How is a cell booster different from an amplifier?

A cellular signal booster is one of the most complex pieces of equipment in your home or office. It’s as complex as any computer or smartphone. What’s really amazing is that a cell booster works silently, instantly, giving you the cell service you need indoors without introducing any lag time or problems.

That’s because it’s more than just an amplifier.

What a cell booster does

A cell booster has three main purposes, and around those three there are a lot of other things it does. Let’s start with the basics:

1. Reception

A cellular signal booster receives a signal. It actually receives all the signals from outside including voice and data. It also receives all the signals from all the phones and cellular devices inside. Using two sophisticated antennas, a cell booster pulls in signals wherever it can.

The outdoor antenna is generally placed in such a way that it’s far from the house and high above other homes or trees. This means it will get the strongest possible outdoor signal. The stronger the signal is outdoors, the better the entire system will work.

The indoor antenna is placed in the home or office so that all the devices can reach it. Generally this means placing it in the center of the area to be served but sometimes that’s impossible depending on the installation. Every installation is different.

2. Amplification

The outdoor signal comes in and is analyzed then amplified up to 10,000,000 times. This allows it to be used throughout the home or office. The indoor signal is amplified as well but only enough to go up to the outdoor antenna and broadcast out to the nearest cell tower safely.

Of course, the system must constantly adjust the power of the amplifer so that there is no oscillation or feedback. If you’ve ever heard someone place a microphone near a speaker, you know what oscillation and feedback are. You wouldn’t want that to happen to a cell phone. The result could actually cause damage… not just to your ears but to the equipment.

3. Transmission

Signals from outside are retransmitted inside. Signals from inside are retransmitted outside. All the signals that have passed through the amplifier are stronger, so they can be sent out over a longer distance. In your home or office, the indoor antenna broadcasts the signal from outdoors as strongly as it can without causing problems. Outside, the signal goes out at the highest legal limit so that it can reach nearby cell towers.

All that other stuff

A cellular booster system is also monitoring power levels, automatically adjusting, and checking the health of the overall system. There are dozens of checks done every second to make sure you’re getting the best possible result without any risk to your ears or to the cellular network.

Remember that a cell booster is bidirectional. It’s always taking signals from inside and putting them outside, while taking signals from outside and putting them inside. It’s so much more complex than just a simple amplifier. If all you used was a simple amplifier, your incoming calls would sound great but no one would hear you when you talked.

Of course, cell boosters are highly regulated by the FCC so that they work with all carriers and all cellular networks safely. They have complex electronics that catch problems before they start.

Choose the right cellular signal booster for you

If you’re looking to improve the cell signal in your home or office, give the folks at Solid Signal a call at 888-233-7563. They can recommend the right choice from our selection of over 50 best-selling models from all the top manufacturers! The recommendation is free and comes with no obligation.

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.