How does a cell phone booster work?

Ken Perkins | May 21, 2015


Cell phone signal boosters work by pulling in tower signals with an outside antenna, amplifying those signals, then rebroadcasting the amplified signals so your device receives them.

If you are wondering, “Do cell phone boosters work at all?” that reaction is pretty common. Years ago there were scams that claimed to enhance cell phone reception but didn’t really do anything.

Nowadays in the U. S. and Canada, cell phone boosters must be certified by the respective federal government to work as claimed in overcoming poor cell phone reception or extending cellular range. In the U.S. it’s the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that tests and certifies all cell boosters on the market. In Canada, Industry Canada (IC) is the responsible agency.

There are also lots of third party tests and video reviews of cell boosters out there. If you want, you can watch some of them by clicking on the links below.

Third party tests

Reviews, etc

How cell phone boosters increase cell signal is pretty simple. All the complexity operates behind the scenes to make them operate transparently and efficiently.

Mobile phones are really two-way radios Your cell phone, at least the communications function, is essentially a two-way radio operating behind a very modern user interface. Your mobile phone communicates with the cell tower by means of radio frequency (RF) signals.

A cellular signal booster works like this:

detecting and collecting very faint signals (much fainter than your phone can detect) helping those faint signal bypass various obstructions amplifying the faint signals to a useable level broadcasting the amplified signals to an interior space so they can be used by your phone or other cellular device

When your phone transmits a signal back to the tower, the process is repeated in reverse order.

A cell signal booster system comprises just three basic components, and coax cables to connect those components. See the illustration at the top of this page.

1) First is the outside (or tower-side) antenna. This antenna, mounted on the roof or an exterior wall, communicates with the cell tower. Signals are passed along coax cable to the second component . . .

2) . . . the booster unit mounted in a utility closet or storage space. This unit amplifies the signal and passes it along another length of coax cable to . . .

3) . . . the inside (or device-side) antenna mounted on an interior wall or on the ceiling which distributes the amplified signal to the interior space where cellular devices can use it.

Much of the time mobile reception and coverage problems are caused by building materials that block RF signals. I’m talking about brick, steel, stone, low-emittance glass, concrete, metal roofing or siding, etc.

We’re typically inside, but the cell signal is outside A cell booster system’s Antenna->Amplifier->Antenna design effectively bypasses obstructions as you can see in the illustration at the top of this page.

You can think of this process like it was describing an FM radio, which operates pretty much the same way. The antenna pulls in the radio signal, an amplifier then boosts that signal and it’s distributed by the speakers as sound waves that can be “consumed” by your ears.

One big difference in this comparison is that your cell phone transmits as well as receives a signal. When a cellular device transmits a signal back to the tower the booster system repeats the process described above in reverse order, once again bypassing the potential obstructions.

We humans have known how to transmit, receive and amplify RF signals for more than a century now. A cell phone signal booster might at first seem somewhat unfamiliar to you. But when you consider it, signal boosters are simply the evolution of communications technology.


What are cell Phone Signal Boosters? Learn more here

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