Do Signal Boosters For Mobile Phones Work?
Aside from, what is a signal booster? One of the most common questions we get is “do signal boosters really work?”. It’ s a fair question, considering all of the various spammy products that have been released so far, all claiming to give you a better signal.
Luckily, you don’t need to take our word for it on whether these solutions work. The major mobile carriers have all tested every signal booster in the market independently, and they have not only approved them for use, but also recommended them as a preferred solution for getting a better signal in your office, home, or vehicle.
In this post, we’ll cover how mobile phone signal boosters work, so that you can see it’s quite a brilliant solution, consisting of a combination of high-grade antennas, cables, and a powerful signal amplifier that boosts, receives, and distributes mobile signals where you need it most.
The Basics Of Mobile Phone Signal Boosters
A mobile phone signal booster is a system made up of an outside antenna that’s referred to as a donor antenna, one or two more inside antennas, a mobile phone signal amplifier, and a cable that connects them all together.
The antenna on the outside ideally receives the mobile signal from close by cell towers and transmits it on to the mobile signal amplifier over the cable. The amplifier then boosts the strength of that signal and passes it on to the antenna on the inside (or multiple antennas) over another cable, and then broadcasts the stronger mobile signal to the area that needs it.
The signal booster also works in reverse; when a phone call is made or data is being used by a mobile device, it ideally passes through the system, is amplified in the process, and is then broadcasted to the nearby cell towers.
A mobile phone signal booster is essentially designed to solve three of the most common causes of poor mobile phone signal:
- How Far From The Nearby Cell Tower: The mobile signal booster works to amplify the weak mobile signal from the outside, both to and from the closest cell towers, compensating for the distance.
- Obstacles Present In The Way: The omni outside antenna ideally receives and broadcasts the strong mobile signal in all directions to maximize the chances that the signal will make it around the different obstacles in the way.
- Construction Materials: The booster features high quality cable and equipment to route the mobile signal around the various construction materials that might be blocking signal and the distribute it to areas that are in need of better reception.
So long as there’s some working mobile signal outside, the signal booster will be able to amplify thepoor reception and other signal problems, giving you a much better service indoors.
Types of Mobile Phone Signal Boosters
There are two main types of signal boosters:
Building Signal Booster: These are designed to be used in only one area, and are able to provide significantly more boosting power and coverage compared to a vehicle signal booster.
Vehicle Signal Boosters: These are designed to be used while moving, such as while driving in a car, and while stopped.
We’ll cover both in more depth below.
Vehicle Signal Boosters
These vehicle signal boosters are specially made to be used in a car, RV, truck, or boat, and therefore need to be able to handle the constantly changing signal environment. They typically feature a small outside antenna, which is comes as magnetic for cars and trucks, and permanent for boats and RVs. The antenna is connected to the vehicle’s signal amplifier via a cable, and another cable is run to a small inside antenna, which then broadcasts the boosted signal to the mobile devices.
Mobile Phone Signal Booster For Cars
The ability to change the boosting power of the amplifier (automatic gain control) is engineered to adjust the strength of the signal constantly based on the changing environment (outside mobile signal) and to maximize the amount of coverage the booster is able to provide inside the vehicle.
A certain class of vehicle signal boosters are specially designed to boost the signal of one mobile device at a time. They are also often lower powered and come at a considerably lower cost, making them ideal for situations where you only need to have your phone boosted and there are occasional dead zones outside. However, they are not going to be ideal for the rural area conditions or when you need to boost multiple devices at one.
Vehicle signal boosters can make all the difference help you stay connected as you travel in locations with a poor mobile signal coverage or dead spots. As such, if you plan on spending a good amount of time in a truck, car, boat, or RV and you’re in need of fast voice calls and data, a vehicle mobile signal booster will come in handy.
Building Signal Boosters
Mobile signal boosters designed for use in buildings such as homes and businesses, are made to be permanently installed in one location and provide a wide coverage to the inside area of the building.
The building signal booster is comprised of a powerful antenna mounted on the outside, usually on the roof of a building, that receives the already existing outside mobile signal and the passes it on to a signal amplifier in the building over a low loss cable. The signal amplifier boosts the mobile signal and passes the stronger signal to the various internal antennas installed in the building, ideally broadcasting it to the indoor areas that need coverage.
The building signal booster can also work in reverse, meaning it can receive the signal coming from your phone while in the building, amplify it, and then broadcast it to the nearby mobile towers via the outside antenna.
There are several kinds of building boosters, ranging from entry-level units designed to cover only a few feet of space to enterprise-level systems that cover vast areas with a boosted mobile phone signal. The boosting power of the amplifier goes up as you move up from the entry level units to the enterprise units, and so does the quality of the components (antennas, cables, connectors, etc.).
If f a single booster kit can’t provide the necessary coverage for a larger space, multiple amplifiers and a network of antennas can be used to scale up the system and even cover areas of 500,000 sq. ft. and more in size.
How To Choose the Best Mobile Signal Booster
Signal Strength and Coverage
One of the key things to understand with these boosters is that the strength of the outside signal will have a major impact on the amount of coverage you can receive from a booster. So, if you have a weak outside signal, you will only receive limited coverage from the signal booster, since the booster doesn’t have much existing signal to boost.
On the other hand, if the outside signal is strong, the size of the coverage area in side your vehicle, home or businesses should be large enough. If the outside signal remains at the same weak level, the next best way to improve the inside coverage would be purchasing a signal booster with a more powerful amplifier.
In case you reach the maximum amount boosting power. The only other option would be to install a second signal booster system around. For this reason, it’s important to know what your existing outside signal is, as this will determine the size booster you should purchase to cover the inside area amply with a boosted signal, and whether you have to install another system.
2G, 3G HSDPA, and 4G LTE
You might be wondering how these are accounted for when you want to improve your phone signal. Well, here’s what you need to know.
2G is the second-generation cellular technology, and it was used to allow people to make and receive voice calls, send text (SMS) messages, and send picture messages (MMS) via their mobile phones. Currently, 2G is in the process of being decommissioned and its frequency bands repurposed for newer technologies like 4G LTE and 5G in the future.
3G was the next generation of cellular networks that introduced the capacity for data to be sent over cellular networks, along with voice calls and picture/text messages.
4G LTE is a newer generation of cellular technology, characterized by much faster data rates and enabling voice calls to be sent over the data network (VoLTE). All mobile devices and mobile phones sold in the last few years come with 4G LTE and prioritizes this for data and voice calls.
5G is the newest generation of cellular technology, though it’s still in development. We don’t expect to see any widespread deployment of 5G for a few couple of years. Nonetheless, it promises much faster data rates than what 4G LTE offers.
We recommend that you get a mobile phone signal booster that can amplify 4G LTE, even if you only need a boost in voice calls. Since most modern phones support and prioritize 4G, purchasing a 4GLTE-capable signal booster is a great way of future-proofing yourself and making sure that your booster will continue serve you even as the older 2G and 3G networks get decommissioned. Moreover, every signal booster that supports 4G LTE should support 3G and 2G networks, so all your bases are covered.