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Frequently Asked Questions

General Signal Booster Questions

What is a Cell Phone Signal Booster and is it for me?
  • A cell phone signal booster is an electronic device, approved by the local regulatory authority that improves existing cellular signals: 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE.
  • They work with all cellular devices (smartphones, tablets, hotspots etc.) on all major African carriers.
  • If you generally have weak to good signal outside your home or building, but poor signal inside, then a cell phone signal booster can definitely improve your coverage and signal strength.

Learn More: The Definitive Guide to Cell Phone Boosters

What factors contribute to me having a weak signal?

Weak signal is caused by 5 main factors. Just one or any combination of these factors can greatly affect your cellular coverage.

  1. Cell Tower Distance
  2. Outside Interference: trees, mountains, hills, high structures, etc.
  3. Building Material: metal, concrete, low-e glass, thick external walls, etc.
  4. Internal Interference: drywall, wood, plaster, metal, electronics, etc.
  5. Nature/Weather: rain, snow, thunderstorms, wind.
How do I measure my cellular signal? (dB gain)

The following blog on our website explains how to find signal strength for iPhone and Android phones: How to find signal strength on your phone

How does a Cell Phone Signal Booster work?

A cell phone signal booster works by doing 3 things with 3 easy-to-install parts:

  1. The Outside Antenna pulls in weak 3G & 4G LTE signal.
  2. The Amplifier boosts signal up to 32X.
  3. The Inside Antenna rebroadcasts signal throughout area in need.

Learn more with our visual guide: How a Cell Phone Signal Booster Works

What types of Cell Phone Signal Boosters do you offer?
Do Cell Phone Boosters need an Internet connection?

Nope. Signal boosters simply amplify your existing 3G & 4G LTE signal.

Are there any monthly fees?

Absolutely not. You buy it, it's yours for life.

Does it boost wifi signals?

Unfortunately, signal boosters do not improve wifi signals, only cellular signals such as 3G & 4G LTE for most major African Networks.

Do I need to register my cell phone signal booster with my service provider(s)?

Yes, it's highly recommended to let your mobile network know you are using a signal booster as a courtesy and in case of liability should your booster affect the network tower in any way (which is highly unlikely with today's automatic gain control signal boosters).

Can I use my in-building solution in an outdoor setting?

Cell phone boosters are made to work indoors where radio waves are able to bounce and reach their destination (i.e. better signal for your phone).

They're not made to work outdoors since it would lead to open air path loss meaning you'd have to be RIGHT next to the antenna since the boosted signal would disappear without being "contained" inside a home or car.

Can I use my in-building solution in a vehicle (and vice versa)?

Yes and no. Technically, a home booster and car booster are made for their specific purpose. However, there is a home & office accessory kit that allows for cars boosters to be used indoors (as a desktop range booster). And some home boosters have been retrofitted for stationary use.

We generally recommend following the manufacturer instructions & recommendations.

What is the difference between a 3G booster and a 4G LTE booster?

3G is generally talk, text, and 3G basic internet. While 4G comprises of 3G & 4G high-speed internet for multimedia, apps, and data-heavy streaming.

So a 3G booster will only do talk, text, and basic 3G data, while a 4G booster will do talk, text, 3G & 4G data. It's recommended to go with a 4G booster since it is more future-proof.

What is the difference between a 75 Ohm system and a 50 Ohm system?

A 75 Ohm system is generally a consumer unit that uses RG-6 cable with F-connectors (the coaxial cable and port found in every standard cable/satellite/internet box) with typical cable run up to 15 meters.

A 50 Ohm system is generally an enterprise unit that uses Bolton400 cable with N-connectors with a typical cable run up to 30+ meters.
As a general rule of thumb, any typical house (500 - 1000m2) can use a 75 Ohm system and see good results.

For anything over 2000m2 coverage, it's best to go with a 50 Ohm system since 50 Ohm systems and cables are better than at handling signal loss with long cable rules.

General Installation Questions

Can I install this product myself? (building & vehicle)

For consumer products: yes, without a doubt. Consumer cell phone signal boosters do not require professional installation. They're easy to set up. Although it's perfectly fine to hire a local handyman, installer, or any profession that deals with running cable.

Learn more through our videos page on installation: Video Tutorials

For commercial products: it's highly recommended to consult with a professional installer with an understanding of running cable, signal loss, and floor plan analysis. Contact us for further assistance

How long does it take to install? (building & vehicle)

For typical home booster, it takes 30 minutes to an hour depending on your level of handiness and also cleanliness.

