Quick Summary of Choosing The Best Home Cell Signal Booster For The Home (6 Questions Answered):
- Who Needs A Cell Signal Booster In Their Home?
- Will A Cell Signal Booster In The Home Really Help?
- Are Signal Boosters Compatible With Every Home?
- 4G Or 3G Booster: Which One Should I Get?
- How Many Different Kinds Of Home Signal Boosters Are There?
- How Do They Actually Work?
During the quarantine of 2020, sales numbers of cell signal boosters has gone up. Many people who never considered purchasing one before the advent of COVID-19 apparently have found themselves interested.
This makes sense. People are spending more time indoors, which means more devices per household are spending time connected to WiFi. All these devices are using up a lot more bandwidth than they were before the coronavirus. This has caused increased latency (lag).
People are using their phones more than ever before. Streaming from mobile devices is at an all-time high. And so is online gaming.
This is a good time to answer some commonly asked questions about cell signal boosters designed specifically for the home. In particular, how to choose the right one. There are a lot of different home models. Even at SureCall, we offer multiple options. We admit that sometimes research on this topic can get confusing. So which home cell phone signal booster should you choose? Here are the answers to some important questions to ask yourself before settling on one.
1. Who Needs A Cell Signal Booster For The Home?
How do you know you even need one? If you consistently drop calls and have poor data performance in the home, you need to get a booster.
They are designed to fix these exact problems. Not only do they increase data performance and help prevent dropped calls, but it doesn’t even matter what provider you use. All of the home signal boosters from SureCall are equipped with directional antennas that can target specific carrier towers. You can toggle from tower to tower, discovering which one provides the best data and voice performance for your home. This means faster data transfer for web browsing, email, and every other app.
You can even customize your use of the signal booster to boost signal in specific areas of the home.
Also, the weaker your signal is, the more battery power your device consumes. So having a signal booster can increase the battery life of all connected devices in the home.
2. Will A Cell Signal Booster For The Home Really Help?
Yes, it will. As long as there’s at least a faint available signal outside your home, you will absolutely experience a positive difference. The only circumstance where boosters won’t increase cell signals in the home is if there is no signal to boost in the first place. These devices can’t boost a non-existent signal.
There are other assurances to their functionality, as well. All SureCall boosters are FCC-certified (as of 2014). These government certifications provide customers with peace of mind that all claims made on our website and on product packaging are valid. These federal certifications also assure that boosters don’t cause any harmful interference on any cellular networks.
A variety of tests done by third parties have been done in recent years on the effectiveness of cell signal boosters as well. Here’s an example of one of them. Not to mention the tens of thousands of reviews posted by happy customers online.
3. Are Signal Boosters Compatible With Every Home?
Probably is the honest answer. Like we said above, as long as there is some semblance of a signal outside your home, it’s almost guaranteed to work.
If there isn’t, then it won’t work.
The square footage of your home is important to consider when discussing the compatibility of certain signal boosters. In fact, booster models are usually differentiated from each other strictly by the square footage of space they’re designed to cover. For example, if your home is 3,000 sq ft and you want to fill the home with usable cell signal, than the booster you purchase needs to be able to accommodate that. The more square footage a cell booster is designed to cover, the higher the retail price will likely be.
You’ll need to make sure that the performance capabilities of the cell signal booster match your expectations. Some models are stronger than others.
Another thing you need to consider in order for your booster to work properly is what cell carrier you use. Does everyone in the house use the same carrier? It’s okay if multiple carriers exist in your home. That fact will influence which booster model will work best for your situation. You just have to make sure that the booster is capable of amplifying the specific network frequency your phone uses. Also, old or refurbished signal boosters usually don’t work with 4G LTE frequencies.
All SureCall boosters are compatible with major networks in the US, so this shouldn’t be a problem for you. But it’s worth mentioning as it does affect some people.
4. 4G Or 3G Booster: Which One Should I Get?
When deciding what cell phone signal booster to get for your home, know that there are both 4G and 3G options available. 4G boosters are referred to as five-band and 3G boosters are referred to as dual-band.
Five-band boosters typically employ the latest technology and are higher in price. Dual-band boosters are usually older and less expensive. So, as you would guess, we don’t recommend 3G options. In fact, we don’t even carry them any more at SureCall. They simply don’t meet our performance standard. Most cell phone companies no longer carry 3G phones anyway, so it’s unlikely that you are anyone in your home uses a device limited to 3G.
