The maximum legally-allowed downlink output power for all boosters is set by the FCC is 12 dBm. In our recommendations below, we recommend boosters that we've tested to have close to this maximum number. A note on antenna choice: Our top choice for smaller homes is the SureCall Fusion4Home. While the power output is relatively low around 5 dBm , this is a cost-effective system that can cover up to 1, square feet with strong signal outside.
We recommend purchasing the version that includes a yagi outdoor and a panel indoor antenna unfortunately, a version with an omni-directional outdoor antenna isn't available. The performance of the panel antenna is significantly better than the whip antenna and worth the extra money. Both of these units have around 10 dBm downlink power, and can cover up to 4, square feet when used with with 4 indoor antennas. There is no charge for the assistance.
Call us now at or live chat with us now. If your building is particular large bigger than 25, square feet , we also offer a turn-key installation service. However, designing a daisy-chained system requires careful link budget calculations, which is why we recommend reaching out to our engineering team. That being said, we do have some recommendations on the types of amplifiers that make the most sense in larger buildings.
Our top picks include the following:. These 4-port devices are useful if it makes the most sense to "home-run" the cables back to a single location. Each output has a downlink power level of 12 dBm. The Wilson Pro is a 14 dBm single-output booster. Instead of having 4 output ports, the Pro combines the same power level into a single feed, allowing you to daisy-chain antennas and minimize cable-runs. The Pro also comes in a rack-mountable format: It builds on the C by adding a powerful suite of remote monitoring tools and a built-in LTE modem to sync with the cloud.
One year of WilsonPro Cloud Service is included in the device cost, allowing users to monitor any installed Pro C amplifiers, set alarms, and configure their boosters online. The Wilson Pro is the only signal booster kit available from any manufacturer that includes an "in-line amplifier. The SureCall Force5 2. The downlink output power specification is critical and determines the total coverage area of the system. The Force5 2. To take advantage of the full power of the system, we highly recommend using multiple indoor antennas. The Cel-Fi Quatra is one of the newest enterprise-grade products we carry.
The technology is more advanced than any of the other boosters we sell: This can dramatically reduce cabling costs or even allow you to avoid running any new cable by utilizing existing cable in a building. We recommend the newer Quatra - it is compatible with 2 carriers at a time, unlike the older device that only supports one carrier per system. A single Quatra "Network Unit" can support up to 4 "Coverage Units" similar to indoor antennas in other systems. With 4 coverage units, a single system can cover an area of up to 50, square feet.
Multiple systems can be installed in larger buildings to covera larger area, or to amplify signal for 4 carriers instead of 2. The Quatra offers up to dB gain, making it ideal when donor signal is weak less than dBm. Each Coverage Unit puts out up to 12 dBm of downlink output power — so installing a Quatra Network Unit with four Coverage Units is roughly equivalent to installing four more traditional booster kits. The Quatra and Quatra also have a robust remote monitoring and alarm system that allows users to monitor overall system health. Since the unit generates fresh signal, no outdoor coverage is required in order to use this device.
Multiple units can be installed in the same building to expand coverage even farther. Similar to the limits on gain for buildings, the FCC limits the gain of mobile amplifier kits. Multi-carrier mobile boosters are limited to 50 dB gain, and single-carrier mobile signal booster kits are limited to 65 dB gain. Unfortunately the only single-carrier booster is the Cel-Fi GO M, and after recent hands-on testing we no longer recommend that unit. We've sold hundreds of weBoost Drive 4G-X boosters to customers, and the feedback has been very positive.
And in a recent heads-up test we did comparing the Drive 4G-X to 5 other boosters from manufacturers, we found the 4G-X to be both the best performer and the easiest to install. It's so important though, we'll say it again: To use your phone wirelessly, just sync it via Bluetooth - it's safer too! A cradle booster ensures that you always have your phone directly next to the booster's antenna. The brand new weBoost Drive Sleek is the latest in a long line of cradle boosters from weBoost.
It's beautifully designed, with a number of aesthetic and functionality upgrades that make it our favorite car and truck booster. Due to the format, the Drive Sleek only works with one device at a time, and won't work with tablets or mobile hotspots.
