At HiBoost we understand that most people don't want to have to wade through all the technical jargon to understand the product they are looking to buy. You just want to find the right solution to your problem. In this guide, we are going to break down everything cell phone booster related as simply as possible to help you understand just what you're looking for so you can make the right decision on which booster will fit your unique situation.
Understanding Your Own Needs
Each cellular service problem requires a unique solution. While we typically recommend getting a professional to look at your property to help create a custom solution for you we understand that many people prefer to do this themselves.
To figure out what solution you'll need without having a professional site walk you'll need to determine a few things about your environment.
First, determine how much square footage you are looking to cover with the boosted signal. Our HiBoost kits are designed to cover up to the square footage of the indicated kit (in the thousands). For example, the Home 4K is designed to cover up to 4,000 square feet in optimal conditions.
Next, we need to assess the signal you are receiving around the site that needs to be brought indoors. To do this you will need to determine the decibel reading outside. This chart provides a rough estimation that is simple to understand. It is important to understand that each phone maker uses a different algorithm so this is just a rough estimation.
If you are receiving less than -80 dB outdoors (typically between 2 and 3 bars) you will need a stronger booster to get up to quality service. We typically recommend our Home 10K or 15K, even for smaller sized buildings, when the outdoor signal is this poor because the boosters themselves are more powerful than the Home 4K. If you are looking to boost a low quality signal throughout a larger area our commercial and industrial lines are ideal for spreading a boosted signal across higher square footage and at higher gains than our residential boosters.
If you need a more fine-tuned reading of your decibels then you should use the field test mode. This will provide the most accurate signal strength reading. For more information about entering field test mode read our blog post.
Devices running on more recent versions of iOS will need to follow a different way to access field test mode. This video by one of our vendors, RepeaterStore, provides a great updated guide.
Another way to increase the signal gained would be to use a directional antenna. While omnidirectional antennas are great for the average user if one needs a large gain in signal a directional antenna is almost a necessity. We offer directional panel antennas and logarithmic periodic antennas both of which, while harder to install, provide increased gain when compared to an omnidirectional antenna.
Situations where you already have a strong signal outside but the building materials or other obstructions are blocking the signal from coming indoors are where HiBoost cell phone signal boosters excel. When the outdoor signal is strong the outdoor antenna is easily able to receive the signal and bring it indoors to be amplified and transmitted into your building.
For these situations, we recommend using a booster with a maximum square footage coverage that closely matches the square footage of the area you need to be covered. This will really maximize your bang for your buck. We also recommend using an omnidirectional antenna as it will be more than adequate to provide the signal for your booster.
HiBoost Cell Phone Signal Booster Kits
First and foremost let's look at the different kits that HiBoost offers. All of our commercial and residential kits come with two antennas (one indoor and one outdoor), the actual booster, and a length of coaxial cable.
Our industrial booster kits can include more antennas or boosters depending on the signal problems. Typically what will be included in your industrial kit will be recommended by one of our professional installation partners after a site walk.
Each kit includes everything you will need to completely install your booster. If you find you need to further spread or disperse your signal we also offer splitters and additional antennas to allow you to further customize your solutions.
For those customers choosing to do a home installation, you can follow along with our installation video for an easy to understand, step-by-step walkthrough of an installation of a HiBoost cell phone signal booster.
Looking to boost your cell signal in your home or office? HiBoost has the perfect solution. Our Home 4K is the most powerful home and small office cell phone signal booster on the market. It can support up to 100 users on every major carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint). The HiBoost Home 4K provides up to 4,000 square feet of increased cell phone coverage on all 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE networks. Our kit allows for a quick and simple Do-It-Yourself installation.
- LCD Display for enhanced troubleshooting
- 4,000 square foot coverage
- Supports up to 100 users
- Compatible with all carriers and networks
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- FCC approved
The Home 4K is the most powerful small home or office cell signal solution on the market.View Details
HiBoost’s Home 10K cell phone signal booster provides superior signal boosting to homes and offices. The Home 10K uses our patented ultrawide broadband technology to boost cell phone signal for all carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile) and all 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE networks. The Home 10K signal booster can support up to 200 simultaneous users.
