Can you use leftover cable for your cell booster?

There are two kinds of people in this world… those who have a cell booster and those who need one. OK, that’s probably a little bit extreme, but it’s likely that up to 90% of us need a cell booster in our homes or workplaces. Cell towers aren’t that powerful, people, and cell phones are particularly weak. It wasn’t always that way, but power-hungry 10-watt phones just didn’t really make an impact in our world, and it’s still not clear what the impact of putting that much power next to your brain would be.

So, if you use your phone inside, you’ll benefit from a cell booster. But maybe wiring isn’t your strong suit. While there are some alternatives, you’re really better off doing it right. Cell boosters use an outdoor antenna mounted up high on the roof and an indoor antenna that serves your devices. The two are usually connected by RG6 cable. Commercial installs use other cable but for home, RG6 is the one.

What about leftover cable?

Maybe you thought to yourself, “hey, I have some leftover cable from when I had cable TV. Can I use that?” Absolutely. In fact almost any coaxial cable can be used for a cell booster, as long as it’s in fairly good shape. Cellular signals are more forgiving than satellite or TV antenna signals and they work just find with pretty much any cable you have lying around. That’s great news if someone else already did the work to bring television signals into your home over a coax cable and you aren’t using that wire any longer.

You shouldn’t need to use leftover cable in most cases, since every cell booster kit comes with the cables you need. However, if you’re looking to use up something old or perhaps extend a cable run, it can be done.

That said, your next question might be “what if I am using that cable for something else?” It’s possible to use the same cable for both TV antenna and cell booster use, but depending on the type of antennas you’re using, it could cause interference for both. It’s a bit of a trial-and-error thing, but using a splitter turned upside down (so it is a combiner) can sometimes let you use two different antennas for different things on the same wire. When it works, it’s an easy solution. When it doesn’t, though… be prepared for trouble.

One thing to know

The one thing you cannot do is use the same cable for cell booster and satellite. Folks, this does not work. You’ll create all sorts of chaos on your satellite TV setup and it’s possible that your cell booster could shut itself down to avoid overloading and creating feedback. I say again, do not try this. It’s a perilous path to tread.

If you have flat antenna wire left over from a very old antenna setup, it really won’t work for a cell booster application. You could try to frankenstein something with transformers and adapters if you wanted. Really, you’re better off using that wire as a guide to snake new cable in through the wall. That flat, 300-ohm cable has served you well. It’s time for it to be retired.

Once you get that cell booster installed, you’ll wonder how it was that you ever got away without one. You’ll never walk outside to take a phone call or hold your phone up high to get a signal. Standing near windows will be a thing of the past unless it’s to look at the view outside. Even your friends and visitors will thank you for the strong cell service. It’s practically mandatory now, right? Who wants to be out of touch?

If you’re looking for the best selection of cellular signal boosters, check out the great options available now at Solid Signal.

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.