How Does A Signal Booster Work?

How Does A Signal Booster Work?

Written by Alex Baker
9th Jun 2022

Dropped calls and lost signals can cause a great deal of frustration. Fortunately, our lives are made easier thanks to cell phone signal boosters. However, many question whether signal boosters work. Signal boosters are actually very useful. They can boost your cell signal strength by 32 times inside your home and vehicle, making data speed faster and giving you more bars. Read on to find out how they work.

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What is a Signal Booster?

Signal boosters are IC (Industry Canada) Certified and FCC (Federal Communications Commission) approved electronic devices. They amplify existing cell signals and deliver them to buildings where indoor signal is weak. They are 5G ready and will improve existing 4G signals for all cellular devices across all Canadian carriers. Whether you have weak outside signal or your building's material prevents cellular from reaching you, a cell signal booster will help.

How Does a Signal Booster Work?

Cell phones are two-way radio units that communicate with cell towers via radio frequency (RF) signals. A cell signal booster or repeater catches those over-the-air signals from nearby towers, amplifies them, then rebroadcasts the amplified signals. These more powerful signals then reach your phone and other cellular-enabled devices. They also amplify the signal going back to the cell tower.

Different signal boosters are available for different situations:

  • In-Building Cellular Boosters - Designed to improve cell coverage in homes, offices, commercial buildings, and any other building that requires it.
  • Vehicle Cellular Boosters - Ideal for cars, trucks, RVs, SUVs, boats, fleet vehicles, anything that moves.

Both types of cellular amplifiers only work if a signal exists. Cellular signal boosters enhance current signals – they don’t create them. They utilize an external antenna, a signal amplifier, an internal antenna, and coaxial cables to eliminate dropped calls, unsent texts, and snail-like data speeds.

Outside Antenna: Captures Existing Outside Signal

Outside antennas, or donor antennas, capture your existing 5G/4G/LTE signals, even if faint. To capture the strongest signal possible, they are usually mounted on the roof of your home, business, or vehicle. This improves the line of sight between the cell phone tower and the antenna.

There are two types of external antennas:

  • Omni-Directional Antennas – These antennas have a 360-degree radiation beam, meaning they can send and receive cell signals from every direction.
  • Directional Antennas – These antennas only transmit signals in one direction, making them more powerful than Omni antennas. For optimal results, it is essential to point them in the direction of your closest cell tower.

The type of external antenna you use will heavily impact the performance of the signal booster. Omni-directional antennas will work best for homes with usable outside signal and vehicles in motion. On the other hand, directional antennas are best for homes with weak outside signal, as well as stationary RVs, campers, and mobile homes.

Signal Amplifier: Boosts the Signal

The amplifier, also known as a cellular repeater, is where the magic happens. It receives the signal from the outside antenna via coaxial cables and boosts it to improve call quality and data speeds.

The amplifier's amplification power is expressed in dB (decibel) gain. Per the FCC, multi-carrier home and enterprise signal boosters can feature up to 72 dB of gain, while vehicle boosters can feature up to 50 dB of gain. The more gain, the more powerful the booster and the more coverage it can provide.

Inside Antenna: Broadcasts the Boosted Signal

After the signal has been amplified, it’s routed to the inside antenna via coaxial cables. The inside antenna broadcasts the boosted signal into your home, office, or vehicle, providing all your cellular devices with improved talk, text, and data.

There are different types of indoor antennas:

  • Panel Antennas are the most common indoor antennas kitted with weBoost signal boosters for homes. They are directional and have more gain than a dome antenna. They do a great job of covering priority areas with reliable cell reception. If you have weak outside signal, you will get optimum coverage with a panel antenna.
  • Dome Antennas are omnidirectional. They will distribute the amplified signal evenly throughout the desired area. You will get the most out of a dome antenna when installed in open spaces with minimal inside interferences.
  • Cradle Antennas are only used with vehicle boosters. The smartphone must sit in the cradle to receive the amplified signal. They are perfect for single users.
  • Low-Profile Antennas are the most common indoor antennas kitted with vehicle boosters. They are omnidirectional, so they can transmit or receive signals in any direction.

Do Cellular Boosters Really Work?

If you have a sliver of signal outside your home, office, or vehicle, a cell phone booster will work. Remember, they can only amplify existing cellular signals, not create them out of thin air. You don’t have to take our word for it though, see what our customers are saying.

What Are the Benefits of Owning a Signal Booster?

Investing in a cell phone signal booster has multiple advantages:

  • Eliminates dropped calls
  • Improves call quality
  • Increases data speeds
  • Enhances cell coverage for all major Canadian carriers (Bell, Rogers, Telus, Fido, etc.)
  • Bypasses signal blocking material
  • Eliminates signal frustrations
  • Improves battery life
  • Does not need WiFi or a landline connection
  • One-time purchase
  • AND MORE!

The Bottom Line

Whether you're experiencing poor in-building or in-vehicle cell coverage due to thick building material, cell tower distance, or outdoor interferences (e.g. trees, mountains, hills, etc.), a signal booster can significantly improve cell coverage where you need it. Just imagine no more dropped calls, unsent messages, slow internet, or poor cell reception while relaxing or working.

Now that you know how a signal booster works, we hope this information helps you find the right booster for your situation. If you have additional questions or need help, please call us at 1-800-373-2927 or email us at [email protected].

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About The Author of This Article
Alex Baker
Senior Copywriter - Wilson Amplifiers
Alex has been studying all things signal boosters for the past 5 years. His technical knowledge is matched only by his writing prowess. In his spare time, he enjoys long walks, stimulating conversation, collecting video games, and trying unusual recipes.