- LCD Display for easy troubleshooting
- 10,000 square foot coverage under optimal conditions
- Can support up to 200 users
- Works with all networks and carriers
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- FCC approved
HiBoost's Home 10K provides superior signal reception to mid-sized buildings.View Details
Need a big boost in your cell phone signal? HiBoost’s Home 15K is our premium home and office cell phone signal booster. The Home 15K will provide the most powerful signal throughout most large homes and offices. Our Home 15K amplifies the signal on all 3G and 4G LTE networks on every carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) and supports up to 200 devices. The Home 15K is the most powerful broadband booster with the highest gain allowed by FCC regulators.
- LCD Display for simple troubleshooting
- 15,000 square foot coverage under ideal conditions
- Supports 200 simultaneous users
- Boosts signal from all carriers and networks
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- FCC approved
HiBoost's Home 15K is the premier signal booster for residences and offices covering the largest square footage and most powerful signal gain for any residential boosters.View Details
The HiBoost Commercial 20K is the first of our line of professional signal boosting solutions. Whether you need a signal solution for your office, restaurant, hotel, bank, or business then the Commercial 20K is the perfect small business solution. Our Commercial Pro line provides superior coverage and gain to our business partners. The Commercial 20K provides the best amplification on all networks; 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE, and all carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint).
- LCD Display allows for easy troubleshooting
- Suitable for use with all carriers and networks
- Supports 200+ users simultaneously
- Up to 20,000 square foot coverage
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- FCC approved
The HiBoost Commercial 20K is the leading signal booster for small businesses that need to boost cell signal in retail, hospitality, finance, and any other enterprise.View Details
The HiBoost Commercial 30K is our most powerful FCC pre-approved cell phone signal booster. Boost cell phone reception throughout 30,000 square feet. The Commercial 30K works on every 3G and 4G LTE network and is compatible with every carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint). HiBoost guarantees that the Commercial 30K is the best way to boost your signal for your business with our 3-year manufacturer warranty.
- LCD Display for quick and easy troubleshooting
- Covers up to 30,000 square feet
- Supports 200+ unique users simultaneously
- Compatible with all carriers and networks
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- FCC approved
HiBoost's Commercial 30K is the premium signal booster solution for businesses that need superior square footage and signal gain.View Details
The HiBoost Industrial 50K is one of our most powerful cell phone signal boosters. It provides professional quality cell phone signal over up to 50,000 square feet. The Industrial 50k is able to boost radio frequencies used by every carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) and every network 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE. The Industrial 50K is the best way for you to meet your businesses cell signal needs.
- LCD Display for troubleshooting
- Covers up to 50,000 square feet
- Supports over 200 users at once
- Works on all carriers and networks
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- FCC approved
The HiBoost Industrial 50K is our first professional grade cell signal booster that amplifies cell signal on an industrial scale.View Details
This is HiBoost’s most powerful cell phone signal booster. It has been specifically engineered to be as powerful as possible within FCC regulations. It will boost signal for over 200 users simultaneously across all networks, 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE, and all carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile). The Industrial 100K is the ideal cellular signal solution for hospitals, government buildings, offices, warehouses, banks, apartment complexes, hotels, and any other large scale business enterprise. HiBoost also offers an IoT monitoring device and pairing application to allow for the careful monitoring of the booster system.
- LCD display for troubleshooting and monitoring
- Up to 100,000 square feet of coverage
- Supports 200 or more users at the same time
- Boosts signal for every carrier and network
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- FCC approved
The HiBoost Industrial 100K is the apex of cell phone booster technology providing the highest signal gain and square footage covered to large buildings with hundreds of users.View Details
The Complete Breakdown of Cell Phone Signal Booster Technology
Understanding the Difference Between the Generations of Cellular Technology
Mobile technology has now been around for decades. What started as beepers and pagers has evolved into small computers that have more computing power than the Apollo 11 spacecraft. This has been marked by many innovations and each key one has ushered in new generations, or "G's". Currently, we use 4G LTE for most of our cellular needs but we are going to quickly go over each generation to explain the differences and how they relate to cell phone signal boosters.
1G: The first generation was our first step into portable radio communication. While the technology was still analog it allowed for the first step into mobile communication. The first 1G nationwide network was started in Japan in 1979 when it was founded in Tokyo. It took five years for the infrastructure to expand to cover the entire nation. It was not until 1983 until the first 1G network was created in America.
