AT&T is normally seen as the second in command when it comes to cell coverage. They have reliable service and a large tower inventory. However as with any provider you always need that little bit (or a lot) of extra signal. Luckily there is a nice set up for an AT&T signal booster on the market for home and automobiles. You can go from mild to wild depending on what you need to accomplish. The modern day AT&T signal boosters can increase bars on all frequencies, 2G, 4G HSPA+, and 4G LTE.
- Improved cellular reception
- Buy once, no payments after purchase
- Improved Data speeds
- No internet connection required for service
Top AT&T Signal booster :
|Best Mobile Verizon Signal Boosters||#1||#2||#3|
|Make & Model|
|Intended Mobile Use||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Signal Boost||50Db + Stronger ouput Signal||50Db Gain||23Db Gain|
|Rural Coverage||Yes||Yes||No - Urban|
|Best Home Verizon Signal Boosters||#1||#2||#3|
|Make & Model|
Buy WeBoost Connect 4G-X
Buy Weboost Connect 4G
Buy Weboost Home 4G
|Intended Home Use||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Signal Boost||70Db||65Db Gain||60Db Gain|
|Max Indoor Coverage||7,500 Sq feet - Very large home||5,000 Sq feet - Average home||1,500 sq feet - 1 or two rooms|
Mobile booster differences:
The table above should help you quickly narrow down which AT&T signal booster is right for you. Many people ask the difference between the Drive 4G-X and the 4G-M. The main difference here is the 4G-X has a little bit more power sending signal back to the tower. This can be useful if you need upload speed for YouTube or Facebook. This only speeds up the process if you’re putting videos or images onto the internet generally. Some extreme rural cases may require this to reach the tower at all.
When watching videos, the speeds should be about the same for the two boosters. We have a very in depth Weboost Drive 4G-X review you may want to take a look at. This should help you decide which one you need to purchase.
If you noticed the 4G-S is a cradle style AT&T cell phone booster. This one yields a little bit less than half the power. Its two bigger brothers above are much stronger. However this one does well in many situations if you are around a tower but just out of reach. Your phone also has to sit in the cradle to use it. This is a rather big drawback to the device I feel. However the other two still need to have the phone with in a few feet of the internal antenna.
AT&T whole home boosters:
These can be higher in price than a smaller mobile AT&T signal booster. However they cover far more area, and can pull in a signal from further away. The thing to watch out for with these is the maximum coverage advertised. They will indeed reach pretty far, but just like a cell tower, you lose signal. If you must have 4G then you need to stay somewhat close to the indoor antenna. As you move away you will go into 3G, then 1X. We have a Connect 4G review you may find interesting.
How can it boost a signal that I can’t originally capture?
A very good question that needs to be answered. When we use our cellular devices, such as phones or tablets they have a small antenna inside. This antenna is very compact in order to fit the phone, and it requires some power to use. The weaker your signal area the more power it ultimately requires. Generally phones are equipped with a battery smaller than the palm of a hand. This means that in the big picture, a phone has very little power to use overall. If you have ever been in a no signal area for an extended period of time. You may notice your phone battery dies extremely rapidly vs a good service area.
You could think of this as a built in amplifier for your antenna. When it begins to lose signal it uses more power searching for one so you can maintain signal. This works great in most areas but it can quickly change once you enter a home, or metal building. Not only can metal buildings change signal strength but anything metal, including cars. So you have multiple forces working against you when attempting to find signal.
Using an External AT&T Signal Booster – More Power
When using an external device to add signal you are no longer tied to such a small powered device. You can freely plug into a wall outlet or 12V outlet in an automobile for near endless amounts of power. It doesn’t take much, but for a tiny cell phone battery it would drain it very rapidly. So that brings us to the first major benefit of using a cell phone booster.
Increase your cellular devices battery time, by increasing overall available signal. When we said a low, or no signal area could drain a battery in no time, we weren’t joking. When using a booster it greatly increases signal in all areas that it’s possible. This offloads all the heavy lifting onto the cellular booster and off the mobile device, this could save quite a bit of battery you could use later.
External Antennas – Bring the Outside, Inside
All cellular repeaters (boosters) we mention have an outside antenna. The mobile versions are have around 10-15 feet of cable provided for the installation, while the home versions have various lengths provided. You could take signal from inside your home or car and increase it, but why not grab the stronger signal from outside and bring it in? Using an external antenna has two very big benefits vs using your phones antenna or using it inside the home.
