Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Purchased a Cellular Phone Booster

Posted from Hurricane, UT
(Click on any pics (charts) below to enlarge)

Thought I'd give everyone a break from hiking pictures for a few days and talk about an "RVing" piece of equipment for a change.

We're currently staying in Hurricane, UT for the month of May and our Verizon cellphone signals are  not the greatest in the world. Actually, we've been in worse areas, but in those, we just give in and don't use them until we arrive in a different location.  Our Verizon connection is important to us because all of our communications are either via telephone or more typically thru the internet.  We pay all of our bills, communicate with others via social media, and write and transmit this blog, all through our Verizon connection. (Note: we still have the grandfathered "unlimited data plan".)

I've thought about cellphone signal boosters for awhile now, but there was always "something" in every product that I just didn't like. It could have been ease of installation, setup, real-world results, or something else, but I just always waited for something better. (Which is really stupid when it comes to technology, as improvements are constantly being made.)

Well, after reading several reviews online by such folks as Technomadia and TechnoRV, just to name a few, I decided to take the plunge.

I decided to purchase the WeBoost Drive 4G-X RV Kit directly from WeBoost. This is supposed to be the latest, and greatest, cellular signal booster when it comes to ease of installation and results.  (NOTE: I received no compensation whatsoever from WeBoost for the following evaluation).

I only purchased directly from the company because their factory is in St. George, UT, approximately 20 miles from our current location, so I thought that quick delivery would be easy. As it turned out, I ordered the kit online on Friday 5/12 and received it on Tuesday 5/16.  The retail price is currently $499, so it ain't cheap. This kit was only released on April 17, 2017, so a lot of retailers don't even have it available yet.

I'm not going to go into all of the technical details here. That's available on the WeBoost link above. The kit consists of an outside antenna (which is omnidirectional and small), an inside amplifier (the heart of the system), and a small inside desktop antenna, both AC and DC power attachments, plus mounting hardware for the external antenna, and associated cabling for both outside and inside.

After looking at various sites on the web, I decided to make my own external antenna mounting system.  I didn't want to ladder-mount the antenna (although the kit makes this very easy) or drill any holes in the roof or side of our RV (again, hardware is included in the kit for a vertical entry point into an RV).

My system consists of a 5' length of PVC pipe, a suction cup mount from Harbor Freight, and a few bolts, washers, and wingnuts.  The external antenna is easily set up and taken down.

One of the best features of the WeBoost kit is the packaging and instructions. It's by far one of the best I've seen for a product.  I believe that anyone could set this system up in very short order.

Once I brought the cable in from the outside of the rig, I hooked the entire system together for testing purposes. I'll make a "cleaner" inside install later. There is 20' of cable for the exterior antenna to connect to the amplifier, then 13' of cable running from the amplifier to the interior antenna.

INTITIAL TESTING

My testing methods are by no means scientific, but it will give you an idea of what I experienced with the addition of this product.

Equipment Used:  Samsung S5 cellphone running an Android OS
Cellular Signal Booster:   WeBoost Drive 4G-X RV kit, model #470410
Cellular Carrier:  Verizon


Location:  Hurricane, UT
Date and Time of Test:   5/16/17 approx. 1:44 PM MDT
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I tested the new system in the following scenarios:
     1.  No signal boost
     2. Signal boost with the phone placed 5 feet from the interior antenna
     3. Signal boost with the phone placed 6 inches from the interior antenna

The numerical results in each scenario above were obtained from the Speed Test app from Ookla, and from the Network Cell Info Lite app.
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Here's a summary of the results of all three conditional tests in a single chart.


For those not familiar with dBm readings, suffice it to say that lower is better. The "No Boost" to "Antenna@6 inches" shows an increase of 24 dBs. That is a very significant increase in signal strength.

Here's a chart from WeBoost which will give you some idea of the increased amplification relationships.

 .

SUMMARY:

The test results show that this kit really improves the signal strength of our cellular signal.  It will be interesting to observe what happens when we are in a truly "fringe" area where a signal is barely obtainable without a booster. NOTE: NEITHER THIS KIT, NOR ANY OTHER, WILL BOOST A CELL SIGNAL IF NONE IS AVAILABLE.

It's an expensive item at $499, but I'm sure the cost will decrease the longer the product is on the market.  Again, technology is ever changing and the "latest and greatest" certainly will not be tomorrow.

Should you buy it?  Only you can answer that question.

For those of you who are more visual (like me) I've created a 17 minute video on the unboxing, temporary installation and testing of this product.  Just click on the video below. Make sure to watch it in HD ( as the quality is not that great to begin with)  LOL.

(Click on the Full Screen Icon in the Bottom Right for easier viewing)


I know that this has been a long blog entry, but I really wanted to share my experience with anyone who might be interested in this product.

Please either email me or comment below with any questions you might have.


Thanks for stopping by to take a look!


2 comments:

  1. Nice post, glad to see it all worked out well for you. Today you can't live without being able to get a good signal. We've had to get two different cell phone carriers to keep in touch in our travels. Sounds like a better solution, expensive, yes but in the long run for us it would balance out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy so far Paul, but haven't had it long term yet.

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