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best cell phone signal boosters

The Best Cell Phone Signal Boosters in 2021

Author: Anthony Lee

Phone & Tablet Expert

With an LTE you can directly improve the reception performance on site. Our experts have worked their way through numerous comparisons and tests on the Internet in order to be able to create a list of the best, which also contains ratings for frequencies, performance, color and much more.

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FAQ’s: Cell Phone Signal Boosters

What is an LTE antenna?

An LTE antenna is an additional device that can improve the reception of different devices. For this purpose, the antenna is connected to a router, for example, and then placed in a location with good reception. Due to their size alone, external LTE antennas usually achieve much better results than integrated antennas in a device such as a smartphone.

How does an LTE antenna work?

An LTE antenna receives signals from the cellular network at different frequencies and can convert them into the data that can be used by a terminal.

For this purpose, the antenna is placed in a location where reception to the nearest transmission mast is as good as possible. The best results are achieved with external antennas that are placed on the roof of a house, for example. However, there are also models with the same functional principle for indoor use. The antenna itself does not perform any additional activities other than simply receiving data. A modem or router with an integrated modem is therefore still required to access the Internet. External LTE antennas, on the other hand, are not designed for operation with a smartphone or tablet, as the corresponding connections are missing.

How does an LTE antenna work?

An LTE antenna receives signals from the cellular network at different frequencies and can convert them into the data that can be used by a terminal.

For this purpose, the antenna is placed in a location where reception to the nearest transmission mast is as good as possible. The best results are achieved with external antennas that are placed on the roof of a house, for example. However, there are also models with the same functional principle for indoor use. The antenna itself does not perform any additional activities other than simply receiving data. A modem or router with an integrated modem is therefore still required to access the Internet. External LTE antennas, on the other hand, are not designed for operation with a smartphone or tablet, as the corresponding connections are missing.

Advantages of Cell Phone Signal Boosters

The biggest advantage of LTE antennas is the significantly better reception compared to an internal antenna in an LTE modem or a similar device. Sometimes it is possible with a dedicated antenna to receive LTE signals in places where 4G is actually not available with a mobile phone. This is particularly interesting in small towns that still do not have fast internet via DSL or cable. LTE is a good alternative here for accessing the Internet at high speeds.

Nobody is dependent on expensive cell phone tariffs. Numerous providers also offer special LTE tariffs for use at home.

In addition to better reception, good LTE antennas also ensure better speed. How big the difference is compared to an integrated antenna naturally depends on the respective location. However, it is entirely possible to accelerate a 3G connection with 7 Mbit / s with an LTE antenna to 50 Mbit / s. In the best case, it is an acceleration of several orders of magnitude.

LTE antennas are also suitable for use in a car. Together with a suitable router, you can turn your own car into a moving hotspot. The external antenna ensures that the reception is always as good as possible and that the speed is convincing even in remote locations or on the motorway.

The bottom line is that LTE antennas are not only an option for households without access to DSL or cable, but are of interest to everyone who always wants to access fast Internet access while on the move.

With the right tariffs, nothing stands in the way of this, even abroad, as numerous LTE antennas also easily support radio standards from other countries.

Types of Cell Phone Signal Boosters

LTE antennas are available in a surprising number of variants. First of all, a distinction must be made between pure LTE antennas and hybrid solutions. If an antenna only supports LTE, it can logically only be used where LTE is currently available.

In order to achieve even better network coverage, some manufacturers therefore rely on a hybrid solution with several radio standards. Such antennas can also handle signals with the
Bypass 3G or 2G standard.

The speeds cannot keep up with LTE, but it is still a useful alternative if no 4G signal is currently available. However, the purchase only makes sense if the old radio standards are actually to be used.

If an antenna is used as a replacement for a landline connection and LTE is available at the respective place of residence, the additional investment for a hybrid antenna is not worthwhile.
Furthermore, a distinction is made between LTE antennas for outdoor use and indoor antennas.

Outdoor antennas almost always offer better reception and can guarantee a good signal even with comparatively poor coverage. However, the installation is much more complicated.

An indoor antenna can be set up anywhere without any effort, but only achieves satisfactory results with good network coverage.

For the outdoor antennas, there is a choice between directional antennas and omnidirectional antennas.

In most cases, directional radio antennas offer a better signal and higher transmission speeds, but they must be set precisely to the nearest transmission mast.

