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Cell Phone Repeater Guide: A Solution For Every Situation

on March 16, 2017

Cell phone repeaters (also known as cell phone boosters) amplify weak 3G & 4G cellular signals, giving you back strong signals for better talk, text, and fast internet for home, vehicles, and commercial buildings. 

However, there are dozens of models and options, so it can get very confusing. If you have no idea which cell phone signal booster you need, no problem. 

Our guide provides the top recommendations backed by years of customer data and feedback. 

Solutions are organized by building size and vehicle type. 


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Building Solutions:


Vehicle Solutions:


Building Cell Phone Repeaters

Cabin, Cottage, & Countryside

3G & 4G:

1st:  weBoost Connect 4G (470103): If you have mediocre to average signal right now.

2nd:  weBoost Connect 4G-X (471104): If you have extremely poor signal in the cabin.

Why the Connect 4G? 

Also known as our Goldilocks model, the weBoost Connect 4G usually ranges from 750 sq ft to 4,500 sq ft depending on your outside signal. Although cabins, cottages, and other buildings in remote rural areas tend to be smaller than 2,000 sq ft, getting a cheaper booster like the  weBoost Home 4G isn't recommended unless you already have good signal.

Because cell tower distance is the #1 problem in the countryside with outside interference like trees, hills, and mountains being a close #2, you'll need a stronger booster to compensate for this if you want better 3G and 4G cellular service. That's when the Connect 4G-X comes in.

Why the Connect 4G-X?

The Connect 4G-X is the most powerful home repeater with ranges from 1,500 to 7,000 sq ft. However, this isn't some expensive upsell for signal booster owners living in the countryside.

It might be a necessity. 

If your signal is very, very poor and hanging on for dear life, then you'll need the absolute best booster to get any definitive results. A whisper can get loud, but you'll need a big, big microphone & speaker. 

Apartment, Single Office Home Office (SOHO), & Desktop Area

3G & 4G:

1st:  weBoost eqo (473120): Easy plug & play booster. Best for desktop area.

2nd:  weBoost Home 4G (470101): Desktop to 1 room booster depending on outside signal for talk, text, and high-speed internet. 

Why the eqo? 

Super easy install. No need to drill any holes, so landlord-friendly. One receiving unit near the window pulls in the signal, the broadcasting unit provides boosted 3G & 4G cell signals to the area of need.

Better performer in the city and most likely will boost performance within a desktop area (less than 10-15 feet), so recommended for SOHO (single off, home office). And if you currently have really good signal, it may cover up to the whole room. 

Why the Home 4G? 

Slightly more powerful than the weBoost eqo, but comes with three parts (outside antenna, inside antenna, and amplifier) for a bit more time on the installation process but possibly better signal.

With weak signal, it'll work as a desktop area booster. With average to good signal, it may cover up to 1-2 rooms. The trick is to have the outside antenna installed outside the home and as high as possible. Although, it can also be installed with a window-suction mount for easy installations. 

Home (1,000 to 4,000 sq ft)

3G & 4G:

1st:  weBoost Connect 4G (470103): Popular booster for people with low to average signal.

2nd:  weBoost Connect 4G-X (471104): Powerful booster for folks with very, very poor signal.

Why the Connect 4G? 

For 90% of most people, the weBoost Connect 4G will get the job done. It covers the average-sized home in America & Canada for better 3G & 4G service. 

Depending on your outside signal, it usually ranges from 750 to 4,500 sq ft. Again people with poor signal will see lower coverage range and people with good signal will see the higher end of coverage range.

If cell tower distance is the number one cause of your poor signal (usually a countryside problem), then you'll see lesser coverage. If building material is the number one cause (usually an urban problem), then you'll see more coverage, since repeaters are great at bypassing building material interruption.

For the other 9% who are near a dead zone or need more coverage, look at the Connect 4G-X. 

Why the Connect 4G-X? 

This most powerful home signal booster usually ranges from 1,500 to 7,000 sq ft depending on outside signal. Unless you have terrible, one-foot-on-a-banana-peel signal, this should cover most homes at 4,000-5,000 sq ft in the city and 2,500-3,500 sq ft homes in the country.  

Home (4,000 to 7,000 sq ft)

3G & 4G:

1st: weBoost Connect 4G-X (471104): Most powerful 4G repeater for home.

Why the Connect 4G-X? 

