Can you “turbocharge” a cell booster?

This is the weBoost Home 3G, one of the least expensive cellular boosters from weBoost. It’s designed to cover a small home and provide boost for voice only. What if it were possible to add a few more parts, tweak it a little bit, and get a massive improvement in range and also get 4G/LTE boost?

Sorry for the bait-and-switch, but it isn’t. Let’s take it one step at a time.

This cellular booster has 60dB of boost power. By today’s standards, that’s “fair-to-middling.” At one time that seemed like a lot, but today’s boosters are a lot more efficient at rejecting feedback, making more powerful boosters possible at lower prices.

Is it possible to the 70dB power of its much more expensive relative the Connect 4G-X? After all, 10dB more means ten times the power, which is why the more expensive booster is rated to cover a larger area. Unfortunately, there isn’t a hidden knob somewhere in the booster than would let you “crank it up to 11.” Adding more AC power isn’t going to do it either, it’s just going to fry the electronics.

A lot of people remember when it was possible to customize your cellular signal booster kit with different indoor and outdoor antennas. That stopped back in 2014 when new FCC rules came out. Those rules said that all cell boosters had to be sold in pre-approved kits, unless they were installed by professionals.

The result is that most cell boosters are tuned to work with the antennas that come in the box. While you can upgrade the antenna, it’s rare that it’s going to give you any real benefit. Today’s cell boosters get so much performance from the antennas they have that if your booster isn’t “doing it for you,” chances are you are better off with a difference booster system than trying to play around with adding or subtracting antennas. You can buy cellular antennas at Solid Signal, but they don’t always work with consumer grade cell boosters and when they do, they’re often a waste of money.

Here’s what you can do.
If you really want to get the most out of your cellular booster, put the antenna up high. Try to get it 15 feet above the roof line, above trees and other obstructions if you can. If you have a directional antenna that looks like this:

try to point it as close to the tower as possible. There are a lot of cell tower aiming apps for free in your favorite app store.

Good aiming and putting the antenna up high will generally get you quite a bit more signal and it will generally work a lot better than trying to substitute the antenna or hot-rod the electronics. Trying those things is a waste time at best, and at worst you’ll destroy the booster you paid a lot of money for.

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.