Complete Cell Phone Signal Booster Guide - Easy & Simple!

Posted by on March 22, 2016

Complete cell phone signal booster guide - Easy and Simple

What Are Signal Boosters All About?

Have you ever been in a building trying to get signal for your phone until somebody tells you that your carrier doesn't work well in that particular place? This is a common occurrence and so the cell phone signal booster was made to try and alleviate this problem. The booster effectively redistributes signal from a tower nearby to the particular area in which it is placed whether it is a car, a building or even in your home. There are three main parts that make up a signal booster:

Booster Unit

This is the heart of the product as it throws out stronger cell signals for your device to pick up.

Antenna (Device)

This part is placed inside the area you want to benefit from - i.e., your home or your car. The antenna and your device will communicate.

Antenna (Tower)

This is where the product really gets to work as, when placed on a roof, it can pick up signals that are 30 times fainter than your device can pick up. Left alone, your phone would have no signal and you would be left frustrated. But with the complete booster kit, a faint signal will be picked up and then amplified leaving you with a great connection.

Debunking Signal Booster Myths

It is important to note that despite popular belief, a signal booster itself does not produce its own signal. Its main job is to find existing signal nearby and then amplify it to make it stronger for those nearby. Therefore, in an area where there is no cellular tower itself nearby from your carrier, a signal booster will not provide a solution to a signal problem as it will not be able to pick up anything in the first place.

Secondly, an internet connection is not required for a signal booster to work. As previously mentioned, a booster feeds off of existing cell signals so doesn't need an internet connection at any point during the process.

Finally, a signal booster will automatically work with any device; there does not have to be a "pairing" or "syncing" process in order to set it up. Once the booster is installed, all devices will be able to benefit from it, providing it is within range.

Do Boosters Work?

This is the million dollar question and in truth, yes they do work. Cell signal works in the same way as radio through radio frequency (RF) so a booster would collect signals and then send them back out even stronger for you to enjoy your favourite music whilst driving along, for example. Although a different section of the RF spectrum is used, the idea is very much the same and is put to good use with a booster. Try using a radio in the car with no radio antenna or a detracted radio antenna outside the car, and you will quickly realize the sound becomes fuzzy and unclear due to lack of FM or AM radio waves inside the vehicle. This proves that the concept to boost signal similarly in cars and in homes definitely works!

Furthermore, you can have confidence when buying our signal boosters because all products are Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certified before going on sale meaning that all products have been checked and verified before purchase. Industry Canada (IC) also certifies these products in Canada. As long as a cell signal booster is FCC or IC certified, you know that the product has been tested and will work and not cause any interference.

What Types of Cell Boosters Are Available?

As previously mentioned, there are different signal boosters available depending on where you need them to work. With this in mind, there are two main types on the market: "cell phone signal booster for home" and "cell phone signal booster for car".

Once you have chosen where you want it to go, you also have to be careful to check which carriers they work with. You will find that some will work with all carriers (which is perfect for a work office) and some only work with one or two. A carrier-specific booster, such as a Verizon-only device, will be fine if it is only for you and/or your family and you all use the same carrier but would not work as well in a workplace where you could have potentially dozens of people all on different carriers. All of our boosters work will all carriers but only in USA and Canada. They may not work for Carriers outside USA and Canada.

The next step is to identify which generation you require. For example, you will most likely find two options, 3G and 4G. Whilst a 4G booster will cover 2G, 3G and 4G LTE, a 3G device will only provide boosted coverage for 2G and 3G. Therefore, if you need a device that will boost 4G signals, you will need to choose a 4G LTE booster. You may find some devices that cover all 2G and 3G with 4G available on some carriers so it is always best to read the packaging or talk to someone first so you know exactly what you are buying. All of our 4G boosters work on 4G and LTE of all American and Canadian cellular providers.

Once you have selected your product, after checking that you have the right product for location, carrier and generation of technology, you can go ahead and make the one-time purchase that could help to make your life a whole lot easier. A maintenance plan can be included but if you choose against it, you will not have to pay any more money after the one-off purchase. We don't offer any maintenance plan. We offer 60 days return for refund and all our consumer boosters kits include a 2 years manufacturers warranty whereas commercial signal booster kits include a 3 years manufacturers warranty. We don't feel there is need for a "maintenance plan" because our products are made by Wilson Electronics (since 1999) and have been proven very rugged, durable, and long lasting.

