Cell Phone Signal Booster Guide

Posted by on December 23, 2015

Learn everything there is to know, and become a PRO in choosing the right one for your needs!

To use a cell phone, you need a cell phone signal. These signals determine the strength of your connection and your ability to go online, call, text, or use any other features that depend on a wireless connection whether voice, messaging, or data. When you do have a weaker signal, one way to strengthen it is to use a cell phone signal booster. The purpose of this product is to boost the signal of the phone so that you can connect more easily. They are effective in most cases. You can use the ones we sell regardless of phone or carrier because they are not device or carrier specific. Our boosters strengthen your current signal!

The Problem

Cell phone signal can increase or decrease regularly. There are numerous factors that affect it, but one constant is that signal loss occurs quite frequently depending upon your location, and where you travel. This can make it difficult to use your phone fully and as intended. While you would like to maintain a strong signal, that is not always possible. This happens with all carriers and all devices, too. Regardless of what you use, you will, at some point, have to deal with a poor signal. This causes frustration and problems. Avoiding the causes is not possible, either, because the causes are not always avoidable.

How Signal is Lost

The reason that there are so many potential problems is the way that cell phones and cell phone signals work. As one may already know, phones work differently from wired devices. A computer can work no matter what, as long as everything connected to it is working. A phone, though, relies on signals.

Cell phone signals are waves. Like any other waves, the farther they are from their source, the weaker they get. As the waves move away from the cell tower, they weaken. They weaken further when dealing with a variety of things, but the three major causes are distance from a tower, objects interfering with the signal’s ability to travel, and smaller antennas in new smart phones.

The three problems in further detail:

Distance from a tower

Cell phone signal requires a tower. Without a tower, your cell phone will have no signal at all. The further the phone is from the cell tower, the weaker the signal is going to become. The signal diminishes over distance so you have to take that into consideration. If you are travelling on country roads, as an example, you are unlikely to run into a cell tower that is constantly close by. This means that, in secluded areas, you will have a weaker signal than you would in suburban or urban areas where cell towers are relatively close.

Object interference

Since cell phone signals are waves, objects can affect them. Imagine putting yourself in the water at a beach. The waves have to move around your legs to get to their destination. The bigger and stronger the object, the harder it is for the waves to pass. While you cannot see cell phone signal waves, they are still affected by objects. This is true both indoors and outdoors.

Indoors, signal loss is due to the building. Not all materials affect signals the same. Therefore, loss depends on the building itself. In most homes, the material will lead to minimal signal loss. However, some buildings do have thicker materials that can cause a signal to disappear entirely from within the structure. Regardless of the type of signal you have outside, you can lose signal if a specific material blocks it from entering the structure.

Outdoors, signal loss is due to everything around you. This includes structures, trees, and mountains. Anything that can get in the way of the signal, will get in the way. This does not mean that they will cause your phone to lose signal completely, but they will lead to lowered signal strength. You may notice this when in an especially crowded area, or during bad weather when atmosphere is saturated with dust, moisture, sand, or whatever particles that cause bad weather during any instance in time and place.

Smaller antennas

Now, when you take into consideration the less effective antennas of today’s smart phones, you have a problem of signal loss. This happens to everyone. While phones have improved immensely over the years, there is the constant issue with certain parts growing smaller and becoming less effective. The antenna is just one part of that. To allow phones to become slimmer and more attractive, parts had to get smaller. A smaller antenna, though, means it cannot receive the signal as well as phones used to receive them in the past. This leads to signal loss more frequently.

How to Know You Need Help

Now that you know more about signals and the problems with them, you might wonder if you need help. The best way to figure that out is to see what your signal is like, currently. Going off the connection alone is a bad idea. Basing the quality of your connection on experience is the wrong way to go. You want evidence and you want to see the facts. Luckily, you can do this. There is a way for you to figure out how to determine the quality of your signal. Below are ways to do it with Android and Apple.

When looking below, remember that the signal strength uses a decibel rating. The measurement in dB is universal. The numbers mean the same for all devices and carriers. Regardless of what you use to access this information, the meaning of the numbers does not change. You want a number around -50 dB. This is the strongest connection possible. The moment that reaches the hundreds, though, the signal is in trouble.

For Android, follow these directions:

Go to your settings

Find "About Phone" part of your settings (In General)

Click on "Network"

From here, you can see the signal strength. Remember, you want it around -50 dB. If it is closing in on the hundreds, the signal is weaker.

For Apple, follow these directions:

Call *3001#12345#

Check your notification bar to see the signal strength

As with Android, you will want to make sure that you have a number close to -50 dB.

