What Is a Signal Booster and How Does It Work

What is a signal booster? How does it work? This article answers these questions by providing necessary information about cell phone signal boosters.

Are you curious about what is a signal booster? It is a reasonable question. The devices have not been without debate, but they exist legitimately and legally. The signal boosters prevent dropped calls, weak signals, and interrupted mobile communications. If you are familiar with no signal frustrations key concern here is: do cell phone signal boosters work? The article is here to answer the question.

By carefully reviewing each part of a cell phone signal booster, you will understand how an internet booster works. I will show you how and why cell phone signal boosters solve your cell signal problems. You will get comprehensive answers to the most common questions about the benefits of having a cell phone booster, different types of boosters in the market for your home and vehicle, and why boosters must be regulated.

A cell phone signal booster’s price ranges from $200 to $1200. The price depends on various factors, including the number of users and devices the booster can support, the overall performance of the booster, and the number of carrier networks compatible with the booster. The more powerful the signal booster, the higher the price. Boosters supporting one user cost less than that of multiple supporting users. Some boosters that only work with a particular carrier cost less.

What is a signal booster?

A cell phone signal booster is a Federal Communications Commission certified electronic device that improves and enhances existing 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G networks. Cell phone signal boosters are devices that aid improves weak cell signals, improve call quality, and provide high-speed data. A cell phone booster will improve your call service and signal strength if you have a consumable signal outside your house, car, or office building but weak to no signals inside.

The notion of eliminating dropped phone calls, low data speeds, and unsent text messages without the need of a Wi-Fi connection, the argument with your carrier, or switching carriers has a lot of people questioning how cell phone signal boosters work. Here you will find how the same happens.

How does a cell phone signal booster work?

what is a signal booster

The cell phone signal booster works to improve existing signals’ coverage, allowing your smartphone, tablet, and any other device to have better reception and service for both incoming and outgoing communications. The device is made of three major parts: the outside antenna to capture the existing signal, the amplifier to boost it, and the inside antenna for broadcasting the amplified signal to your devices.

The booster is made up of the following elements that make it operate:

  • The donor/outside antenna that brings signal inside
  • The amplifier is a bridge to better signal
  • The receiver/inside antenna that broadcasts a signal to your devices
  • Decibelsmeasures signal strength

If you encountered low data speeds or dropped calls with your friend or relative who are kilometers away from you, and neither does the cell tower distance help, keenly read through the following to know why cell phone boosters are the right solution.

i) Outside Antenna: Bring existing signal inside

The antenna receives the external signal from the cell towers. These antennas are either omnidirectional or unidirectional. The difference lies in the degree to which they get a signal. For unidirectional is up to 900 while 3600 in case of omnidirectional antennas. Each of them can work for you, and the type of antenna that fits you most depends on your particular needs and the situation around you.

Recently, almost all antennas support either 4g LTE or 3G broadband cellular networks. A small number of signal boosters can enhance 5G networks depending on usage and location.

ii) The Amplifier: A bridge to a strong signal

The booster receives the weak signal from the outside antenna and amplifies it. The amplification is based on specifications, i.e., the decibel levels that ensure you have better signals. You need to know the amplifier’s scope of boosting they can achieve. Most boosters come with a scope range of 500 to 7500 sq. ft.

Nevertheless, the lengthiest scope does not always mean the most suitable one to your current situation. The scope depends on the area coverage. If you struggle with a poor network in your office or your house, then a booster with coverage of up to 7500 should be adequate.

iii) The inside Antenna: Broadcasts signal to your devices

The antenna broadcasts the augmented signal to your devices. Its principle of operation is similar to that of an outside antenna but instead, receive the signal and broadcast it across their scope. The commonly used inside antennas are the dome antenna and panel antenna. Consider a panel antenna if you aim to cover just a specific area. But if you aim to boost the signal on a large area, then a dome antenna is a good option.

iv) Decibels: Measure signal strength

They are international standard units used to measure signal strength. The power of a signal gets indicated by those bars that appear on the phone screen. One full bar generally equals -50dB and a no signal area is -120dB. The closer you are too -120dB, the more likely you have slow internet and dropped calls.

Your goal should get your decibel level as close to -50dB as possible. The good thing is that signal boosters can provide boosts as significant as +25dB, converting the near-dead zone into an excellent signal area.

Decibel gain will vary depending on the distance from cell towers and location. It is essential to note that decibels and radiations are two different concepts.

What are the benefits of Cell phone signal boosters?

  • Less dropped calls and unsent messages
  • Reduced dependence on Wi-Fi for internet
  • Restored use of unlimited data plans
  • Relaxed mind with reliable cell signal
  • Enhanced voice quality on any carrier
  • Reduced occurrences of dead zones
  • Faster streaming and data speeds
  • More extended battery performance on cellular services
  • Increased indoor coverage area in your home and office
  • Extensive signal range while on the road

When is a cell phone signal booster useful?

The following are situations where cell phone signal boosters are helpful.

