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Whole House Cell Signal Booster

#1

I purchased a house where the cell phone signal strength is very low. It’s strange, because the cell tower is about two miles directly north from my house, but it must be a combination of slight rises in the land and trees, because I get almost no signal inside or outside my house. When I drive past the tower I get full signal.

I get slightly better signal if I’m on the second floor, and slightly better yet if I’m in the attic. Still nowhere near great, but better.

Is there a cheap, diy sort of solution I could try to see if I can get better signal on my first floor and in my basement?

I tried this, but it didn’t do anything. Probably because there’s about 75 feet of RG-59 between the two antenna. I have a signal booster I could put in between them, but I’m still skeptical it will work.

Any other ideas I could try? Eventually I’ll get internet to my house, which will hopefully make this problem go away.

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#2

MY understanding is you generally need a femtocell from your provider to get an actual signal (requires internet).

You might have issues with your house because of the makeup of the building and the available radio bandwidths used.

If you have internet you can also use wifi calling if your provider offers It, or change to a provider that has a signal or offers wifi calling.

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#3

alright you have a choice. There are repeaters they do exist… but whats the point in acquiring it… they are very expensive and usually licensed…

You could do a femtocell but usually this can present its own issues… not only are you broadcasting it locally and may run into issues with that in certain areas… you also use all your own bandwidth from your own internet connection…

Or alternatively you buy internet for your house and use wifi calling to make up for the difference. Either way you make sacrifices for certain gains

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#4

Femtocels only allow registered phones to use them so there good for houses in dead spots, but wifi calling makes these essentially obsolete, not to mention femtocells usually have a cost as well. both still need internet though.

I don’t know anywhere were you can legally get a repeater in your house, the cell company would likely never allow it, and as you mentioned you’d need to be licensed (and allowed by the cell provider)

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#5

Of course it wont. However I do have a thought. You could put a receiver on one end… design an amplifier for the other end and retransmit. Have a relatively high speed bus that runs over DOCSIS 3.1 between the two ends… and use RG11 but tbch you need a lot of engineering knowledge for that. Not saying it cant be done

It has been known to occur with certain amatuer radio volunteers setting up and running the equipment while the cell service pays them to run it and keep it going until the cell provider can get to the area but its very rare and only occurs in deep rural areas if it even occurs any longer… Not a method you can do… that being said Also what I mentioned above would be rather illegal unless he kept the transmit power under 1 watt but the cell provider would again have to allow it

That DIY design doesnt work because it has no filter… The filters purpose would be to block IMD (intermodulation distortion from ingress frequencies)

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#6

Presumably you have internet. Wifi calling is the right answer.

I would also switch providers to one that covers your house better once your contract is up.

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#7

Yeah, no internet right now. Not living in the house yet, as I need to do a lot of work to fix it up.

My dad’s a radio technician, and he’s pretty surprised that I get no signal at my house being so close to the tower. He’s sort of leaning towards something being wrong with the tower itself. Like an antenna is out or not aligned right. Not sure how I would go about asking them to look at the tower.

I was looking for something sort of passive, like the old antennas you put on car windows. I was actually going to try that, but since I get such low signal outside as well, I need to get as high as I can to pick anything up.

I just got this phone a few months ago, so I have to stick with at&t. Well, straight talk, but it’s on at&ts network.

And, hey, if there’s nothing I can do, then there’s nothing I can do. It would just be a nice to have sort of thing. I can just pre download music on Spotify and hope I don’t get hurt bad enough I can’t get out of the house to make a call.

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#8

Ahh, OK, that makes sense. In that case, I would look on a RV forum for a RV signal booster/antenna. Would suck to be working on your house for months and not be able to get text messages or whatever.

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#9

How would a signal booster work in this case? the band is owned by the cell carrier you cant use it without permission and without a license from the FCC to operate in that band presumably (I assume in the US).

Whats the house made of? I get full 4g outside, and 1 bar inside. If the cell carrier is only operating bands with poor penetration in that area and your house is made of dense brick say… then your not getting a signal.

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#10

It’s a big, old house built in 1912. Exterior is wood covered with crappy vinyl siding. Walls inside are either plaster/lath, very old sheetrock, or both. For insulation I’ve found gray cellulose, grass (!?), and a little modern fiberglass.

But like I said, the signal I get outside in my yard or driveway is almost as bad as inside the house. Which is what leads me to think something is wrong with the tower itself. Low power mode, mis-aligned antenna, bad antenna, etc.

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#11

Im a radio engineer myself. without giving up your address… you could PM me your location and I could give you the information of the towers in the area… like their orientation and stuff

If the house is made of an RF opaque material however that could be the cause…

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#12

Check out these guys, I’ve had good luck using their equipment. I’ve used their stuff both in a RV and at an old house.

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#13

So, after looking at the “amplifier” again that my dad gave me, it turns out it’s actually a 4G weboost amplifier like what @deltadawg79 linked to. I thought it was just a TV antenna amp with two F connectors on it.

It looks exactly like this:

Except the model is 460001. It just doesn’t have any antennas or a power supply. I found the manual for it here, and it lists the antenna part numbers and what voltage/amperage power supply it needs. Amazon even has the antennas.

Now I just need figure out if it would work.

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#14

I’m assisting him in pm because well PII is contained but yes everyone keep helping. We will all figure this out a bit…

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#15

WiFi calling can work, but not all providers offer this solution (when last I looked).

Femtocells work very well. Team “V” wanted to sell me one for a couple hundred bucks. Another provider gave me one, with only a $25 deposit. Shop the available providers in your area, policies and prices can vary wildly.

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#16

Femtocells work great, but they connect to the cell network over the internet, and he doesn’t have internet. What he needs is a RV signal amplifier/antenna.

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#17

I’m going to be doing some testing with an app and tool to get a better idea of what the tower(s) in my area are doing. There’s a chance AT&T is screwing with my signal since I’m not actually an AT&T customer (I’m going through Straight Talk).

If I have to switch carriers I’ll have to go to T-Mobile, also through Straight Talk. Their coverage is probably about the same, but they probably won’t throttle me.

If that’s the case, I’ll still probably get the antennas for the booster I have and register it with whichever carrier I go with.

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#18

Suggesting checking the coverage maps for several providers, may help you pick the best one. I wouldn’t assume that tmobile and AT&T have the same coverage. It can vary wildly over only a couple of blocks.

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#19

Yeah, I live in a pretty rural area. AT&T’s coverage map is like “yes yes, this entiiiirrre multi-hundred square mile area has screaming fast amazing 4G LTE.” Nope. T-Mobile’s map is a lot more fine-grained, and if it’s accurate I should have decent coverage.

The tool I’m using is a sort of crowd sourced coverage map, and not a single person has used it in my area yet. At least for AT&T. A bit hesitant to explain further, as it would be pretty easy to figure out where I live and where I drive, as when I have the tool logging my movements are placed on the map. Still, it’s kinda fun mapping coverage areas and finding towers like that.

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#20

Maybe try asking your friends if any of them use Tmobile, Verizon, or Sprint. Then if they use Sprint, never speak to them again. Otherwise, have them come over and check coverage at your house.

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