Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

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Kennedy
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Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by Kennedy »

If one has terrible Verizon cell phone service in a house in a large, urban community, will a cell phone booster work? I'm talking 1 bar with taking 4 minutes to load a page.

Someone told me this new house has a radiant heat barrier in the attic that blocks the signal? Reception is perfect on the street in front of the house. I prefer not to change carriers.
JBTX
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by JBTX »

Marylander1
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by Marylander1 »

Boosters that connect to your house internet and are usually available from your phone provider work, as long as your home connection is fast and stable.

Getting a combination of phone and carrier that supports WiFi calling is often even better. (My Google Fi uses that regularly.)

In contrast, off-brand booster gizmos that attach to your phone usually don't work.

Marylander1
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Kennedy
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by Kennedy »

This house does not have wi-fi, and there is no desire to add wi-fi. Are there boosters that really do work without relying on wi-fi?
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by WoodSpinner »

OP,

It depends, there has to be some signal to boost. Do you have any data on your current signal strength?

Have you considered a shift to another carrier a.

We use Cell Boosters in our RV frequently but sometimes we are simply out of luck due to geography.

WoodSpinner
jjface
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by jjface »

yes they work.
anon3838
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by anon3838 »

I have a booster for my verizon service in my home.

Before the booster, I couldn't get a call or make a call at home.

I've had it now for many years, and it works great.

Mine is made by Samsung.

ETA...I just noticed your mention of a radiant heat barrier in your attic. I also have a radiant heat barrier in my attic (newer construction home). HTH.
Last edited by anon3838 on Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dominic
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by Dominic »

Kennedy wrote: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:03 pm This house does not have wi-fi, and there is no desire to add wi-fi. Are there boosters that really do work without relying on wi-fi?
The Samsung network extender that Verizon sells will connect to a wired Internet router, so it doesn't need WiFi.
megabad
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by megabad »

Yes real boosters work. I have one at my business. I think it is from Wilson and it ties to this 4 foot high antenna on the roof of a metal building. The amplifier inside than broadcasts to the office. Full bars 24/7. We tried the fake boosters before (the ones that connect through the internet) and had zero luck with them but maybe they would work for one user if all you need is to send a text. We had to have Verizon verify the install and total cost was outrageous for our booster though. I can’t imagine doing that for a home. Far cheaper to install internet/WiFi and use that. If business bandwidth wasn’t so expensive, that is what we would have done at the office.
vtMaps
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by vtMaps »

megabad wrote: Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:37 am Yes real boosters work. I have one at my business. I think it is from Wilson and it ties to this 4 foot high antenna on the roof of a metal building.
I also used a Wilson booster for Verizon until we got fiber a couple of years ago. It worked very well, but you probably need an antenna outside the house. It probably does not need to be on the roof... it could even be mounted in a window or just outside a window... depends on the strength of the signal you are trying to boost.

OP, if you hold your cellphone up against the glass of a window, do you get a good signal?

--vtMaps
Historical Fact: Justin Smith Morrill represented Vermont in congress, had a dog named 'Trump', and wrote legislation establishing the Land Grant Colleges.
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willthrill81
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by willthrill81 »

Those in the RV community widely use cell phone boosters. The real ones work well.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
JBTX
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by JBTX »

At the risk of high jacking the thread a bit - the phone signal at our house, in a suburban area, just happens to be weak. You can go a few hundred yards away and it is better. 99% of the time it doesn't matter because we use wifi or wifi calling. However the internet tanked a half day two different days last week which was not convenient at all and my Hotspot was not reliable due to poor phone reception.

In situations such as this, are the carriers (att) able to do anything to help or is it up to you to buy a booster if it is serious enough to address?
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cockersx3
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by cockersx3 »

I assume you're talking about a device that does not rely on an internet signal, right? If so, then yes - I helped my in-laws install on in their home and it worked very well. They had a marginal signal on the south side of the outside of the home, but there was virtually no signal indoors. Their assembly consisted of an antenna that is installed outside, wired to another smaller antenna inside the home and powered by an amplifier. Went from nearly zero signal inside to almost 4 bars and great speeds. I was amazed actually, had actually recommended not wasting the money - but it definitely works.
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Kennedy
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by Kennedy »

Dominic wrote: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:10 pm
Kennedy wrote: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:03 pm This house does not have wi-fi, and there is no desire to add wi-fi. Are there boosters that really do work without relying on wi-fi?
The Samsung network extender that Verizon sells will connect to a wired Internet router, so it doesn't need WiFi.
OP here. I wanted to tell you all how this turned out. I ended up installing wi-fi and then called Verizon. The agent sent me this Samsung Network Extender. https://www.verizon.com/products/samsun ... sku2490003 It retails for $250, but Verizon provided one to me for free, with the instruction that I return it if/when my Verizon service terminates.

