With so many of us ditching land lines and using our cell phones as our primary phone, it’s important to have a reliable cell signal at home. The first thing you need to do is figure out what is causing your poor reception, whether it’s your carrier, location, or the phone itself. Narrowing these factors down will determine what you’ll need to purchase to improve your signal—a wireless signal repeater, or a carrier provided booster.
Wireless Signal Repeaters
If you get spotty coverage in your home, you can use a wireless repeater like the zBoost to boost your existing signal. The signal repeater comes with an antenna that you place on a window with suction cups. You can then take it and place it wherever you need a reception boost. The zBoost zPersonal ($50) is made for travel or small rooms and can boost your signal within a proximity of 6 feet. The zBoost ($350) is significantly more expensive, but provides 2,500 sq. feet of signal that would improve reception throughout your home rather than just in a single room. The effectiveness of these wireless repeaters, however, are slightly unpredictable, due to varying factors which include where they’re placed, the building material of your home, etc. In other words wireless signal repeaters will work better for some than others.
Carrier Provided Boosters
Carrier provided cell phone boosters are a pretty recent phenomenon. They’re significantly more reliable than the wireless signal repeaters and cover about 5,000 square feet. These boosters connect to your own broadband connection and create a sort of mini cell phone tower in your home. AT&T call theirs a Micro Cell, Verizon Femtocell, and Sprint Airave. Pricing and data plans depend on your carrier and if you are already using their other services such as television or internet. It may seem strange to pay your carrier extra for poor reception, but if you’ve been frustrated about having zero bars at home, these carrier boosters will likely solve your problem.