2G: The second generation was perhaps the biggest leap forward in technology and occurred in the early 1990's. With 2G we began encoding signals digitally instead of by analog. This allowed for the first data transmissions over radio frequencies though they are very limited. 2G was divided into two technologies CDMA and GSM. Verizon and Sprint adopted CDMA while AT&T and T-Mobile adopted GSM. Nowadays 2G is almost never used and most networks are actually reclaiming their 2G infrastructure to use for 4G LTE and 5G networks.
3G: The third generation of cellular technology began seeing use in 1998. 3G provided faster data services and in later iterations even provided comparable internet connection to broadband. 3G is also divided into two primary technologies, CDMA2000 and UMTS/WCDMA/HSPA. CDMA2000 is used by Verizon and Sprint and UMTS/WCDMA/HSPA is used by AT&T and T-Mobile. 3G is still used in areas where 4G LTE has not yet expanded to.
4G LTE: The fourth generation, which is often followed by an LTE for Long Term Evolution, is the most recent generation. 4G was primarily used to expand the internet capabilities of mobile devices while carriers relied on their 2G and 3G networks for voice. However, most calls are now made over 4G LTE networks now, Sprint is one of the few carriers that doesn't have comprehensive 4G LTE voice coverage.
5G: The fifth generation still has not arrived however AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are confident they will be able to begin delivering 5G service in 2018. The first 5G devices being released won't be phones but are speculated to be wireless hotspots that will provide incredibly fast Wi-Fi capabilities. The major carriers are expecting to begin releasing 5G phones in 2019. While the exact details of what 5G will provide are still unclear we are sure that 5G will increase data speeds, reduce connection latency, and allow for more connections than ever before.
All HiBoost cell phone signal boosters use a broadband technology that operates on all carriers on all generations of networks. This flexibility will allow you to connect multiple users using multiple carriers seamlessly.
How Our Phone Boosters Work
Cell phone signal boosters are a relatively simple technology that works similarly to any other amplification device. The donor antenna receives the radio waves sent by your carriers cell tower. It then takes that signal into your building or vehicle through low-loss coaxial cable. Once it is indoors it is fed to the booster which amplifies the signal and runs it through more coaxial cable to your indoor antenna where it transmits your now boosted signal throughout your home or office.
Our boosters are Bi-Directional, meaning the same process also works in reverse. This allows your outgoing signal to also experience the boost from the amplifiers.
HiBoost boosters have patented broadband technology to ensure that they operate on every carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and all other smaller carriers) and every 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE network. This allows our boosters to amplify a signal from different carriers simultaneously. This allows for you to have up to 100 devices for our home cell phone signal boosters and over 200 users on our commercial and industrial boosters on any frequency or network being boosted. It is our goal to make sure that no one in your boosted area struggles to receive service.
Making Sense of Bars
Understanding the bars that are displayed on the top of your phone can often be one of the most confusing things about using your phone. You'll find that at times you'll be able to easily make calls when you have only 1 or 2 bars, and other times you'll struggle to get a good call with 3 bars.
To truly understand what the bars mean (as much as someone that doesn't write the algorithms can) you have to understand that bars do not only represent signal strength. They are a representation of a combination of signal strength and signal quality. While signal strength as we discussed above is the decibel value that denotes how much signal is being received by your phone's internal radio, signal quality is a measurement that accounts for the amount of source signal in comparison to noise and interference either from other sources of radio waves or obstructions.
Depending on what kind of device you are using, because each manufacturer uses a different algorithm, you can see that even two devices right next to each other can give off different readings. Seriously, try an experiment and go around town with your friend who uses an Apple or Android handset while you use the opposite. You'll notice that in many cases you'll have different values at the top of your screens for the bars.
What experts have found is that iPhones generally tend to value signal quality more than Android when displaying how many bars you have. What Apple is actually measuring when deciding how picky to be about displaying your bars is not RSRP but instead SINR. RSRP (Reference Signal Received Power) is the technical term for the measure of a signals strength. SINR (Signal to Interference Plus Noise Ratio) is the signal quality ratio that accounts for the noise and interference in the signal you receive.
All of this technical knowledge is great and all but I'm sure you want to understand how this actually can be affecting you.
There are four factors that end up affecting your signal quality and strength. Most often though you'll be experiencing not just one of these factors, but a combination of them all.