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If you need something for those devices, consider the 4G-X. Our founder was an RV owner for many years, so we learned a thing or two about which units work best while on the road. This makes it difficult to cover the entire cabin of your RV with strong cellular signal while on the road.
The 11 Best Cell Phone Signal Boosters (Based On Real-World Tests)
The 4G-X comes in 3 kit variations: If you spend most of your time stationary at camp sites instead of on the road, you can install a booster designed for homes in place of a mobile booster. We particularly recommend the SureCall Fusion4Home with an omni outdoor and indoor whip antenna. While a yagi antenna would provide better performance, trying to figure out the direction every time you arrive at a camp site would likely be a pain.
Like any technology, cell phone signal boosters can be quite complicated. Our goal in this section of the guide is help explain some of the key information about how signal boosters work, how to pick the right accessories, and how to install your signal booster to get the absolute best performance. Cell phone technology is typically released in generations; 2G, 3G, and 4G all refer to cellular technologies released over the past 30 years.
This allows phones to make calls entirely over the 4G LTE network, without ever connecting on the older 2G and 3G networks. Different carriers are at different stages of this roll-out:. Most people think the bars on their phone represent signal strength. Signal quality can limit the number of bars just as much as signal strength. Understanding this fact is really important for installing a signal booster correctly. As we mentioned above, most cell networks utilize LTE for both calls and data transmissions. We'll show you how to measure each of these in the Measuring Signal Strength and Signal Quality section below.
Causes of Weak and Noisy Signal There are four things that can cause you to see fewer bars and experience dropped calls and lower data rates. Modern cellular technologies such as 4G LTE use the same frequency bands to transmit signal from all towers. Inter-tower interference is one of the main common reasons we see weak signal in urban and suburban areas. Cellular signal is weakened as it travels through space. Even if the signal outside the building or vehicle is strong, materials like drywall, wood, concrete, metal, and low-e glass can attenuate the signal, making it weaker inside a home, office, and vehicles.
In the same way that building materials block signal, your signal reception can be limited by attenuation from buildings between you and the nearest cell tower. The natural geography plays a part too: A signal booster can help no matter which of these is causing poor cell reception. But in each case, there are slightly different nuances to ensuring you pick the right equipment.
Cellular service runs on a number of different bands that are licensed to the carriers by the Federal Communications Commission FCC. There are 4 main frequency bands used by carriers in the US. These four bands are supported by almost all of the boosters we sell:. No carrier uses just one frequency band in any particular area. Your phone will automatically switch between the different bands depending on which band offers the clearest and strongest signal. The most important thing to know about frequency is that the higher the frequency, the more easily the signal is attenuated.
So, for example, a MHz signal has a much harder time penetrating a building than a MHz signal. How does this affect a booster installation? Even after you install a signal booster, the higher frequencies will still be attenuated more easily. As a result, boosting signal on the MHz band inside a building is typically easier than boosting signal on a higher frequency band. A signal booster works by amplifying the cell phone signal being sent to and from your phone to the nearby tower.
There are three main components:. As we explained in the Understanding Bars section, signal strength and signal quality both impact the number of bars you see on your phone. The FCC created two sets of regulations: Since the gain of broadband boosters is limited by the FCC, we recommend using a carrier-specific booster where possible if you have weak signal at the outdoor donor antenna location.
At the moment, the only carrier-specific boosters are made by Cel-Fi. Choosing the right outdoor antenna and aiming it correctly is one of the main ways that you can improve the performance of your signal booster.
There are two ways that the right donor antenna can help:. While directional antennas take a little more work to aim and install, we generally recommend them to anyone who has either weaker outdoor signal or in cases where signal is strong but noisy low SINR and RSRQ. Some people worry that installing and aiming a directional antenna means that you improve signal for one carrier while sacrificing signal on other carriers.
However, this only very rarely happens: You can still get great coverage from two towers on different carriers that are in opposite directions when using a directional antenna — one of those signals will usually be somewhat stronger, and using a directional antenna allows you to aim and equalize the signal coming from each. A two-way splitter has a -3 dB loss, a three-way splitter has a This means if a dB signal is fed into a two-way splitter, each of the two outputs will receive a roughly dB signal keep in mind, is lower than Similarly a dB signal fed into a three-way splitter will have each of the three outputs receiving a This solution can also allow for a cellular signal boosting set up for different types of cellular networks ie.
