Life on the road, whether it’s an extended temporary vacation or a long-term lifestyle, can be blissfully adventurous. Traveling in your RV, motorhome, camper van, trailer, or other recreational vehicle is a way to expand your world and explore the country while still having many of the comforts of home. However, one “comfort” that is often unreliable at best on the road is your cell phone signal.
Having a reliable cell phone signal in your RV is about more than just staying connected to the world; it’s also imperative for making sure you have a way to contact help in the case of an emergency.
In this guide, we discuss how an RV cell signal booster works, how it can help extend and improve the reliability of your 3G and 4G signal while you’re on the road, and how to choose the best RV cell signal booster for your needs.
What is an RV Cell Signal Booster?
An RV cell signal booster is a system of two antennas and a signal amplifier that work together to amplify the signal between your cellular device and cell tower. This provides a stronger, more reliable connection for your cellular device to your mobile network.
In this system, the outside antenna directs the signal (inbound or outbound) between the nearest cell tower and the signal amplifier, while the inside antenna directs the signal between the signal amplifier and your mobile device. The signal amplifier works as an intermediary between the two antennae, increasing the decibel-milliwatts (dBm) of the signal for a stronger, more reliable connection before passing the amplified signal on to your mobile device (downlink) or to the cell tower (uplink).
Cell signals can be disrupted for a number of reasons while on the road, including too much distance from the closest cell tower or driving through an area where cell towers are few and far between. Disruptions can also occur due to physical obstructions such as mountains, trees, or buildings; these obstructions can even include the weather or thick building materials such as the walls or ceilings in a parking garage.
All RV cell signal boosters require at least one bar of coverage just outside the vehicle. This is because signal boosters, regardless of their power, cannot boost a nonexistent signal. If you have a nationwide provider with ample coverage, this means you’ll be able to enjoy a stronger signal from a wider variety of locations which may otherwise be too remote for a signal booster to be effective.
Why Use an RV Cell Signal Booster?
An RV cell signal booster works to amplify the strength of 3G, 4G LTE, and, in the near future, 5G signals. Some RV signal boosters will only work with a single network, while other boosters can operate on all major North American networks. Regardless of the network, signal boosters work in the same way: an antenna receives an incoming or outgoing signal, sends it to the signal booster to amplify the strength of the signal, then sends it to the recipient (your mobile device or the cell tower). This helps to improve signal strength when you’re on the road traveling between towers, or when you’re stopped in a rural or remote area.
As a result of boosting signals, additional benefits of using an RV signal booster include:
- Improves Call Reliability. One of the primary reasons travelers choose to install an RV cell signal booster is to improve the reliability of their calls, helping to reduce dropped and missed calls. This is useful not only for staying in touch with loved ones, but also for safety in case of emergency.
- Extends Battery Life. When your cell phone is constantly searching for a signal, it quickly drains your battery life. However, with an effective RV mobile cell signal booster the battery life of your cell phone or other connected devices will improve.
- Faster Data & Internet Speeds. RV mobile signal boosters improve 4G your data speeds, giving you better streaming, downloading, and uploading capabilities. This means an improved internet signal and faster, more reliable text messaging which extends to all mobile devices using your cellular network. This means that network compatible tablets can also experience increased signal speed for internet browsing and more.
How to Pick the Right RV Cell Signal Booster for Your Needs
There are several RV cell signal boosters available, but not all boosters are created equal. You want to be sure the booster you use is compatible with your device and needs as well as with your mobile network.
How many devices will use the booster at a time?
If you will only have one device connected to your mobile cell phone signal booster at the time, you may be able to get away with a simpler, less powerful booster. However, if you will have multiple devices connected, it’s wise to select a booster powerful enough to handle multiple devices at a time. While a single-device booster will not disallow a second device from connection, it will significantly diminish the quality of the signal both devices receive.
Where are you traveling?
If you travel long distances, your cell phone will be switching between multiple cell towers as well as multiple roaming partners. By having an RV mobile signal booster that automatically optimizes gains, you’re ensuring the booster is always operating at maximum performance.
How confident are you in installing the cell signal booster?
Some cell signals may be more complicated to install in others. If you’re not confident in your ability to install and configure the device, consider choosing an RV cell signal booster that has simple installation and setup. Luckily, some companies like SureCall train and partner with a nation-wide group of certified installers who can guide and perform trickier installations.
How big is your RV?
Some of the smaller cell signal boosters are intended only to cover a small vehicle such as a car, truck, or SUV. When you’re looking for the best RV cell signal booster, it can be helpful to make sure the boosted signal will cover your entire RV by selecting the model designed for RVs rather than cars and trucks.
SureCall offers several mobile boosters for use across a range of vehicles, boats, and RVs. If you’re looking for the best RV cell signal booster, we recommend the Fusion2Go 3.0 RV. This booster boosts 3G and 4G LTE signals for all major North American carriers and covers the entire RV for multiple users and devices. It also has automatic gain adjustment to provide maximum possible performance even when you’re on the go, allowing for more freedom of travel without losing signal.