- Building Materials - One of the most common ways that signal is interrupted is the way we design and construct buildings. Many of the most common materials that comprise your home or office are hard for a radio wave to penetrate.
- Obstructions and Geography - An extension of the principle that building materials block incoming cell signals. The geography can often impact signal; you'll find that trees, hills, mountains, and of course buildings will block your reception.
- Distance From Your Carrier's Nearest Tower - Because we do not live in a vacuum, radio waves lose power as they travel. After many miles (or kilometers), the signal becomes weak and it becomes hard for your phone to "reach" the cell tower.
- Other Technology - One of the drawbacks of digital cell technologies is the bandwidth limitations that come with modern radio frequencies. This leads to many bands of similar frequencies being used and these can interfere with one another when they are too similar. Other non-cellular technology can also interfere with the signal as well. This is one of the most common forms of interference within the city and suburbs after building materials.
Cellular Frequency Bands and How They Relate to Phone Boosters
At this point, you've probably noticed that we have referred to frequency bands a few times and you might be confused as to what they are. These bands reference the part of the radio wave spectrum they belong to. The FCC sells licenses to these bands of the spectrum to telecom carriers for them to allow customers to operate their phones on. HiBoost signal boosters operate using a broadband technology that amplifies all bands, unlike some of our competitors that cannot amplify a few select bands.
These bands are the primary bands used by all carriers:
- 700 MHz band (LTE band numbers 12, 13, and 17): Used by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile for 4G LTE service only.
- 850 MHz “Cellular Band” (LTE band 5): LTE band numbers used by Verizon and AT&T only, mostly for 2G and 3G service, though both have been transitioning to LTE on this band.
- 1900 MHz “PCS Band” (LTE band 2): Used by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint for a mix of 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE service.
- 2100 MHz “AWS Band” (LTE band 4): Used by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile for 4G LTE service only.
These three bands are not supported by broadband cell phone signal boosters that some of our competitors sell:
- 850MHz extension band (LTE band 26): Used only by Sprint.
- 2300 MHz (LTE Band 30): Only used by AT&T in some areas.
- 2500 MHz (LTE Band 41): Only used by Sprint for LTE service.
Carriers don't use one single band to provide their services throughout an area. Your device is programmed to switch between bands to provide the best quality and strength of the signal. While HiBoost boosters provide some peace of mind in that they are guaranteed to boost any signal regardless of band frequency or network it is still important to know what band your carrier uses in your area.
This is because the frequency of your signal plays an important role in how far it will go and how strong it will be. Signals at a higher frequency are more easily blocked by obstructions such as building materials. Even after the signal is amplified by a cell phone signal booster it can struggle to pierce walls and other obstructions throughout your home. For example, a signal on the 850 MHz band would be able to much more effectively pass through a wall then say a signal on the 2100 MHz band.
That being said the higher frequency bands are still useful. They are able to transfer information much faster and in greater quantities.
HiBoost Cell Phone Signal Booster Specifications
For most people, this will be one of the most important parts of the guide. In this section, we will break down three of the most important specifications designed to make HiBoost cell phone signal boosters better than our competitors.
First, the gain. Gain is a measure of how much the signal is boosted. This is measured in decibels (dB). For gain, more is better, so you want a larger number. Gain is limited on broadband boosters by the FCC and HiBoost engineers all of our cell phone signal boosters to be as close to the maximum allowed gain as possible.
Second, the downlink output power. Downlink output power is the amount of signal the booster is able to create after it has been amplified. Think of this as the maximum volume a megaphone or speaker can be turned up to. No matter how loud you yell into your input device there is a limit to its output.
Third, the area coverage. Area coverage is measured in square feet and describes exactly what you would imagine, the amount of area covered. HiBoost boosters are designed to maximize area coverage in optimal conditions.
These specifications are designed to create solutions for unique cellular service problems. Here is a quick rundown on which specification to be looking for when constrained by some general scenarios.
When to Maximize Gain:
When your outdoor signal is weak (less than -80 dBm) you should look to maximize the gain. Because the outside signal is weak it is most important to maximize the amount of boost you will be getting as it is more likely to be the limiting factor as opposed to downlink output power. In these scenarios look for one of our higher gain boosters and make sure you position your antenna in the optimum position to ensure a powerful signal boost.
