That makes them a better choice for commercial spaces, where cell users may be customers of different providers. The booster market has been marred by some devices that actually interfere with the operation of cell phone towers, causing more, not fewer, dropped calls. Phone numbers don’t have to be registered, and because the device doesn’t use broadband to gain access to the cellular network, broadband speeds are not affected. Unlike personal cell sites, signal boosters amplify the strength of all cell phone frequencies, regardless of carrier. New Federal Communications Commission rules, scheduled to take effect in February, will set standards for signal booster products. For more information, go to wireless.fcc.gov/signal-boosters.

Cell Phone Signal Repeaters set up for personal sites

An antenna is mounted outside to capture the cell tower’s weak signal. That antenna is connected to a powered signal booster in the home, using coaxial (cable TV) cable. Signal boosters are just as easy to set up as personal cell sites, but the hardware is bulkier and more difficult to hide. The antenna used to distribute the signal throughout the house is about the size and shape of a hardback book. Antennas that enhance the signal in one room are small and easy to place on a desk. The cell phone signal booster is then connected via coaxial cable to an indoor antenna. No matter how strong the signal, the limited frequency range used by cell phones means that the calls will still sound worse than virtually any landline call. That is slowly beginning to change.

 

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