For typical car boosters, no more than 10 to 20 minutes depending on the unit.

Commercial boosters require professional installation and can take 1-3 days up to a few weeks depending on the size and scope of the project.

What are the steps required in a typical process of installation? (building & vehicle)

In general, installing a cell phone signal booster is a 3 step process.

  • The Outside Antenna is installed high on the roof of the home, building, or car.
  • The Amplifier is installed at an easy-access location. For homes, in the closet, behind the shelf, etc. For cars, underneath the seat.
  • The Inside Antenna is installed in an area in need.

Learn more with our videos: Video Tutorials

Do you offer any professional installation services? (building & vehicles)

Bolton Technical works with local installation partners to provide installation service for enterprise and industrial solutions.
Contact us for further assistance

How can I find the optimal placement for the antennas and booster(s)? (building & vehicle)

Finding the best place to install your outside antenna is simple process.

  • First find dB readings on your phone
  • Walk around the outside perimeter of your home or building (roof if possible)
  • It takes dB values to refresh so pause and hold every 30 seconds for each spot to get accurate readings.
  • The number closest to the number 0 is the best spot to install the antenna.

Learn more how to find dB readings on your phone: How to find your nearest cell tower

For the inside antenna, it's best to install in the area you will be spending most of your time using your cell phone and other cellular devices.

For the amplifier, it's best to install in a an easy-access and well-ventilated place that doesn't collect much heat such as a shelf, wall, or closet.

General Accessory Questions

What is a Lightning Surge Protector and why do I need it?

A lightning surge protector is a recommended accessory for any home and building Wilson weBoost cell phone signal booster.

Placed between the outside antenna and amplifier, should lightning strike your outside antenna, the lightning surge protector will discharge any power surge, saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars of equipment.

And when paired with a quality surge protected power strip of at least 1000 Joule rating, you'll have the ultimate peace of mind especially if you live in an area with frequent thunderstorms since tall metal objects (like the outside antenna) have a higher tendency to be magnets for lightning strikes.

Learn more: Lightning surge protectors a great insurance for signal boosters

What is the difference between a Yagi outside antenna and an Omni outside antenna?

Both yagi and omni are outside antennas that pull in your existing 3G & 4G signals before sending it off to the amplifier to be boosted.
In general, omni antennas are all-around performers used in corporate offices, because they pull signal from a 360-degree field, which usually helps when boosting multiple carriers with cell towers in different locations. They generally are long rod-like cylinders.

Directional (yagi) antennas are specialized performers that pull in signal from a 45-90 degree directional field. The ability to focus on a narrower field allows it to reach farther than the omni and pull in more signal. However, unless all carriers are within that directional field, the yagi antenna tends to only boost one carrier. They generally look like an arrow tip or a pirate flag (ahoy, mateys!).

So, directional antennas are very popular with people in remote, rural areas or any place with terrible reception.

Learn more: Omni directional antennas vs uni-directional yagi antennas

What is the difference between a Panel inside antenna and a Dome inside antenna?

Both panel and dome are inside antennas that provide boosted signal inside the building.

A panel antenna is wall-mounted with a directional broadcasting angle of 45-70 degrees. This means farther reach and also preference for those closest to the antenna. Great for hallways and priority areas.

A dome antenna is ceiling-mounted with a 360 degree broadcasting pattern. This is for general use and a horizontal equal-signal broadcast in all directions.

Learn more: Panel vs Dome Antennas: Which Inside Antenna is Right for You?

Differences between exterior antenna offerings for vehicle and M2M units?

For vehicle and M2M outside antennas, there are many types for different uses:

  1. Magnet mount car antennas: easy-install 10cm low profile and 30cm performer
  2. NMO (non-magnetic) antennas: permanent installations
  3. Caravan/Bakkie/Truck antennas: rugged performers on the road
  4. Marine antennas

Learn more: Antennas Installed Outside Vehicles

Differences between vehicle interior antenna offerings?

For vehicle and M2M inside antennas:

  • Low-profile car antenna: for most cars, sedans, and SUVs.
  • Desktop antenna: for Caravans & boats (short range)
  • Panel antenna: for Caravans & boats (medium range)

Learn more: Antennas Installed Inside Vehicles

What are the types of cables you offer? How do I figure out which ones I need?

