Today we’re looking at the SIGNALBOOST DT from Wilson Electronics.
This is the home version of the Wilson’s cell phone signal booster tech, you remember that we’d taken a look at the Sleek 4G-v a while ago which is the in car solution to low bars and dropped calls. Wilson makes a version of their tech to grow and fit any need. Aside from home and auto options that you can easily install yourself, they offer large scale systems that can cover your entire business with a professional installation. As I’d mentioned in the Sleek 4G review, this isn’t a gimmick. No stickers, no false promises. If you have at least a little bit of signal, Wilson’s products can amplify it. Read on…
Click here to see a video slideshow of the SIGNALBOOST DT
Main advantage: No physical connection to cell phone needed, product will wirelessly boost the signal of an entire room in your home
Main concern: Install is simple, but not easy. Specific distances need to be maintained and based on the layout of your home things can get a bit tricky
Unique features: Works with all major carriers, Boosts the signals of multiple phones at the same time
I still personally maintain the theory that the cell service providers greatly limit the true capabilities of phones to always have a wild card up their sleeves. When technology has advanced beyond anything and it’s hard to impress they can always announce, “guaranteed signal increase of up to two bars with our new service” Verizon is definitely capable of this and many other atrocities that would frighten school children across the world if I were to speculate here in print. I’ll spare the world the horror and we’ll just agree that cell service could be much improved across the board. We need a third party to step in, we need an equalizer to take the power out of the hands of the big 4 here in the US. Wilson Electronics might just be the hero that we need.
I wouldn’t trust a person who wasn’t at least a bit skeptical about spending a couple of hundred dollars on a cell phone signal booster. Let’s get a little backstory to begin. The first thing that helped to bring my attention to Wilson is that Verizon and others were trying to rally the government to ban products like theirs. It’s clear that when the bad guy says that something is bad it’s most likely bad for them. The cell providers were working furiously for years through the diversions and double speak of lawyers and lobbyists to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The baby being real solutions like Wilson’s and the bathwater being the congested sea of snake oil created by years of AS SEEN ON TV cell booster sticker nonsense.
Let’s say that you owned an emerging healthy chain restaurant in New York City. You’re highly trained and you make great healthy food and business is growing. One day, an employee at a Jack in the Box in Idaho spills floor cleaner in the special sauce and everyone gets sick. Back in New York, there is a big company that sells junky microwave dinners to supermarkets and business is being hurt by how tasty and healthy your food is. The company decides to lobby the government to have all restaurants in the country shut down including your chain in New York. All of this because of an untrained idiot in Idaho (no offense Idaho.) On the surface it might seem like the frozen dinner company is genuinely concerned about the well being of the people, but a little reasonable thought and you can see that it’s all a ploy to get rid of the healthy chain that’s threatening business with a great product that is a better choice than their own frozen heart attacks. That’s basically the idea here, and it’s obviously a ridiculous case. Verizon and others didn’t win, but they successfully delayed and cast doubt over products like this unfortunately. My job as a journalist is to tell you the truth without exception. Signal boosters like Wilson’s aren’t perfect, but if you have at least some reception anywhere in the country, Wilson will show you at least some improvement in signal.
To dramatically sum this up, Verizon and the other major carriers are selling a disease that they don’t want cured, and Wilson Electronics wants to sell you the medicine.
I mentioned briefly above that the system is simple, but not necessarily easy. It’s basically only three pieces; an outdoor and indoor antenna, and a desktop receiver. All the required installation wires and hardware are included in the package. You’re given the instructions for three separate scenarios to install the main outdoor antenna. The first, which is described as the best, is outside on or near your roof mounted to a pole. The outdoor antenna comes with a cradle and it is weatherized and sealed for prolonged outdoor use. Any weather damage is covered for a year after purchase to ease any doubts. This is the preferred option as I stated, and I’m sure it would be the only option if it wasn’t a very difficult task for many people. I personally live in a multistory building that doesn’t allow roof access. The next best option is an outdoor wall mounted installation. You’re given the hardware to drill into your home’s outer walls where you’ll then mount the outdoor antenna facing the nearest cell phone tower. Again, in a multistory building, this isn’t a very practical option. That leaves us with the last option that is the simplest but also the least effective, indoor suction cup mounting to a window.
Once you decide which install you’re capable of, the only challenge left is running coaxial cable. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, coaxial cable is the thicker white wire that your cable man installs. The unit comes with two lengths of RG6 cables, one 20′ and one 30′ for a total of 50′ of possible separation. Also included is an optional adapter to attach the two lengths together if need be. You need a minimum of 20′ separation between the outdoor and indoor antennas which can get tricky depending on your home’s layout. The best layout that I could find meant that I mounted the antenna on my living room window and dropped the cable down to the base of the floor as the cable man might. I then followed the corners of the room, through a hallway, into my office where there was about 25′ separation all together. I then connected the indoor antenna to the other side of the coaxial cable. It’s designed to lay flat with 4 rubber skid proof buttons on the bottom. You then just need to connect the desktop receiver which will need to face away from the antenna for optimal functionality. The system works best in a smaller area such an office or bedroom. After connecting all of the components, plug in the included AC adapter to power the device and then you have the option to further tune the device to work just right for you.
A very welcomed addition to this system is a two light on-board notification system that helps you to get the best signal. The lights with show in three colors; red, orange, and green. Red means you aren’t configured correctly and it turns the device off altogether to not interfere with any existing signal. Orange means you’re getting closer and Green as you’ve guessed, means you’re in tune. Two dials under each light allow you to adjust if you can no longer move the actual components of the system. The further down you turn the dials, the less signal improvement you’ll see though. After every adjustment to the dial you’ll need to wait at least 5 seconds for the signal to reset. Though the process as I’ve laid it out might seem involved, remember that it is only a one time setup. You’ll never need to touch the pieces of the system after you install (in fact, you won’t want to touch them because you might mess with the perfect signal that you worked so hard to get in the first place)
If you’d like to see the full PDF of the included installation instructions, click here.
Here is a site that can help you to find the location of local cell towers.
I tried to set the system up in a few different sections of my own home that are known to get the best reception, though the best is still normally only 2 bars at best. While I found technical success, I didn’t find the dramatic increase that many happy customers have reported across the internet. I live in a notoriously difficult cell phone reception area so I don’t blame the device. In the end I was able to improve from two bars to three bars. Specifically, the way a cell phone’s reception is measured is through dBm. I’m not smart enough to technically understand this beyond knowing that he measurement is taken in negative numbers so a lower number is a better number. I improved from -107dbm to -96dbm which is a ten times increase in signal according to Wilson. I haven’t dropped a call since and while it wasn’t a frequent occurrence really, I did drop calls before. I have noticed a clear improvement in call volume actually which is very welcome. I’d spent many a phone call in the past with a finger angrily jammed into my ear trying to focus on a low call volume. Nevermore.
Thank you again to Wilson Electronics for supplying their product for review.
What’s in the box: outdoor and indoor antenna, outdoor cradle, coaxial cable, ac adapter, install instructions, all mounting hardware
Manufacturer – click to find local retailer
Amazon – $224.99
Is it worth buying: Many report a dramatic increase when using the product but the most important thing to remember is that this device isn’t magic. It won’t make something from nothing but if you have a weak signal it should give you a very usable and constant signal at the least. At best, people have reported that calls are so clear and loud that they need to actually turn the in-call volume down. While that wasn’t my own experience, hundreds of accounts online plus my own give me full confidence in recommending the product. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE.
If you haven’t already, click here to see a video slideshow of the product
ENJOY YOUR GADGETS!