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Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: September 11, 2021 08:00AM
I need recommendations for a cellular signal booster/antenna.

My home is in a dead spot for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and at least one other. I know this from personal experience and from visitors with the various carriers. I can move 50'-60' from the outside of my house in a couple of directions and get a good signal, but those locations are off my property. The best I can get is a flickering 2 bars of signal strength. Most of the time it is a single bar. I have to hold my phone and be in a certain location to avoid losing a call. I can't put the phone down without risk of dropping a call. Other folks have the same problem at my house. Their experience varies with the phone make and model, but all of them are marginal.

Is anyone having success with a particular cellular signal booster? If so, which one?



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: September 11, 2021 08:46AM
your carrier, depending, may have a cell spot solution that plugs into the end og your ethernet internet service.
T-Mo "loans" me mine for OT $25 shipping, which they waved anyway coz they know it's dead here.



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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 11, 2021 08:59AM
The need for these devices pretty much evaporated when carriers and phone manufacturers implemented "WiFi Calling". Assuming you have broadband Internet at your location.

Have you tried enabling WiFi Calling. I have seen some low cost carriers not support it, but the major brand do, and iPhones have supported it for many years.

[support.apple.com]
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: Spiff
Date: September 11, 2021 09:49AM
Please correct me if I’m wrong. Aren’t signal boosters a smoke and mirror type thing? If you have lousy signal to begin with, amplifying a lousy signal is only going to make you have 5 bars of a lousy signal. It won’t help with a better connection. At least that’s my understanding.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/2021 09:49AM by Spiff.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: September 11, 2021 10:08AM
signal boosters, the little piece of aluminum on the back of the phone are total trash.
But Wilson (and others) Antenna and booster amps are not.
But they come with a pri$e.

And as GGD said, WiFi calling enabled ...
Though the bandwidth may not be like 5 bars of LTE and certainly not 5G.



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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: September 11, 2021 10:38AM
Quote
GGD
The need for these devices pretty much evaporated when carriers and phone manufacturers implemented "WiFi Calling"...

agree smiley

many moons ago (2007-2008), I had a zBoost YX-500, which worked well enough - but it meant crawling up into the attic to place its antenna as high up as possible, and running a coax cable down to the unit itself.

Also - it was designed to work within a set frequency range; with the FCC re-allocating frequencies, no guarantee it would be usable at some future date.

Now - I just enable wifi calling and don't worry about coverage.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 11, 2021 12:06PM
Please correct me if I’m wrong. Aren’t signal boosters a smoke and mirror type thing?


No, not actual signal boosters.

As mentioned, Wilson and the like can work well under the right circumstances.

With an analog transmission, a really weak signal will have a low S/N and and amplifying that amplifies both signal and noise, pretty much preserving a weak S/N.

A digital signal is a different story, allowing for a weaker digital signal to get better performance.

A by-product of either version is close neighbors will benefit from the improved signal.


ATT wouldn't give me a booster, because though my reception was lousy, I didn't have many dropped calls.

As I recall, their unit was a repeater that was assigned a geolocation (so it couldn't be moved and still work) and required activation by ATT (so you couldn't share it with whomever you wanted).

As long as you have a threshold level of WiFi, WiFi calling should give you an improved signal.

My throughput is lousy, so enabling it made my calls much worse.

However, when the skip is in, cellular throughput is as high as 25mB/s.





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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: September 11, 2021 12:15PM
what RAMd®d says: except, at least with T-Mo.
My neighbors experience no better reception coz T-Mo locks the signal to ESNs on their network only.

My Vzw, and T neighbors still have no better LTE from my cellspot and make their calls on their WiFi.

A cellspot is usually good for about ~5000 sq ft .



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If there are spelling issues, please pardon, Owen the cat is sitting on my keyboard.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: davester
Date: September 11, 2021 03:18PM
The street where we live is over the crest of a hill from most cellular towers so has nearly nonexistent cell service. We used to have an AT&T Microcell which used VOIP to create a mini cell tower inside our house (only usable for our phones). Since all the carriers switched to wifi calling a few year ago the Microcell became superfluous. Everyone on our street uses wifi calling now.



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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: September 11, 2021 03:36PM
....it's a 'myth'.....no such thing.......like asking a curmudgeon to be more polite and well mannered........



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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: September 12, 2021 08:41AM
davester,

I have wifi calling enabled and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I can sit 3' from the router and still get calls breaking up and dropped calls. My wifi works very well for all other functions.

Incoming calls ring on my Mac as well as the phone, but my Mac mini uses an external mic built into the USB webcam. This combo produces an echo that irritates the caller, so I usually answer on the phone. This echo problem has been with me for years and several iterations of Macs.



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2021 08:48AM by modelamac.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: September 12, 2021 09:02AM
Quote
modelamac
I have wifi calling enabled and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I can sit 3' from the router and still get calls breaking up and dropped calls. My wifi works very well for all other functions.

whats your actual bandwidth, provider, phone and router?