This item has N-Female connectors and each port has a loss of 0. Taps allow for a user to set up two inside antennas while providing a stronger cellular signal to one inside antenna than the other. This is mostly for a set up which has one inside antenna close to the amplifier with the other being far away requiring a long cable. Due to the loss of the signal from the longer cable, sending a stronger signal through the cable would be the smartest way to go. There are two types of taps available, a 6dB tap and a 10dB tap.
A 6dB tap would send a loss of -6dB to one end and a loss of For example, feeding a signal of dB to a 6dB tap would send a signal of dB to one end and Also called "couplers. Surge protectors protect your home and booster in the unlikely event of a lightning strike. They are, more or less, insurance plans. A lightning surge protector is installed between the cable leading to the outdoor antenna and the amplifier. Properly grounded, it will protect your amplifier from lightning strikes.
These are also called "inline" surge protectors. We also recommend ensuring your amplifier's power supply is protected by a common in-home surge protector, as well. Pole mounts are accessories that makes it easier to install your outdoor directional antennas. The yagi antenna which comes standard with many signal boosters is designed to be mounted to a pole or mast on the roof of the building before being aimed at the nearest cell tower.
Should you not have anything to use, a pole mount can help. They vary in dimensions, with some being extremely basic - little more than a bent vertical shaft - and others with complex angled boles and multiple installation options to allow you to place the pole in the ideal location. Cell phone services run on a number of different frequency bandwidths.
These bandwidths are ultimately controlled by the federal government, under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission FCC. The FCC then grants licenses to the private cellular carriers for these bands. A few things to understand: The number itself is actually shorthand for that range of frequencies.
That's how these carriers remain separate. Each carrier uses multiple different bands in any given area, so your phone will automatically shift between your carrier's bands to attempt to give you the clearest, strongest signal. Another important fact when talking about frequencies: This sounds great, but it has one major drawback: This means that the further from a cell tower, the harder it is for the higher frequencies to reach any given area.
This means that, when looking at cell phone signal boosters, it's easier to boost a lower frequency signal than a higher one. Verizon has licenses on five bands, some of which are entirely 4G, others which are 2G or 3G but are in the process of being refarmed into 4G:. A 4G cell phone signal booster will cover all five of these bands. A 3G booster will only cover bands and T-Mobile has licenses on four bands, some of which are entirely 4G, and others which are 3G or 2G and are being refarmed for 4G. Sprint has licenses on three bands. Some are 4G, others are 2G and 3G. Of particular note is the MHz band, which is among the only frequencies not covered by broadband cell phone signal boosters.
US Cellular has licenses on five bands in different areas of the US. Some are 4G, others are strictly 2G and 3G. Like many comparable technologies, cell phone tech has been released in generations. Short for "Second Generation," these networks were released in the s and are largely obsolete. There exist two types of 2G technology: These networks can transmit very little data, but some areas still use this for voice. These networks have been aggressively refarmed since the early 's into 3G or 4G networks for their faster speeds and higher quality. The third generation of cell technology, initially released in As with 2G, there are two types of 3G technology: Many voice and text transmissions still use these networks, although fewer and fewer are as major carriers continue implementing Voice over LTE.
Currently the dominant technology, most major US carriers are refarming their older 2G and 3G networks to support more 4G. For awhile, 4G was restricted to data-only, but as 2G and 3G networks are phased out, Voice over LTE is becoming more and more prevalent. In addition, despite the impending release of 5G, most major carriers have pledged to keep growing and supporting their large 4G LTE networks.
The upcoming release of 5G promises much faster data speeds and looks to use millimeter-wave technology. Despite marketing hype, no phones as of yet are 5G compatible, but expect them in Anything as of this guide's printing claiming to be "5G" is more "pre-5G," and should not be confused with the actual new technology. We will update this guide with all relevant new information as it is released.
A huge shift in cellular communication has been several major carriers rolling out Voice over LTE technology. This allows phones to make calls and send and receive texts entirely over the 4G network bands, without ever using the older 2G and 3G networks which, until recently, handled those transmissions.
