Two FirstNet Cell Boosters for Emergency Workers

As a first responder, you can’t afford to have poor cell phone communication. If you lose connection with emergency crews on a call, it could mean the difference between life and death. AT&T’s FirstNet network helps you stay connected, but this service still experiences connection issues like other transmissions do. Getting a cell phone booster is the way to solve this, but these devices weren’t compatible with FirstNet. Now, there are two signal boosters that boost calls made over FirstNet, and we carry both devices. Signal Connect can recommend the right one to help boost calls and texts at your base station.

The Wonders of AT&T’s FirstNet

Before AT&T created FirstNet, some first responders were having trouble communicating on emergency calls. Each department or agency was on a different radio, so it was very difficult to coordinate communication. Some first responders tried to use their cellphones, but they found the lines were clogged by other people calling in for updates. To avoid this in the future, the government chose AT&T to develop a network that would only be available to emergency workers.

AT&T responded with the creation of FirstNet. It’s a closed cell network that’s exclusively for first responders. The service was initially available to full-time emergency crews but AT&T later opened it up to volunteer, part-time, and on-call first responders. These unique bands help emergency workers in what you do every day, which is save lives and help people. The only difficulty that this network faces are the same problems that all cellular communications encounter – blocked signal.

FirstNet and Cell Phone Reception Issues

Because FirstNet is wireless communication, it’s subject to the same issues as other cellular services. The things that block cellular signal from other carriers affect FirstNet the same way. If you find yourself struggling with calls, texts, and downloads at your base station, we know what’s probably happening. The metal and other building materials are probably blocking incoming and outgoing cellular signal. This is a problem for anyone, but even more so for community first responders.

When most people have cellular phone reception issues, they get a signal booster. These devices help eliminate dropped calls and missed texts. This solution wasn’t available to FirstNet users because no signal booster worked with its specialized frequencies. This issue was known by AT&T going in to the project. Everyone was confident that some signal booster manufacturers would address this issue and some have.

Cell Boosters for FirstNet

Today, there are two cellular signal boosters that enhance FirstNet communications. The SureCall Guardian4 and the Nextivity Cel-Fi GO RED were designed to exclusively work with this first responder channel. Generally speaking, these boosters work exactly like other signal boosters:

  1. The outdoor antenna accesses FirstNet data signals then delivers it to the booster.
  2. The booster receives the signal, amplifies it, and sends it to the indoor antenna.
  3. The indoor antenna broadcasts the amplified signal throughout the base station.
  4. This process works in reverse every time you make a call or send data.

The difference between these and other cellular boosters is that the Guardian4 and GO RED only work with FirstNet. Many first responder organizations run one of these boosters alongside the other ones they use at the base station. This is important to know when considering one of these FirstNet cell boosters.

“Tell Me More About These FirstNet Boosters”

Gladly! Let’ start with the Guardian4 from SureCall. It offers 80dB of boost of the public safety bands, which can cover an area up to 8,000 square feet. (This largely depends on how your department uses the booster.) You also have the option of using multiple indoor antennas to possibly extend the range throughout the base station. Facilities managers appreciate the built-in SureCall Sentry remote monitoring with ethernet port. This means they can check up on equipment from anywhere rather than having to live at the facility.

Here are more specs for the SureCall’s FirstNet cell phone booster system:

  • It provides improved coverage for Public Safety 700 MHz (FirstNet) and 800 MHz.
  • Integrated 7-pin alarm and UPS port for external battery backup.
  • NEMA-4 rated amplifier housing; no additional NEMA enclosure(s) needed.

The Nextivity Cel-Fi GO RED FirstNet booster offers up to 100dB max gain when amplifying FirstNet bands 12 and 14. This offers up to 15,000 square feet of coverage at your base station. Cel-Fi boosters let users connect them with Ethernet cable instead of coaxial cable. This lets makes it easier to put this booster system inside your facility, which makes it easy to install into temporary locations and in buildings that could eventually host a cell tower.

Here’s a little more about the GO RED signal booster:

  • Works with 4G/LTE voice and data
  • Indoor/outdoor NEMA 4 rated
  • Up to 100dB max gain

As you can see, both of these FirstNet signal boosters have many great features. We can tell you which one is best for your base station but first, we’d like to tell you about our…

…First Responder Discount from Signal Connect!

Everyone at Signal Connect respects and appreciates first responders. To show our gratitude for all your hard work and sacrifice, we offer discounts to qualified first response personnel. This includes deals on cell phones, wireless plans, and DIRECTV subscriptions. These discounts are valid for your department as well as individual first responders. We encourage emergency workers to take advantage of these discounts and packages we have to offer.

“Which One Does the Base Station Need?”

You’re right to ask this question. Since there are only two cell phone boosters that work with FirstNet bands, it’s natural to want the best one. Thing is, there’s no such thing as “the best cell phone booster.” There’s only the best cell phone booster for your base station. There’s really no easy way to give you an answer to which one you need without first having some information about your installation.

The simple fact about base stations is that each one is different. The FirstNet cell booster you need will depend on a variety of factors. The experts at Signal Connect can recommend the best one for your organization’s base station. In fact, a Signal Connect rep can help you with all of your organization’s wireless communication needs. The solution starts with a phone call to our team at 888-233-7563, or fill out the form below and send it to us.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.