When using these devices, you don’t need to be outside to get the best signal, you can put your antenna outside, then the booster will bring it in to you. You can safely make calls in the comfort of your own home, use the internet, etc. It also lets you mount your outside antenna higher than you would normally hold your phone (such as the roof). The higher up an antenna can be mounted, the stronger the signal should be. I imagine many people have signal standing on their roof, but it’s impossible to get to reliably before now. So you effectively can bring the strong (or weak) signal from the outside, and re-broadcast it inside your home. No more running to the nearest window or patio door.
Antennas – Get the right size!
Most people aren’t aware of this, but bigger a antenna doesn’t mean better. This couldn’t further from the truth, however too small of an antenna is equally bad! You can imagine why there is some serious confusion here for the general public. Every cell phone has an antenna (or multiple antennas) inside of them, these are generally very small, or somehow made smaller inside the phone. This can be done by coiling wire, or not having a wire style antenna at all (such as an FM radio antenna, but smaller). Some antennas are tiny, smaller than your fingernail, however for most of the frequencies we use, this isn’t the best case scenario.
The provided antennas with any booster we talk about is specifically made for cellular frequencies, without size being an issue. The mobile versions all come with a 4 inch magnet mount antenna, it’s a small mounting foot print but it holds on great! That’s a lot bigger of an antenna than many phones have, creating a better signal. The Home repeaters come with either an outdoor square panel style antenna that is somewhere near 9 inches tall and 5 inches wide, or a yagi antenna. These are both directional, with the yagi being very directional, this means you need to aim them at the nearest cell tower.
The benefits of using one of these directional antennas on a home install is increased signal gain. A directional antenna is provided and has some unique perks over your standard mobile antenna due to be stationary. With a directional antenna it directs all of it listening ability into one specific direction. Imagine if you could hear extremely good in front of you, but couldn’t hear anything behind you. This is how those antennas work, they dedicate 100% of their listening ability in the direction you point them. This allows it to pick up fainter signals for a better increase inside the home.
Devices today are very compact and must work in a variety of situations, they must get signal from anywhere no matter how it’s orientation is. In other words, it must listen from all directions for cell signal, distributing it’s “hearing” in all directions. You can see why we can’t use a yagi antenna in a normal phone, you would lose signal constantly just by changing the way you hold it. Phones have what we call an omnidirectional antenna, or equal listening on all sides. The mobile boosters also have this style antenna, but when you’re constantly moving this must be done. You still get an increased signal from it being the proper size, mounted outside, and the booster itself.
Pulling Signal out of Thin Air
So we’re back to the original question after a short story on how things work. Picking signal up that your phone never knew existed is a combination of location, power, and size. Increasing power, antenna size (to the proper size), and increasing antenna location height play the biggest roles. The more extreme side of it consists purely on using a proper antenna. The whole home yagi antennas are a fantastic example. As we said earlier, the yagi antenna is very directional and can detect faint signals from several miles away.
When judging how strong my antenna was, without technical tools I did a backyard experiment. I measured my signal before and after the booster via a Dbm reading. A reading of around -120 (that’s negative) is extremely faint, and normally useless. A reading of -50 Dbm is considered perfect, and is generally never seen under normal conditions. My phone signal strength showed around -105 Dbm or so before the external booster. After the repeater was powered on and my phone placed on the indoor antenna it showed a mildly amazing -48 Dbm reading, aka perfect. This test was all done outside, and roughly four miles from the nearest cellular tower. Just to add some more impressive results to it, this was using a cellular band above 2 Ghz which is a worst case scenario currently.
It’s important to note that the further away from the indoor antenna I moved the phone, the weaker my signal became. If you need signal though, being even remotely near the antenna should allow you clear calls except in the most extreme cases. I personally keep my phone near it so I can maintain the highest data speeds miles from the nearest town.
Conclusion – An Answer to your Cellular Issues
Hopefully you found this information helpful and to the point. I do highly recommend you look at our other articles as well. We go in depth with quite a lot of information, if you’re into that. Otherwise the information given here should give you a really easy choice on which one to purchase. All of them come with all required equipment, and generally only takes normal hand tools or less to install.