If a cell booster promises 60dB boost, why doesn’t your phone get 60dB more signal?

It must seem really frustrating. You’ve bought a new cell booster. You’ve downloaded an app for your Android to check signal strength. Maybe you’ve even gotten your hands on a real cellular signal meter. Fire things up before installing the booster and you see that you’re getting -105 signal.

So you hook up your shiny new 60dB cell booster, and you know your 2nd grade math so you expect that you should have -45 for your new signal strength. (105, boosted by 60, is 45.)

You turn on your phone to check it out and the number is more like -70. Is this a trick? Have you been cheated?

There’s a little more to it than that

It turns out that there’s a little more to signal amplification than simple subtraction. Your booster is doing the required work, but then within six feet of the transmit antenna, half of that signal can be lost. That’s normal attenuation and it’s the reason that big broadcast towers use 500,000 watts for TV when your TV can actually receive a signal of .001 watts. The further away you get, the weaker the signal gets, and the area where there’s the most loss is actually closest to the antenna.

It’s called the “rule of squares, and if you want to read a lot more about it, there’s a longform article here that explains it in a lot more detail. It also manages to be a little lighthearted, so don’t worry, you won’t be asked to absorb a lot of math here.

Choose right the first time…

That’s one more reason why it’s critical to place the indoor antenna carefully. weBoost cellular boosters use an antenna that’s detached from the booster so you can place it most effectively. It’s also why it’s important to choose the right cell booster from the very beginning. You can substitute different antennas if you want. They’re available. Really though, you’re better off choosing the right option to begin with. Solid Signal has a wide selection of weBoost cellular boosters for any size home, office, or vehicle.

Choose the one that makes the most sense for you. If you need help, our technicians are only a phone call away. Call the experts at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. We have certified technicians on staff. They’ll help you choose the right system. If you have a larger office, they’ll even help you plan the right installation using customized tools. We have options for installations of 100,000 square feet or larger using the best cell booster systems made today. You can’t go wrong.

…but how will you know if the cell booster is working?

This is an ongoing problem, honestly. The big problem is that you can’t trust those cell booster bar displays. The most challenging part of a cell booster installation is when you’ve spent a lot of money, and then you look at your phone and it shows the same number of bars as before. It’s easy to get discouraged. The best thing to do is check all bands with an app or with a signal meter. This will give you a lot more confidence in what you’ve installed.

If you have further questions or need help choosing a cellular signal booster when our phone lines are closed, use the form below. Our staff will contact you back, usually within 24 hours.

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.