There're many things to consider when choosing a signal booster. The first thing to consider is the type of the booster.
There are two types of signal boosters sold on the market.
A cell phone booster for home is used to enhance the signal within a house, office or building. A signal booster for home is far more powerful than a vehicle booster. The installation for such a device is permanent and may feature a network of internal antennas for distributing the improved signal through the house or building.
A cell phone signal booster for home has the same set up as explained above – an external antenna mounted on a roof, an amplifier and a network of internal antennas. The external antenna is strategically located so as to pick up the strongest signal from outside, the signal is boosted by the amplifier and distributed through the house or building by the internal antennas. The process works just as well in the reverse, ensuring a perfect 2-way communication between the phone and the cellular tower.
Signal boosters used in cars, trucks, marine vehicles and RVs are not as powerful as those meant for homes or businesses. The one thing to keep in mind with respect to cell phone boosters for vehicles is that they should be capable of picking the constantly changing outside signal – which varies in strength as the vehicle is in motion.
Further, these boosters should not affect the other cellular devices in the other vehicles on the road. They should be able to prevent oscillation or feedback in the system.
These devices are easy to install, as they don’t have to be installed on a permanent basis. You only need to attach the external antenna to the roof of the car with a magnetic base. The cable can be run through the door frame.
The amplifier is small in size and can be hidden away under the seat. The inside antenna is usually velcroed and attached to the dashboard of the vehicle with an adhesive.
Boosters for trucks, RVs and other large vehicles are installed on a more permanent basis. The layout of the cable that runs from the antennas to the amplifier is carefully thought out. But it is still easy to install.
The only real difference in the working of a signal booster for a vehicle with that of a boost for a home or business is that the amplifier has to be designed to adjust to the fluctuating outside signal more efficiently. Also, the boosting power is kept low so that the booster does not impact the cellular devices used in the other vehicles on the road.
The next important factor to consider when choosing a signal booster is the carrier or network that you want to support with it. There are boosters that are made specifically for a particular carrier, such as Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. Then you have boosters that made to support specific networks, such as 2G, 3G or 4G LTE.
Most carriers in the U.S. and Canada use the same frequencies for both 3G and 2G networks – so you can use the same signal amplifier for handling voice calls and data. However if you want to support a 4G LTE network, then you will need an amplifier that works with 4G LTE in addition to 2G and 3G. Such devices are more expensive. We carry mostly 4G LTE boosters which are backward compatible and boost 2G and 3G signals as well.
If you want to support more than one carrier, then it is preferred you buy a device with omni-directional external antenna. If you want to support just one carrier, then a strong yagi antenna will more than suffice.
As discussed earlier, the strength of the outside signal will decide what sort of an amplifier you should buy. If the outside signal is very weak, then you will have to invest in a more powerful booster.
If the outside signal is reasonably strong, then you may as well invest in a cheap or moderately priced booster that delivers mediocre gains in signal strength.
The fourth factor to be noted is the size of the area that needs to be covered by the enhanced signal. The layout of the area is important as well.
The size of the area and the strength of the outside signal will give you a good idea of just how powerful you want the amplifier to be. The layout will tell you how many internal antennas you need and their type.
If the area to be covered is located on just one floor, then you should choose a dome antenna to go with it. If you want multiple floors to be covered, then panel antennas are the right choice as they ensure that the signals are distributed in a better way through the house or building.