Can you upgrade an old cell booster system with a new booster?

If you were early to the cell booster game, well first, good on ya! A lot of folks didn’t realize until very recently that you don’t have to live with bad cell reception. We see study after study saying that 95% of people could benefit from cell boosters, and yet only 5% of people have them. So it’s a great thing if you put in a cell booster to try to make sure your home or office has great cell reception.

Why upgrade your cell booster?

As phone technology has changed, cell booster technology has changed to keep up. Ten years ago, it was very common for people to get “dual band” boosters which only worked on the voice frequencies used at that time. Boosters were still a pretty new thing and costs were high. Back then I was recommending people skip boosters that helped with data.

Of course now, we mostly use our phones for data and much less so for voice. The voice frequencies that were used at that time are obsolete and carriers are in the process of removing them. So, even if your booster still functions (and it probably does) it’s time for an upgrade.

Know your wiring

There’s been a silent revolution in cell boosters in the last several years. Instead of using commercial-grade RG58 50 Ohm cable, newer cell boosters use the same RG6 cable that’s used in cable and satellite TV. That’s good for everyone — it’s easier to extend your cable runs and it makes cell boosters less expensive. It’s a big win for new cell booster users.

How to know if you’re using the old 50 Ohm cable

The easiest way to know what you have is to look at the connectors. N-connectors are much larger than the standard F connector used in 75-ohm cable. If you see these bigger, chunkier connectors then you have 50-ohm cable.

Also note…

If you’re using a very old booster the antenna may not work for newer frequencies. Changing the antenna is easy but the new antennas also use the F connector so this adds a challenge if you’re trying to reuse old cable.

What if you’re a longtime cell booster user and you’re looking to upgrade to a new booster?

Maybe the old booster stopped working because … things stop working. Maybe you need to boost LTE and 5G frequencies and your old booster won’t do that.  New cell boosters are sold as kits now, so you can’t get just the booster, but there’s a problem if you’re trying to use the old antenna and old wire so that you don’t have to rewire everything.

Problem, meet solution. Luckily our friends over at weBoost have come up with this 971151 adapter that lets you connect any RG6 cable to your existing 50 ohm cable. You do incur a some loss as the signal is transformed from 75 ohm to 50 ohm, but it’s a small price to pay to make sure you can leave all your cable in place and just run a small length of RG6 to a new booster. Still, if you’re looking for the best possible performance you will want to rewire with the new cable.

Yes I’ll admit it’s a little expensive for an adapterBut the price still won’t break the bank and it’s the thing you need unless you plan on just running all new cable — remember you can’t just put new ends on and have it work because of that impedance problem.

Find everything you need at Solid Signal

Solid Signal is your source for cellular signal boosters, as well as all the products you need to help you live your best digital life. Shop Solid Signal today and you’ll see over 40,000 specially curated parts designed to get you up and running! Need extra help and support? No problem! Call us at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. You’ll get a technician who is ready to help you with everything you need!

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.