Best Cell Phone Booster Reviews

Cell Phone Booster

If you have low bars outdoors because of very weak signal (less than -80 dBm “RSRP”), then we recommend buying a provider-specific booster like the Cel-Fi GO X for Verizon. Carrier-specific boosters have more gain (up to 100 dB) and will get you the best signal and largest coverage area.
Motorola MB8600 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

Top Internet Speeds for all Multi-gigabit Speed Tiers – Wirecutter recommends this model as the best cable modem for people using Gigabit Internet plans. Built-in DOCSIS 3.1 and DOCSIS 3.0 32×8 capabilities give top Internet speeds for all cable Internet services.
Save Money – Eliminate up to 168 dollars per year in cable modem rental fees (Savings are shown for Comcast Xfinity and vary by cable service provider.) Approved by Comcast Xfinity and Xfinity X1, Cox, and CableOne for all speeds including Comcast Gigabit services and Cox Gigablast. Not compatible with RCN. No cable modem is compatible with fiber optic, DSL, or satellite services, available from Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, and others.)
Flexible Compatibility – Pair with any Wi-Fi router you’d like, including Whole Home Wi-Fi or Mesh routers like eero, Google Wi-Fi, and Orbi. A 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet port allows connection of any SINGLE device with an Ethernet port including a router, Windows or Mac computer, HDTV, or game station. This cable modem does not have a built-in wireless router or telephone call capability.
Proactive Network Security – A broadcom chipset provides advanced security from denial-of service attacks.

ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem, Approved for Cox, Xfinity
  • Compatible with major U S Cable Internet Providers including Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity & others Not compatible with ATT, Verizon, CenturyLink or other DSL or Fiber internet providers
  • DOCSIS 3 1 Cable Modem best for cable internet speed plans up to 2 Gbps. Note, a 2nd IP address is required from your cable internet provider to reach 2 Gbps
  • 32 downstream x 8 upstream DOCSIS 3 0 bonded channels, 2 downstream x 2 upstream OFDM DOCSIS 3 1 channels
  • Two 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports (Note, a 2nd IP address may be required by your cable internet provider to activate 2nd port)
  • Cable internet service required Does not inlcude Wi-Fi and does not support cable digital voice service
ARRIS SURFboard SBG10 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem & AC1600 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router, Approved for Cox, Spectrum
  • 3 products in 1: DOCSIS 3 0 Cable Modem, AC1600 dual-band Wi-Fi Router, 2 Port Gigabit Ethernet Router (cable digital voice service not supported)
  • Compatible with major U S Cable Internet Providers including Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity & others. Cable internet service required. Not compatible with ATT, Verizon, CenturyLink or other DSL or Fiber internet providers
  • 16 downstream & 4 upstream channels. Best for cable internet service plans up to 400 Mbps.
  • Wi-Fi 5 AC1600 dual-band concurrent Wi-Fi Router with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Setup and manage your network with the SURFboard Manager app

Best Cell Phone Booster Reviews

Best Cell Phone Booster weBoost Home MultiRoom

You know the frustration: You’re stuck in a location where your cell phone’s bars have dwindled down to one or two, which means no calls, no texts, and no social media. Thankfully, a cell phone signal booster can save the day.

Cell phone signal boosters amplify weak signals. This means more bars on your phone, even if you work or live in a location far from a cell tower. But how do you pick the right booster for your phone? 

We’ve compiled all the pertinent information about the cell phone signal boosters on the market and put together our list of top picks. If you’re ready to supercharge your signal, keep reading this guide to get all the information you need to be an informed buyer.

Each bar on your cell phone represents five to seven times more signal power than the previous bar.

HOW A CELL PHONE SIGNAL BOOSTER WORKS

A cell phone signal booster uses an outdoor antenna to search for cell phone signals in the area. It captures those signals and boosts their power with a signal booster.

An indoor antenna broadcasts the strengthened signal so that your phone can receive it.

Cell phone signal booster kits have three components (though sometimes two of the components are combined into one device).

“The power of a signal booster is measured in decibels, or db.”
  • Outdoor Antenna: This antenna is installed outside your home or building. It reads the signal coming from the nearest cell phone tower.
  • Signal Booster: The signal booster sits inside your home or building. It connects to the outdoor antenna via a cable and amplifies its signal.
  • Indoor Antenna: The indoor antenna connects, again by cable, to the signal booster. It takes the amplified signal and broadcasts it throughout the building. In some cases, the indoor antenna is in the same box as the signal booster, like a WiFi router that also works as a modem. 

When sending data from your smartphone back to the cellular network, the system works in reverse. The indoor antenna receives the signal from your smartphone. It then sends the signal to the signal booster, which strengthens and amplifies the signal. That signal travels to the outdoor antenna, which makes the connection with the cell phone network tower.

DID YOU KNOW?
Some cell phone signal boosters have a limit on the number of devices that can be connected to them at one time.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR SELECTING A CELL PHONE SIGNAL BOOSTER

Outdoor antenna

You install the outdoor (or external) antenna. Cell phone signal boosters cannot generate their own signal; they can only amplify an existing signal. So it’s important for the outdoor antenna to be able to pull the strongest possible cell signal from a tower.

  • Omni-directional Outdoor Antenna: An omni-directional outdoor antenna reads signals that originate from any direction. If you have multiple cell phone towers in your area, this is the best type of outdoor antenna to use. This type of antenna also works well if the external signal strength is average in your area.