When to Maximize Downlink Output Power:
When you have a strong outdoor signal but can't bring that indoors you will want to maximize downlink output power. Because your outdoor antenna will be getting a strong, high quality signal the main issue will be distributing that power indoors once it has been brought in and boosted. In these situations, we recommend using a high downlink output power booster and multiple indoor antennas if you are not able to distribute the retransmitted signal with only one antenna.
How to Select and Properly Use Antennas For Every Phone Booster
Choosing the correct antenna and number of antennas is one of the most important ways to ensure you receive the maximum gain and downlink output power. While it might be tempting to over-engineer your solution by adding multiple antennas it is important for you to understand that this is not always the best decision. When you don't have a proper distance between antennas they can actually interfere with one another and could even lower the amount of signal received. We recommend that you keep at least 20 feet between the outdoor antenna and each indoor antenna.
Selecting and Setting Up Outdoor Antennas
Your outdoor or "donor" antenna will be the first and most important of your antenna choices. The outdoor antenna used and how you install it can often be one of the most important decisions in successfully using a cell phone signal booster. There are two kinds of antennas, omni- or multidirectional antennas, and directional antennas. Both of these antennas can be used either outdoors or indoors.
The omnidirectional antennas are excellent for easy setup, however, they sacrifice some power gained because of this. They work by pulling in a signal from all directions. These work best when you already have a strong, high quality signal around the building or area you are trying to boost.
Directional antennas require a little more work to set up as they do have to be oriented in the direction that the signal is coming from. This increases the difficulty as some require more precision than others and you will also have to locate your carrier's nearest cell tower to ensure you are positioning the antenna properly.
There are some myths that surround directional antennas that we would like to take a few moments to dispel. First is the worry that because you are aiming at one specific tower you will only boost one carrier, this is often not the case. Most carriers either share or cluster towers meaning you should still receive broadband boosts when using a directional antenna. Secondly, some believe that using a directional antenna will eliminate gaining signal from other directions. While you don't gain as much signal from other directions you will not entirely lose signal from other directions but it will be lowered.
While this extra work can be a hassle you can be almost guaranteed better results when you use a directional antenna.
First of all, they provide the highest gain, our most powerful directional antenna can add up to 8-9 dB of gain.
They also greatly reduce the amount of outside interference and noise that you receive. The ability to focus on one location is a blessing and a curse in that it tunes out that interference and noise but requires the proper setup.
Directional antennas can also help overcome what is known as the "near-far effect". This occurs when a closer, more powerful cell tower interferes with a more distant and weaker tower and prevents your device from communicating with the more distant tower. Once again the ability to focus directionally can drastically affect your ability to receive signal.
If you do decide to use a directional antenna, either because your outdoor signal is weak or you need to focus on a specific tower to lower noise and interference, we can provide a few tips on how to properly aim it.
First, we suggest you get a helping hand. Aiming one without professional signal equipment is almost impossible with only one person. Put one person on the roof and leave one indoors and test a few different positions on the roof while the person indoors should take note of the signal strength at each orientation. This is easily the most sure-fire way to find the best antenna location and direction. HiBoost boosters make the process easier as well. We are the only broadband boosters on the market that have LCD screens on all of our boosters showing you the signal gain in decibels and the uplink and downlink power output in decibel milliwatts.
Selecting and Setting Up Indoor Antennas
Now that we have covered outdoor antennas it's time to look at their indoor partners. The first thing to decide is how many you will need to properly cover your building. While there is no one answer the general rule of thumb is that more antennas will help make sure the signal is better distributed throughout the area. Low loss coaxial cable is a much better conduit for radio waves than air or building materials. By shortening the distance the signal travels outside of the coaxial cable you can ensure a stronger, more stable connection.
Clearly, there will be a number of antennas that eventually becomes unreasonable. Whether it is a budgetary restraint or some other constraint you simply won't be able to install more antennas and lay more cable to solve your problem.
Thankfully we find that is reasonable to install one antenna per one thousand square feet of coverage when conditions are optimal. If the building or area you are looking to cover has a large number of obstructions or particularly thick walls you might need to install more antennas than previously recommended. Using one of our lower power boosters could also cause you to need to install a larger amount of antennas. Also if your outdoor signal is weak you could need additional indoor antennas to ensure an evenly distributed and strong signal. While every situation is unique these are some general guidelines that we recommend our customers abide by.