Omnidirectional antennas can receive signals from all directions, but the results are not as good. Ultimately, a better signal always requires a little more effort. Which antenna is the best depends heavily on the location. With good LTE reception, simple solutions are definitely recommended. However, if the nearest transmission mast is only a few kilometers away, there is no way around a good directional antenna.

Best Cell Phone Signal for Motorhomes

Anyone traveling with a mobile home or caravan has several options for accessing the Internet via the cellular network.

  1. Set up a WLAN hotspot with your mobile phone: You buy a SIM card that you insert into an old mobile phone and set up a mobile hotspot on the mobile phone. The whole family can then access the Internet via this hotspot. According to the experience reports of campers, this works, but the capacity quickly reaches its limits.
  2. LTE router with integrated antenna: There are mobile WLAN routers that are advertised by the manufacturers especially for camping or “travel”. The older models include the LTE router TP Link M7350, and the newer models include the LTE router Netgear Nighthawk M1. These mobile WLAN routers set up a WLAN access point via which you can then access the Internet using the same principle as with a mobile phone. Such a router already has an antenna, which is already much stronger than a cell phone. So the reception is much better, but still not good enough for many.
  3. LTE router with additional LTE antenna: Here we come to the LTE antenna, which is also the subject of our LTE antenna test. If you want the best reception, you should build an additional LTE antenna on the roof.

The best LTE antennas for motorhomes

According to experts, omnidirectional antennas are best suited for the RV. An omnidirectional antenna receives equally well from all sides; in contrast to a directional antenna, this is useful when you are traveling with the motorhome and the location is constantly changing.

According to the practical experience of campers on the Internet, the

LTE omnidirectional antenna Panoramas Antennas LP MM Great White LPMM-7-27-24-58

Another model is the LTE antenna TravelConnector TCS208. It is an imposing 1 meter long omnidirectional / rod antenna, which “attracts full attention every time”, as one buyer put it on the campsite.

A directional antenna is the strongest, but it must always be precisely aligned. If you are a permanent camper and always leave your caravan in the same place, a directional antenna is better for you.

Here the LTE antenna YagiWLAN is recommended on Amazon, as well as the LTE antenna TP-Link Pharos series CPE510.

How did we test the cell phone signal boosters?

In our LTE antenna test, a wide variety of antennas have to prove themselves in several categories. Only if a device can convince across the board does it have a chance to secure the title of LTE antenna comparison winner. You can find out below what is particularly important to us during the test.

Anyone who opts for an external LTE antenna usually does so with good reason. The main aim is to amplify the LTE signal so that it can also be received in places where the mobile network providers have not yet offered good coverage.

For this project to be successful, an LTE antenna needs the largest possible range.

We test how far the antennas can be from the nearest transmission tower without losing the signal.

An LTE antenna has a significant influence on the transmission speed of a connection. That is why we also analyze very precisely which maximum
Data rates are possible with the individual models. We take different locations and mobile phone providers into account.

An Internet connection via LTE should not only be fast, but also work as reliably as possible. The antenna must therefore be as insusceptible as possible to interference, so that unwanted disconnections do not occur all the time. In the LTE antenna test, we check several scenarios and also reveal whether other radiation sources such as WiFi or Bluetooth can influence the results.

Installation & Assembly
Installing an LTE antenna is often not an easy undertaking. Especially with outdoor antennas, the necessary know-how is of fundamental importance. It is all the more important that the manufacturers of the antennas do not put obstacles in the way of the user. In the best case scenario, the antenna comes with all the individual parts required for assembly and the instructions supplied describe the installation step by step. This is the only way to ensure that laypeople can install their LTE antenna without any problems.

Does a certain LTE antenna work together with as many end devices as possible or is special hardware required for operation? We clarify this question in this category Quality and workmanship If an LTE antenna is used outdoors, it must be protected against various sources of danger such as inconsistent weather conditions. In the test, we check exactly how the LTE antennas perform under greater loads and whether long-term use also works without problems. With indoor antennas, on the other hand, we pay attention to the best possible workmanship, which can be shown, for example, by the smallest possible gap dimensions.

