The Ultimate Cell Phone Signal Booster Guide

Guide Summary

Everything condensed into 14 bullet points for quick and easy reading.

The three biggest reasons of poor cell phone signal distance from a cell tower, building materials and geography.
Bars on your cell phone are not an accurate measurement for determining your signal strength. They are subjective measurements and vary across phone models and carriers.
Your real cell phone signal strength is measured in dBm.
Using Field Test Mode or smartphone apps can help you find the nearest cell tower.
Cell phone signal boosters work by taking existing outdoor cellular signal and amplifying it. The stronger the outdoor signal, the better your indoor coverage will be.
There are single-carrier boosters and multi-carrier (or wideband) boosters. Single-carrier boosters give better performance with their given carrier, while multi-carrier boosters are simpler and more generalized.
The two most important specs when buying an amplifier are gain and downlink power.

a. If you have strong outdoor signal, your amplifier will be limited by its downlink power.
b. If you have weak outdoor signal, your amplifier will be limited by its gain.

Your amplifier may automatically shut down if it detects oscillation (feedback) between its antennas, or if it is overwhelmed by strong signal. It will attempt to auto correct for the issue before shutting down completely.

a. Getting the right kind of coaxial cable can increase the distance you can run cable in-building without loss.

Outdoor antennas come in two types: omni-directional, and unidirectional. Omni-directional are more general and easier to install, whereas unidirectional give more gain and are better for weak or noisy signal areas.
You can buy as many indoor antennas and systems as you need and set them up with splitters and couplers. Indoor antennas come in two types: dome and panel. Dome is better than panel for wide open areas, while panel performs better in longer rooms and hallways.
In general, the more indoor antennas you use, the better coverage you can expect.
Consider a surge protector if you fear a lightning strike destroying your amplifier.
Public safety signal boosters are becoming a mandate like fire sprinklers and disabled accessibility in buildings. Most calls are now made over LTE rather than 3G or 2G networks.
Most calls are now made over LTE rather than 3G or 2G networks.
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