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Cell Phone Signal Booster: All You Need To Know!

Jan 08, 2017

Cell Phone Signal Booster: All You Need To Know!

Cell phones have become an indispensable part of modern day lives. From our first breath to our last in the day, we ensure we keep our cell phone close. The cell phone alone is not what fancies us. There’s constant need to stay connected, the fear of “losing out” in life or being “left behind”, better known as nomophobia.

Although technology has progressed immensely in helping the signal reception reach our doorstep, that is not always the case - Voices are not always quite clear to be comprehensible. Mobile internet becomes sluggish and seems to take forever to load Internet pages and buffers Youtube videos due to weak signal. The worst is the problem of dropped calls altogether.

Cell phone signal boosters play a pivotal role when dealing with these problems. They help get the signals indoors and in vehicles wherever they do not reach due to distance from towers or building construction materials. Now you can stop wasting time waiting for your cell phone to complete downloads, or buffering videos before you can see them.

Utilities in a home include electricity, gas, water, sewer, Internet, telephone, cable TV, security systems and, in some areas, trash collection. These essentials are the things you need in daily life to ensure you have a working, comfortable, livable space. With advancements in technology, Home Goods utility recommends a cell phone signal booster from SignalBooster.com because many home utilities now rely on cellular service to make them work.

Cellular amplifiers are signal receiver devices that amplify existing weak signals to stronger signals, regardless of mobile service provider like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint. By using a smart phone network booster, you can ensure reliable and seamless connection, always. 

Why You Need a Signal Booster.

A cell phone amplified is a cell phone that works. That bad reception in your iPhone or Android cell phone’s signal is due to two major reasons. Firstly, your location may be at a significant distance from the closest network tower or broadcaster. These cellular broadcasters are meant to transmit the signal to your cell phone. A coverage area is the total area within the reach of this broadcaster. As you move away from this area, you “hop on” to the next cellular tower and this continues. Despite the cellular companies’ best efforts to cover the largest possible areas and make cell phone signals available to even the remotest areas, there will be a time when you’re on edge of a cellular tower’s coverage area or even outside it. Or it may have difficulty penetrating the building or vehicle you’re within. This is when the quality of your calls will degrade and you start experiencing glitches. 

Thanks to construction of many cell towers that overlap coverage to solve this problem since many years, the most common problem now is usually cell phone signal interference (As the signal travels from the source (your cellular tower) to the destination (your cell phone), it can encounter obstructions in between, even while you’re in your coverage area. These obstructions are usually trees and hills in rural areas and large concrete buildings and bridges in urban regions. Also, the materials used in our homes itself (such as tinted windows) have further added obstructions to clear signal transmission. 

Therefore basically, if you’re not able to talk on your phone or access internet properly, chances are that you’re in a dead zone due to two reasons stated above. A dead zone is an area where cell phone signals from cellular towers cannot reach you, either due to man-made barriers, natural barriers or physical distances. 

Figures, Numbers and Statistics.

A survey by Pew Research Center in April 2012 studied four major problems faced by cell phone users. 88% of Americans used cell phones. 72% of these experienced occasional dropped calls. 32% experienced this problem quite a few times a week.  55% of these used their cell phones to access the internet. But 77% were dissatisfied with their download speeds. 46% encountered frequent slow download speeds. Moreover, such problems were found to be more prevalent in smartphone owners. [1]

Another survey by zBoost shows what Americans are doing to improve their cell phone’s poor signal reception. While 97% of cell phone owners prefer indoor calling, 64% of them have taken steps to improving their situation and 32% are found to have adapted extreme moves such as running to the window or even moving outside while on call.

Cell Phone Signal Boosters: A Boon for Mobile Phone Users.

A cell phone signal booster is a device that catches weak signals from cellular towers, makes them strong or amplifies them and transmits them to a closed space such as your vehicle, home, office or building. Thus, it helps the signals bypass obstructions that can a cause signal attenuation. It also reduces the distance from the signal source to the destination, that is your cell phone, since it itself becomes the source of signal. A cell phone signal booster is the most common name for such a device but it is also known as a cellular repeater or a cellular amplifier. 

Types of Signal Boosters.

Signal Boosters can be classified into two types:

1. Analog Boosters.

These are basic boosters or amplifiers (also known as BDA or Bi-Directional Amplifiers). They are broadband amplifiers that can be used for all cell phone carriers and all frequencies. An outside antenna comes separately for such boosters. The entire kit needs to be assembled and installed. Analog boosters have a gain of approximately 63 dB to 70 dB. 