1) Hiking grounds

For hiking lovers, especially in mountainous zones, cell phone signals tend to be very unreliable. This is because cell towers for most carriers are not strategically placed in sparsely populated areas such as forests and mountainous zones.

You will experience dropped calls if you are hiking in those zones. Initially, there were no portable boosters, but nowadays, manufacturers have a lot of them on the market. Some portable cell phone signal boosters for hiking include;

  • SuperBars cell phone signal booster
  • weBoost drive sleek
  • weBoost drive reach
  • 5 band cell phone signal booster
  • SureCall fusion 2GO
  • ANY CALL cell phone signal booster
  • HiBoost cell phone signal booster
  • weBoost Drive X RV

2) Rural areas

Many people living in rural areas have limited cell phone signals since dead zone are expected in such places. Thus, it is vital to have reliable cell phone signal boosters to stay connected with friends and family. Studies show that poor cell signal is paramount in remote areas due to dead zones due to the distance from the nearby cell tower.

However, a home booster can help you eliminate dropped calls and slow data speeds. Some of the best cell phone boosters for rural areas include:

  • weBoost home multiroom-470144
  • HiBoost smart link
  • SureCall Fusion 4 home
  • weBoost Drive reach OTR 477154
  • Cel-Fi Go X -100dB
  • ORPEY booster repeater amplifier
  • SureCall Fusion2Go
  • AmazBoost A1

3) Vehicles

While driving through some areas, you may notice a loss of your cell phone signals for some miles. The problem can get remedied with the use of signal boosters for vehicles. The boosters extend your cell phone signals to prevent dropped calls while in the vehicle. The top signal boosters for vehicles include;

  • weBoost Drive 4G-X cell phone booster
  • SmoothTalker Mobile X6 Pro
  • weBoost Drive 4G-M cell phone booster kit
  • SureCall Fusion 2Go Booster
  • Phonetone 4G Mobile repeater vehicle kit
  • SolidRF mobile force cell phone booster
  • weBoost Drive cell phone cradle mount booster
  • weBoost Drive reach fleet signal booster kit

Can I use an internet signal booster to get strong Wi-Fi signals?

You can you an internet booster to get strong Wi-Fi signals from your neighbor’s house over the thick walls. The booster can be either a repeater or a Wi-Fi extender. Note that the booster will use wireless connections to ensure signals transverse through the walls to your house.

You can use an extender for thick walls causing signal reflection and a repeater for non-thick porous walls that allow some signals to pass through. Please read our article on how to get a better Wi-Fi signal from neighbors to know other ways.

Can I use a cell phone booster to boost cell signals at home for free?

Awful cell phone signal reception might be a common occurrence in your house due to the factors that obstruct the signals. Construction materials and destructive interference from the surrounding might cause poor signal reception.

The most reliable way to sustain a vital cell connection with constant coverage at home for free is by getting a cell phone booster. With the booster, the strong signals from outside will be amplified to receive strong in your house.

Why are cell phone signal boosters regulated?

In 2013, the Federal Communications Commission passed a new regulation authorizing all cell phone signal boosters with upgraded designs to avoid interference with carrier networks. Back then, some unregistered and unregulated third-party boosters had caused a lot of interference to carrier towers, leading to congesting the tower, causing network blackouts, and other detrimental performance issues.

This condition caused the major carriers: Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and other reputable signal booster manufacturers, to request hard-hitting regulations and accountability. Standard 4G LTE and 3G boosters resulted in better performance and carrier compliance. The same has continued with the introduction of 5G networks.

With this, you cannot be purchase amplifiers separately. Neither can parts be swapped in and out or mixed and matched as the three primary parts of the booster are considered one unit as per FCC consent. Nowadays, you cannot find retailers or online sellers selling amplifiers alone but as a complete kit. But this doesn’t limit you from buying additional antennas, splitters and, other parts to enhance your coverage.

How long does it take to install a cell phone signal booster?

Generally, installing a vehicle booster is quicker than installing a home booster. Installing a vehicle cell phone signal booster typically takes ten to fifteen minutes. The installation of a home booster may take longer, up to three hours.

You will need to run a coaxial cable into your home and mount a donor antenna on or near the roof. Every booster includes detailed instructions to guide you through the installation process. You can hire a trusted technician trained, certified, and insured by the booster manufacturer to help you install.

Do you need an internet connection to use a cell phone signal booster?

You don’t need any internet connection to use the booster. It works by amplifying the existing cell signal in your home or vehicle. In addition, it will enhance cellular coverage for phone calls and text messaging.

Bottom Line

A cell phone signal booster is an electronic device made of three major parts: outside antenna, amplifier, and inside antenna. It forms a wireless system to boost cellular reception. The booster takes the existing cell phone signal around your car, home, or office and amplifies it.

The signal is then broadcasted to the area with no reception or weak signal. Getting a signal booster can solve the problems if you experience dropped calls, unsent text messages, and slow data speeds.

Paula Beaton

Paula Beaton