Price-Performance Ratio
Finally, with every LTE antenna product report, we reveal whether a certain model is worth the price estimated by the manufacturer. If this is not the case, we of course refer you to equivalent models at lower prices. At this point, however, we also draw your attention to when a particularly inexpensive antenna can still be useful for certain purposes despite some deficiencies.

Important criteria for cell phone signal boosters

The most important thing when buying an LTE antenna is always your own location. Check carefully how good the network coverage of your preferred provider is. This is possible with tools on the Internet that every cell phone provider makes available.

In the best case scenario, you already have a smartphone or tablet from the respective provider and can use it to test the LTE quality yourself.

If you already have full reception with your device, purchasing an indoor antenna is sufficient. If, on the other hand, the display only shows one or two bars, it is worth considering an external antenna. If you cannot receive an LTE signal at all, a good directional antenna may still be able to establish a connection via 4G.
Ultimately, however, this can only be found out through a test. Even the providers themselves do not provide any guarantees for such questions.

Of course, an LTE antenna should always be compatible with the existing hardware. Therefore, find out before buying whether a particular antenna is suitable for operation with your LTE router or LTE modem.

If this is the case, it is still important to ensure high quality. This not only ensures better reception in most cases, but also has a decisive impact on the longevity of an antenna. Outdoor antennas in particular can only work reliably for years if the materials used can withstand a storm or other violent weather phenomena.

Of course, the price also always plays a major role when buying. However, it is difficult to give a general recommendation. Bargain hunters should only resort to the cheapest options if there is a correspondingly good signal at their own place of residence. Everyone else prefers to invest a little more in a good antenna and then also enjoy a clean and fast connection in rural regions.

However, that does not mean that reaching for the most expensive model is automatically the right choice. On the contrary, some LTE antennas are simply overpriced and offer no performance in relation to the sales price. In order to find out which antennas are really worth the money, it is advisable to take a look at our product reports before buying.

How to mount a cell phone signal booster?

Fortunately, the assembly of an LTE antenna is quite simple and is usually done in three simple steps. In the following we explain the process using an LTE directional antenna.

1. Mount the LTE antenna

First of all, the LTE antenna is installed at the desired location. This can be the roof or an exterior wall, for example. In most cases, an LTE antenna comes with everything that is necessary for the setup. When setting up, you only have to pay attention to whether a pair of antennas is installed horizontally, vertically or in a combination. Which solution is the best always depends on the location. In general, horizontal installations offer a higher data rate, while vertical installation increases the range.

2. Connect the antenna to the router / modem

If both antennas are set up, they must be connected by cable to a router or modem. It is important that both antennas are connected, otherwise a connected device cannot recognize them. Only when the cabling has been completed, the next step is to align the antenna. It would be more intuitive for most people to do this when setting up the antenna. The problem is, however, that without a connection to the router, no signal can be read by the user and therefore no information about the best possible alignments is available.

3. Align the antenna

To align the antenna, it is turned a little bit over and over again. The results can then be observed in the router, i.e. whether reception improves or deteriorates. This is best done with a smartphone. This can log into a router and display the measurement results directly on site on the antenna. It is then not necessary to constantly walk back and forth between the antenna and the router.

After rotating, you should wait about a minute so that the antennas and router can adjust to the new position. Observe the reception performance in different positions and then decide on the best possible option. With some antennas it is possible to screw down the position afterwards.

Cell phone signal booster alternatives

As an alternative to an LTE antenna, connections to the Internet can also be established with a UMTS antenna. However, it hardly makes sense today to rely on such a solution. LTE is now well developed and will continue to gain in importance in the future. In addition, UMTS antennas are hardly cheaper than LTE antennas. Investing in the future costs practically nothing.

With good network coverage, an external LTE antenna is sometimes not absolutely necessary. An LTE stick may then be sufficient for the notebook to establish a connection. A suitable antenna is always integrated in such a device, which also achieves good transmission values ​​with good reception. The disadvantage, however, is that a connection is only ever available to one device at a time. This can be avoided with a smartphone that is set up as a mobile hotspot. Even then, the connection is only available to multiple users if the corresponding smartphone is nearby.

Another argument against the use of LTE sticks and smartphones for home use is that most providers only offer LTE tariffs for home with the appropriate hardware. So it is not always possible to simply insert the SIM card into a surf stick. Mobile data tariffs are also not recommended as the data limits are far too low here.

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Last product update on 2022-09-30 | Source: Amazon Affiliate