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Cell phone signal booster for homes

by Mike Downing / April 11, 2010 4:03 AM PDT

I want to get rid of my land line in a winter vacation home but the cellular signal strength inside the home is poor (typical Florida metal roof and metal siding!).

All the previous posts are very old and there must be new technology. I've found quite a few via "Google-TM" searches but would like the opinions from people who have direct experience with cell phone signal boosters in homes.

Thanks, MikeFL

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options
by Pepe7 / April 12, 2010 7:27 AM PDT

You may have several options, some dependent upon which of the wireless carriers you use. (which one, btw?)

These two solutions are carrier agnostic (with appropriate models for various cell phone technologies/frequency bands/carriers)-

Repeater/amplifier (either whole house/whole-multiple room)-

http://www.unwiredsignal.com/?c=132&cn=Building+Cellular+Signal+Boosters

http://www.wilsonelectronics.com////Products.php?Type=B

There are desktop versions, but these are generally not going to perform as well as the models that require an external antenna. Of course mounting an antenna on an external roof or space may be required to get a service to perform how you want it, and this adds to the overall cost including wiring.

Some folks have used the Wi-Ex indoors to help cover at least part of a house or office-

http://www.wpsantennas.com/Wi-Ex-zBoost-Metro-YX540-Dual-Band-Repeater.aspx

So ballpark you will start at around $299, upwards of $500+ for the Wilson solution with an externally mounted antenna.

If you are lucky, your wireless carrier offers an indoor solution that they provide for customers in fringe reception areas. ATT just started rolling out microcells (femtocells) which bascially connect via your broadband router. This is only an option if you have high speed internet at your vacation home. Sprint & Verizon offer similar devices for their customers. This would be cheaper than the above amplification solutions w/ external antennas. Consult the carrier web sites for more details.

There have been some previous threads on this topic if you look back over the last year or so.

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Thanks Pepe7.
by Mike Downing / April 13, 2010 6:38 AM PDT
In reply to: options

Thanks Pepe7. I use Verizon but want it to work with other carriers so I thought I'd get a dual band system.

Any comments?

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Sure- look through the above links
by Pepe7 / April 13, 2010 7:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks Pepe7.

It just depends how usable the signal is already just outside your house. A small system may be adequate for covering a room or two. But if you really want better coverage throughout the dwelling in a seamless fashion, I'd spend more money if possible. I helped my cousins return the smaller one for a whole house Wilson solution to get usable signal to broadcast through very thick walls of a solidly constructed home. Two blocks from me, but they are in some sort of small area of weak coverage for ATT. Go figure.

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I know how to boost a weak signal
by GSMCellPhone / April 12, 2010 12:52 PM PDT
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Thanks Chris!
by Mike Downing / April 13, 2010 6:48 AM PDT

I assume you bought the "zBoost Wi Ex Dual Band Signal Booster". Why did you go with it vs an external antennae with a higher dB boost, e.g. from Wilson?

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