2. Smart Boosters.

These boosters are digital boosters that not only function as a booster but “clean” signals before broadcasting them again. Smart Boosters are carrier specific and operate at specific frequencies. They have a higher gain, of about 100 dB. They come in a compact kit in which the outdoor antenna is a part of the booster box itself hence they do not require any installation. They usually do not require home broadband internet service to operate.

Classification of Cell Phone Signal Boosters.

Cell Phone Signal Boosters can be classified based on various parameters. 

Depending on the places where they are used, they are classified into two categories:

1. For Immobile Locations such as offices, buildings and homes.

2. For Mobile Locations such as vans, boats, trucks, cars, and RVs.

Based on the generations of cellular technology, they have been classified as:

A. 3G boosters.

These work with a wide range of 2G and 3G technologies such as GSM, CDMA, UMTS, HDMA, AWS.

B. 4G Boosters.

In addition to 2G and 3G, 4G boosters also work with LTE and Advanced LTE or LTE Plus as some cellular service providers in USA & Canada call it.

Based on the consumer base, there are three types of signal boosters:

1. Consumer Signal Boosters.

Consumer Signal Boosters are boosters that can be used in limited areas such as homes, cars and other mobile vehicles and are quite simple to install by following clear step by step instructions. Such devices are delivered usually in plug-and-play format. The user does not require any particular technical expertise to install and use them.

2. Industrial Signal Boosters.

Industrial Signal Boosters are meant to cover larger areas such as commercial buildings and public places like airports or educational campuses. They are designed to support multiple users at the same time. These devices are critical large scale installs that require more planning to properly provide even and satisfactory coverage within areas of need. Therefore, they need technical expertise to be installed. Such devices can only be installed by a professional/ trained installer per FCC licensee requirements.

3. Part 90 Signal Booster.

Part 90 signal boosters are a special type of industrial boosters. They are mainly used in Public Safety or Private Land Mobile Radio (PLMR) units. These also require professional certified by manufacturer (example SureCall or Wilson Electronics) installer. Please contact us if you require professional cell phone signal booster installation - We can help!

Components of a Signal Booster.

There are three major parts to a signal booster: Outside antenna, Inside antenna, and amplifier itself. Apart from this, cables and connectors are used to connect these parts together.

Outside Antenna.

Outside Antenna is the most important part of a signal booster kit. The larger and better the antenna, the better reception of existing weak signals which acts as an input to the booster or amplifier. Therefore, a better quality of exterior antenna will ensure better input to the booster or amplifier/ repeater.

For Homes and Buildings.

For closed spaces such as homes, buildings and offices, there are two types of outside antennas.

1.    Omni-Directional Antennas.

As the name suggest, omnidirectional antennas are capable of catching signals equally from all the directions. Hence, if you live in an area with multiple cellular network towers, omnidirectional antennas are your best choice. Omnidirectional antennas act like all-round performers.

2.    Yagi Antennas.

Unlike Omnidirectional antennas which work 360 degrees, the functioning of Yagi Antennas is limited to 45 degrees. This offers a focused approach to a signal absorbing antenna in a single direction. It enables antenna to catch even the weakest signals which are coming from a larger distance in the focused direction. Hence, Yagi Antennas are suitable for remote, rural areas where the number of cellular towers is usually limited to one or two within the proximity.

For Cars and Mobile Vehicles.

Mobility brings in a lot of issues for an electronic device such as a signal booster. Hence, there are separate outside antennas for cars and other vehicles.

1.    Magnet-Mount Antennas.

This is a standard antenna for a car. Magnet-Mount Antennas are no longer than 4 to 12 inches. Basically, these antennas are mounted on the top of a vehicle with their strong magnetic base. These are kept smaller in sizes so that the mounting does not interfere with the cosmetic look of the car. Car antennas work with both 3G and 4G signals.

2.    RV/ Trucker Antennas.

Since trucks and RV are meant to be driven in harsh conditions, their antennas are robust version of exterior antennas. They are made to be stronger, more powerful and long-lasting. These antennas are 2 to 3 feet long and their installations are fixed (drilled). They are sometimes spring mounted and come with radials. The trucker antennas are either mirror-mounted or spring-mounted to absorb shocks due to pot holes or rough terrains of the roadways. There’re roof-mounted and non-magnetic options (NMO) that are drill mounted on the roof of the truck or recreational vehicle. The mirror or spring-mounted antennas are mounted on mirror brackets on the truck. As the name suggests, the roof-mounted antennas are fixed to the roof of the truck and the NMO require a special NMO mount. 