Voice over LTE is dependent on having newer models of smartphone, which are compatible with the technology. Have instituted Voice over LTE across the country. Any device released since makes calls over LTE when signal is available. They plan to shut down their 2G networks entirely by the end of Has also instituted Voice over LTE across the country. They've already shut down their 2G network and only rely on 3G when 4G signal is unavailable.
Were the first to institute Voice over LTE across the country. However, they have yet to shut down their 2G network. Have instituted Voice over LTE primarily in urban areas. They still use their 2G and 3G services for rural areas. Voice over LTE has been instituted in select regions, primarily in urban areas. Voice over LTE is available nationally except Saskatchewan, primarily in urban areas. If you are interested in buying a cell phone signal booster, you should ensure the booster you choose to buy is 4G compatible if you want that increased signal on a carrier which primarily uses Voice over LTE.
Most splitters have around 3 dB attenuation — they split the power coming through a coaxial cable in half. Amplifier - The central component of any signal booster system. Takes the existing outdoor signal captured by a donor antenna and increases its strength, then sends it toward an indoor antenna, where it is rebroadcast. Antenna gain - Gain derived from an antenna. This differs from amplifier gain, as antenna focuses on sending and receiving signal from a certain direction. Measured in dBi decibel isotropic. Attenuation - The weakening of signal over distance, or as it passes through building material.
Attenuation is measured in dB, and is usually a negative value signal gets weaker. Bands - Refers to the range of frequencies used by cell phone carriers to send and transmit voice, text, and data. Coaxial cable - A type of cable designed to carry radio frequency RF signal.
They usually have copper center conductors, some sort of shielding, and an outer conductor. Its resistance is measured in ohms. Coupler - A device used to add additional antennas or cable runs where signal is spread unevenly. Also known as a tap. Decibel dB - A unit of measurement used to express the ratio of one value of a physical property to another on a logarithmic scale. Refers in the context of this guide specifically to the quality of incoming cellular signal. Decibel-milliwatt dBm - A unit of level used to indicate that a power ratio is expressed in decibels dB with reference to one milliwatt mW.
Refers in the context of this guide specifically to the strength of incoming cellular signal. Directional antenna - An antenna that has a 45 to 90 degree field in which it picks up signal. Can pick up stronger signal from farther away than omni-directional antenna when pointed toward a cell tower, granting higher gain. The three main types of directional antenna are "panel," "yagi," and "log periodic" antennas. Donor antenna - The exterior antenna in a signal booster system that captures the outdoor signal. Dome antenna - A type of indoor antenna that is most often installed in the ceiling of a building, and transmit signals downwards.
Downlink signal - The signal sent from the cell phone tower to your phone. For a cell phone signal booster, this determines how much signal an amplifier can process. An independent branch of the United States government which regulates all airwaves in the country. Frequency Hz - Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time. In the context of cellular phones, refers to the radio waves by which talk, text, and data are transmitted to and from a cell tower.
Gain dB - A measure of amplification. The higher the gain, the more a signal is amplified. Gain is a positive dB number, and it's measured on a logarithmic scale. Indoor antenna - The antenna that is installed inside the building or vehicle in a signal booster system which communicates with your cell phone.
Table of Contents
Inline surge protector - A small barrel that goes between the outside antenna cable to the port going to the amplifier which protects from power surges caused by lightning strikes. Low profile - An omnidirectional vehicle antenna designed to be mounted to a dashboard or the side of a passenger seat. Fun fact: Omni-directional antenna - An antenna with low gain that receives and transmits signal in almost all directions equally.
Easier to install than a directional antenna. Oscillation - Electronic feedback. For cell phone signal boosters, can occur if the donor and indoor antennas are placed too near one another or the amplifier. This will cause the amplifier itself to shut down. In a broader context, concerns of amplifiers causing feedback to cell phone towers was the impetus for the FCC regulations on signal boosters implemented in Panel antenna - An antenna that can be installed as a donor antenna outdoors or indoors on a wall, and transmits signal outwards in the direction it is facing.