!#$@@$#!

If there are spelling issues, please pardon, Owen the cat is sitting on my keyboard.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 12, 2021 09:53AM
Quote
modelamac
I have wifi calling enabled and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I can sit 3' from the router and still get calls breaking up and dropped calls. My wifi works very well for all other functions.

Are you sure that your phone is actually using the WiFi calling? On iPhones, the carrier name in the upper left corner of the screen will change when you're using WiFi calling. On mine it will say "AT&T Wi-Fi" instead of "No Service", "AT&T", "AT&T 4G" or "AT&T LTE".
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: September 12, 2021 10:18AM
Quote
GGD
Quote
modelamac
I have wifi calling enabled and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I can sit 3' from the router and still get calls breaking up and dropped calls. My wifi works very well for all other functions.

Are you sure that your phone is actually using the WiFi calling? On iPhones, the carrier name in the upper left corner of the screen will change when you're using WiFi calling. On mine it will say "AT&T Wi-Fi" instead of "No Service", "AT&T", "AT&T 4G" or "AT&T LTE".

To ensure that I'm using wifi calling - when at home, I first put the phone into "airplane" mode, then enable wifi - this pretty much disables all RF other than wifi. I had to do that because the phone would always try to use the cellular network if at all possible (with spotty results).
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: September 12, 2021 12:17PM
Quote
GGD
Quote
modelamac
I have wifi calling enabled and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I can sit 3' from the router and still get calls breaking up and dropped calls. My wifi works very well for all other functions.

Are you sure that your phone is actually using the WiFi calling? On iPhones, the carrier name in the upper left corner of the screen will change when you're using WiFi calling. On mine it will say "AT&T Wi-Fi" instead of "No Service", "AT&T", "AT&T 4G" or "AT&T LTE".

I have never seen that name change, but I have never looked for it either.

Edit: I just switched to Airplane mode and made a phone call, obviously via wifi.

1. The call was great. I could put down the phone. I could wander around the house. I now know that Was not utilizing wifi calling before this, and I don't understand why. It is supposed to happen automatically, I thought.

2. The wifi name did NOT change from VZW to Comcast when I made the call. It remained VZW wifi. I have a problem with Verizon even claiming the wifi. My wifi is provided by my Netgear router. Comcast provides the internet connection. There is no Verizon network available on either the phone or the Macs.



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2021 12:42PM by modelamac.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: September 12, 2021 12:22PM
Quote
Fritz
Quote
modelamac
I have wifi calling enabled and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I can sit 3' from the router and still get calls breaking up and dropped calls. My wifi works very well for all other functions.

whats your actual bandwidth, provider, phone and router?

down 100mbps +/- 15mbps & up 5-6mbps
Comcast
Arris 6183 (modem only)
Netgear R6220 dual band

It was the same with my prior router which was replaced because the wifi died.



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 12, 2021 12:51PM
Quote
modelamac
2. The wifi name did NOT change from VZW to Comcast when I made the call. It remained VZW wifi. I have a problem with Verizon even claiming the wifi. My wifi is provided by my Netgear router. Comcast provides the internet connection. There is no Verizon network available on either the phone or the Macs.

That sounds like correct behavior. Verizon is your cell carrier, you're still connecting to the Verizon cell network but instead of through a tower, it's through an internet connection. So instead of showing the type of cell connection (4G/LTE) it shows "Wi-Fi" as the type of connection.

Comcast and your router know nothing about these packets being part of a Verizon phone call. It's just normal internet traffic to them. Verizon is processing the phone call.
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Re: Cellular signal booster?
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 12, 2021 04:49PM
Found this post from a Verizon iPhone user that says that disabling VoLTE helps with auto switching to WiFi Calling.

[forums.macrumors.com]

Quote

#54
fischersd said:
Two suggestions I have for you to try to see if they make a difference:
1) Turn off Wi-fi Assist - that may be getting into a race condition with Wifi calling. (It's in cellular options)
2) Under Cellular, go into Cellular Data Options, then Enable LTE - if your phone is set to Voice & Data, try setting it to just data.

The second option will be disabling VoLTE. I was just bouncing around a bunch of forums - it appears the threshold for switching from Cellular to Wifi for Voice may have been set lower for 4G than 3G. That may not be giving the phone enough time to switch the context so it doesn't drop the call.

I think it's entirely possible that with iOS 11 a lot of the carriers may have taken the option away in their carrier settings (or maybe Apple did, to simplify support). T-Mobile certainly had the option before - we should get someone that's on T-Mo to take a look and see if the setting is still there. (Prefer wifi calling)

Verizon, iPhone 8, iOS 11.3:
With VoLTE enabled, my iPhone 8 won't do Wifi calling if it has any sort of a LTE signal. I had to set LTE to "data only" to get Wifi calling to show up in the notification area.
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