Dropped calls and missed messages can be very annoying. While cell phones are supposed to be a modern convenience, many people are plagued with poor signal strength, especially when inside larger buildings. That's why cell phone signal boosters can prove to be an invaluable resource.
Three Signal Booster Options
There are a number of commercially-available signal booster products. Three of the most popular products are made by Wilson, WCS and Wi-Ex.
1. Wilson Electronics Sleek 815226
While on the road, one product worth considering is the Wilson Electronics Sleek. This handset signal booster serves as a phone holder in the car, but it also provides the added function of boosting cell phone signals. It is compatible with both the 800MHz and 1900MHz frequency bands and it works with both CDMA and GSM technologies. This means that it is compatible with many Canadian and US carriers.
The review by PC World is generally positive, saying that the $100 device is money well spent and it is compatible with a wide range of cell phones. It is important to note that the Sleek works best if the cell phone is never removed from the cradle, so the speakerphone function or a Bluetooth headset would be necessary. Wilson also sells building solutions and these are of the signal repeater type.
2. WCS Personal Mini 850/1900
When there is a need to boost the cell phone reception for multiple devices inside a building, something like the WCS Personal Mini 850/1900 may be appropriate. Designed for residential applications, it is a cell phone signal repeater and, as its product name implies, it is a dual band kit that works on the 850 and 1900MHz frequency bands. It works in tandem with an external aerial antenna and is able to provide improved coverage for areas up to 3,000 square feet.
This is quite a bit more expensive than the Wilson Sleek, with an MSRP of $499 - but it serves a very different purpose.
3. Wi-Ex zBoost SOHO YX545
Offering less of an industrial look and more of a consumer electronics look is the Wi-Ex zBoost SOHO YX545. This cell phone signal booster acts as a repeater, extending the "cell zone" for multiple users. It is compatible with the 800 and 1900MHz frequencies, which would apply to many American and Canadian service providers, but it will not work with Nextel or 4G 2100MHz devices. Like the WCS Personal Mini, the YX545 has a similar 2500-3000 square foot maximum coverage area.
This product sells for around $400.
Sometimes, it is easier simply to switch to another carrier in order to achieve better signal strength and quality. That said, the issue may have to do more with building interference, as would be the case with basement suites and large concrete office buildings. Before purchasing a signal booster or signal repeater, ensure that the cell technology is compatible with your chosen network. Not all repeaters support 3G or 4G, for instance, so while voice and text may be improved, wireless data may not.