Although truck antennas are mostly made to suit 3G signals (Voice, Texting, 3G Data), some antennas also support 4G signals (Voice, Texting, 3G & 4G Data).

Inside Antennas.

Inside antenna is an output side antenna which outputs the amplified signal and broadcasts it back into a home, office, vehicle, or any other closed space.

For homes and buildings, there are two types of inside antennas.

1. Panel Antennas are unidirectional inside antennae capable of broadcasting strong, amplified signals in a single direction. They are ceiling mount or wall mounted. They are suitable for long rectangular spaces such as building lobbies or for a number of floors (if installed on ceiling, the signal projects downwards to boost signal across multiple floors). 

2. The Dome Antenna has a wider broadcasting range and broadcasts in all directions. Hence, it is most suitable for broadcasting amplified signals on a single floor only. They are ideal of large square or circular spaces for installation in the center so entire space receives good and even cellular reception boost.

For cars and other vehicles, inside antennas are of two types.

The Low-Profile antenna is mounted using velcro that sticks firmly yet can be removed with ease. They are capable of broadcasting signals up to four feet in all directions. Low-Profile antennas are better suited for use in cars as they can be discreetly placed along the side of the seat with minimal visual distraction.

The Panel Antennas cover larger rooms and are more suitable for RVs and boats. 

Both above antennas are capable of boosting 3G as well as 4G signals. 

Cables and Connectors.

The cables and connectors provided inside the kit are used to connect the various parts of the booster together such as an outside antenna and an amplifier or the amplifier and an inside antenna. 

For cars, the RG-174 coaxial cables are used. These are connected together using SMA-connectors.

For larger areas, cables which cause minimum signal loss are needed. Here, the LMR-400 or Wilson-400 Cable can be used. These can be fitted using the N-Connectors. These’re the thickest types of cables designed to fulfill requirements of longer distances, up to 10,000 ft. However, our Plenum cables are more heavy duty and fire resistant for use within ducts that can be exposed to heat which may cause damage to other regular type of cables.

The most common type of cable is RG-6 cables. They are fitted using the F-connectors. They are about 50 ft. long. 

Amplifiers.

An amplifier is the most important part of a signal booster. Amplifiers are powerful boosters or repeaters that require a power source to be powered. Some signal boosters consist of only a passive repeater but those are nowhere close to the strength of powered signal amplifiers. The unit of signal improvement measurement in amplifiers is decibels or dB. dB are calculated logarithmically. Simply speaking, for every “x” decibel increase in input, the output of the amplifier will be 2x or double. Similarly, a decrease of “y” dB in the input means that the output will become y/2 or half. Such amplifiers are also capable of handling large amounts of noise in the input signal. Hence, higher the signal input, higher will be the power of the output signal. This is extremely necessary in the case of amplifiers to be used in signal boosters.

How Does a Signal Booster Work?

A mobile phone acts as a duplex or a two-way transmitter. It receives radio frequency or RF signals from the cellular tower and broadcasts it back to the tower. 

Following are the steps that explain the working of a cell phone signal booster:

1. Outside antenna is mounted on the top of an exterior flat surface such as a roof or a wall. This antenna catches weak signals from a distant cellular tower. Then, this signal is transmitted through the coaxial cable to the amplifier. This is the input process.

2. The booster unit or amplifier amplifies or strengthens input signal to a useable level. Then, this amplified signal is also transmitted through the coaxial cable (albeit another one) which is connected to the inside antenna. This is the processing part of the complete process.

3. Inside antenna or the device-side antenna is mounted on the ceiling of the room or an interior wall. Amplified signal is now broadcasted by interior antenna in the room to be used by the mobile phone. This is the output process. 

This compact Input-Processing-Output functionality ensures that any obstructions to the signal are by-passed. Thus the signal received on the mobile phone is free from any noise and is clean. 

When the mobile phone transmits this signal to the cell phone signal booster, this exact process is carried out in reverse. 

Popular Booster Supporting Carrier Networks.

Following are some of the popular booster supporting carrier networks in the United States.

