How Does a Signal Booster Work – The Master Guide

A signal booster is an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) certified device that improves an existing 5G, 4G LTE, 3G, and 2G signal networks. If you have experiences with dropped calls and weak signal that renders your telecommunication world a mess, then you need a signal booster and you need to know how does a signal booster work. However, a Signal booster is an excellent solution in commercial buildings that enable cell phone users to have concrete conversations and utilize data on their phones with minimal interruption.

Most importantly, you have to understand that these devices only work if there is an existing signal around and not in places where there is no signal at all. Thus, if you have some signal outside your home, office building, or vehicle, but you experience weak to no signal inside, then you have to know how Cell Phone Signal Boosters Work. This knowledge will help you improve the quality of your cell service and signal strength.

Undeniably, many users don’t know the work of a signal booster or whether it can be a viable solution for their poor signal reception areas. If you can acquire a better understanding of what this device does, you can make the right decision to install one or not. In this article, you grasp all the insights about signal boosters to save you tons of frustration on weak cell signals.

About Signal Boosters?

A signal booster, also called an amplifier or repeater, is installed in areas where the cell reception is inferior. It can be in a rural area, a commercial building, or even inside your vehicle. However, it comprises three main components, the interior antenna, amplifier, and exterior antenna.

Additionally, this system helps improve cellphone signal strength, to help you send and receive texts, make calls, and utilize your data plan with no interruptions due to a weak signal. The information about how to boost cell signals at home for free will be of significance if you have spotty or no cellular signal in your home.

Most importantly, there must be a cell phone signal outside the building for a signal booster to function inside a building. These devices don’t “create” a signal; instead, it boosts an existing lousy signal so that you can receive a stronger, more reliable cell phone reception.

Components of a Signal Booster

how does a signal booster work

However, Coax cables are the accessories that connect the top three elements; and they are designed to dispense high-frequency electrical signals through distances with low signal loss.

1) External Antenna

The external antenna also referred to as a donor antenna, is the first significant component of a cell phone booster. They take in the weak 5G, 4G LTE, or 3G signal. Learn more about how an internet booster works if you have connectivity issues with your 5G, 4G LTE, or 3G network signals.

There Are Two Types Of Outside Antennas:

1. Omni-directional Antenna: This antenna gathers signals from every direction or at a 360-degree angle. They are ideal for users with medium to solid signals outside or with multiple cell towers nearby to boost multiple carriers.

2. Uni-directional Antenna (the most common is the Yagi antenna): This antenna has a triangle-like shape and siphon signal from a 45-degree angle. They are made to point in the direction of the nearest tower. Besides, they have a more focused signal that enables the antenna to go farther than an Omni antenna.

2) Amplifier

The amplifier is another significant component of a cell phone signal booster. After the poor signal gets pulled in from the exterior antenna, it is forwarded to the amplifier for boosting. To know how amplifiers work and select the best booster kit, you will have to understand the following different terms.

i) Coverage Area

There are different types of amplifiers available, and they all differ in the distance in terms of how many square feet they can cover. However, amplifiers made for tiny homes can spread up to 2,500 sq ft, and the coverage area for medium to large homes ranges from 5,000 sq ft to 7,500 sq ft. Also, for commercial premises, there are commercial amplifiers in the market that can cover areas up to 100,000 sq ft.

ii) Strength Gain

Decibels is the SI unit used to measure signal strength. Signal boosters will use dB (decibels) and dBm (decibel-milliwatts). However, cell phone signals feature radio waves, operating within a specific frequency band in the radio spectrum. Thus, the signal is measured in dB or dBm.

Perhaps, Decibels (dB) measure an increase or decrease in signal strength (gain or loss) and measures the radio waves. On the other hand, Decibel-milliwatts (dBm) indicate how much power the amplifier can produce or how much power your cell phone receives. The bars on your mobile phone show how strong the cellular network is.

