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What is a Signal Booster, and How Does it Work?

Understanding the basics of cellular phone signal boosters.

If you have ever wondered how a signal booster works, then you have come to the right place. This article will help you find out how you can get better indoor and in-vehicle mobile reception through the use of a quality signal booster, amplifier, or repeater by explaining the intentional design and functionality of the signal amplifier and signal repeater. First, however, we need to know some basics about the signal booster.

What is a signal booster?

A signal booster is a group of hardware and software devices typically consisting of a booster, a coax cable, an antenna, and a power source. When positioned properly, an antenna gathers weak signals in an area and repeats them to form a stronger signal for cell phones and (if you are using wi-fi booster) internet. It does not create a new signal, but rather amplifies outside signal strength. You must have a network connection through a network provider in order to gain access to signals and to towers. The signal booster is not a substitute for cell phone service.

When a signal booster is used, the hardware and software work together to find signals which are present. The booster then captures this signal's data and combines it with the strongest available signal. By doing so, a cellphone can obtain a gain of up to 50 db even if that phone is located indoors with a technical "dead zone". Of course, the stronger the signal outside prior to using the device, the stronger the amplification/repeat will be indoors when the device is used.

What does increasing your signal accomplish?

Apart from the obvious boost to the voice clarity on a cell phone, tablet, or mobile device, the signal is increased to allow for an optimized experience with data uploading and downloading, with battery life, with connectivity, and with lowering the rate of dropped calls and overheating of the device due to connectivity strain.

What is the difference between a signal amplifier and a signal repeater?

Signal amplifier and signal repeater are basically synonyms. However, technically, an amplifier is usually referred to a "powered" device that requires electric current for many fold amplification whereas a repeater is usually referred to a "non-powered" (not requiring any power source) device such as only a passive antenna that extends in-building or in-vehicle cellular coverage by merely providing more exposure to signals outside.

An amplifier is used to increase the power of a signal. Its output is based upon gain and can be controlled on some devices. An amplifier is generally used in areas where there is an existing signal just not a strong one. Usually, this is a result of a building or residence being outside of the radius of coverage for a network tower, or where the signal is weakened due to the structure of the building.

Signal repeaters are different from amplifiers in that they take an existing signal and repeat that signal over a targeted area. However, users of the signal repeater should note that the more devices which are using the repeated signal, the weaker the strength and connectivity will be. Think of it this way, if you have a full pie (strong signal) and 16 people want to eat off it, each person will get a small slice. Even though you technically have the best pie, the individual may not have the full thing.

Which device should I get?

If you are trying to decide the appropriate signal booster to purchase, you should ask yourself first - where the booster will be placed?

For vehicles, we carry cradle boosters that boost a single device. We carry wireless in-vehicle boosters that can boost reception of several devices simultaneously. There're specialized signal boosters for larger vehicles such as RVs.

For residential properties, the coverage area needed and outside signal strength are of paramount importance. More powerful the signal booster kit, the more it will allow for game systems, cellphones, and tablets to have an increase in signal strength. We recommend higher powered amplifier kits if signal outside is weak even though more coverage area it boasts is not needed. .

If your space exceeds 10,000 sq. ft., you will need to have a commercial grade product. These products are specifically made for warehouses, commercial buildings, multi-story buildings, and such with large footage. Commercial products must be installed by a licensed professional installer.

Specialized Signal Boosters.

Depending upon where you wish to have your signal amplified, you may want to have a specialized product. We carry specialized signal boosters for large trucks, recreational vehicles, and marine vessels. While you can use a residential booster on some non-residential places, it is ill advised and against FCC regulations to attempt to mount a residential signal booster in an automobile or other transport without the proper kit.

Learn more.

Read in more detail how a signal booster works. Each signal booster and amplifier has its own specifications and capabilities. To find out the specific information about a booster, please explore the product description pages. Should you have any questions feel free to contact us. We specialize in cellular signal boosting with products compatible with all US and Canadian networks.

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Questions? Call us for a FREE product recommendation or try our automated Cell Phone Signal Booster Selector Tool. Need a cell phone booster installer? We offer installation services by a certified installing team that installs boosters nationwide across USA and Canada. Submit location details for cell phone signal booster system design & installation quote to have your amplifier kit installed by professionals.

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