• Verizon

• AT&T

• Sprint

• T-Mobile

• U.S. Cellular

• Boost Mobile

• MetroPCS

• Virgin Mobile

• Bluegrass Cellular

• TracFone

• Straight Talk

Below are some of the popular booster supporting carrier networks in Canada.

• Bell

• Rogers

• Telus

• Fido

Advantages of Using Cell Phone Signal Boosters.

1. Suits Your Specific Needs.

The modern day smart cell phone signal boosters are available for a wide variety of carriers and support all networks: 2G, 3G and 4G. Moreover, there’re a variety of boosters available to suit your space such as home, office, small and large buildings, cars, trucks, RVs and even boats. Hence, you can pick the cell phone signal booster that you require to suit your needs.

2. Better Quality of Voice Calls.

With a cell phone signal booster in your own personal space, you will be receiving seamless signals continuously to your cell phones. A cell phone signal booster not only increases the signal strength but it also cleans the signal to make it free of any distortion or disturbance caused due to obstructions. 

Even if one is in the remotest of areas, one can rest assured that he/she will not have to run outside or even to the nearest window in order to experience uninterrupted calls. You can choose your own space and you will still experience the same quality of voice calls regardless of your location inside your home, office or building. 

3. Faster Uploading and Downloading Speeds.

Since almost all signal boosters are compatible with 3G and 4G networks, you can experience better 3G and 4G download and upload speeds. You can get the desired speed as well as the quality of data connectivity.

4. Send and Receive Texts Instantaneously.

With a signal booster installed in your place, you no longer have to wait for minutes to see the sent and delivered status on your messages. Cell phone signal boosters enable you to send and receive faster text, voice as well as multimedia messages due to the improved signal quality.

5. Affordability

With the wide variety of cell phone signal boosters available in the market, booster affordability is no longer an issue. Such cheap range extenders for cell service can be purchased online and will be delivered at your doorstep. You can be certified for safety by the FCC certification and on further registering the device, you will no longer need to worry about it. All the signal boosters are one-time-instalments and post that, there is no extra charge for using them. Furthermore, you can now choose the cellular service provider that provides service at the lowest cost (think unlimited data and free long distance calling for a low monthly flat fee!) because you will no longer have to worry about their possible disadvantage of poor cellular coverage in USA or Canada.

6. No Dead Zones.

Cell Phone Signal Boosters ensure that mobile signals are made available everywhere, irrespective of the distance from the nearest cellular tower, outside physical or man-made obstructions and inside obstructions. This eliminates dead zones and ensures that cell phone signals are available in every nook and corner of the space, even in the remotest of areas.

7. Wider Coverage Area.

Cell Phone Boosters are equipped with either Yagi or unidirectional outside antennas and panel or dome interior antennas. These combinations of antennas offer wider coverage area that spans a single floor or coverage across multiple floors in a building.

8. Improved Battery Life.

Since inside antennas are in proximity to the mobile device, the battery power doesn’t dissipate easily and runs longer. In comparison to this, when your mobile is directly receiving the signal from a distant cellular tower, it has to exert more energy and hence battery loss is more.

9. Saves You from the Side-Effects of Using Phones for Longer Durations.

We have increased our dependency on cell phones. Hence, we tend to use it for a longer time. This increases our exposure to the high amount of radiation emitted from cell phones that can affect our health adversely. This is because poorer the signal, the more radiation needs to be emitted in order to remain connected to the network. This problem is solved by a cell phone signal booster. The internal amplifier present in the signal booster ensures the phone does not have to emit higher amounts of electromagnetic radiation to reach out for the signal. The signal is easily made available to the phone in its vicinity. 

FCC Rules for Signal Boosters.

FCC classifies all signal boosters into three categories: Consumer, Industrial and Part 90 Signal Boosters. Based on this classification, it has laid down rules for manufacturing and using signal boosters.

The FCC rules are applicable to you if you:

a. Are planning on buying a new signal booster.

b. Already own a signal booster.

In order to use a booster, you must firstly get approval from your wireless provider. Once your wireless provider approves the use of a signal booster, you must register the purchased booster with your wireless provider. Only then you can switch on your booster an start using it. 

Every wireless provider must provide means of registering a booster device. Most wireless providers like AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have complied with the FCC. 

Many leading wireless service providers like the Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, rural carriers that are a member of the Rural Wireless Association (RAW) and the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) provide a blanket approval for boosters if they meet the FCC technical standards. After this, consumers just need to register their devices with their respective carriers. Most of these carriers have simplified the registration process. You just need to access an online link and fill in basic information to register with them.