After deciding on the number of antennas to use you should now select what type of antennas to use. We offer both dome and panel antennas and each has their own pros and cons.
Dome antennas work best when you are trying to cover a wide area such as a spread out room, they are not effective at covering hallways or staircases. Also when installing a dome antenna you will need to be able to access the space above them. So either an office setting where you can easily get behind the ceiling tiles or if you are installing one inside a residence you need to be able to access either the attic or crawl space. Because dome antennas broadcast multi-directionally, similar to how a multidirectional donor antenna receives from all directions, you should place them directly in the middle of the space you are looking to provide the boosted signal.
Panel antennas can be used both indoors and outdoors. They are a directional antenna that provides a moderately strong gain and are easier than other directional antennas to install. They are also easier than dome antennas to install as they do not require you to get into the wall or ceiling behind them to properly install them.
Also as another reminder, remember to place your outdoor and indoor antennas the appropriate distance from each other. They will cause destructive interference otherwise and this will make you either not gain signal or actually lose signal.
Phone Booster Accessories You Should Consider For Your Solution
Lightning Surge Protectors: Surge protectors or arresters are an important accessory for any electronic and a cell phone signal booster is no different. Signal boosters, like most electronics, are expensive pieces of equipment and the last thing anyone wants to do is spend hundreds of dollars for it to be ruined.
However, using a surge protector is one way to protect your high-value electronics. As the name suggests it does this by protecting from surges in power that would otherwise overload your signal booster. This works by providing an alternate route for the energy to run if it either builds up atmospherically or if the power grid accidentally sends a surge.
If your signal booster kit didn't come with a surge protector you can find our selection of surge protector's here and rest easy knowing your booster won't get fried.
Improved Coaxial Cable: Coaxial cable is one of the easiest ways to improve your booster kit. While most users won't need to invest in improved coaxial cable, it can be a big factor in your end result especially when you need every decibel of signal gained.
HiBoost offers two types of cable, 50 ohms and 75 ohms. Ohms are a measurement of resistance, and as such a lower resistance is better. The issue for most people is that this improved cabling can be both cost prohibitive and difficult to switch out as most residences are not intended to be wired with the higher quality wiring as it is substantially thicker and harder to place neatly in homes.
The advantage of using the higher quality cable typically amounts to about an additional 2 dB every 50 feet. If you are using either a lot of cable or need every last decibel then check out our different lengths of improved cable here 16 foot, 30 foot, and 49.5 foot.
Additional Antennas: As we discussed above using antennas to customize your solution is not only possible but also at times necessary. In our section regarding antenna selection, we specified the kinds of antennas and their uses. To see our full line of antennas available simply follow this link.
Splitters and Couplers: Splitters are important in customizing any solution. They allow for users to distribute the signal across areas in non-uniform ways. This is useful if you have to divert around obstructions such as walls or other building materials. We offer Two Way, Three Way, and Four Way Splitters for you to customize your solution.
Couplers work very similar except they do not distribute signal uniformly. This can be useful if you have situations such as differently sized floors or other irregularities in the space you need to be covered.
A Brief Summary
For those of you that just want the cliff notes here is a quick rundown.
- HiBoost cell phone signal boosters are capable of boosting signal on all generations and carriers. While most calls are made on 4G LTE as opposed to 2G or 3G unless you use Sprint, who still predominantly uses 3G for voice.
- The bars on your signal are tricky. They represent a combination of signal strength and signal quality when they display. Each phone manufacturer also uses a different algorithm to display bars which means they are somewhat arbitrary.
- HiBoost cell phone signal boosters amplify the signal on all frequency bands. Despite this, there are a few important things to know about each band. Low frequency waves are more capable of penetrating building materials, however higher frequency waves are able to carry more information.
- The three most important things to consider when selecting a cell phone signal booster are; square footage covered, gain, and downlink power. If the outdoor signal is weak focus on maximizing gain. If your outdoor signal is strong focus on maximizing downlink power output. Also, remember that HiBoost boosters square footage coverage are designed for optimal conditions. If you have thick walls or multiple indoor obstructions you might need to use a more powerful booster than your square footage would otherwise indicate.
