Can other cars steal the cell signal from your signal booster?

Trust me when I tell you that a vehicle cell booster is a smart idea. It may not be the sort of thing you think you need every day. But when you do need it, it’s priceless. But should you be worried that others will take advantage of your good planning?

Why cell reception’s a problem in cars

Cars are a pretty bad environment for cell phones. You may not realize how hard your phone has to work just to get signal while you’re driving. It’s not the movement. The cellular network was designed for that. It’s the car. Cars are big metal shells. Metal blocks cell signals. Sure, there are windows, but they are often coated to reduce UV radiation. That coating also does a decent job blocking cell signals. The result is that you could lose signal just when you need it.

There’s another thing to consider, too, and that’s traffic. On congested roads, we all fight for the same cell signal. If the closest cell tower gets overloaded, your phone will search for another tower that’s a little further away. Luckily in most major cities, towers are pretty densely spaced. But when traffic is at a dead stop, you may have trouble getting a signal. Strong reception is going to be your friend when that happens. You want to be able to reach the most distant tower before anyone else does.

How a cell booster can help

A cellular signal booster puts an antenna on the outside of your car. Generally it’s put up on your car’s roof to give just a little more height, which helps as well. That stronger signal is fed into your car through a wire. It’s then amplified and passed to your phone. That larger antenna also broadcasts a stronger signal out to the cell tower, giving you even more benefit.

Even more benefit… to whom?

(Sorry folks, I had to break out the word “whom.”)

Vehicle cell boosters can generally support between one and eight devices depending on which booster you choose. Should you be worried that the car next to you is taking up one of those slots, meaning you won’t get one?

This really isn’t a concern. The antifeedback circuitry inside cell boosters will turn down the power if the signal gets far enough outside the vehicle that the outdoor antenna picks it up. So it’s practically impossible for that improved cell signal to get to another car.

What’s the best vehicle cell booster?

Every need is different, but I have my favorites.

For a single user, you can’t go wrong with the Drive Sleek from weBoost. It expands to fit even the biggest phone, gives you an extra USB port for charging, and installs easily. It even looks pretty sexy doing it. This booster is for the hard-core commuter who doesn’t often have passengers.

On the other hand, pretty much every other need is perfectly served by one member of the Drive Reach family from weBoost. This high-powered cell booster can get paired with many different antennas so that you can get great service in anything from a compact car to a semi truck. And yet, even this superstar isn’t going to serve a car next to you.

The Drive Reach installs easily. It can be a temporary or permanent installation depending on what you want, thanks in part to industrial hook-and-loop tape that won’t let the booster go anywhere if it’s placed on a carpeted floor.

Get the cell booster you need from Solid Signal

Solid Signal has the best selection of cellular signal boosters from all the major manufacturer. Whether you need a booster for home, vehicle, business, or even large enterprise, you’ll find what you need when you shop at Solid Signal. If you need help choosing, call us at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. We’ll make it easy!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.