You can use these numbers to determine the signal quality anywhere. If your number is above -110 dB, there is no signal at all. You will want to keep the numbers as close to -50 dB as you can. This is where a booster comes into play. In areas where there is a low and poor quality signal, you can use this to give the signal a boost.

The Solution

The solution is to use a cell phone signal booster. As the name suggests, this is a device that boosts the signal of cell phones. It works with all devices and networks, from 2G to 4G to LTE. The entire purpose is to boost the signal of all cell phones, no matter their differences. It only works with cell phones, too. If you are in a property or area where you lose cell phone signal, this can help. While it will not automatically connect you to a signal, it will strengthen the signal. A stronger signal is more likely to give you a stronger connection. Again, it will not create connection of there is zero signal outside, but it will help immensely in strengthening reception from weaker to a more stronger one.

Having a cell phone signal booster will allow you to use the cell phone’s connection fully. Thanks to the strength of a cell phone connection, you can easily browse the internet, stream movies, play games, or talk with friends and family. The speed of these connections is powerful, but it is lost without the signal. It is comparable to your computer’s high speed internet connection. The speeds can get you anywhere on the internet, though your device’s capabilities will affect it. If you want to enjoy such speeds, you cannot let a poor connection drag you down. You would not want your computer dragged down by wires that cannot make the connection, and the same applies here. The use of a signal booster will get you online easier and with a better connection overall. As stated, it does not create a connection, but it will strengthen the one that already exists. This helps you to get online with few difficulties.

What You Can Expect

If you are using a cell phone signal booster, here is what you can expect:

Clearer, higher quality calls

Messages sent and delivered quicker

Downloading and uploading are faster

Fewer dead zones

Better streaming of content

Better battery life

Stronger, more reliable connections in most areas

These are only a handful of things that you can expect when using a cell phone signal booster. All of them are an effect of improving the signal for the phone. That is all it does, but there is a lot to gain. You are getting more than a single benefit out of a signal booster, because the signal affects the phone as a whole. It gives you the chance to have the better working phone that you want.

Types of Cell Phone Signal Boosters Available

If you like all of these benefits and want to use one of these for yourself, there are a few options available. Keep in mind that not all of them are the same. While they all offer the same benefits, their effectiveness and range will differ. This is because each type suits a different location and intensity. There are two types: Buildings and vehicles. Within these two types, you have three separate types each. Below is an overview of these boosters.

Cell Phone Boosters for buildings include:

Booster for rooms and small home booster

The smallest of three, it works for a coverage of up to 1,000 sq. ft. as long as there is good signal outside. This is good for small homes, apartments, and rooms. It can help for certain areas of a home, such as the basement, to get a signal when the connection in the location is typically poor.

Booster for homes and small commercial spaces

With a coverage of up to 5,000 sq. ft., this is the best option for larger homes and small offices. It is effective in most environments and can help all areas of a property to receive a signal.

Booster for large commercial properties and rural areas

This is the strongest of the three. The reach is much farther than the other two, making it perfect for large properties or in areas where distance from a cell tower is a serious problem. The reach for this type of booster can go up to 10,000 sq. ft.

Commercial grade signal boosters for up to 50,000 sq. feet. of indoor spaces

Cell Phone Boosters for vehicles include:

Booster for personal vehicles

For small personal vehicles, including the large personal trucks that many people have, you will want the booster built for cars and trucks. This is for personal vehicles only and will not have as strong of a range as the two below.

Booster for RVs and large commercial vehicles

What works in a personal vehicle may not work as well in larger vehicles. The booster needs for recreational vehicles is different. This means that you need something stronger and more capable, something with wider reach. That is what you have here.

Booster for boats and yachts

Marine vehicles require special equipment. Due to the water, you want something that is rust and water resistant and that can work in this specific type of location. That is what you have with this type of cell phone signal booster. These boosters will reach the entire boat or yacht without difficulty.

Do remember that brands offer each type in varying quality. If you want to find a good cell phone signal booster, then you will have to take into consideration the brand, as well. Not all are made equally, after all. While you might find something that, on paper, fits everything that you need, it might not do the work that you expect it to do. This is why you need to do some research on your choice booster before purchasing it. Going with the first one that you see because the specs look good is a bad idea. Different brands will have different ranges and quality, even if they are for the same purpose. In our opinion, although it may seem biased to you because that is all we carry, we recommend weBoost brand. The reason that is the only brand we carry is because we know they work very well due to their superior technology and craftsmanship.

