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Do cell boosters work?


boomerbubba
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What is the informed consensus about cell RF boosters for buildings and vehicles?

 

I'm referring to a general configuration of products with an external antenna, an internal antenna and a Tx/Rx amplifier in between.

 

Do these work, and if so how? Can they just amplify all the RF traffic within the entire bands they cover? I notice some vehicle products advertised to work on the 800 and 1900 Mhz bands.

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What signal booster would be good for a 5000 SQ FT Area?

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Does the repeater technology really just amplify everything (all RF signals and noise) across the entire bands that are covered? So there is no dependency upon the communications protocol -- GSM, CDMA, LTE, etc?

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Still researching this topic, especially focused on whether the booster-repeaters now on the market would support Sprint's forthcoming LTE service. (I'm interested in areas of marginal coverage in West Texas, which I occasionally traverse.)

 

I contacted Wilson Electronics, which seems to be the market leader in this field, and asked specifically about support for Sprint LTE. (Wilson already advertises certain products targeting Verizon and AT&T LTE.) The response indicated that compatible products are on the drawing boards:

 

.. while we are developing products for LTE for the carriers, it is not based on the protocols but on the frequencies they are using. Verizon is using a specific band of the 700 MHz and AT&T is using a different band. Sprint will be using the 1900 MHz but it is slightly off the frequencies our amplifiers now cover. Hopefully that will be resolved in the near future. That is why they are labeled specific to the carrier.

 

We are working on increasing our products for the frequencies the carriers will be using. Unfortunately we don’t have an estimated time of completion.

 

So I will keep an eye on this. There does not seem to be any immediate danger that Sprint's NV buildout will reach the West Texas market (or El Paso, which is west of West Texas) anyway. I doubt that I would need any booster where I actually live in Central Texas.

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Don't forget the 800Mhz that will be used starting next year for LTE should provide better coverage for the fringe areas if you are able to get a decent signal outside at this point you may end up wasting your money. If you can't get decent signal even outside than a booster may not be for you anyway an amplifier can only increase the signal it receives and adds noise in the process so signal quality on the back end will be less than that received even if the power is higher.

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