Why does a cellular signal booster actually make the signal better?

It’s 2018 and we’re still talking about why you would need a cellular signal booster. To be honest, I’m a little surprised. First of all I kind of thought by now the major cell providers would have done a better job of getting good signal to everyone. Second, I thought that cell boosters would have had a “breakthrough moment” by now, and they would just be one of the common appliances you put in your home like a microwave or a Wi-Fi router. But in both cases, I was wrong — it’s not the first time that’s happened — and so I’m left to write an article like this, talking about why having a cell booster is better than not having a cell booster. (Bitter, party of one?)

But, ok, let’s take a look at all the moving parts here.

It’s kinda not the cell company’s job to get signal INTO your home.

I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but after talking to representatives from cell companies, they still look at themselves as providers of service outside the home. Sure, they’d love it if you use your cell phone all the time, but ask them about signal problems in your home and they will tell you that they have great service outdoors. I know, right?

Every home is different, and most of them are pretty hostile to cell signals.

Whether it’s an older home that’s sucked up lead paint over its life, a mid-century ranch with steel conduit and stucco, or a new build with aluminum studs, the fact is that most homes are extremely unfriendly to cellular signals. To make matters worse, each is unfriendly in its own specific way, which is why there are different cell booster solutions for different spaces. As long as the signal is better outside than inside, there’s going to be a need for a cellular booster system. And as long as homebuilders don’t care about cell signals, that’s going to be the case.

How a cell booster makes everything better

So we know the problems: cell signals are designed for outdoors and homes block cell signals, you’ll need a booster. What’s interesting is the way that a cell booster makes everything work. It’s not just one thing, it’s a combination of technologies, all working together at peak efficiency to make sure that you can watch cat videos on the couch.

The outdoor antenna

The outdoor antenna is, in many ways, the easiest part of the system to explain. If you put up an antenna on your roof, you get two immediate benefits. First of all the antenna is, oh about 50 times larger than the one in your phone. More antenna generally equals better reception. There’s a lot more to the physics of that, but bottom line is “big antenna=good.” Not only that, but you’re putting the antenna outside, where it’s not affected by all the weirdness inside your home, and you’re putting it up high, where maybe there aren’t so many trees and things to block cell signals. All in all this is a big part of the solution.

The indoor antenna

The indoor antenna is another big part of the solution. You put it where you need it, so it’s going to do a better job right off the bat. The best-placed indoor antennas are easy to see and aren’t blocked by anything, so that’s another improvement. And, because you’re so much closer to it than you are to a cell tower, you’re going to get better reception even though it’s much weaker than the antenna on a cell tower.

The booster/amplifier

This is literally the brains of the operation. The amplifier takes signal from the outdoors, sends it indoors, and also takes signal from the indoors and puts it outdoors. It does this almost instantly and constantly adjusts so that there’s maximum power available without any fear of overloading things. It manages this task, generally with five different radio frequencies at the same time and somewhere between 1 and 30 simultaneous users (pro-quality systems can handle even more.) It’s basically a mini-computer that does all this stuff incredibly well.

Why a cell booster is for you

Fact is, about 90% of homes suffer from some sort of signal loss to cell phones. Because every home is different, there are a ton of different cellular booster systems to choose from, and experts can design something that works for you. Choose an off-the-rack solution, or let Solid Signal create a custom plan that gives you exactly the coverage you need. We’ll even arrange for installation if you like, or as a DIYer we’ll give you the support you need.


It all starts with a visit to SolidSignal.com where you can find the best selection and great people who answer the phones when you call 888-233-7563. Check it out!

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.