The Connect 4G-X booster usually ranges from 1,500 to 7,000 sq ft depending on the outside signal. Customer data shows city folks generally get an average coverage of 4,000-5,500 sq ft and 2,500-3,000 sq ft in the country. But as always, everyone's situation is different, so please make sure you know your  signal strength in dB reading beforehand.

Home (10,000 to 20,000 sq ft)

3G & 4G:

1st:  Wilson Pro 70 (463134) [75 ohm]: Pro-grade signal booster with range up to 25,000 sq ft.

Why the Pro 70? 

The most powerful consumer repeater for homes & buildings top out at 7,000-7,500 sq ft in a best case scenario. Needing coverage for a large home, mansion, or wide property ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 sq ft requires a commercial signal booster like the Wilson Pro 70.

Commercial Buildings, Hospitals & Retail

3G & 4G:

1st: Wilson Pro 70 Plus (463127) [50 ohm]: Commercial cellular repeater with range up to 50,000 sq ft.

2nd: Wilson Pro 70 (465134) [50 ohm]: Commercial repeater with range up to 25,000 sq ft.

Why the Pro 70 Plus? 

The Wilson Pro 70 series is Wilson Electronics line of commercial grade repeaters for enterprises and big businesses. The Wilson Pro 70 Plus is the most powerful signal booster currently available with a range up to 50,000 sq ft of 3G & 4G cell coverage. 

However, it is important to talk to a  signal boosting expert first to help with pre and post installation support

Factory, Warehouse, & Manufacturing Plants

3G & 4G:

1st: Wilson Pro 4000R: Commercial signal booster with range up to 100,000 sq ft with the power of 4 signal boosters.

2nd: Wilson Pro 1000: Commercial signal booster with range up to 50,000 to 75,000 sq ft.

Why the 4000R & 1000? 

Wilson Electronics two most powerful pro-grade repeaters are the Wilson 4000R and Wilson 1000. Both have coverage for most commercial buildings ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 sq ft. The 4000R is a rack-mount for IT professionals.

As always, it's best to talk to  signal boosting expert to help with pre and post installation support.

M2M

4G:

1st: Wilson Signal 4G (470119): 4G M2M signal repeater for machine-to-machine applications.

3G

1st: Wilson Signal 3G (460109): 3G M2M signal repeater for machine-to-machine applications. 

Why the Signal 3G & 4G? 

Both models are bi-directional devices that amplify data to and from the cell tower. Internal automatic controls help avoid overload and optimize for efficient amplification. Compact design allows it to fit in the tightest of places. Up to +15 dB, so a great boost to any M2M or IoT application.


   

Vehicle Cell Phone Repeaters

Cars, Sedans, & SUVs

3G & 4G:

1st:  weBoost Drive 4G-M (470108): Popular booster that fills most mobile needs. 

2nd:  weBoost Drive 4G-X (470510): Powerful booster for rural areas.

3rd: weBoost Drive 4G-S (470107): Low-cost booster if you live in the city.


Why the Drive 4G-M? 

The Goldilocks model for most vehicles, the weBoost 4G-M deliver boosted signal up to 4 people within the interior area of the car (about 4 to 8 feet in diameter depending on the signal). 

Works ok in the countryside but better in the city. If cell tower distance is the biggest problem for you, then consider the Drive 4G-X.

Why Drive 4G-X? 

Made for drivers with limited signal. The Drive 4G-X has a higher uplink than the other models. This means it's able to reach about 50% farther to the nearest cell tower to pull in signal.

Recommended for remote, rural areas who need reliable 3G & 4G signal, although city dwellers will also get much improved & stronger signal, too.  

RVs, Campers, & 5th Wheelers

3G & 4G:

1st:  weBoost Drive 4G-X + RV-Trucker Essentials (470510-RV): Powerful booster while on the road.

2nd:  weBoost RV4G (470201): Great booster when parked at the campsite.

3rd: weBoost Drive 4G-M (470108): Doesn't provide whole camper coverage but enough for a small workspace area.

Why the Drive 4G-X + RV Kit? 

This is a custom unit that combines the most powerful vehicle cell phone repeater, the weBoost Drive 4G-X, with a powerful outside and inside antenna. This leads to whole RV coverage while stationary or on the go. Very good for talk, text, and high-speed internet.  

Why the RV4G? 

The weBoost RV4G delivers the same powerful 3G & 4G whole RV coverage, but it must be stationary for best use. So great performer when parked at the campsite or RV park. 

Semi-trucks & 18 Wheelers

3G & 4G:

1st: weBoost Drive 4G-X + RV-Trucker Essentials (470510-RV): Powerful booster with robust trucker antenna.