The main motive of FCC to ensure that all signal boosters are registered is to deal with undue interference in signals. Should this happen, the Carrier can contact the owner to resolve the issue or FCC can directly contact the carrier companies for information about the registered booster. Thus, such discrepancies a can be handled and the matter can be resolved quickly.

What Information Do You Need To Get Your Device Registered?

Following are the basic information you will need at the time of registering your booster device:

1.    The name of the person who is going to operate the booster.

2.    The name of the person who owns the booster.

3.    The unique serial number on the device.

4.    The device’s make and model.

5.    The date of its initial operation.

6.    The location of the device.

Manufacturers.

All signal boosters manufactured after 20 February 2013 must be compliant with the rules and regulations laid down by FCC for booster manufacturing. Also, these devices must meet FCCs new requirements as of March 1, 2014.

There is a two-step transition process to sell and market consumer signal boosters in U.S.A. Firstly, after February 20, 2013, all manufacturers that lay down applications for equipment certification for Consumer Signal Boosters must comply with all of FCC’s rules. If not, the FCC can both deny and cease the certification of such devices. Secondly, after March 1, 2014, all Consumer Signal Boosters sold and marketed in the U.S.A must comply with FCC’s new requirements and rules.

The Network Protection Standard is a set of technical safeguards to minimize the interference caused by Consumer Signal Boosters to the existing wireless networks.

Under the Network protection Standard, boosters are meant to self-monitor operations and should be shut down if they do not comply with the new rules. They are required to automatically monitor and decrease oscillations in the downlink and uplink bands. They must shut down when their operation is not needed, such as when approaching the nearest base-station. They must be designed to meet all the above features and must incorporate interfere avoidance.

Labelling.

All Consumer Signal Boosters manufactured must be labeled. This label must ensure that the device is suitable for consumer use. It must clearly state that the device needs to be registered with the operator. It must state that the device must be shut down in the case of interference and whether or not it will affect the accuracy of E911 calls.

For Wireless Providers.

All wireless providers must ensure that their consent is obtained before using a Consumer Signal Booster. They must provide provisions for registering Consumer Signal Booster devices. 

How to Choose Signal Booster.

The choice of signal booster depends on three critical factors: type of carrier and type of network on that carrier, the area that needs to be covered and the available outside signal strength.

Types of Carriers.

The modern day smart signal boosters are designed to amplify only specific radio frequencies for specific carriers (such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint) and specific network on those carriers (2G, 3G, 4G LTE). Hence, it is important to have information about your carriers’ frequencies and the corresponding network you intend to use it on. In the case of 2G and 3G, most carriers use 800 MHz AWS and 1900 MHz PCS. Keeping this in mind, most 2G and 3G signal boosters will amplify 2G and 3G signals from almost all carriers. However, since 4G LTE is a new technology, there are only a handful of carriers that provide them. Each of these carriers operates 4G on different frequencies so you will need specific 4G LTE boosters for your specific carrier.

Area Coverage.

The area that needs to be covered (up to 5000 sq. ft., up to 10,000 sq. ft., greater than 10,000 sq. ft.) determines the type of inside antenna of the booster. If you need to cover larger area on a single floor, you need to choose a booster that contains a dome type of inside antenna. If you need coverage across multiple floors, the inside antenna should be a panel antenna.

Outside Signal Strength.

The strength of available outside signal is an important factor in deciding the type of signal booster you will require. This is because the outside signal acts as an input to the signal booster and eventually determines the strength of the output signal from the booster.

If the signal outside is very weak, you need a signal booster with a Yagi antenna (use signal detector and rotate 360 degrees slowly to point it to the nearest cell tower for best results). If the signal outside is very strong, you need a signal booster with an omnidirectional antenna (will catch signals from all directions). If you live in a rural area where the number of cellular towers is limited, you need a booster with a unidirectional antenna (Yagi antenna mentioned at the top of this paragraph) that can powerfully catch distant signals from the same direction.

Targeted Uses.

Most booster sellers have produced a wide variety of boosters to suit your specific requirements. Separate boosters are available for home, mobile or commercial use. There’re separate boosters for large and small homes, for large and small offices and buildings. Specific boosters have also been designed for mobile vehicles such as cars, trucks, RVs and boats. You can easily input your desired parameters in the search boxes on booster seller’s website and they will automatically pick the boosters that suit your needs best.