Asking a professional before moving forward is the smart idea. Signal boosters are not difficult to understand, but you might not know what to expect. If you want to make sure that you choose the right booster for your situation, then have a professional available to show you the available boosters and their uses. Or use our signal booster selector shown below to help you find the right one. You can also speak at length with us about where the booster will go and learn which one will do the work in the best manner possible. This will help you to make the wisest investment for your cell phone signal.

Frequencies

Our boosters work with all frequencies of sly carriers in USA and Canada. However, if you are buying from elsewhere, one of the reasons that you will want to speak with a professional is the frequencies. Other brand cell phone signal boosters will not always work at every frequency. Since cell phone signals work at varying frequencies, this means that the one you choose may not work for you. You will want to figure out your specific carrier’s frequency and the frequencies of the booster that you choose. The more bands that you have on a booster, the more likely it is to boost your signal. This is why it is important that you learn as much about your carrier’s frequency and your booster as much as possible.

While it is important to understand that a cell phone signal booster can work regardless of device or carrier, the frequency of the carrier is important. It is all about the booster’s ability to pick up and strengthen the signal. As long as the booster can do that, there is not a problem.

How They Work

Once you know what you need, you may want to know how they work. All signal boosters work in the same way. While their ranges differ, the results that you can expect from them do not. Regardless of the one that you need, whether it is for a small room or for a yacht, you can expect essentially the same type of work.

It all goes back to the dB, decibels, mentioned above. Signal, as mentioned, uses dB for its rating. The closer it is to -50, the stronger it is. These boosters will take the signal and strengthen them. Before the signal can reach the antenna and before you can use the signal, the signal booster will give a boost to the signal. Their ability is something that you can measure. When looking at various boosters, you will see the dB gain possible. This is by how much the booster can strengthen the connection. The higher the number the better.

The Details

There is more to how a cell phone signal booster works than the dB strengthening. Like any device, there are multiple parts to it. The way that it is able to pull in a signal is through these multiple parts. All of them, connected, can give you a better signal. When looking through them below, remember that this applies to all devices. Whether for a vehicle or building, they work in the same way. You will find out soon that they are not too complicated.

The outside antenna takes in the signal

When the signal leaves the cell tower, it is going in all directions, including yours. When that signal reaches you, it would, in normal circumstances, go right to your device's antenna. When you have a cell phone signal booster, though, it goes to the booster's outside antenna first. This is the antenna attached to your property or your vehicle. They come in many forms, but they do the same thing, which is take in the signal and send it to the booster. Below are some of the outside antenna types.

Building and vehicle signal boosting antennas are different. The two for buildings are:

Omni directional antenna

For buildings, the omni directional antenna takes signals from all directions. It works in areas where signals are coming from everywhere, which means there are numerous cell towers. This increases the likelihood of getting the signals that you need from the right tower. They are not as strong as uni directional, but they have a wider range of support for signals.

Uni directional antenna

You want to use uni directional antennas in areas where there are few towers, possibly just one. It is typically the best fit in rural areas. It is stronger but focuses on single towers instead of bringing in signals from all over. This means that, while you will have a stronger signal, it may not bring in the exact signal that you need.

For vehicles, all available ones are uni-directional. Specialized outside antennas are available depending upon the needs of users. You cannot use the same two above for your vehicle, no matter the type. The three types of outside antenna for vehicles are:

Magnet antenna

Magnet antennas are for vehicles. They are the right fit for personal vehicles, not quite the same for large vehicles for commercial or recreational use or marine vehicles although they can be used fine. They go on the vehicle's metallic surface, anywhere that the magnet can attach. It is a simple setup that will connect your antenna to your booster in your car. They are weaker than the next two for vehicles, but they work for any personal vehicle.

Large vehicle antenna

These antennas require a bit more work for installation. Unlike magnet antennas, they do not apply quickly and easily. It is greater effort to put them into place because they require drilling on roof of vehicle, its trunk, or other suitable place. The upside here is that they are stronger and more durable. What you get from this type of cell phone signal booster is better than what you can get with others. This is why larger vehicles, including RVs and commercial trucks, need them over the magnet antennas.

Marine vehicle antenna

Marine vehicles will need a specialized antenna. While strength is a factor here, durability in the environment is the major reason. A marine vehicle cannot use the above two antenna as effectively or reliably as road vehicles can. This is due to the conditions on the water. Storms, water, and salt can all lead to damage. If the marine vehicle does not use an antenna suited for these conditions, it could lead to damage.

For the most part, these antennas work the same as any other antenna. The bigger it is, the better it is at catching the signal. Small antennas, like the one in your smart phone, cannot catch the signal as easily as their larger counterparts can. This is why you want to rely on the larger antennas built for catching the signals. No matter how good the booster is, a good and reliable antenna is vital.

