Why it’s Important to Know About “Gain” Before you Invest in a Signal Booster


When it comes to cell phone signal boosters, one thing you need to pay close attention to is a number known as booster gain. Put simply, higher gain allows a booster to be effective farther away from the base station and to have a larger coverage footprint. Knowing what a booster’s gain is will determine if you’re going to get poor, mediocre or top-grade performance.

A lot of signal boosters out there offer a 50 to 60 dB gain range. The best in the market will offer 90 to 100 db gain.

Why should that matter? The fact is, it can make a huge difference in the coverage you will get in your home or office. The better the gain, the more freedom you will have to move around without worrying about dropped calls.

Not only is cellular coverage less with lower gain systems, they also require a higher level incoming (aka donor) signal. So if you have really, really poor coverage in your area, you won’t get a compelling user experience with a low gain booster.

A high gain booster on the other hand can take lower level incoming signals (e.g. one bar) and allow them to reach more places. So you get a good coverage footprint right out the box.

In areas where the incoming signal is low, the booster must have enough of a signal to reach back up to the cell tower. Higher gain means that a booster can reach back up to towers that are farther away.

On another note, you should also know the difference between one-box versus two-box boosters. In the former, the donor (receiver) and server (or transmission) antennas connect to the same box. So you need a donor signal from the cell tower to be as strong as possible for it to do much good.

In a two-box system you can place the donor antenna where the signal from the cell tower is best, and place the server antenna where the ambient signal is the weakest. This will enable you to amplify the signal significantly and, in so doing, get the most square footage of coverage.

The Cel-Fi smart signal booster is BOTH a high gain (100 dB – the maximum allowed in the U.S.) and two-box system so you get the best of both worlds.

Got a booster horror story to tell? We’d love to hear it.

By the Cel-Fi Team

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