But for what it’s worth, if you happen to use a 3G device, a 4G (five-band) booster will definitely amplify your signal.
5. How Many Different Kinds Of Home Signal Boosters Are There?
At SureCall, we have 7 devices designed for home use. You can see them all here. They’re also listed and described in a previous post, located here. Since we mentioned square footage as a deciding factor, we’ve listed the name and sq ft limit of each device below. But there are many other specs and details that make each of these home signal boosters unique.
Sq Ft Limit: 3,500
Sq Ft Limit: 5,000
Sq Ft Limit: 6,000
Sq Ft Limit: 6,000
Sq Ft Limit: 2,000
Sq Ft Limit: 2,500
Sq Ft Limit: 6,000
6. How Do They Actually Work?
Every residential cell signal booster kit has four main components: (1) a cell signal amplifier, (2) an outside antenna, (3) an inside antenna, and (4) coax cables. They all play an important role in boosting your signal.
Cell Signal Amplifier
The cell signal amplifier is the heart of the device. The engine, you could say. It resembles in many ways an internet router and is kept inside the house. It looks like this:
It’s a two-way (also called bidirectional) amplifier that communicates with the cell towers nearby your home. When we say it’s bidirectional, that means it both sends and receives signals. When it locates a signal, it amplifies it and then rebroadcasts it throughout your home. Of the four main components, the cell signal amplifier is the only part that requires electrical power.
The outdoor antenna is small and mounts on the roof. It’s positioned in a spot that minimizes obstructions between the tower and your home. This is so it can properly communicate with the cell tower. Outdoor antennas don’t come with every booster kit. But for boosters designed for larger homes, they are necessary and will be included in the kit. The outdoor antenna and cell signal amplifier are connected to each other via a coax cable.
There are two types of outdoor antennas. Directional and omnidirectional. The one your house needs depends on a few things.
Directional antennas look something like this:
These are best when:
(A) Everyone in the house uses the same cell carrier.
(B) Your house happens to be in such a location where all major carrier’s cell towers are in the same general direction.
(C) The towers of carriers you don’t use are close enough to your house that they’re overpowering your signal booster.
(D) You have a good line-of-sight to your carrier’s cell tower. (No buildings, trees, hills, etc. between your house and the tower.)
Omnidirectional antennas look like this:
The main difference here is that this antenna operates in a 360-degree circle. It collects and broadcasts information from all cell towers in any direction.
These are best when:
(A) The existing signal outside is strong but it has a hard time penetrating the walls of your home.
(B) People in your home use different cell carriers.
The indoor antenna communicates with the devices inside your home that are connected to WiFi or to a cellular network. (All the devices you want to benefit from the boosted signal).
Like outdoor antennas, indoor ones come in two main varieties: directional panel and dome.
Here’s an example of a directional panel antenna:
These operate relatively simply. During setup, you decide the specific area where you want improved signal strength. You aim the antenna in that direction. It then broadcasts signals using a focused beam. Directional panel antennas are almost always mounted on a vertical surface. A window or a wall or something similar. They are often set up out of sight, like inside a wall panel or above or below drop ceilings or drywall.
Dome, the other kind of indoor antenna, look like this:
They differ from directional panel antennae in that they broadcast in a circular, 360-degree way rather than straight. These are typically mounted on the ceiling in a central spot. Because drywall doesn’t tend to affect signal quality, dome antennas are sometimes mounted above or below drop ceilings or drywall. It’s very common to see these on the ceilings of commercial buildings. And they also work great in residences, as well.
Coaxial (“coax”) cables are used by most cell signal booster systems to connect the antennas (interior and exterior) to the amplifier. The RG6 coax cable is the most common in residential signal booster setups. They look like this:
If it looks familiar, that’s because it’s the same kind of cable connecting your satellite or cable box to your TV.
Though there are some cell phone signal boosters for the home that use different coax cables, this is by far the most common.
Choosing The Best Home Cell Signal Booster For The Home (6 Questions Answered) – Conclusion
Now, during the coronavirus epidemic, is as appropriate a time as ever to invest in a home cell signal booster for the home. If you’ve been thinking about it, reach out to us and we’ll answer any more questions you have.