Why Do I Struggle To Get Signal?

Of course, the main reason for a lack of signal is distance. If your device is far away from the cell tower, you will struggle to pick up a strong signal. However, there is also another reason: Obstructions.

Firstly, the terrain is the most likely cause of a loss of signal as mountains, ridges, hills, and more, will all block the signal from the tower. Secondly, buildings can also cause a huge problem. This problem is worsened if you're in a highly built-up area as RF signals struggle to pass through concrete and metal; this is the reason why many offices have such poor cell signal on many different carriers. In addition to this, outdoors can also cause a problem if you are surrounded by tall buildings.

Furthermore, the frame of a vehicle can be a fantastic signal blocker which may be the reason why you have such a weak signal when in a car or truck. Finally, as strange as it may seem, nature can also block signal. For example, if you lived next to a wooded area or anywhere with a number of trees and shrubs, signal would be weak because foliage absorbs cell signals.

How Does A Signal Booster Operate?

Essentially, a signal booster is a two-way communication device. In that, your device communicates via RF signals with the cell tower. The booster will search and collect extremely weak cell signals and actually help them to become stronger despite various obstructions. The booster will then "boost" these signals out stronger than before allowing all devices a usable signal.

As mentioned, a signal booster is very much a two-way signal boosting device because your device completes the loop by communicating with the cell tower.

Boosting Compatibility?

Signal boosters have really excelled in recent years and you will now find that they work for all "cellular-enabled" devices such as phones and tablets for a multitude of different carriers. In addition to this, your 4G phone will still work even if you have a 3G booster. It just means that you will be limited to 3G when using the booster. Similarly, a 3G phone will work with a 4G booster with a 3G limit in place.

Strength Of The Cell Signal?

The strength of the signal that you will receive largely depends on what level of signal the booster can pick up from the start. For example, if the booster itself struggles to pick up even a faint signal, the strength will not be that significant. However, if the booster manages to pick up a better signal from the start, the signal amplified will be a lot stronger and will find a further reach. The best way of looking at a signal booster is as though it is a megaphone; if you whisper, it will amplify the sound a little but if you talk and even shout, the noise coming through on the other side is going to be a lot louder. If the cell signal booster cannot pick up any signal whatsoever, that would be like not talking into the megaphone at all and expecting it to make noise on the other side.

How Strong Is My Cellular Signal?

The easiest way of testing the strength of your signal is the same way that has been typically used ever since mobile phones were first released to the world and that is via the "bars" on your home screen. However, this isn't necessarily the best way of measuring signal as there is no universal value for "one bar" as each carrier and cell phone manufacturer uses different boundaries as to what one or two "bars" is worth. In truth, one carrier’s "two bars" could actually have a stronger signal than another phone's or carrier’s "three bars".

For this reason, a standard unit of measurement has been found: Decibels. A decibel (dBm) reading will tell you the exact strength and allow you to compare different devices on different carriers. Decibels use a negative reading with zero being the optimum level of strength; this means that -69 dBm is stronger then -79 dBm. The highest you are likely to find is -50 dBm as this is considered to be a strong signal; on the other end of the scale, anything below -100 dBm is widely considered to be a weak signal. Nowadays, it is relatively easy to find a decibel reading in the settings of a smartphone by switching to the field test mode.

Which Areas Will Be Covered By Amplifier?

Firstly, cradle signal boosters that are to be used in vehicles normally benefit the driver or a passenger if it is in a cradle or a whole car wireless booster can benefit by boosting reception for all passengers including driver in any vehicle. Home boosters cover depending upon the square footage each one is capable to boost. Things change though when looking to cover a whole building and there are two factors that will determine what area is covered.

• The strength of the signal from outside, i.e. how strong of a signal can the booster pick up from the tower?

• What "gain" your booster has.

With the first point in mind, the stronger the signal the booster can pick up from the tower, the larger area it will cover in a particular building (just like the megaphone). Furthermore, the "gain" of the system will also be vital. All boosters will come with a gain which determines how strongly the signal will be amplified. Therefore, if your signal is relatively weak, you will need a bigger gain in order to amplify this to a wider area. If your signal from the tower is strong, you may not need a big gain in order to be able to cover the same area. It is important to keep these two factors in mind as it saves buying the wrong device and finding that it doesn't reach everyone in a particular area.