Pole mount - A mount with a pole for installing an outdoor antenna. Come in various shapes. These allow more precise placement of an antenna. Radio frequency RF - Radio frequency is any frequency used to transmit a wireless radio signal, which includes cellular signal, WiFi signal, and regular FM and AM radio. Signal strength - A wireless signal's strength is measured in dBm.
Similar to gain, the signal is logarithmic. Splitter - A device used to reduce cable runs to multiple antennas. Splitters are best used when distributing antennas and running cables from a central location. Spring - A type of mount for an outdoor vehicle antenna that can withstand a low clearance impact.
Watt W - SI unit of power. Commercial cell phone boosters are generally limited to half a watt of power in order to prevent oscillation, per the FCC. Yagi antenna - See "Directional antenna". US Customers: WilsonAmplifiers is an authorized Wilson Electronics distributor operating in the Houston area since WilsonAmplifiers provides all U. Please wait Logout My Account. Enterprise Solutions WilsonAmplifiers Services:. Commercial Grade Kits:. Solutions by Industry:. Have a Question? Large Office Up to 7, sq.
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Improve Cell Signals for Home
Large Home Up to 7, sq. Accessories Browse All. Lightning Surge Protectors Power Supplies. Mounts Adapters. Building Refurbished Kits. Special Offer: Your Free Gift. Bluetooth giveaway. General Product Info. Cell Phone Signal Booster Guide Last Updated: Why do I have such bad signal? What do bars mean? How do I find my real cell phone signal strength? How do I find my nearest cell tower or site? About Cell Phone Boosters 5. What is a cell phone signal booster? Do cell phone boosters really work? How does a cell phone booster work?
Cell phone signal booster installation Cell phone signal booster FAQs FCC Regulations Booster shutdown Antennas a. Omni Directional vs Unidirectional Antennas b. Dome vs Panel antennas c. How many indoor antennas should I buy? Types of vehicle antennas Cables a. Understanding cable length: Size matters b. Which is best for you? Splitters and Couplers Surge Protectors Cellular frequency bands by carrier a. Verizon Frequency Bands b. T-Mobile Frequency Bands d. Sprint Frequency Bands e. US Cellular Frequency Bands f.
Canadian Frequency Bands Other Resources What are 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G? Glossary of Terms. Good signal is hard to find. This Guide is divided into two parts: View the buying guide. The All Things Signal Guide Answers to any question no matter how simple or technical — gathered over 7 years worth of frequently asked questions and searches. View the signal guide. Best Cell Phone Boosters for Home. Whole Home Coverage Up to 5, sq. Large Home Coverage Up to 7, sq. Room Coverage Up to 1, sq. Best Cell Phone Boosters for Vehicle. Your guarantees: Works for all US and Canadian carriers: Your complete satisfaction: Two year warranty: No questions asked.
Whole Home Coverage From 1, to 5, sq ft. Whole home. View Details. Number of Bars. Watch Product Video: Large Home Coverage From 1, to 7, sq ft. Large Home. Learn more. One Room Coverage From to 1, sq ft. One room. Best Cell Phone Boosters for Vehicles.
Multiple users. Single user. The phone has to be sitting in the mount to receive signal. Truck edition. Commercial Truck. Boosts signal inside the cabin only. Small Business. Wilson Pro C A Wilson Pro with remote monitoring capabilities. Wilson Pro A Wilson Pro with an in-line booster for longer cable runs. The Wilson Pro comes in either wall or rack mount form. Unit comes with wall outlet power supply or hardwire power supply.
All Things Signal Guide: Everything You Need to Know. We're not here to sell product. We're here to provide solutions. No stone left unturned here. All Things Signal Guide Menu: Guide Summary: What Do Bars Mean? About Cell Phone Boosters: What is a Cell Phone Signal Booster? Cell Phone Signal Booster Installation Booster Shutdown Dome vs Panel Antennas c. Types of Vehicle Antennas Understanding Cable Length: Size Matters b.
Which is Best For You? Cellular Frequency Bands By Carrier a. Canadian Frequency Bands Other Resources: Your real cell phone signal strength is measured in dBm. Using Field Test Mode or smartphone apps can help you find the nearest cell tower. If you have strong outdoor signal, your amplifier will be limited by its downlink power. If you have weak outdoor signal, your amplifier will be limited by its gain. Getting the right kind of coaxial cable can increase the distance you can run cable in-building without loss.
