Do you have a hard time making or receiving calls inside your home or business? Does your phone’s internet speed seem slow? Maybe you’re often talking to someone and the call just drops. Or you find your’re having to repeat your self when talking on the phone in a certain room or holding your phone a certain way. It could even be that you can’t get a signal yet outside you have a decent signal. We depend on our cell phones and mobile devices way too much these days for a bad signal to interfere with our day to day life. But can anything really be done about it? YES! We have a solution and it’s called a Cell Phone Signal Booster professionally installed by CLEAR IT SECURITY!
What is a signal cell phone booster?
A cell phone signal booster is a device that can take a weak existing cell signal, amplify it, and provide you with reliable cell signal in your home, business or vehicle. A cell signal booster consists of an amplifier (or the booster itself), outdoor antenna, expensive low-loss coaxial cable and one or more indoor antennas.
While it can increase the # of bars shown on your phone’s display, the most important function of the unit is to maintain signal and enhance the quality of the connection. This means fewer or no more dropped calls, trouble making or receiving calls or repeating yourself due to a bad signal indoors. In some cases, this means actually being able to use the phone in areas where cell signal or service didn’t even exist!
3 Main Causes of Bad or No Cell Signal Inside a Home or Business
Before going over our solutions, it’s best to understand the reasons why you’re experiencing bad cell phone signal in the first place. Unfortunately, we can’t see the signal as it’s invisible to human eye, but if we could, we would see where exactly the signal degrades and what the interference is on the way to inside your home or business.
We do know that there are 3 main causes of bad cell phone signal:
- The distance you are from the cell tower
- Obstacles in the way of the cell phone signal from the cell tower to inside your home or business
- Construction materials used on the exterior roof or walls of the home, building or vehicle that you’re in
We’ll cover each of these in more detail.
Distance from the Cell Tower
Cellular signal is broadcast from towers that are installed by your carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc.). The closer you are to a tower, the stronger the cell signal is going to be. As you move further away from the tower, the signal becomes weaker, which we call attenuation, until at some point it’s too weak to hold a call or transfer data.
Being too far away from a cell tower is the most common reason for weak cell signal, and the one you’ll often experience if you live or travel in very rural areas.
Obstacles in the Way
The second cause of poor or erratic cell signal is the presence of obstacles between you and the nearest cell tower, like a mountain, hill, or building materials. You may also experience this cell signal problems if you’re at the bottom of a valley or underground and don’t have line of sight to a nearby tower.
Signal is not usually able to penetrate through large obstacles, so it’s not able to reach you. The cell signal may bounce off of other hills or buildings and reach you through reflection, in which case you’ll notice that your signal is weaker and may fluctuate up & down, otherwise you’ll most likely end up with no signal in your location.
That last major cause of cellular signal problems is the construction materials that make up the building or vehicle that you’re in.
Brick, block, concrete, sheet metal and wire mesh construction materials are some well-known and obvious blockers of cell service, but things like energy efficient window coatings, tile or metal roofs, and water fixtures can also cause major signal issues.
If you find that you have a usable cell signal outside of the building or vehicle, but it drops significantly once you step inside, then construction materials are the most likely culprit.
Combinations of Causes
Unfortunately, these causes of bad cell signal frequently work in combination, so you’ll find a rural warehouse with weak outside signal and sheet metal walls that completely block the signal from entering the building, or a house in a valley without a clear line of sight to the nearest cell tower, and no other nearby cell towers with which to receive a signal.
When we’re looking at solutions to solve your cell phone signal issues, it’s good to have an idea of what combination of causes is creating the problem that you’re facing, so that the right solution can be put into place.
How a Cell Phone Signal Booster Can Help
Now that we have an idea of what causes bad cell signal, it’s time to look at what we can do to fix it.
First, we’ll cover whether cell phone boosters really work, then discuss the basics of how a signal booster works, and finally go into more depth on the two main types of signal boosters:
- Vehicle signal boosters for cars, trucks, RVs and boats
- Building signal boosters for homes, businesses and any structure that needs signal
Lastly, we’ll cover how signal strength affects coverage and 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks.
Do Cell Phone Signal Boosters Work?