- Our HiBoost cell phone signal boosters are designed to be as close to FCC and IC regulations as possible. Our commercial and residential boosters provide the maximum amount of gain possible without registering with the FCC and IC. Our industrial boosters are also designed for maximum gain, but they must be registered with the FCC or IC.
- Outdoor: If your outdoor signal is strong an omnidirectional antenna will be easier to install and be cheaper. If your signal is weak or low quality, you'll need to consider a directional antenna. While they are more difficult to install it will provide you the best signal.
- Indoor: If conditions are optimal, you have a strong signal and there are minimal indoor obstructions, installing one antenna per 1,000 square feet should be sufficient. However, oftentimes you need to place additional antennas. When deciding on panel vs. dome indoor antennas the rule of thumb is to use panels in narrow areas that need directional support and to use dome in wide open spaces where you can also access the ceiling above them.
If you have any questions on material not covered in the guide or have questions about our products and services contact us at 972-870-5666 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our support staff is located in Irving, Texas and can be reached Monday - Friday 9 AM to 6 PM central standard time. If you contact us outside of office hours we will be in touch with you the next business day.
Phone Booster Glossary of Terms
The purpose of this guide was to help simplify and eliminate confusion. However, when talking about technology it is sometimes unavoidable that technical vocabulary has to be used. In an effort to further simplify this we have provided a short glossary of terms that have been used in the guide or just on our website to help answer any further questions.
AGC- automatic gain control. This can also be referred to as automatic volume control (AVC). The purpose of the AGC is to provide controlled signal amplitude, even with variances in the amplitude of the input signal. Basically, think of this as how your thermostat regulates the temperature within your home despite fluxes in temperature outside.
ALC - automatic level control. There's very little difference between this and AGC with the exception that this typically refers to audio, and automatically controls output power to a speaker.
AWS- Advanced Wireless Services is a wireless telecommunications spectrum band used for voice, data, video, and messaging services. It's used in the US, Canada, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Peru Paraguay, Ecuador, and Uruguay. It uses microwave frequencies in the 1710-1755 MHz for uplink and 2110-2155 MHZ for downlink.
Bluetooth- a wireless technology standard invented by Ericsson in 1994 that exchanges data over short distances from mobile and fixed devices, and can be used to build personal area networks.
CDMA - code division multiple access; a channel access method used by different radio communication technologies. As a form of multiple access, several transmitters can send information simultaneously over a single communication channel.
dBm - abbreviation for the power ratio in decibels (dB) of the measured power referenced to one milliwatt. Used in radio, microwave, and fiber-optical networks. It is a measure of absolute power capable of expressing very large and very small values in a short form.
Directional antenna - also known as a beam antenna. This antenna radiates or receives greater power in specific directions allowing for increased performance and reduced interference from unwanted sources. They perform better than omnidirectional antennas in situations where you need a certain direction. Common types of directional antennas include Yagi antennas and log-periodic antennas.
Dome Antenna: An indoor antenna that transmits a signal over a wide area in all directions. Installation of a dome antenna requires access to the ceiling above it.
Donor Antenna: Simply put, the outdoor antenna. The donor antenna is the outer antenna that communicates with your carrier's cell tower and brings cell phone signals into the amplifier. All HiBoost cell phone signal booster kits come with a donor antenna included.
Downlink signal: the signal sent from your carrier's cell phone tower to your mobile device
EDGE- Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution or Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution. This is a digital mobile phone technology that allows improved data transmission rates. It is a backward-compatible extension of GSM. It is a pre-3G radio technology. It was used on GSM networks in 2003.
External Antenna -an omnidirectional or directional antenna installed outside to pull in the radio signals from the cell phone tower. Omnidirectional antennas are included in our Travel 4G kits for automotive use, and directional antennas are included in all of our consumer booster kits.
Gain: The amount of signal amplified by the cell phone signal booster. It is measured in decibels (dB) and is usually a positive number. It is measured on a logarithmic scale, meaning that 0 dB is no gain, 10 dB is 10 times the signal strength, and 20 dB is 100 times the signal and so on with each increment of 10 dB multiplying the signal gained by 10.
GPRS- General Packet Radio Service- a packet oriented mobile data service on 2G and 3G cellular communication systems' global system for mobile communications.
