We talk a lot about Wi-Fi boosters, but we get a lot of questions on cell phone boosters too. Cellular signal comes from cell towers and the amount of cell data you use is paid for by you on your data plan through AT&T, Verizon and others. Often times we find ourselves in places that have poor cell signal, and I have no access to Wi-Fi. This is not a good place to be when you run a company from the road. When you, our customer, wants us for something, we pride ourselves in being available within a reasonable period of time. If we do not have some type of signal to allow us to communicate, our business is effectively closed down. We always have a cell phone booster with us, and so I thought I would explain what the purpose of a booster is. Unlike a Wi-Fi booster that is effectively increasing your ability to grab a signal from a distance, a cell phone booster is actually taking a signal, and amplifying it to a place that has low cell signal, like my RV. If you are able to get a cell signal, even one bar, then a cell phone booster can help, but if you can’t get any signal then a booster will boost nothing, 1000 times zero is still zero. Our experience with the cell boosters we use is that the cell signal is truly boosted, and broadcasted in your RV. Some limitations exist, and the main one is that when using a cell booster there is an inside antenna that is broadcasting the boosted signal. If you are not within 1 ½ - 2 feet of the inside antenna then you will get little assistance. This is not a problem for us because we use a Verizon Jet Pack and we just place it next to the inside antenna. If we need to use our phone in a low cell signal coverage area then I will just place the cell phone next to the inside antenna and then use the blue tooth capabilities for talking.
So the set up for a cell booster looks like this: You will have an outside antenna that goes on the roof of your RV. The antenna comes with a magnetic base, and since most RVs do not have a metal roof you will need to put down a metal plate, called a grounding plane. Now there are some calculations for the proper size grounding plane, but for these antennas if you have something the size of a cookie sheet then you will be in good shape. Some people use epoxy to permanently put there plate on the roof, and some use Velcro, then some literally use a cookie sheet for a temporary solution (I have done this!). Then the cable from the outside antenna needs to be run inside the RV. Again, get creative. For temporary installations you can run it in a window; others have custom conduit run from the roof to an AV center of the RV. This is up to you, but once the cable is run inside, it connects to the cell amplifier, and the signal is now boosted. From the other side of the amplifier comes another cable for an inside antenna. This inside antenna is where the boosted signal is captured from your jet pack or cell phone. I kid you not, these units work, and our business would be in trouble if we did not have one of these. The good news is that if you have a permanent grounding plane on the roof then you can use these boosters while driving down the road.
We sell two different kinds of cell boosters, and both are great. WeBoost is the brand and they are the standard when it comes to cell boosters. There are two different models and they both work the same - one just has more power than the other, and it costs 100 bucks more. The WeBoost 4G-X has the most signal boost allowed by the FCC for a unit this size, and the WeBoost 4G-M is a notch below that. Tami told me I was crazy for writing this article since I am a little short on these units in the warehouse, but I can get more in, so the delay won’t be too bad.
This was the easy to understand write up on cell boosters without getting into the numbers. I can get into the numbers in another article, but this should get you enough info to make you start thinking about getting one of these units; they really are incredible, and for those who must have internet service on the road, they are life-savers!