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FAQ's: Femtocell vs. Cell Phone Signal Booster

Jun 26, 2020

FAQ's: Femtocell vs. Cell Phone Signal Booster

Randy Lentz, Sales Coordinator and Manufacturer Liaison Officer at answered the following interview-style frequently asked questions related to Femtocell and cell phone signal boosters:

Q: Can you explain how a cell phone signal booster works?

A: Cell phone signal booster works by pulling in weak signal, boosting it, and then rebroadcasting it inside your area in need. Outside donor antenna will capture the cell signal. The booster unit will boost the weak signal. Inside antenna broadcasts the amplified signal inside the building or vehicle.

Q: Can you explain how a femtocell works?

A: Femtocells work through an internet connection to convert your cell signal. Then sends it over Internet to a femto gateway, which then sends the signal out from there. This provides area of cellular signal inside home or office.

Q: How are both devices usually used and which one is better for helping to boost a signal?

A: Femtocells are ideal for customer that have no outside signal. If there's a reliable outside signal, a cell phone signal booster is a better option for three reasons. One, you're able to receive signal from all carriers whereas femtocells are limited to one carrier. Secondly, femtocells do not hand over calls to cell towers so they will drop if you exit the Femtocell coverage area in home. Third, Femtocells not available for in-vehicle use - only cell phone signal boosters available for improving cell reception in vehicles.

Q: What cell phone signal boosters have the shortest range and which model has the widest connection range?

A: It is all based on outside signal strength. With good signal outside, a small system like the weBoost Home Room is rated for 1,500 square feet compared to a WilsonPro 4300 which is rated at up to 100,000 square feet.

Q: What budget cell phone signal boosters would you recommend and why?

A: Tough question because this is based off customers budget and their coverage area requirements. There's no one-size-fits-all cell phone signal booster. What may be a good budget cell booster for one location may not work at all for another. If someone finds installation process challenging in a home (mounting antenna on roof and drilling hole in wall), a combined cell booster with installation by a professional installer may be most suitable for them.

Q: Between the Femtocell and Cell Phone Signal Booster, which product would work best in a rural area and which would work best for people who just have a spotty connection in a more dense setting?

A: Regardless of whether area is rural or urban, the choice to use femtocell or cell phone signal booster would be the same - solely dependent on outside signal strength at that location.

If the spotty coverage is a reliable spotty coverage (atleast -110dB signal available at only one spot for donor antenna), then a cell booster may be a better option because it enhances signals of all carriers simultaneously.

If the signal is non reliable (no particular spot where signal available for donor antenna), then a femtocell may be a better option. Notable femtocell drawbacks: Customer must have a reliable internet connection to use a femtocell, it is limited to single carrier's signal improvement, and calls will drop upon exit of femtocell coverage space.

Related article that provides more comparisons with Femtocells:

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  • I’ve been looking for a decent explanation of what a Femtocell is on the web. I couldn’t find a thing until I came here. Glad for Google.

    Harry Dunn on

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