The booster strengthens the signal

After the antenna catches the signal, it sends it to the booster. This is where it begins to amplify and strengthen. The dB rating you normally get in the area or property will become stronger. If you are in an area where the typical rating is -100 dB, but have a booster that can up the rating +50 dB, you can see your signal go to -50 dB after it leaves the booster. All of the work of actually boosting the signal happens here. This is why you want to make sure that you have a good booster that can strengthen the signal to something that works for you.

The inside antenna rebroadcasts the now stronger signal

After the booster strengthens the signal, it will send it to the inside antenna or antennas. In homes, you can have more than one antenna hooked up. Splitter cables will allow you to connect two inside antennas to a single booster easily. This will give you the chance to get the most out of your booster for your entire property.

For homes, the two types of inside antennas are:

Panel

If you are trying to cover a large space, panel is your best option. This goes on the wall of a property and sends the signal out in a single direction. It can send the signal out through multiple stories or over a large space. If you have a warehouse to cover, as an example, this is likely your best option. It can send out your strengthened signal over the large space. Again, it only goes in one direction, but it is stronger and that direction does go far.

Dome

If you want full coverage in a space, but not too expansive coverage further away, dome is your best option. You attach it to the wall and it will send out the signal in every direction. All parts of a room will get the signal with ease. The downside here is that it is only good for single floors. Unlike panel, it cannot work with multiple floors. The signal for dome antennas points down, after all, so you cannot get full property coverage if there are multiple floors or the areas to be covered are very wide such as multiple rooms. However, additional dome antennas can be added for other such areas such as multiple rooms and connected to same amplifier using cables and splitters we sell.

The two inside antennas that you use for vehicles are different from the above, for the most part. Both of them work in essentially the same way, but have a few differences. If you are getting a cell phone signal booster for a vehicle, make sure that you understand these differences. What works for one may not work for the other.

For vehicles, the two types of inside antennas are:

Low profile

You attach this type of inside antenna to your vehicle in the same way you would any other attachment. Using Velcro and the provided equipment, you find a space where the signal can reach the entire vehicle easily. In most personal vehicles, it is an effective option. It has a reach of a few feet and can get your phone's signal boosted easily. For larger vehicles, though, where there is more than a few feet between the person and the antenna, you will want to use something stronger.

Panel

Panel antennas are the best option if you have a larger vehicle. Anything where there is more space between the person and the antenna will need this. You can use it in both large road vehicles and marine vehicles. If you own and/or drive an RV, this is an effective option. You can go more than a few feet away from it but still get the signal amplification that you expect from it. If you are on a vehicle that is the size of a room or a house, you will want something built for rooms and houses. It has the reach that these larger vehicles require.

The signal goes to your device

After the inside antenna receives the signal, it sends it out to your phone. Its ability to send out the signal to you depends on the inside antenna that you choose, of course. For the most part, though, it is highly effective. As long as you stay within the antenna's range, you can benefit from the signal boost that it offers. Your phone will have an automatic increase in signal power and you can even look into it yourself. Using the methods above to check signal strength, you can see the difference it makes.

Before you get into all of this, you should make sure that you have all of the appropriate equipment. All of our kits are complete and include all cables, connectors, etc. that you will need to fully install it. If, however, you are buying from elsewhere, please ensure the equipment that is essential in making the device work is included. If your chosen cell phone signal booster does not come with the cables that it needs for the connection, which it likely will not, then you will have to make sure that you have those cables and connectors ready, which we sell separately as well. There are a few types so look into them. You can find them in different types and strengths, too. You will want to make sure that you measure out the area where the antennas will go and that you find something that works for what your booster needs. For the most part, this is easy to manage. Many are cables that you can find in any store, with some required cables being the same type you use for your television. Do the measuring and find what works. However, you must ensure that all of the equipment such as cables match the Ohm type. For example, most of our boosters are 50 Ohm and therefore all equipment included such as cables are capable of carrying 50 Ohm signal.

Make the Right Choices

It is not that hard to make the right choices here. You need to know the frequency of your carrier, the signal of the area, where the booster will go, and all of the small details that go into choosing the most effective and reliable booster. When you know what it is you need and when you prepare, having a good cell phone signal booster is possible. You just have to make sure that you understand as much about this as possible. Use our product selector below to do all the work to find you the most suitable cell phone signal booster.

Questions? Call us for a FREE product recommendation. Need a cell phone booster installer? We offer installation services by a certified installing team that installs boosters nationwide across USA and Canada. Submit your details for a quote to have your amplifier kit installed by professionals.

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