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Old 12-01-2020, 08:29 AM   #1
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Boosting cell phone signal

We are new travel trailer owners and want to have the flexibility to do dry camping. Solar panel and generator work great but my husband really wants to be able to stay connected. Haven't been able to use the trailer much this year, but on one trip to a national forest, had little to no cell phone signal. Is there a product that boosts signals? Thanks!
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:37 AM   #2
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We have a Wilson booster DT4G that will increase our signal by 2 bars. The requirements call for the outside antenna to be mounted 10' above and 30' forward of the internal antenna. I mounted the outside antenna on a 10' removable pole on the front pin box and the inside antenna is mounted on the floor of the rear of our RV.
The Verizon signal has gotten better over the last couple of years and we rarely need to used the booster any more.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:42 AM   #3
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There are so many answers, approaches and solutions to this question it's ridiculous. If you do any research at all, I promise you your head will begin to spin trying to understand and choose between all the options.

BUT...as an easy answer on how we solved this problem, we installed a weBoost. We've been on the road now 4yrs. and there has only been one time where we were to far out to get any usable cell signal even with the weBoost. It's a fairly inexpensive solution, easy install and for us has worked great.

https://www.weboost.com/boosters/vehicle-rv
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:23 AM   #4
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We use a WeBoost mostly with the omnidirectional antenna. I do carry a directions yagi antenna for times we are really in fringe areas so that I can aim directly at a a tower.

What lots of folks do not understand is that the boosters will ONLY work where you have a weak signal. If there is no signal, you have nothing to boost. We have been in areas with no cell service.

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Old 12-01-2020, 10:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post

What lots of folks do not understand is that the boosters will ONLY work where you have a weak signal. If there is no signal, you have nothing to boost. We have been in areas with no cell service.
What's even less understood is that these days the MIMO antennas built into most modern cellular phones and hotspots will often outperform signal booster with respect to download and upload speed. Using a signal booster negates the use of the MIMO antennas.

MIMO usage is confusing because the MIMO antennas have no effect on the phone's signal strength meter. There's absolutely no way to know if your phone is making a MIMO connection to the tower unless you check the download speed!

That's why I strongly suggest that at every new location at which the signal strength appears to be a bit on the low side you should test your download speed by comparing the amplified connection the the unamplified MIMO connection. Sometimes one will be faster, other times the other will be.
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Old 12-01-2020, 10:15 AM   #6
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All good and correct answers so far.

A lot of what you need will depend on your expectations of, "stay connected" are.

Yes a booster will work but it also has limitations due to the way they work. The this not a right/wrong answer, but you need to identify your goals before you chose your device.

Here is a well know resource that has a ton of information for you about terminology, different options and uses, https://www.rvmobileinternet.com
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:00 AM   #7
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Good link above.
Also:
https://www.weboost.com/
https://winegard.com/products/cellular

The key to weak signal boosting is antennae gain.
The key to boosting data speed is multiple antennae.
They don't always go together.

High gain antennae that need to be aimed at the tower like the Weboost, are excellent at reaching out long distances. However, users frequently find multi antennae devices have higher band width for signals that are a little stronger. Winegard sells multiple antennae arrays that are faster in a little stronger signal situation.

An iPhone and many others have multiple built in antennae and naturally get higher speeds. However, they loose signal strength indoors. I put mine in a window and usually get one more bar of strength. I use the iPhone as a local router.

Next up is satellite. Satellite reaches almost anywhere, but has its own problems. It is expensive.

The ultimate solution is Starlink. It is a huge system and is in the process of being launched. Some people have been able to get beta test accounts. It will eventually cover most of the earth. It is expensive.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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