How Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?

By Jacquelyn Jeanty



Today, cell phones are a part of our everyday lifestyles. Communication lines are now open 24 hours a day. There are times though when signal lines are unavailable because of the location you're in. This is where cell phone boosters can be of help. They function as signal boosters that enhance your phone's ability to connect with its assigned network regardless of network traffic, or nearby obstructions. With a stronger signal coming through, the phone's signal range is stronger and the likelihood of dropped calls reduces. Cell phone boosters are sold as kits that include an antenna and a base unit. Different types of kits are used for building and mobile use, where building use helps to strengthens a signal when the phone is used inside an enclosure, and mobile use is for on the road. Mobile use units - also known as wired amplifiers, or repeaters- require a cable connection between the base unit and an antenna. Building use units are called wireless amplifiers since no connection is needed between the cell phone and the antenna.


Older model cell phones from the 1990's operated at maximum power outputs, meaning signal strengths were stronger. These outputs met the FCC limit maximums; however, this practice was discontinued in the newer phones of today. Cell phone boosters rather reinstate a phone's power output strength to the same extent as the older model phones had. Repeater units do this through the use of two antennas --one for the input side, and one for the output side of the device. Since the radio signal inside a building remains relatively stable, existing inside and outside signal levels can be measured. Once existing levels are established, the repeater can be set to amplify the signal accordingly to allow for effective signal coverage. With boosters, the cell phone is directly connected to the input side, while the antenna serves as the output side of the device. This setup is designed for remote area usage where radio signals are weak and likely to change on a frequent basis.

Internal Antenna Boosters

Internal antenna boosters are advertised as cell phone booster devices, or "stickers," that can be attached to the inside or outside of a phone. They're dubbed as receiver amplifiers that work to increase a phone's signal strength regardless of what location you're in. There are, however, questions as to whether or not these devices actually improve phone reception. As cell phones are tuned to specific frequencies which connect them to their assigned networks, the addition of an amplifying device can only improve reception if the device itself is set to the same frequency as the phone. In the case where a device does hold a similar frequency, the user would have to "point" the phone towards its network tower to get improved reception. On the other hand, devices with a different frequency may actually distort or damage the phone's antenna capacity altogether.