2nd: weBoost Drive 4G-M (470108): Good booster with driver-seat coverage.

Why the Drive 4G-X + Trucker Kit? 

It's the most powerful 4G vehicle repeater paired with a spring-mount rugged trucker antenna. The antenna can withstand a lot of elements, so it's hard-wearing and shock-resistant. 

Why the Drive 4G-M? 

Compared to the Drive 4G-X + Trucker Kit, it's more affordable. Does a good job with driver-seat 3G & 4G coverage although the magnetic mount antenna may be a deal breaker for some.

Ambulance & EMS

3G & 4G:

1st:  weBoost Drive 4G-X + Ambulance Kit (470510-EMS): Power signal booster for emergency medical service responders. 

Why the Drive 4G-X + Ambulance Kit? 

It's the most powerful vehicle repeater paired with a NMO (non-magnetic option) antenna for fixed installations. Versatile in capturing 3G & 4G signals during an emergency situation while driving. 

Boats, Yachts, & Cruisers

4G:

1st:  weBoost Drive 4G-X + Marine Kit (470510-M): Powerful marine booster for talk, text, and high-speed internet.

Why the Drive 4G-X + Marine Kit? 

Most powerful vehicle signal booster paired with a weather-resistant outside antenna and powerful inside antenna that provides 3G or 4G coverage throughout the interior of the yacht or boat. 

Works well either docked or sailing on the waters. 


Some Things to Know Before Investing in a Cell Phone Repeater

1. Know how to read decibel (db) gain & finding the cell tower.

Cell phone bars? Not totally accurate.

In fact, they're subjective across all carriers. There isn't even an industry standard to represent true signal strength that correlates to the number of bars on your phone.

However, all cellular signals operate within a certain frequency. And that is -50 dB to -120 dB (decibels). 

-50 dB is great signal, full bars. - 120 dB is bad signal, a dead zone. And everything in between ranges from good to average to poor signal.

So finding your dB reading on your cell phone is important, because it accurately tells you how strong your signal is, and secondly, it informs you the general direction of your cell tower. For example, if the west side of your home is closer to - 50 dB than the other parts of your house, then it means that the cell tower is located west of your home.

Learn how to find your cell phone tower and finding dB reading (field test mode) on your phone: 

Finding Cell Tower Locations: The Complete Guide

2. Internal obstruction vs external obstruction

Once you understand how to access and read dB gain on your phone. Test readings inside & outside the house by walking around the perimeter of your home. If you notice that you have decent signal outside, but poor signal inside, it means you have an internal obstruction.

In normal speak, it means your building material (metal, tin, thick walls, energy-efficient material, etc.) is blocking your cell phone signal from reaching inside. In many cases, the average cellular repeater will do a very good job amplifying that signal, bypassing obstructions, and rebroadcasting to an area in need inside your home.

However, if you notice you have extremely weak and poor signal outside, then it's known as an external obstruction.

In normal speak again, it means distance from the cell tower and/or hills, mountains, and tall trees are blocking signal from reaching to the outside of your home.

In that case, it's recommended to use a more powerful repeater to reach farther to the cell tower and to amplify that weak signal.

3. The difference between 3G & 4G

All weBoost repeaters come in 3G and 4G versions.

If dropped calls, better voice quality, and reliable text messages are what you only need. Then stick with the 3G repeater. You'll save more money.

If you want to improve all those functions AND have faster high-speed data, then go for the 4G repeater. It improves both 3G & 4G, so it's more future-proof.

4. Have you tried other free ways to get better signal? 

There are some tips & tricks that could help improve your reception without needing a signal booster. Did you know that some phones can use wi-fi to make phone calls? Or how clearing out any obstructions inside your home?

Learn more with our guide:

7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Cell Phone Signal


PLEASE NOTE: All cell phone repeaters are dependent on outside signal. The stronger your outside signal, the more sq ft coverage you may get from your booster. 

However, the weaker your outside signal, you may get less coverage than the specified booster range. Therefore, it's recommended to get a model of bigger coverage than what you need in case of very poor outside signal.

If you have absolutely no signal and live in a dead zone, a cellular repeater will most likely not be able to help you. "Heal the injured, not raise the dead" type of situation.


Want to learn more about cellular repeaters? Read more with our definitive guide:


Need help? Email us today ( sales@wilsonamplifiers.com) or give us a call at 1-800-568-2723. A cell phone signal expert will gladly assist you in getting better signal instantly.

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