot of people are cheering around, and the atmosphere is full of excitement. Apparently, you won’t be the only one who
will be eager to share the score with those who haven’t managed to come. That’s why your cell phone must compete
with thousands of other phones for the attention of the nearest antennas. Those overworked cellular networks experience
incredible strain because people not only call and message but also use photo- and video-sharing
apps which are data-heavy. The craziest thing here is that you’ll still
see enough bars on your cell phone, telling you that the signal is available, but your
gadget just won’t work like it’s supposed to. It may seem very confusing, but the truth
is that your phone will know that there is a network out there and that this network
does work. But at the same time, it won’t be able to
connect to it. The absence of the “LTE” sign next to
the bars may be the only hint that may help you to understand why you can’t reach your
friend. The good news is that cellular networks are
getting better and better at dealing with traffic in challenging situations. On the other hand, people use more and more
smartphones as well, which means that cell jams will increase too. That’s why phone companies build cell towers
and add and upgrade antennas near big concert halls and stadiums. Plus, they install “small cells.” These devices look like boxes and don’t have
such a wide range as cell towers. But in extreme cases, “small cells” can
help cell towers and boost the signal in crowded areas. But until all these changes are made, you
still have to deal with the situation on your own. Phone companies claim that old ways still
work so, hold your smartphone high in the air and wander around searching for a signal. (Now flap your arms and make duck calls! Wait. Just kidding about that last part.) Also, keep in mind that texts usually get
through more easily than phone calls, so if the situation seems hopeless, better send
a short message. Ah… This all used to be simpler… Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other videos I think you’ll
enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and stay
on the Bright Side of life!

100 Replies to “Why Phones Don’t Work in Elevators”

  1. That’s actually not true. I’ve used my in elevator stores houses ect. and they work more then 95% of the time. There’s only 1 major building because there r no routers in most of the building

  2. I'm scared of elevators. I feel claustrophobic. With many people I can go on elevator but not alone?. What if I'll get stuck there?

  3. This narrator is by far the best this channel has ever had. Smart and funny informative. Hope he stays on. I sometimes don’t watch other videos on the channel that this guy doesn’t do.

  4. What about those elevators in the mall were there’s no concrete it’s just some glass doors and it goes up and down a thingy

  5. Hey bright side what do you do when you spit phlegm with blood I'm asking this because i spitted phlegm with blood today I'm a little bit worried sorry for bad English

  6. Lol I’m in and out of elevators all day and am usually on the phone and never have had a problem ??‍♂️??‍♂️ haha I seriously didn’t know this was a thing

  7. Because of Faraday shield , which is metal box , as elevator which not allow em waves or radio waves to transmit

    Saved your 8 min please like

  8. Anyone else notice that the video repeats its self in some spots? Like the part about grocery store part? At 3:50, and again at 3:58.. it repeats the same thing. Maybe editing error? Either way informative video, however I have definitely have talked on the phone and used my phone in the elevator before.. many times actually. My apartment complex has 2 sets of elevators, the ones in the front have a glad panel looking out so I figured that’s why I could use the phone with no problem there, but the second elevator is the same type explained in the video and I haven’t had any issues.. not saying this isn’t true. However I have been able to use my phone in the elevator.

  9. Mobile/cell phones send and receive electromagnetic radio waves, these are affected by the construction of the elevator. I think that's why. ?

  10. Another 1996 video update by Bright Side… If your phone doesn't work in an elevator your either in a secured government building or its time to get off that flip phone and join us in 2019. Phones work fine in an elevator you guys are just running out of content

  11. Simple. Faraday cage effect. Same with cars. The effect increases when they are moving as well. Just don't expose yourself to such wireless radiation – especially in moving faraday cages!

  12. Unsubbed, Hey Bright Side could explain why 1 ply toilet paper does not work as good as 2 ply? Quit wasting peoples time.

  13. How is it that in India, if there is a crowded mall or populated area, the internet on the iPhone does not work or crawls, however a cheap android phone works on the same mobile network without a struggle. How?

  14. I'm sure some people have died in elevators just because there phone isn't working for a few seconds. I can't stand today's phone addicted society. I don't even have a smartphone and I turned out just fine.

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