One of the biggest questions that we get, apart from “what is a signal booster?” is “do they really work?”. This is a fair question, with all of the scammy products that have been released in the past claiming to give you better signal.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take our word on whether these solutions work. The FCC and the major cellular carriers have all independently tested every signal booster that is sold on the market today, and have not only approved them for use, but recommend them as a preferred solution for getting better cell signal in your home, office or vehicle.
We’ll cover how cell phone signal boosters work in the next section, so you’ll see that it’s not a magic solution, but rather a combination of high grade cable, antennas and a powerful signal amplifier that receives, boosts and distributes cell signal where you most need it.
Cell Phone Signal Booster Basics
A cell phone signal booster is a system made up of an outside antenna (called a donor antenna), a cell phone signal amplifier, one or more inside antennas, and cable to connect them all together.
The outside antenna receives cellular signal from the nearby cell towers and passes it over a cable to the signal amplifier. The signal amplifier boosts the strength of the signal, and then passes it over another cable to the inside antenna (or multiple antennas), which broadcast the strong cell signal to the area that needs it.
The signal booster also works in reverse, so when a phone call is made or data is used by a mobile device, it passes through the system, is amplified, and then broadcast to the nearby cell towers.
A cell phone signal booster is designed to solve the three main causes of poor cell phone signal in the following ways:
- Distance from the Cell Tower – The signal booster amplifies the weak outside cell signal, both to and from the nearby cell towers, to compensate for the distance.
- Obstacles in the Way – An omni outside antenna can receive and broadcast strong cell signal in all directions to maximize the chance that the signal will make it around the obstacles in the way.
- Construction Materials – The signal booster uses high quality cable to route cell signal around the construction materials that are blocking signal and then distribute it to the areas that need better reception.
As long as you have some usable cell signal outside, a cell phone signal booster should be able to solve your signal problems and provide you with much better service in your home, business or vehicle.
Types Of Cell Phone Signal Boosters
There are two main types of signal boosters:
- Vehicle signal boosters are designed for use while moving (like while driving in a car) and stopped.
- Building signal boosters are designed to be used in one location only and provide significantly more boosting and coverage than a vehicle signal booster.
We’ll cover both in more depth below.
Vehicle Signal Boosters
Vehicle signal boosters are engineered to be used in a car, truck, RV, or boat, and thus need to be able to handle the constantly changing signal environment outside.
Vehicle signal boosters typically have a small outside antenna, that is usually magnetic for cars and trucks, and permanent for RVs and boats. That antenna is connected by a cable to the vehicle signal amplifier, and then another cable is run to a small inside antenna, to broadcast the boosted signal to the mobile devices.
The automatic gain control (or ability to adjust the boosting power of the amplifier) is designed to constantly adjust the strength of the amplifier based on the changing outside cell signal and maximize the amount of coverage that the booster can provide inside of the vehicle.
Multi-carrier vehicle signal boosters are limited to a maximum of 50 decibels of boosting power by the FCC, so the size of the coverage area that you’ll receive from a vehicle signal booster is going to be much smaller than you would receive from a booster designed for a building, but every carrier will be boosted simultaneously.
Single-carrier vehicle signal boosters have a higher limit of 65 decibels of boosting power, so you’ll receive a larger coverage area inside, but will only work with the carrier that the equipment was designed for.
There is a class of vehicle signal boosters that are designed to boost the signal for a single mobile device at a time. They are lower powered and also lower cost, so they’ll work well for situations where only you need your phone boosted and you have occasional dead zones outside, but are not going to be the best solution for extremely rural areas or if you need to boost multiple devices.
A vehicle signal booster can make a huge difference in keeping you connected while traveling in areas with dead spots or weak cell signal, so if you spend any amount of time in a car, truck, RV or boat, and need fast data and voice calls, then a vehicle signal booster is going to be a great option.
We’ll cover how to choose the best vehicle signal booster below.
Building Signal Boosters
Signal boosters for use in buildings, like a home or business, are designed to be permanently installed in one location and provide coverage to the inside area of the building.
A building signal booster works by mounting a powerful antenna outside on the roof of the building that receives the existing outside cell signal, and then passes it over a low loss cable to a signal amplifier located inside of the building. The signal amplifier will boost the existing cell signal, and then pass it over a cable to one, or many, internal antennas that will broadcast the boosted signal to the inside area that needs the coverage.
