Facilities and businesses have a lot to consider when it comes to the safety and security of their buildings and information. Among the most challenging security issues is preventing cell phones from being brought into the building.

Nearly everyone today has some form of mobile device that can be easily hidden and taken through conventional security measures. It’s even possible to break down a phone, bring it into a building undetected, and reconstruct it later. To combat this problem, there are cell phone detection devices.

What Is a Cell Phone Detection Device?

Cell Phone Detection Device

A cell phone detection device allows the user to find cell phones or other mobile devices in a given range. Depending on the cell phone detection device, it can find phones that are turned on and phones that are turned off or in airplane mode. They can also detect other mobile activity that may be happening such as calling, texting, or video transmission.

Any area that is in need of keeping information secure, preventing disruption from cell phones, or, in the case of prisons, preventing contraband from entering, can benefit greatly from using cell phone detection. They are easy to set-up, use, and can cover a large range of areas.

Cell phone detectors are widely used in facilities that need extra security or less distraction, such as:

  • Detention facilities and/or prisons
  • Government buildings
  • Airports
  • Schools and classrooms
  • Offices
  • Movie theaters and other retail locations
  • Call centers

How Does Cell Phone Detection Work

Cell phone detectors have two methods for detecting cell phone signals. The first one is through picking up signals transmitted between the cell phone and its adjacent tower. The second is by detecting the ferromagnetic components that are found in all mobile devices.

Once a cell phone detector finds a signal, depending on the device, it will alert the user of the new phone often through a beep or alert message. While each method detects both smartphones and feature phones, they have different ranges and are better suited for different scenarios.

Types of Cell Phone Detection Devices

Cellbusters Zone Protector New Look

Ferromagnetic cell phone detection

Ferromagnetic cell phone detectors use the ferromagnetic components that are found in all cell phones and do not rely on any radio waves. They are best for finding devices that are shut off, in airplane mode, hidden within other electronics, or underneath clothing and bags, which is common for smuggling cell phones into secure areas.

Although ferromagnetic cell phone detectors are excellent for finding any mobile device, they have a very short range of only 1-2 feet and are better suited for direct inspection of an individual or smaller area, such as a screening facility going through an airport or prison, instead of overall cell phone detection for an entire building.

Radio frequency cell phone detection

Radio frequency cell phone detection devices rely on the communication between a cell phone and its tower. These RF detectors are small and easy to conceal. They can pick up a mobile device almost immediately once a cell phone transmits to the tower.

Unlike ferromagnetic cell phone detectors, RF detectors have a long range and can cover areas up to a mile away, making them an ideal solution for scanning hundreds of people at once, instead of individually. The typical range of a cell RF detector is between 5-150 ft of detection coverage.

If a cell phone is turned off or in airplane mode, however, the cell phone will not be transmitting to the tower, which means that the cell phone detector will not be able to find the device. They can also not detect any concealed cell phone parts that a ferromagnetic cell phone detector would as the phone has to be whole to be able to find the signal.

Which Type of Cell Phone Detection Is Better?

No one type of cell phone detection is better than another; both ferromagnetic detection and RF detection are excellent at finding cell phones and mobile devices. Often, the best solution is to combine both methods of detection to protect your building.

Which one works best for your facility will depend on a few factors including the range it needs to detect, what it will be looking for, and the type of facility it is being used in.

For example, prisons would use a combination of ferromagnetic and RF to keep out contraband cell phones and detect the usage of any new ones. Ferromagnetic detectors used in screenings will prevent cell phone parts from being smuggled into the prison, while an RF detector can scan the whole facility for any activity.

Cell Phone Detection Vs. Cell Phone Jammers

While it may be tempting to use a cell phone jammer in place of a cell phone detector, they are illegal to use in the United States. Afterall, they do block all cell phone signals, including any emergency calls that may be needed and pose a safety risk.

Instead, a cell phone detection device allows cell phone signals through, but you are able to monitor and analyze them. If there is an unknown signal, you have the ability to track it down and prevent it from any nefarious activities, or confirm that it is a device that can be used. They are also designed to find cell phones that aren’t in use which can stop the transfer of devices within a building.

How Cellbuster’s Zone Protector™ Detects Cell Phones

To protect your facility, whether it’s a retail store or a government SCIF, consider the Zone Protector™. Our Zone Protector™ uses RF technology to detect cell phones from all countries including any standby phones, texts, data, and calls.

If a device is found, the user is notified by either an audio alert, visual LED alert, or a silent mode. It can be adjusted to a wide range of areas from a small secure room, to a larger facility in need of cell phone detection. With the aid of a cell phone detection device like the Zone Protector™, you can be sure your building and information are kept safe.