Standards.

Although the FCC saw a great potential in Cell Phone Signal Boosters, they were concerned about what side-effects ill-designed boosters could cause. An improperly designed booster could interfere with communication services and hamper communication. This was especially a critical concern in the case of 911 and other emergency calls. Hence, it was necessary to establish a standard to curb malfunctioning, improperly designed or inappropriately installed signal boosters. 

On February 20, 2013, the FCC issued a Report and Order enlisting rules and regulations for boosters to ensure that they don’t adversely affect the existing wireless communications and networks. This meant that the FCC formally approved the use of signal boosters by consumers in the U.S henceforth. 

The rules and regulations enlisted by FCC ensure that the signal boosters will steer clear of existing carrier networks. All consumers who purchase signal boosters are required to register the same with their respective carrier or contact FCC for guidance. Each such equipment needs to abide by the FCC certification.

Best Practices.

In order to get the maximum benefit out of your signal booster, it is imperative that you follow some of the best practices listed down by the pros in the industry.

1. Perform a Site Survey.

Before you install your booster, it is mandatory that you perform a site survey of your area. Doing so will give you inputs about the signal quality and whereabouts of the points where the signals are the strongest. Such information will enable you to select boosters with antennas of proper strength to get the maximum out of your booster.

Usually, a site survey can be performed by using a signal meter. A signal meter is a device that can give you accurate data about the signal frequency and bandwidth.

2. Choose the Right Antenna.

Both indoor and outdoor antennas come in a variety of mounts and uses. Based on the information collected from site survey, you can choose an antenna that best fits your requirement. For urban areas with multiple cellular towers, choose a Yagi or omnidirectional antenna. For rural areas with a single cell tower, use a unidirectional outdoor antenna. For multiple floors indoor, use a panel antenna. For single floor indoors, use a dome antenna.

3. Minimize Length of Cable.

There should be minimum cable run from the outdoor antenna to the amplifier and the amplifier to the indoor antenna. This is because as the signal travels through the coaxial cables, it tends to lose its strength. For larger buildings, you may be required to reconsider the strength of your antenna and choose a stronger one to suit your requirements. In any case, you must always take into consideration the signal loss in a coaxial cable during installation of your signal booster.

4. Plot the System before Installation.

Once you have performed the site survey, you will be equipped with enough information regarding the installation of your booster. Plot the antenna locations carefully before installing the signal booster.

5. Register Your Device with the FCC.

Lastly, once you have purchased a signal booster, gather knowledge about the steps that need to be followed in order to register your device with the cell service provider. Inform your wireless provider about the signal booster and make sure you register your device properly using its serial number.

What Signal Boosters Are Not.

Signal Boosters are not signal creators. 

They work as amplifiers, and not substitutes. Signal boosters will work only if you have two bars or at least one bar of signal showing on your phone outside the premise (or for more accuracy, ensure you can make a call from outside your home or building). See “About the Decibels” sub-title below for more details on how to check signal most accurately. If your phone is not able to catch any signal outside, your signal booster will not create the signal out of thin air. You need to have some available outside signal that can work as input to the signal booster’s amplifier. 

Installation.

For most modern boosters, the installation process has been simplified. However, if you require assistance to install your signal booster, the company you have purchased this from have provisions and technicians to help you out. These technicians install and make-ready the boosters. They also advise you on the dos and don'ts of the booster and its use.

Plug-and-play boosters do not require any installation and can be used directly.

Product Support.

All signal booster sellers offer product support in the form of warranties, technical support, and money-back guarantees. Most signal booster manufacturers offer two or three-year warranty with products and parts. They also provide 30 or 60-day money-back guarantee. Technical support for cell phone boosters can be obtained through calls, email or even live chats.

All about Decibels.

We usually measure the strength of the signals on our phone by seeing the bars on the cell phone. But these bars are merely visual indicators and do not provide us with specific numbers. The number associated with signal boosting is measured in decibels (dB). Decibels are logarithmic measurements. This means that an increase in decibels with mean twice the strength and decrease in decibel will indicate half the strength.

The boost in signal is directly dependent on the existing decibels present in your phone. Cellular signal strength normally ranges from -50 dB to -110 dB. The coverage distance from the antenna doubles for every 6 dB increase.  

For IOS Users.

Find a place where you can make a decent call. Call on *3001#12345#*.  Now tap where you see the bars on your phone, you will be able to see numbers. 