The booster also works in reverse, receiving the signal coming from your phone, amplifying it, and then broadcast it to the nearby cell towers through the outside antenna.
There are a different levels of building boosters, from entry level units that cover a few feet of space, to enterprise systems designed to cover vast areas with better cell phone signal. As you move up from the entry level to enterprise, the boosting power of the amplifier goes up and the quality of the components (cables, antennas, connectors) improves.
The boosting power of a building signal booster can range from around 55 decibels for entry level boosters, all the way up to the FCC maximum of 72 decibels for amplifiers designed to boost multiple carriers in a large building. If the amplifier is designed to only boost a single carrier, then the FCC allows the maximum amplifier gain to be 100 decibels.
If you find that one signal booster kit cannot provide the necessary coverage for a large space, then multiple amplifiers and a network of antennas can be used to scale up the system and cover areas of 500,000 sq ft or more in size.
We’ll cover how to choose the best signal booster for your home or business below.
Signal Strength & Coverage
The most important thing to understand with cell phone signal boosters is that the strength of the outside signal has a major impact on how much coverage you’re going to receive from a booster.
If you have a weak existing outside signal, you’re only going to receive a small amount of coverage from a signal booster, since the booster does not have much existing signal to actually boost. If the outside signal becomes stronger, then the size of the coverage area inside of the home, business or vehicle would also grow.
If the outside cell signal remained at the same weak level, then the next best way to provide more coverage inside would be to purchase a signal booster with a more powerful amplifier.
If you’re already at the maximum boosting power that the FCC allows, then the only option would be to install a second signal booster system.
For this reason, it’s very important to know what your existing outside cell signal is, since that will determine what size booster you should purchase to adequately cover your inside area with boosted signal, or whether you need to install multiple systems.
2G, 3G and 4G LTE
You’ve probably heard the terms 2G, 3G and 4G LTE mentioned before and wonder how those fit in when improving your cell phone signal.
- 2G was the second generation of cellular technology and was used for allowing people to make and receive voice calls using their cell phone, as well as send text (SMS) and picture (MMS) messages. 2G is in the process of being decommissioned and the frequency bands repurposed for new technologies, like 4G LTE and 5G in the future.
- 3G was the next generation of cellular networks and allowed data to be sent over the cellular networks, in addition to voice calls and text/picture messages.
- 4G LTE is the newest generation of cellular technology and is characterized by significantly faster data rates, as well as allowing voice calls to be sent over the data network, called VoLTE. All cell phones and mobile devices sold in the past few years support 4G LTE and prioritize this network for calls and data.
- 5G is currently in development, but we won’t see any widespread deployment for another couple of years. It will be characterized by significantly faster data rates than 4G LTE.
Even if you are only interested in boosting voice calls and not fast data, we still recommend that you purchase a signal booster that amplifies 4G LTE. With all modern phones supporting and prioritizing 4G LTE, getting a 4G LTE capable booster is the best way to future-proof yourself and ensure that your booster will continue to work even as the carriers decommission their older 2G and 3G networks. Every signal booster that supports 4G LTE should also support the 2G and 3G networks, so you’ve covered all of your bases.
Best Signal Boosters for Rural Areas
Rural areas frequently have cellular signal problems due to distance from the tower, terrain (mountains, hills, valleys), and obstructions, like trees & leaves, so a strong cell phone signal booster is necessary to take the weak signal you’ll find outside and boost it to a usable level.
In addition, it is often necessary to make long outside cable runs in order to place the outside donor antenna as high up on the edge of the house, roof or mast as possible, so ultra-low loss cable is needed to ensure that minimal signal is lost on the way to the amplifier.
Our 100db signal booster solutions are ideal choices for anyone who lives or frequents rural areas and experience weak outside signal. They’ll create the largest possible coverage area inside of your home, office or other type of building, so you have reliable cell signal, no dropped calls, consistent text messaging, and fast data speeds.
Please contact us with any questions or to discuss your situation in more depth and have one of our experts help you determine the best solution for your needs.
But wait, I called my carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and their MVNOs) and they said they would open a ticket for me. Sprint told me the same thing 10 years ago… guess what? Still no better signal today in the areas where I had signal issues. in my parent’s house!
In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to solve your problem of bad cell signal, once and for all.