Generally, cell phone signal levels range from -50 dBm to -120 dBm. In “bar” scenarios, -50 dBm is full bars, and -120 dBm is a dead zone. Typically, a standard home amplifier should contain at least +60 dB gain. The most potent units top out at +70 dB gain. In comparison, a standard car amplifier should contain at least +25 dB, with the best units topping out at +50 dB.

Notably, many factors affecting the signal strength include outside interference, distance from the cell tower, inside interference, building material, etc. Are you a fan of outdoor events in mountainous areas? A portable cell phone signal booster for hiking would help for picnics and sporting exercises in areas where cellular interference is more prone.

3) Interior Antennas

The interior antenna is the third central element of a cell booster. Immediately the amplifier boosts the signal, and it’s transmitted onto the inside antenna to distribute the signal to the target areas.

However, ensure a 20 feet vertical or 50 feet horizontal distance from the outside and inside antennas when fixing the indoor antenna. This distance will prevent oscillation and causes your signal booster to shut down automatically.

Two Types Of Indoor Antennas Exist, Namely

Panel Antenna: This type of antenna is generally wall-mountable and tends to transmit signal cones starting from 45 to 70 degrees, resulting in the strongest signal being delivered to the nearby areas.

Dome Antenna: This type of antenna is generally ceiling-mountable and tends to uniformly broadcast the signal in all directions or at a 360-degree angle. However, they function best when enhancing the signal in a large area.

Pros of a Signal Booster

  • Improves poor call quality, dropped calls, slow text messages, laggy internet connections, and poor reception.
  • 30-day better signal or money-back guarantee
  • One-time purchase, with no monthly fees.
  • Compatible with all cellular devices including iPhones, tablets, Android, hotspots, notebooks, etc.)
  • Compatible with all US major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile)
  • Lifetime technical support.

Cons of a Signal Booster

  • If you reside in a near-dead zone, you may require a more robust and expensive model.

How does a signal booster work?

Before you understand the mechanisms in which a signal booster works, it’s also important to know what Is a Signal Booster. However, a signal booster works by gathering weak outside signal, enhancing it, and redistributing the boosted signal into the targeted areas.

Besides, they also operate in reverse by receiving the signal from your cell phone and transmitting it back to the tower. This device has a system that involves the amplifier increasing gain or power to the reception in different directions.

Additionally, the work of an exterior antenna is to both gather and send a signal to a cellular tower with boosted power and sensitivity. The cellular phone signal booster’s primary purpose is to boost the existing cell phone signal near your home, car, office, or workstation and amplify it. After amplification, the signal gets retransmitted to the area with no reception or weak signal.

Reasons Why Your Signal Is Weak

One of the causes, why your cell phone reception is poor is the closeness of the nearby cellular tower from where you live. The near you’re to the nearby cell tower, the better the cell phone signal received.

On the other hand, if you live in a rural area far from your carrier’s cellular tower, the weaker the cell phone signal, and you should invest in the best cell phone booster for rural areas for improved cellular reception.

External interferences such as trees, mountains, skyscrapers, tall buildings, billboards, hills, and elements such as thunderstorms, snow,  and rain weaken the reception, thus affecting your cellular coverage. Notably, cellular signals are radio waves, and the transmission of the waves needs a clear pathway to the carrier’s tower with no obstructions.

Another thing that affects cellular signal reception is internal interferences. These entail thick building materials like thick concrete and layers of brick, glasses, and metal, radiant barriers, magnetic and electronic clutter, and conductive materials that block or weaken an incoming signal.

Your external signal may be excellent and even very near to your carrier cellular tower, but internal interferences inside your house may render the signal relatively weak.

Bottom line

A signal booster is an electronic gadget that boosts, amplifies, and broadcasts the signal to your cellular devices. If the nearby cell tower is far away and your surrounding cell phone reception is weak, a cell signal booster kit would improve the cell reception to cover your home, vehicle, or workstation.

These devices are most common and suitable in more rural and remote areas or urban areas with tall buildings and congestion of users. If you are experiencing poor cell reception, you can get a signal booster, resulting in a stronger signal and better coverage.