The closer your decibel is to zero, the stronger is your signal. The higher your decibel, the weaker is your phone’s signal.

For Android Users.

Go to the settings menu and go to the status section in settings. There, you will be able to see the signal in decibels.

Watch video below providing information about basic cell phone signal booster system - How it works and a basic general installation guide for installers.

 

Transcript: Today we're going to talk about how a cellular system works. You will need to understand this basic information as everything else builds upon it. Understanding how a cellular system works is quite simple. There are three components to any cellular system: A donor antenna, a signal booster and a broadcast antenna.

The donor antenna, sometimes referred to as the external antenna or outside antenna, collects the weak signal on the outside of the building. It passes the signal through a cable to the signal booster which amplifies a signal and sends that to the broadcast antenna which is sometimes referred to as the inside antenna.

The inside antenna then broadcasts that stronger signal throughout the building. The process is then reversed when you make a call from within the building. The inside antenna takes the signal from your phone, passes it to the signal booster which amplifies it and then sends that signal back to the cell tower much stronger than the phone can achieve on its own.

There are several types of antennas, both external and inside and all types of configurations you can do with these components. We will get into all this in other videos but it all comes back to these three pieces. Once you understand how a basic cellular system works, you can expand from there.

Statistics References.

[1] https://www.pewinternet.org/2012/08/02/mobile-phone-problems/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_repeater

[3] https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/signal-boosters/part-90-signal-boosters#block-menu-block-4


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17 comments

  • This is the place to go if you want a crash course in cell phone boosters. My sister-in-law is thinking of getting one for working at home and I told her you can get cell phone boosters that come with an installation package. She was surprised that they have two-in-one deals like that but I told her there are several booster and install packages.

    Kayleigh T. on
  • This tutorial is great but i have this question to ask. What is the range of the outdoor antenna?

    Samuel on
  • Hello, I would like to ask you : Is it possible to make a Do-It-Yourself 3G booster ? I can’t afford to buy a professional one.

    Yeseen on
  • Rich, concerning your question, “Do they make anything to make a cell phone work in a no signal area? Article says there needs to be some signal for signal booster to work,” there are options now. Now you have the option of a “small cell system” or what’s known as “Active DAS” (distributed antenna systems) to handle areas with no cell signal. These systems require a professional installation so you have to submit information about your location and such in order to get a quote. You can find a quote from this website at: https://www.signalbooster.com/pages/commercial-installation-questionnaire

    Bradley Westwood on
  • Do they make anything to make a cell phone work in a no signal area? Article says there needs to be some signal for signal booster to work.

    Rich on
  • I have a unique problem because I live in a valley with no coverage but can get 4-5 bars on top of the ridge 600 ft above. I mounted one booster on the ridge and connected the ‘indoor antenna’ port to the 600’ of RG6 cable which runs downhill to the ‘outdoor antenna’ port of the 2nd booster inside my cabin. I get 4-5 bars but cannot make or receive calls or text. Any ideas?

    Paul Stanley on
  • WHAT IS 4G, LTE AND AWS? I HEAR THESE TERMS, BUT I’M CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT THEY MEAN. COULD SOMEONE EXPLAIN THEM TO ME A BIT MORE?
    4G stands for 4th generation, the latest mobile network technology which is designed to give you faster data speeds and an overall better internet experience. Although 3G provides access to the Internet, including video content and mobile apps, 4G provides mobile ultra-broadband Internet access.

    LTE (long -term evolution), which is marketed as 4G LTE, is a specific data protocol for the wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface. LTE creates more space to carry data traffic and services to deliver a better network experience. LTE technology uses the 4G band of 1700 MHz and 2100 MHz frequencies to transmit data.

    AWS (advanced wireless services) is a wireless telecommunications spectrum band used for mobile voice and data services, video, and messaging. AWS, which operates on the 1700MHz frequency, is a digital cellular network that provides coverage in areas where carriers do not own radio frequency spectrum licenses.

    I hope this answers your questions clearly.

    Denny Mitchum on
  • What is 4G, LTE and AWS? I hear these terms, but I’m confused about what they mean. Could someone explain them to me a bit more?