We plugged it into a cat-5 "outlet" in the house, and it works perfectly! I have a reliable 4 bar service now and haven't dropped a call since installing it. I can also load pages quickly (also when my phone wi-fi is turned off).

I'm still confused as to how it works. My phone works great now in the house even if I turn off wi-fi and just use cellular. If as Dominic says it connects to the internet router, but it doesn't need wi-fi, how does it work?
Dominic
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by Dominic »

Kennedy wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 8:02 pm
Dominic wrote: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:10 pm
Kennedy wrote: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:03 pm This house does not have wi-fi, and there is no desire to add wi-fi. Are there boosters that really do work without relying on wi-fi?
The Samsung network extender that Verizon sells will connect to a wired Internet router, so it doesn't need WiFi.
OP here. I wanted to tell you all how this turned out. I ended up installing wi-fi and then called Verizon. The agent sent me this Samsung Network Extender. https://www.verizon.com/products/samsun ... sku2490003 It retails for $250, but Verizon provided one to me for free, with the instruction that I return it if/when my Verizon service terminates.

We plugged it into a cat-5 "outlet" in the house, and it works perfectly! I have a reliable 4 bar service now and haven't dropped a call since installing it. I can also load pages quickly (also when my phone wi-fi is turned off).

I'm still confused as to how it works. My phone works great now in the house even if I turn off wi-fi and just use cellular. If as Dominic says it connects to the internet router, but it doesn't need wi-fi, how does it work?
Glad it worked, and glad Verizon provided it to you.

The way it works is that the extender connects to Verizon by going through your wired Internet, and then broadcasts a cell signal. It's really a miniature cell tower.
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Kennedy
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by Kennedy »

Dominic wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 8:54 pm
Kennedy wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 8:02 pm
Dominic wrote: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:10 pm
Kennedy wrote: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:03 pm This house does not have wi-fi, and there is no desire to add wi-fi. Are there boosters that really do work without relying on wi-fi?
The Samsung network extender that Verizon sells will connect to a wired Internet router, so it doesn't need WiFi.
OP here. I wanted to tell you all how this turned out. I ended up installing wi-fi and then called Verizon. The agent sent me this Samsung Network Extender. https://www.verizon.com/products/samsun ... sku2490003 It retails for $250, but Verizon provided one to me for free, with the instruction that I return it if/when my Verizon service terminates.

We plugged it into a cat-5 "outlet" in the house, and it works perfectly! I have a reliable 4 bar service now and haven't dropped a call since installing it. I can also load pages quickly (also when my phone wi-fi is turned off).

I'm still confused as to how it works. My phone works great now in the house even if I turn off wi-fi and just use cellular. If as Dominic says it connects to the internet router, but it doesn't need wi-fi, how does it work?
Glad it worked, and glad Verizon provided it to you.

The way it works is that the extender connects to Verizon by going through your wired Internet, and then broadcasts a cell signal. It's really a miniature cell tower.
Interesting. Thanks. It really has made a huge difference!
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wander
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by wander »

The booster work. There are two good brands for this: Wilson and Surecall. I installed a system in our building at work for everyone in the building. It works every well without WiFi in the building.
megabad
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by megabad »

Thanks for the update OP. Surprised but glad you are having a good experience so far. I never had good luck with these sort of fake boosters. None of them seemed to have enough bandwidth to run more than one lightly used phone. That and the obvious disadvantage of my phone not working in a storm were deal breakers for me (internet goes out during storms here). As long as your internet is up and it has enough bandwidth though, seems like it should work ok.
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by vtMaps »

megabad wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 1:48 am Thanks for the update OP. Surprised but glad you are having a good experience so far. I never had good luck with these sort of fake boosters.
The OP did not get a booster. A booster takes the cell signal from a tower and boosts it in your house. The OP's solution was to set up a "micro" cell tower in his house using his internet connection. When the OP uses his cell phone, his signal is not running through any cell tower, other than his "micro" tower.

By the way, boosters can and do work well if set up properly. The big engineering problem with boosters is feedback. The booster is relaying a cell tower signal... it needs to pick up the signal and then rebroadcast the signal. If it picks up its own signal, there will be feedback. Boosters work best with a directional antenna on the roof and the booster(s) located inside the house. The booster itself has a very limited range inside the house. This is by regulation because these boosters are operating on frequencies assigned to the cell phone companies.

--vtMaps
Historical Fact: Justin Smith Morrill represented Vermont in congress, had a dog named 'Trump', and wrote legislation establishing the Land Grant Colleges.
vested1
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by vested1 »

We bought the $250 Samsung booster for our home and it works great, although VZ didn't offer to lend us one for free, even though I told them I had read that they sometimes do. No cell carrier provides a good signal in our semi-rural location. We use Verizon for our cell service and went from not being able to maintain a call to having full coverage. It's like having a cell tower in your house. We have a large two story home with a basement and the signal remains strong throughout the house. It even works about 100' from the house on a path towards the lake.