GSM- Global System for Mobile Communications. A standard introduced by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
HSPA+ -Evolved High-Speed Packet Access or HSPA+ is a technical standard for wireless, broadband telecommunication; it is the second phase of HSPA. It can achieve data rates of up to 42.2 Mbit/s. Advanced HSPA+ is a further advancement of this technology and can attain data rates of up to 84.4 and 168 Mbit/s. Uses antenna array technologies such as beamforming and MIMO.
Internal Antenna - an antenna installed indoors to redistribute the amplified signal from the booster. Indoor antennas are included in HiBoost booster kits.
ISO- short for isolation. The amount of signal that travels from the input to the output of a switch represents the measure of isolation in decibels (dB). -65 dB is considered the best for isolation. When two antennas are physically close to each other, radio frequency isolation is decreased. The two antennas can "hear" each other. This is why we recommend in all of our manuals that you place the outdoor and indoor antennas far apart from each other to reduce this kind of interference. Using building structures such as walls will help increase isolation.
LED - a light emitting diode. This is the kind of light source in our boosters for our alarm lights.
LTE- short for Long Term Evolution; this stands for the evolving technology standards of mobile service providers to keep data speeds improving across their networks.
MGC- manual gain control. Our boosters come with automatic gain control software to help balance the booster. It's rare a consumer will need to manually adjust the gain on a booster; these are more often used by engineers to dial in a more specific frequency. However, should you need to manually adjust the gain for a better result from the booster, this is what you adjust.
MiFi- a brand name to describe a wireless router that acts as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. These can be connected to a cellular network and provide access to the internet for up to ten devices. Introduced into the U.S. by Novatel Wireless in 2009. An alternative to this is using your mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot using "tethering," if your phone is capable of doing so.
Omnidirectional antenna- a kind of antenna that radiates or picks up radio waves in all directions in one plane, commonly referred to as "doughnut-shaped." Commonly used for radio broadcasting, and in mobile devices that use radio such as cell phones, FM radios, GPS, and for base stations that connect with mobile radio stations, police dispatches, and communicating with aircraft. Omnidirectional antennas in our kits include the whip antenna in our Travel 4G kit.
Panel antenna- a dipole placed ahead of a flat-panel reflector. Uses UHF (ultra high frequencies), often used for cellular base stations or wireless networking. These are included in our Home kit as the indoor antenna for redistribution of the amplified signal indoors.
PCS- personal communications service. PCS refers to any of several types of wireless voice and/or wireless data communications systems. It gives a user an all-in-one wireless phone, paging, messaging, and data service.
RSSI- received signal strength indicator. This is the measurement of the power present in a received radio signal.
Cell Phone Signal Booster (a.k.a.Signal Repeater, Signal Amplifier, Signal Booster or Amplifier, or a Cellular Repeater)- a type of bi-directional amplifier used to improve cell phone reception and increase coverage, especially indoors, but outdoor systems are available.
Signal Strength- also referred to sometimes as field strength, this refers to the transmitter power output as received by an antenna at a distance from a transmitting antenna. For our boosters, this is expressed in decibels above a reference level of one milliwatt (dBm)
Uplink Signal: The signal sent from the internal radio within your mobile device to your carrier's cell phone tower.
USB- the abbreviation of Universal Serial Bus. This is an industry standard that defines cables and connectors for connection, communication, and power supply between computers and devices. This was created in the mid-1990s as a way to standardize peripheral components of computers such as digital cameras, network adapters, printers, keyboards, etc. USBs have replaced most previous interface technologies, such as serial and parallel ports, and is largely universal in application at this point.
UMTS- an abbreviation for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System. It is a third generation mobile cellular system for networks based on the GSM standard. Developed and maintained by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project), UMTS is a component of the International Telecommunications Union IMT-2000 standard set and compares with the CDMA2000 standard set for networks based on the competing cdmaOne technology. It uses wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA, see definition below) for greater spectral efficiency and bandwidth to mobile network operators. This technology is also occasionally called FOMA (Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access) or 3GSM. Most commonly used in Europe, Japan, and China.
WCDMA- (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) Technology developed by GSM community to support 3G mobile devices. This supported voice, text, and MMS services, WCDMA also increased data speeds. This was the technology used by UMTS to improve service to mobile network operators
Wi-Fi - technology for wireless local area networking (LAN). Wi-Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, and only products tested that have full interoperability are allowed to be labeled "Wi-Fi Certified."