    Harvey Moreland on
  • Some surprising info here. I didn’t know that things like bridges and concrete buildings could block cell phone signals. I also didn’t know that this type of interference plays such a role in either weakening or killing your cell phone signal. That must be why my cell phone reception is so erratic depending on where I’m at. I’ve been in the homes of some friends with no problems, while other ones have next to no reception. As I intend to get a cell phone booster, my friends won’t have any problems getting good signals. I’m impressed with the costs of cell phone signal boosters for home. They’re actually affordable and seem like a smart investment. Thanks for the detailed information on how these devices work and such.

    Reginald Owlsley on
  • If you’re looking for the best cell phone booster, you should have an idea of how they work and what they can and can’t do. It’s a good thing I read this over because I didn’t know cell phone boosters can’t boost a nonexistent signal. This seems logical, but with today’s technology, you just can’t be certain. Thank you for whomever wrote this because it was extremely helpful. I didn’t know there are so many different types of signal boosters to help out nor did I know there are differences in antennas.

    Bernie Chesterfield on
  • I am wondering whether the widely available boosters are technology dependent? i.e. UMTS vs CDMA.
    Can those advertised as CDMA900 boosters work for UMTS900 network?

    H. Tan on
  • This is an excellent tutorial for anyone who has problems with dropped calls, molasses-like data speed, or poor voice quality. A cell phone booster will power up the signal going to your phone so you have a powerful signal and your phone works the way it’s supposed to. That being said, you want a cell phone booster that is the right one for your need. Just look at the different types of boosters mentioned in this blog and you can see where people can get confused. There’s a big difference between consumer signal boosters, industrial signal boosters, and part 90 signal boosters. Check out this blog (and there are many other on this site I’ve found helpful) and find the one that works best for you.

    J. Scott Danvers on
  • Lots of excellent information on cell phone signal boosters for the home. I had no idea there were so many different boosters you could get or what the differences between consumer and industrial boosters are. I was curious about whether or not I need a booster so I did some research. There are a couple tests you can do to help determine your need for a booster. First, check when you are inside and ask yourself whether you have dropped calls, lousy call audio quality, and slow data speeds (this can include things like getting texts, emails, and voicemails hours after they were sent). If so, go outside and see if those problems go away. Is it easier to make calls and get good audio quality? Are downloads faster? If the answer is yes, you likely have things in the house interfering with the cell signal being broadcast to your phone. This could be anything such as the walls in your home or even windows. That means a cell phone booster is something to consider as it will increase the signal coming into your house, so you have a much stronger signal and you won’t experience the problems you did before.

    Fred Archer on
  • I am so glad you talk about how cell phone boosters do not create signals out of thin air. I’ve had people say, what good are they if they don’t create signals. Their logic is astounding. These are called cell phone boosters because they increase an existing signal so you get a clear call, reduced or no dropped calls, and increased data speeds. Where in the words cell phone booster do you see signal creator mentioned or even implied? I just don’t get it. However, I will be getting a cell phone booster as I am tired of various phones providing poor reception, regardless of how expensive the phone.

    Franklin Garvin on
  • One of my biggest beefs is that my cell phone doesn’t download things fast enough. That ranks close to my dissatisfaction with getting online. It seems like pages take forever to load. I thought I had to buy a new phone, but I’m thinking of getting a cell phone booster instead so I have fast downloads and quick access to my favorite pages. I would definitely go for one of the immobile cell phone boosters as I use my phone a lot at home. I use it for more than phone calls and probably spend 25% of my Internet time on the phone. Anything that is going to speed up my phone and help with calls is a plus for me.

    Colin Landon on
  • This article lives up to its title, “Cell Phone Signal Booster: All You Need To Know!.” Wow. I learned quite a lot reading this and watching the video. Someone told me that cell phone boosters are a way to improve the clarity of calls and avoid dropped calls, but I didn’t know they had extra benefits like reducing cell phone radiation. I haven’t heard anything definite about whether or not cell phone radiation causes cancer or other diseases, but why chance it? I’m mulling over whether I need a cell phone signal booster in my home more or my car more. I use my cell phone a lot in both, but don’t have the funds to invest in both devices. If anyone has any experience with how these boosters improve cell phone signal strength, please post here as I’d like to figure out home or car.

    Parker E. Givens on
  • “77% were dissatisfied with their download speeds” that would definitely include me. It is so aggravating when I’m out and I want to download some files off my phone. Getting online isn’t any better and I am on a 4G network (at least that’s what my phone says). I am seriously looking how to boost my cell phone signal strength. I feel like I’ve had an epiphany!

    Lee Franklin on

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