Editor: This article has been provided for your information by Signal Boosters.
These days, people are traveling differently. Flights and cruises have decreased in popularity and RVs are taking center stage. RVs offer a great way to self-isolate without staying home. The key is not to be too isolated.
Whether you’re a full-timer working from your RV and road-schooling your kids, or just head out once in a while, one question everyone traveling in an RV should ask themselves is: “Am I prepared for potential cell signal issues?”
Ways to Maintain Reliable Cell Phone Signal
Since RV owners spend a good amount of time in low-signal areas, it’s no surprise that cell reception can be a major frustration. At some point, you’ll need your phone. It could be:
- an important business call
- time-critical email
- mapping with GPS
- or contacting first responders in an emergency.
One of the best solutions to help you maintain a reliable cell phone signal on the road is to invest in a cell phone signal booster. This device can help mitigate the risk of many, if not all, of the scenarios mentioned above.
If you have reliable WiFi, WiFi calling is also an option. If you rely on a cellular router for your internet connection, however, a cell phone booster for your RV is a good investment.
RV Cell Phone Signal Boosters
RV cell phone signal boosters are handy devices used to improve cell phone reception in most areas. They will work with pretty much any motorized or towable RV. Signal boosters consist of three main components: an outdoor antenna, an amplifier, and an indoor antenna.
- The outdoor antenna captures the weak signal outside and sends it to the amplifier.
- The amplifier boosts the weak signal and directs it to the indoor antenna.
- The indoor antenna broadcasts the boosted signal inside the RV.
In order to boost a signal, there must be an existing cell signal outside. It’s important to understand that signal boosters amplify existing signal, they do not create it. If you have a sliver of outdoor signal, you will be able to get service without worrying about dropping the call.
The signal strength you receive inside the RV will depend on a few factors:
- The strength of the signal outside
- The power of the booster (amplifier unit) itself
- The type of outdoor antenna pulling in the signal
A signal booster’s power is measured in decibel (dB) gain.
Decibel Gain, Your Smartphone’s Best Friend
Cell phone signal strength is measured in decibels. Usually, -50 dB represents excellent signal strength (full bars) and -110 dB is virtually no signal (dead zone). This is true across all carriers and all phones.
When people are encountering dropped calls, lost connections, and very slow internet, they are usually near the -110 dB zone.
An RV signal booster helps boost the dB levels closer to the -50 dB zone for better signal and connection on your carrier network.
However, the amount of dB gain is limited by FCC regulation, and multi-carrier boosters classified as mobile (in use while driving) are limited to a maximum dB gain of +50 dB. Home (or stationary) consumer signal boosters can have max gain of up to +70.
Mobile RV boosters differ mainly in the peripherals and features, such as the strength of the outdoor antenna.
The Two Main Types of Outdoor Antennas For RVs:
Omnidirectional & Directional
- Omnidirectional antennas, sometime referred to as “omni” antennas, send and receive signal in a 360-degree radius. When installed, the antenna can pick up signal from any cell tower in any direction. These work best while driving.
- A directional antenna, also known as a “Yagi” antenna, needs to point in the direction of the nearest cell tower. Since it is directional, it will only pick up signal in a 90-degree radius. Yagi/directional antennas are best utilized while your RV is parked/stationary.
Which Signal Boosters are the Best for RVs?
There is a wide range of signal boosters to choose from. Some are designed for cars and truck cabs, others for RVs. Some are created specifically for stationary RVs or mobile homes. You’ll need to decide whether you prefer a great signal while mobile, stationary, or both.
Editor: There are several different brands of cell phone signal amplifiers on the market. RVT advises you research and find the best solution for your needs. To assist you in that research, here are some details about the Signal Booster brands and how they work.
Here are a few options available from Signal Boosters:
The SureCall Fusion2Go Max is a powerful (+50 dB of gain, with more uplink/downlink power than its competition), understated booster that is relatively economical. The SureCall Fusion2Go Max uses Extended Range Technology™ (ERT). This ensures that it can capture the signal at the strongest point outside the vehicle, improving signal quality, call quality, and internet speed. The interior antenna can easily be moved throughout your RV to improve the cell signal wherever you need it.
The HiBoost Travel 2.0 RV is also a powerful signal booster (+50 dB max gain), with a strong outdoor omni antenna that gives up to +4.5 dB of addition gain. You can also remotely monitor the performance of the booster through HiBoost’s Signal Supervisor app. In addition, the app allows you to check if your outdoor antenna is placed on the best spot for optimal signal. The antennas can easily be moved to improve the signal you are receive inside the RV.
The weBoost Connect RV 65 is one of the most powerful signal boosters for stationary RVs. When you park your RV in a place with weak signal, the signal booster can help improve your cell signal dramatically. The main advantage of this signal booster is the directional antenna included in the kit. Directional antennas allow you to pick up signal from a longer range than the omni-directional antennas that are standard with most RV booster kits. The weBoost RV 65 is also rated as a home unit, meaning that it’s strong enough to improve cell signal in a home, and therefore more powerful (with +70 dB of gain) than any mobile RV boosters available on the market.
The Cel-Fi GO+ for RVs is Signal Booster’s most powerful RV model. It comes with a hard-mounted antenna and works extremely well while driving or at a campsite. With the Go+, you can switch the booster between mobile and stationary mode using the Cel-Fi WAVE APP.
A unique feature about the Cel-Fi GO+ is that it provides single-carrier coverage. This feature ensures that you’ll be able to gain up to 100 db of signal. The other multiple-band boosters work for more carriers, but cannot pull the signal strength provide better signal, better call quality, and faster internet throughout your RV. Since you can choose between stationary and mobile modes, you have the flexibility to enjoy reliable cell phone signal while driving and camping.
We hope this article helped you understand how signal amplifiers work and how they can benefit you. The next time you head for the Great Outdoors, consider taking a signal booster with you, just in case you need to be a little more ‘connected’.
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