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What are Broadband Cell Phone Signal Boosters?

Sep 25, 2018

Wideband Broadband Cell Signal Booster

Broadband cell phone boosters are devices used to amplify mobile broadband signals so that the user gets clear voice reception and fast data connections on all cellular neworks by all wireless carriers.

What is Mobile Broadband?

Mobile broad-band is a marketing term used for Internet access through any portable, wireless device. These devices include USB wireless modems, portable modems, and any smartphones or tablets that have a wireless connection. Mobile Carriers who are now Internet Service Providers (ISP) to more devices than tradional Broadband Wireline/ Cable/ DSL providers - deliver this access via cellular towers to computers and other digital devices that in turn use portable modems to receive the radio signals.

ISPs offer services that allow users to connect to more than one device to the Internet with a single cellular connection. This process is called tethering. It is done by creating a mobile hotspot that other devices can securely tap into by using a password setup on the main device with SIM card that has cell service subscription plan attached to it.

Mobile broad band uses frequencies between 225 MHz and 3700 MHz and the bit rates available supports voice, video as well as data access. Many modern devices such as laptops, tablets PDAs and smartphones have support for mobile broad-band built in, while older devices without this capability built-in are connected to the Internet using specialized cards.

This signal delivery method from cellular tower to devices is not always equally successful as there are many factors that determine how strong (or weak) a signal is, when it arrives at the device. These factors include things like distance from the tower, available towers at a specific location and obstructions between the tower and the device. These obstructions include natural (hills and valleys) and man-made (buildings) obstructions. When a signal at a location is weak, a wideband cell phone signal booster can be used to amplify the wideband signal to improve the reception.

Mobile Wideband Generations.

Mobile wideband first became available in 1991 with what was called the second generation (2G). These connections reached speeds of between 9.6 Kbits/s and 237 Kbits/s depending on the technology used.

As new mobile network infrastructure and technology becomes available, these are implemented. This happens approximately every ten years or so and the transition is known as the next generation. A new generation could involve transmission technology, a fundamental change in the nature of the service, new frequency bands, higher peak data rates, and wider channel frequency bandwidth.

The third generation (3G) was rolled out in 2001 and connection speeds of between 0.4 Mbit/s and 14.4 Mbit/s were achieved, while 4G implemented in 2006 reach speed of between 5.8 Mbit/s and 1,000 Mbit/s. The fifth generation (5G) is still in the process of being implemented, but it is expected that it will reach speeds of up to 25,000 Mbit/s.

Upload (to the Internet) and download (to the user) speeds will vary due to topography or geography and other obstructiona so typical users don’t often experience the maximum data rates in reality.

Mobile Broadband Coverage.

Whether mobile wide-band is available or not in an area largely depends on coverage provided by mobile service networks. In some areas, newer generations will take longer before they become available, while there are still many areas globally that don’t have any coverage at all.

The level of service in an area will also be affected by factors such as connectivity, application quality, network capacity, and the mobile network operators' overall experience with data traffic.

Broadband cell phone boosters can only be used in places where there is in fact a signal available, as they do not generate signals, but amplify existing ones. Their function is also limited to boosting signals and problems such as application quality and network capacity will not be improved by using a signal booster.

Subscriptions and usage.

An estimated 6.6 billion mobile network subscriptions globally were active in 2012. This represents an 89% penetration with about 4.4 billion subscribers. This disparity in numbers is due to many users having more than one subscription. This has been growing at about 9% per year and subscriptions will likely reach 9.3 billion by end of 2018.

The number of mobile wide band subscriptions in 2012 is estimated at 1.5 billion and this grows at 50% per year and subscriptions will likely reach 6.5 billion by end of 2018.

Mobile data traffic was at 620 Petabytes in 2011 and this doubled in 2012. The growth in traffic is driven by a number of factors, including:

  • Increase in average data traffic per subscription due to more smartphones being sold.
  • Increase in number of mobile subscriptions.
  • Availability and deployment of newer technologies capable of higher data rates or higher speeds.
  • Use of more demanding applications, particularly videos.

By end of 2018, total mobile broadband traffic is expected to reach 13,000 Petabytes.

Technologies.

Over the years, various technologies have been developed, and are still being developed for mobile wideband. The GSM family of technologies includes GSM, EDGE, WCDMA, HSPA, and LTE. The GSM Association was formed in 1995 and is a joint effort between telecommunication, mobile phone, integrated-circuit, and laptop computer manufacturers.

The working group IEEE 802.16 produces standards adopted in products using the WiMAX trademark. The original "Fixed WiMAX" standard was released in 2001 and "Mobile WiMAX" was added in 2005. The Wi-MAX Forum is a non-profit organization formed to promote the adoption of Wi-MAX compatible products and services.

Other protocols such as the CDMA family and IEEE 802.20 are still currently in use, but these technologies are in the process of being phased out and will eventually be replaced by other protocols.

In the past, broadband referred to "wired Internet service" whereas wideband referred to "wireless Internet service" or "wireless data transfer". However, due to the fact that wireless services now covers a wide range of frequencies, both terms have essentially become synonyms and are being used interchangeably.

Which wideband cell phone booster should I use?

In general, our 4G cellular signal boosters cover all frequencies and are therefore called, "carrier agnostic". They boost reception on all most major carrier networks including Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless and Sprint (except its Spark  2.5 GHz Spectrum on Band 41).

They cover all carriers and frequencies except for an exception as stated above. Sprint's 4G LTE Plus (formerly known as Spark) uses three frequency bands to power their service: 800MHz, 1.9GHz, and 2.5GHz. Unfortunately, 2.5 GHz or 2500 MHz on Band 41 is too close to public safety bands and is not supported by any cell phone signal booster at this time, while the other two bands and the rest of Sprint's 3G & 4G LTE are supported. If you live in a standard Sprint 4G LTE area, not LTE PLUS, you should be ok.

Selecting the right wideband cell phone signal booster will depend mainly on what your exact requirements are – do you want to use it in your home or small office, at work, in your vehicle, or do you need a M2M (machine to machine) signal booster?

Our simple, easy to use cellular amplifier kit selection tool will help you select one that is right for you and will meet your specific requirements. Try choosing a cellular booster by accessing this tool and take advantage of our broad band cellular boosters to enjoy strong signals on most major service provider networks simultaneously.


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  • It’s a good thing I looked at this blog because I still thought broadband referred to traditional high-speed Internet via wired connections. I didn’t know that the meaning for broadband has changed. This helps me understand the changes in cellular technology and Internet connectivity a bit easier. I’ve used this site to research the best cell phone signal booster for home, but I’ve also found a lot of other useful information including the various types of Wilson cell phone boosters. I can learn a lot here without having to buy anything.

    Marshall Hendricks on
  • Petabytes? I came looking for cell phone signal booster reviews because I want to get a booster for my home. Now I feel like I walked 10 minutes into a movie and have to catch up. While you’ve explained some of the terms decently, I need to have someone help me figure all this out.

    Kevin Bulworth on

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