It's important to have the booster centrally located in the house to have the best coverage available in all locations.

The device requires a GPS connection. The instructions say to place the GPS receiver that comes with the booster on a window sill. It's a small rectangular device with a wired connection back to the booster. The booster also requires a ethernet cord connection to your internet router. When family and freinds visit, if they don't have Verizon their phones have little to no reception. I'm not aware of other providers selling a booster, but someone else may know if one is available.

There are two types of equipment to improve the Verizon signal, an extender which is cheaper and worthless in my opinion, and the booster which is worth every penny. At first I was annoyed that I had to spend the money to make our phones work, but realized that Verizon didn't choose the location of our new house. We have wi-fi through our internet provider, Spectrum, but regardless of the claims of a salesman at the Verizon store who sold us our new phones, wi-fi doesn't work as well as the booster and only improved the signal marginally, even with a 200 mg connection. When we broke down and bought the booster it solved the problem.
vtMaps
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by vtMaps »

vested1 wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 3:21 am We bought the $250 Samsung booster for our home and it works great,
<snip>
There are two types of equipment to improve the Verizon signal, an extender which is cheaper and worthless in my opinion, and the booster which is worth every penny.
If you have the same Samsung unit as the OP, then you have Verizon's Network Extender, not a booster. Your weak cell tower signal is not being rebroadcast through your house... your signal, through the extender, is being carried by your internet connection.

--vtMaps
Historical Fact: Justin Smith Morrill represented Vermont in congress, had a dog named 'Trump', and wrote legislation establishing the Land Grant Colleges.
vested1
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by vested1 »

vtMaps wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 3:33 am
vested1 wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 3:21 am We bought the $250 Samsung booster for our home and it works great,
<snip>
There are two types of equipment to improve the Verizon signal, an extender which is cheaper and worthless in my opinion, and the booster which is worth every penny.
If you have the same Samsung unit as the OP, then you have Verizon's Network Extender, not a booster. Your weak cell tower signal is not being rebroadcast through your house... your signal, through the extender, is being carried by your internet connection.

--vtMaps
Sorry, you are incorrect. Regardless of semantics it is labeled by the seller as a booster, as opposed to their alternate product, which is labeled as an extender. True, it acts as an extender, but the layman shouldn't be required to take an electronics course to determine which product to buy. I believe for simplicity sake the KISS principle should apply.

I worked for AT+T for 31 years, installing and maintaining their most sophisticated equipment inside the office and in the field, then another 8 as a cell site design engineer with three different firms who contracted out to all carriers, each luring me away from the other. I finally retired 4 years ago, so my knowledge is somewhat dated. In my opinion Verizon has the "best" network, but I worked on all of their designs.

I didn't get into the weeds as much as I would have liked because of time constraints, but my various job responsibilities included the design for delivery and installation of fiber, coax, and hybrid cable, as well as antenna placement, site equipment management, and power delivery.

Ideally I like to know why things work as well as how they work, but must admit that I never delved into the wireless signal to my satisfaction because of the demands of the job. You may be more acquainted with the signal, and I envy you for that.
GuyInFL
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by GuyInFL »

We installed SureCall Fusion4Home and it worked well. It uses a directional antenna and amplified the signal.
vtMaps
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by vtMaps »

vtMaps wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 3:33 am If you have the same Samsung unit as the OP, then you have Verizon's Network Extender, not a booster. Your weak cell tower signal is not being rebroadcast through your house... your signal, through the extender, is being carried by your internet connection.
vested1 wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 4:03 am Sorry, you are incorrect. Regardless of semantics it is labeled by the seller as a booster, as opposed to their alternate product, which is labeled as an extender. True, it acts as an extender
Why am I incorrect? The OP wrote:
Kennedy wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 8:02 pm OP here. I wanted to tell you all how this turned out. I ended up installing wi-fi and then called Verizon. The agent sent me this Samsung Network Extender.
--vtMaps
Historical Fact: Justin Smith Morrill represented Vermont in congress, had a dog named 'Trump', and wrote legislation establishing the Land Grant Colleges.
vested1
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Re: Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

Post by vested1 »

vtMaps wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 8:50 am
vtMaps wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 3:33 am If you have the same Samsung unit as the OP, then you have Verizon's Network Extender, not a booster. Your weak cell tower signal is not being rebroadcast through your house... your signal, through the extender, is being carried by your internet connection.
vested1 wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 4:03 am Sorry, you are incorrect. Regardless of semantics it is labeled by the seller as a booster, as opposed to their alternate product, which is labeled as an extender. True, it acts as an extender
Why am I incorrect? The OP wrote:
Kennedy wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 8:02 pm OP here. I wanted to tell you all how this turned out. I ended up installing wi-fi and then called Verizon. The agent sent me this Samsung Network Extender.
--vtMaps
I misunderstood. Mine is a booster, not an extender.
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