All signal boosters are sold in complete kits with the right type and length of cable for the application. Please refer to your product's spec manual to find the type and length of cable.

Typical cables for home:
  • Bolton400. Max run: 26 meters
  • RG-11. Max run: 22 meters
  • RG-6. Max run: 15 meters
Typical cables for vehicles:
  • RG-174. Max run: 1.8m
  • RG-58. Max run: 6m

Bolton Technical is not just limited to these cables. We are able to accommodate for unique situations.

Learn more: Understanding Coaxial Cables The Complete Guide

How do I figure out the optimal length for my particular configuration? (building & vehicle)

All signal boosters are sold in complete kits with the right type and length of cable for the application. Please refer to your product's spec manual to find the type and length of cable.

Typical cables for home:
  • Bolton400. Max run: 26 meters
  • RG-11. Max run: 22 meters
  • RG-6. Max run: 15 meters
Typical cables for vehicles:
  • RG-174. Max run: 1.8m
  • RG-58. Max run: 6m

Bolton Technical is not just limited to these cables. We are able to accommodate for unique situations.

Learn more: Understanding Coaxial Cables The Complete Guide

What is a splitter and which types of configurations will require it?

A splitter is an accessory that allows for additional inside antennas.

Typically, a splitter is used to take one cable run and split it into two, three, even up to four cable runs, which means one line is able to do 4 inside antennas.

However, this also means that the signal strength is also being split across the cable runs and antennas. So it's highly dependent on having enough boosted signal to make sure there's enough broadcasting range for all additional inside antennas.

What is a tap and which types of configurations will require it?

A tap is an accessory that allows for additional inside antennas.

Like a splitter it allows for splitting one cable run into multiple cable runs and antennas.

Unlike a splitter, a tap allows for asymmetrical signal strength cable runs. This means instead of splitting the signal strength equally, one output will perform better than the other(s).

This is useful for instances when giving preference to priority areas in need of coverage or longer cable runs to offset signal degradation.

It's important to remember that a tap or splitter is highly dependent on the quality of the boosted signal.

How do I know whether or not my particular configuration will require additional accessories on top of the full kit offered?

In general, what's in the box is able to do what's advertise in the product description.

The only time you would need additional accessories is for specific cases such as having two priority areas on the opposite end of the building (splitter & additional inside antenna), living in a place with frequent thunderstorms (lightning surge protector), wanting to boost all networks (combiner, yagi antenna, and omni antenna), etc.

If you have a unique situation, contact our support team at ([email protected]).

General Trouble Shooting

Why am I not receiving a boosted signal for the advertised coverage area?

Under best case scenarios, a signal booster is able to provide advertise coverage. However, for the majority of people, most are not under best conditions.

Several factors such as outside signal strength, building material, internal interference, and even weather can affect the boosted signal coverage.
It's best to learn about dB readings and understanding signal strength in numerical values than bars: How to find your nearest cell cell tower

What do the lights on the booster signify? What does the messages on the screen signify?
Solid Colors:

Green: Everything is working fine.

Orange: Too much signal is coming in from the outside.
Solution: Point or move outside antenna away from the source.

Red: The outside antenna is pulling signal from the inside antenna causing oscillation.
Solution: Put more distance between the two or shield them from each other.

Flashing Colors:

Green / Orange: It's working but at reduced power because the outside antenna is pulling in too much signal. Point or move outside antenna away from the source.

Green / Red: It's working but at reduced power because the outside antenna is pulling in signal from the inside antenna. Put more distance between the two or shield them from each other.

Remember to unplug and plug in the amplifier to restart!

Learn More: What the Blinking Lights Mean on a weBoost Signal Booster

How do I fix an orange light?
Lights:

Green: Everything is working fine.

Orange: Too much signal is coming in from the outside. Solution: Point or move outside antenna away from the source.

Red: The outside antenna is pulling signal from the inside antenna causing oscillation. Solution: Put more distance between the outside and inside antenna or shield them from each other

Remember to unplug and plug in the amplifier to restart!

Learn More: What the Blinking Lights Mean on a weBoost Signal Booster

How do I fix a specific error?

Other than lights, antenna placements, and rebooting your amplifier (Troubleshoot Lights Messages), it's best to refer to your product manual or contact customer support at ([email protected])

Where can I find my product manual?

You can find all product manuals for your cell phone signal booster here:

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