Do you have terrible (or no) cell phone reception in your home?
If so, a cell phone signal booster might be just the ticket!
We live in the middle of a national forest, and cell phone service is spotty at best. We installed a signal booster, and with great success.
Our new smartphone works flawlessly, and when our friends visit now, their cell phones display 4-5 bars, so they can receive calls and texts, too.
Before you go to the trouble and expense of installing a cell phone signal booster, try this:
Take your smartphone into the Wi-Fi range of your router. Try to do all of these:
Success with all three? Did the video play flawlessly?
Great! Then you don't need a booster. Use your Wifi network instead.
Let me explain: Newer generation smartphones allow calling, texting and data (Internet) off of your home Wi-Fi, in the absence of cell tower signals. So if you have fast and reliable Wi-fi coverage, it may stand in just fine in cases of bad cell tower coverage. You're all set!
Disadvantage: If friends with older cell phones come to visit, they probably won't be able to access it.
Well, there are two main kinds, and they work totally differently:
Cell Phone Extenders (also called range extenders) work by tapping into existing (but faint) outside cell signals, amplifying them and transmitting a stronger signal to your cellular phone.
These boosters can work even in areas where the signal is so weak your cell phone cannot pick it up (zero bars on your phone). However, they will NOT work in areas where there is no signal whatsoever (dead zones). So you must make sure before you buy a Cell Phone Extender that there are at least some cell tower signals at your location.
Cell Phone Extenders are:
Network Extenders, on the other hand, can work in areas where there is no cellular signal at all. However, they do require reliable broadband/high-speed Internet service to work [like a "cable connection", DSL or FiOS (Fiber Optic Service)]. Satellite Internet will not work.
Network Extenders work by creating a new cell signal and routing it through your broadband internet connection, which then sends it wirelessly to your cell phone. These "boosters" do not utilize the cellular tower network at all.
Network Extenders are:
*There are other boosters available for cars and RVs, but we will not get into those.
Setting up your Cell Phone Signal Booster
Find (near your house) where the outside cellular signal is strongest. You can do this by checking the bars on your cell phone as you walk around the outside of your home.
When you find that "sweet spot", this is where you want to install the outside antenna, and point it towards the strongest cell signal. Usually, this spot is high up; mounted on a pole close to the house is ideal.
The two inside components are a booster box and inside antenna. They should be set up where the improved cell signal is most needed. Coaxial cable is run from the exterior antenna to the booster box inside; which is then connected to the inside antenna.
Installation specifics should be explained in the Instruction Manual that comes with your unit.
Setting up your Network Extender:
Hard wire your extender to your computer router with Ethernet (Cat 5) cable. Place the Extender Unit in a window so the GPS function (small antenna) can locate satellites. Plug it in and let it stew.
If you don't have high-speed Internet, or cannot obtain GPS "lock-on", you will not be able to use a Network Extender.
The signal booster we have in our home is the Verizon Wireless Network Extender, Model SCS-2U01, (the black box pictured above, which relies on our high-speed Internet to function.
This one is indicated for 3G service, but it seems to work just as well with 4G phones.
Although the SCS-2U01 is still available, we have instead displayed the newest (4G) version below, at the same price.
Note: Before purchasing any cell signal booster or extender, contact your carrier to make sure it will work for your phone and network.
All cell providers in North America allow cell phone boosters, as long as:
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