Your Cell Tower

The most effective way of strengthening your signal through the booster is to find out the exact location of your carrier’s cell tower as you can then point the antenna in that direction. Although this could only lead to a small improvement in signal, once amplified the difference should be noticeable. There are various websites on the web that can help you to find your local cell tower with a simple search. Some will give you exact locations but if an address was not registered with the tower, you will be given coordinates. A simple search on an online engine will bring up endless results and after‪ ‬entering your address, it should yield a number of results of nearby towers to help you on your way.

The Two Mobile Antennas

The tower and device antennas, sometimes called "outside" and "inside" respectively, are integral to the signal booster as they are replied upon to gather and amplify signal. Although some boosters have the antennas integrated into the main unit, most are separate and connect through a coax cable. The tower antenna starts the process by collecting signal once placed on the exterior of a building or vehicle. The device antenna then finishes the process by communicating with your mobile device and giving it a stronger signal.

You should always use the antenna that came with the device as they are tested by the FCC and Industry Canada and therefore mixing and matching with different products could actually violate regulations set out by the two bodies.

There are also different types of the two antennas. Firstly, there are a number of different designs of device antenna if the booster provides a standalone device. Similarly, there are two different types of tower antennae: Omnidirectional and Directional. Directional is the most common option and requires the user to point it in the general direction of the nearest tower to pick up the strongest signal. However, omnidirectional saves the hassle of researching your nearest tower and then carefully setting it up as it provides a 360-degree span meaning that it can collect signal regardless of what way the device is facing.

Wireless Decibel Gain

Gain is measured in decibels and allows you to see exactly by how much your signal will be amplified. For example, if you have a relatively weak signal you should probably go for the strongest option which is 70 dB as this will make your signal 70dB stronger on the other side. If every other input is equal, a higher gain will give you a stronger signal output than a smaller gain.

How Many Cables Are Involved in an Amplifying Kit Installation?

All that is required in terms of cables is a coax cable which is used to connect either one or both of the antennas to the device. All cables are tested and essentially approved and certified by Industry Canada and the FCC within the overall amplifier kit. Therefore, mixing cables with other products is strictly prohibited.

Installation of Complete Booster Kit

Although the process may sound tricky and slightly confusing, the installation process is actually rather simple and shouldn't take too long to set up. A vehicle signal booster will be the shorter of the two at around 10 minutes and a home or office booster may take a bit longer but should still be up and running within 15 minutes. Some like the plug and plug booster, weBoost Eqo booster can be completed in seconds!

It is important to note that these times are for a simple setup and that if you need to fit cables through a roof or make any big changes, the job will take slightly longer.

Signal Booster Price

The cost of the booster will largely depend on what type you go for, and what extras it will come with, in terms of 3rd or 4th generation, etc. For example, a simple vehicle cradle booster that works great to boost voice and 3G signals for the driver only, will cost well under $100. If looking for a small home office space in your apartment or condominium a 3G room signal booster would cost well under $200. However, if you needed one for a complete small home up to 1,500 square feet, the cost of a 4G home booster may be double that amount. If you need a most powerful unit such as an industrial cell phone signal booster for a whole office building with fast upload/download times at a long distance, the cost may be in low thousands of dollars. There are three main points to consider when working out pricing for a booster:

• A 4G booster will always be more expensive than a 3G option even if they cover the exact same area.

• When looking into a vehicle booster, a cradle device, meant for the driver only, will be cheaper than a device meant for the whole car including passengers.

• A booster for a smaller area will be cheaper than that for a larger area.

If you keep these three points in mind, you will easily be able to identify whether you will be looking at the cheaper or more expensive end of the booster or repeater in the market.

Signal Booster Guide Summary

Cell phone signal boosters are becoming extremely popular as mobiles and tablets are becoming a part of everyday life. This has even been recognized by many of the carriers themselves who have given all customers permission to use a booster. As long as the booster is FCC or Industry Canada certified, and is registered with the carrier, they are happy for all customers to use such an item in an attempt to improve signal quality.

If you are considering purchasing a signal booster for work or for your home, remember all the points that are listed here so you won’t be left disappointed if it doesn't work. Once you have chosen your device, install it and then experience the benefit in just a matter of minutes (or seconds in case of the latest new weBoost Eqo signal booster). Nevertheless, it will never be the same again as you send emails, messages, and load files quicker than ever before!

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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