cell phone boosters

If you need a stronger signal for your "non" smart phones in the house, consider a cell phone booster. And while AT&T, Verizon and others will sell you one of their cell boosters (aka femtocell), we haven't heard many people having success with those. Yes, they are easy to install, but they do not work well in the country.

NOTE: If you have a smart phone, you do NOT need a cell phone booster. (Cell phone boosters are only for "dumb" phones). Connect you smart phone to your home wifi and you will then make/receive calls via the Internet. Not only will you have a stronger signal, but it won't count against your cell/data minutes.

Living in the rural areas, what you need is a directional antenna installed in the attic or on the roof, with a coax cable that runs into the house to a signal base unit. For about $350, you can boost the cell signal in a 2,500 square-foot house to 4-5 bars.

The cell booster we tested successfully (with Verizon 3G) is the Wilson Electronics DB Pro signal booster kit. The kit includes a directional wide-band yagi and panel Antenna.

NOTE: If you have 4G service, you will need a different kit. Contact Wilson Electronics for help, 800-204-4104.

Need help setting this up? Hire local handyman, Phil Whitmore, at N-His-Service Handyman (707) 365-5139. You buy the stuff, he hangs it for you.

Finding Your Cell Tower

There are a couple of handy websites that will help you aim and align your cell phone antenna.

  • CellReception.com Just plug in your city, select your cell phone carrier(s) and aim your cell phone booster antenna in the direction indicated.

  • OpenSignal.com Similar to above but gives you signal strengths. Aim your antenna toward any signal hot spot (red).


What Other Options Do I Have?

First of all, if you have a smartphone, you can connect to your wireless router and then make/receive calls via the Internet! Otherwise, you can subscribe to an Internet telephony service, or try a free phone option.