  • Directional Outdoor Antenna: Also called a Yagi antenna, a directional outdoor antenna is aimed in a particular direction. This works well if you have only one cell tower in your area. You can aim the directional antenna at the existing tower to receive the most direct line to the signal. This type of antenna works especially well if you have weaker-than-average signal strength in your area.

Indoor antenna

The indoor antenna sends the amplified or boosted signal through the building. There are two types of indoor antennas. Consider how you’ll use the antenna before selecting one.

  • Indoor Dome Antenna: An indoor dome antenna sends and receives signals in all directions. This is best used in the center of a room or building where it can reach all areas. A dome antenna works best on a single floor of a home or building, as its signal doesn’t go through floors well.

  • Indoor Panel Antenna: An indoor panel antenna sends and receives signals from one direction. This is best used in a rectangular area where the one-way signal can reach the length of the floor or room. You could also place the antenna on an upper floor and aim its signal downward to lower floors.

“A cell phone signal booster kit will list its expected coverage area in square feet.”

Cellular carrier

Different cellular carriers use different frequencies and networks.

Your cell phone signal booster kit needs to be able to handle the signal from your particular carrier. The booster kit should list which technologies it works with.

TERMINOLOGY

Here are some of the terms you need to understand when trying to match a booster kit to your carrier.

  • 2G: 2G is an older technology with slower speeds. Many cellular providers around the world still provide support for 2G technology. But most cellular carriers in the U.S. are shutting down their 2G networks. This will free the 2G bands to carry higher-speed signals. Not all signal booster kits provide support for 2G.

  • 3G: Nearly all cell phone signal boosters offer support for 3G. 3G is the most common signal used in the world currently. It is not the fastest technology available, however.

  • 4G: Many cell phone signal boosters provide at least some support for 4G, the fastest signal currently available. However, because there are different types of 4G, you need to know what type is available in your area. Some 4G signals use LTE technology, while others use WiMax.

  • LTE:  LTE stands for Long-term Evolution, and it’s one method by which 4G speeds can be achieved. It provides the fastest mobile internet connection. For reference, it’s about 10 times faster than a 3G connection and it works by connecting to the strongest signal within reach.

  • LTE-A: Like LTE, LTE-A is a method by which 4G speeds can be achieved, but it’s slightly more advanced. In fact, the “A” in the name stands for “Advanced,” and LTE-A offers even faster speeds than normal LTE by allowing you to download data from multiple sources simultaneously.

DID YOU KNOW?
Some booster kits work better with a 4G signal than a 3G signal. Know what type of signal you want to receive before picking a kit.
  • 5G: 5G technology will become widely available in the next few years. At this point, because it is so new, very few signal boosters support 5G. Because it will take several years for cellular companies to fully incorporate 5G, you don’t need 5G support in your booster kit at this time.

  • Dual-band: A dual-band device is one that can use two frequencies. Primarily, a dual-band booster kit can accept signals in the 850MHz and 1900MHz wireless bands. Many cellular providers use these bands for 2G and 3G signals.

  • AWS: AWS refers to the 1,700-MHz and 2,100-MHz wireless frequencies that some cellular providers use. These frequencies primarily appear in 3G and 4G LTE networks. Some boosters are able to support both AWS frequencies.

  • 700 MHz: Some carriers use the 700 MHz wireless band for 4G LTE, although this is rare.

“Cell phone signal booster kits should work with signals from multiple cellular carriers.”

DO YOU NEED A CELL PHONE SIGNAL BOOSTER?

The primary reason to use a cell phone signal booster is to amplify a weak cellular signal. But there are other benefits as well.

Better battery life

With the help of a cell phone signal booster, your smartphone won’t be forced to search for a weak signal. Thus, battery performance will improve. Smartphones use more battery power when searching for a signal than if the signal is steady and strong.

Elimination of dead zones

If there are certain areas of your home or building that don’t receive a cell signal, the booster eliminates these. The signal may be weak in these former dead zones, but it will be better than no signal at all.

DID YOU KNOW?
The more cable you use, the more signal strength you sacrifice. Across 50 feet of cable, you lose between two and five decibels of signal power.

Faster texting

With a stronger cellular signal, you’ll receive text messages faster and more consistently. If you rely on texting for communicating with your coworkers, you need a strong cell signal.

Reliable uploads

When sending documents or photos, a strong, steady signal is necessary. With a cell phone signal booster, you won’t have to worry about an upload or download getting dropped in the middle of a transfer.

Streaming services

If you like to watch videos or stream music on your smartphone, a strong signal is a must. If the signal is weak or intermittent, an audio or video stream could freeze or stop.

You can use any type of mobile device with a cell phone signal booster kit. If a tablet, smartphone, or other device can receive a cell signal, it will work with the booster.

FAQ

Q. How much area can an indoor antenna cover?

A. The coverage area for a cell phone signal booster is listed in square feet in a kit’s specifications. However, the full coverage area is only available under ideal conditions. If the signal you’re trying to boost is of average strength, you’ll receive nearly 100% of the listed coverage area. But if the original cell signal is weak, the booster’s coverage area will shrink quite a bit in real-world conditions. As a rule of thumb, anticipate getting 50% to 75% of the listed coverage area if the original signal is weak.

Q. What type of cable should I use with my system?

A. Most cell phone signal booster kits come with cables. However, you may decide to use a different type of cable. For example, an ultra low loss cable will outperform a coaxial cable in maintaining signal strength over a distance, and you might prefer that. Try to use the minimum amount of cable you can. A shorter cable equals a stronger signal.

Q. Can I use my cell phone signal booster in my vehicle?

A. In this article, we are looking at cell phone signal booster kits for inside a home or building. Signal boosters for cars are different types of devices.

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