Tech Toy of the Month: Wi-Ex zBooster
With the rising demand for Internet access, many more people are turning to mobile broadband solutions. This includes people who only plan to use mobile broadband in their homes or businesses because they can not get high-speed Internet access otherwise. One of the more common problems people are experiencing is that many buildings do not get a strong cell signal indoors. This is especially true in warehouse-type buildings that are made of metal. Fortunately, there are solutions to boost cell signals that do not require the wireless provider adding more towers in your area. I’ve known about the Wi-Ex zBooster for some time, so I thought this would be a good time to write about it.
There are a two different branches of zBoost devices: one for home/office use and one for travel. I’ll mostly talk about the home & office versions of the zBoost, although the in-vehicle model could be very beneficial for some people. The concept of how the zBoost works is pretty simple. An antenna is mounted outside the building (or near a window), which is connected to the zBoost device by a cable. The zBoost device retransmits the signal from the outside to the indoors and vice-versa. This results in a stronger signal inside the building and improved voice calls as well as faster data connections. This sounds fairly easy and it can be, but the mounting of the antenna and running of the cable to a suitable location indoors may be challenging in some situations.
There are a few different home & office versions of the zBoost, but I recommend the $399 YX510-PCS-CEL. It covers the frequencies of all common carriers, except for Nextel/iDEN devices (no zBoost devices covers Nextel/iDEN devices). There are $299 models that cover only a particular frequency range. If you are completely sure that your provider only uses a particular frequency range then you could save $100 and go with the $299 YX500-PCS or YX500-CEL. However, with the extra $100 for the YX510-PCS-CEL you are covered in case you ever change providers or if someone comes to your location that uses a different provider. This is why I recommend that model.
While the zBoost can be a little pricey and the installation may be challenging, for someone who is desperate to improve the strength of a cell signal in their building, it may be well worth the cost and effort.
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