In general, the more indoor antennas you use, the better coverage you can expect. Consider a surge protector if you fear a lightning strike destroying your amplifier. About Cell Phone Signal. It's not always your carrier's fault.
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Topography trees, hills, mountains, valleys. Building material and construction metal, concrete, thick walls, energy-efficient installations, urban valleys, etc. Electromagnetic interference electronics, metal objects, etc. Tower congestion a lot of people trying to use the same tower at the same time. Weather and cosmic events not much to be done about these! That's why people invest in a cell phone booster since it overcomes most of these hurdles. That's because bars are subjective across carriers and phone models. You can find your cell phone signal in dBm by accessing Field Test Mode on your phone.
Note for Apple users: Access Settings. Then General. Go to About Phone. Network or Settings. You should see your dBm Value Signal strength. Continue below and Select LTE. If you do not see this screen, scroll down to number 2 below. Your dBm signal is read as rsrp0. If you see this screen, you are an Verizon or Sprint user on the Qualcomm chipset. If you do not see this screen, scroll down to number 3 below. If you see this screen, unfortunately, you have an incompatible carrier on the chipset. Best methods are use the websites and apps listed above along with a speed test tool like Speedtest by Ookla around different areas outside your home can give you a general idea of the direction of the cell tower.
Pre iOS Select Phone mode. This will place your phone in Field Test Mode. Swipe down your notifications bar and you will see your dB reading in the upper left-hand corner. About Cell Phone Boosters. What is a cell phone booster? Works for all cellular devices: No monthly fees. Why do you need a cell phone booster? Do cell phone boosters work? Every cell phone signal booster has three distinct, crucial pieces. The first part is the outside antenna, also called the donor antenna. This pulls in signal from the outside. The second part is the amplifier also known as the repeater.
The third part is the inside antennas also known as the broadcast antenna. It broadcasts the enhanced signal throughout the area in need. How a residential signal booster works. How a vehicle signal booster works. How a commercial signal booster works. How do I differentiate amplifiers.
Keep this in mind when comparing signal boosters. Cell phone signal booster installation. For a typical home, installing a booster consists of these steps:. Cell phone signal booster FAQs. I only have one carrier providing all my cellular service. Are there any good single-carrier amplifiers I can get? FCC regulations for signal boosters. Here are some of the main regulations:. All cell phone signal boosters must be sold in kits. All cell phone signal boosters must be labeled and registered with your carrier.
All consumer cell phone signal boosters may have a downlink power of no more than 12 dBm. All home cell phone signal boosters must not have a wattage that exceeds 0. All in-building cell phone signal boosters cannot be retrofitted for vehicle use. All pre-FCC-certified boosters are grandfathered in but need carrier permission. Booster shutdown. This is easy to fix, however, and there are a few main ways: Use an attenuator: Attenuators are small devices you can plug into an amplifier to offset some of the gain which may be overloading it.
If you struggle with overwhelming outside signal, this is your best solution. Fiddle with your outside antenna: If your outdoor signal is so strong it overloads your amplifier, having an optimal gain setup for your antenna is overkill. Fiddle with your directional antenna, or try an omni antenna. See "Omni-Directional vs. Unidirectional Antennas" for more information. Run more cable: The more cable you run, the weaker the signal ends up. If you run more cable from the outdoor antenna to the amplifier, you can lower the volume of your outside signal and get your amplifier working again.
See "Understanding Cable Length: Size Matters" for more information. How to register your cell phone booster. The entire process takes around five minutes, and is a courtesy for your carrier. Here are some links to major carrier websites to get you started:. If you're in Canada, you're in luck - you don't need to register your booster at all. About Cell Phone Booster Accessories. Omni-Directional vs. Unidirectional Antennas. There are two major types of outdoor antenna: How to aim a directional antenna.
Dome vs Panel Antennas. Dome Antennas. Antennas for vehicles: Outdoor Options:. Size Matters. For our signal boosters, we typically use one of six types of coaxial cable:. Surge Protectors.