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Differences: Signal Booster vs. Femtocell

February 11, 2014 — by WEBOOST

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Happy #TechTipTuesday!
Today we’re talking about the differences between cell phone signal boosters and femtocells. Many of our customers have asked us what a femtocell is, and what the differences between a femtocell and a cell phone signal booster are. There are quite a few differences between these two systems, so let’s take a look at each–

Wilson Cell Phone Signal Boosters– A signal booster is a device used for amplifying existing cellular signal for a designated area. A booster system requires three main components: 1) An outside antenna that receives the signal from the tower, 2) an electronic signal amplifier that improves the signal, 3) and an internal antenna to retransmit the boosted signal. These systems are bi-directional, meaning that it will also help your cell phone talk back to the tower using the same process in reverse order. These systems can be used to boost the signal in weak signal areas or for buildings that block cellular signals.

Pros

  • Signal boosters run independently from the internet and will work as long as there is a usable signal outside. The signal can be very weak and still be considered usable.
  • Calls are not dropped when the cell phone switches from receiving signal through the signal booster to receiving signal from the cell tower and vice versa.
  • You buy the equipment with no monthly reoccurring charge.
  • Our systems will cover the signals for multiple carriers and will boost voice and data signals.
  • Our wireless boosters can support multiple cellular devices on different carriers.
  • Various models of vehicle boosters are available for mobile applications.
  • Signal boosters also help conserve battery.
  • Our products include an installation guide, free technical support, and we also have certified installers all across North America.
  • Can cover anywhere from a single room, to a large building.

Cons

  • If there is no cellular signal, a booster system will not work. These systems do not create cellular signal, they only enhance it.

FemtoCell– A femtocell is a low-power base station designed to be used with an internet connection to create a voice over IP (VOIP) signal for a small area. These devices are usually provided by the cellular service provider as a solution to help users in a poor signal area.

Pros

  • These devices can provide you with a signal even if there is absolutely no cellular signal outside.
  • Faster connection for data than typical cellular signals.
  • Can cover anywhere from a single room, to a large building.

Cons

  • Femtocells rely on high speed internet which is not available in every area.
  • The cell phone will drop the call when switching from the femtocell to the cell tower and vice versa. For example, you are inside your house talking to someone and you step outside to go somewhere and the call drops.
  • Femtocells will only support cellular devices for a specific carrier.
  •  There could be additional monthly charge for using the equipment from your cellular service provider.
  • Uses some of your internet connection’s bandwidth to operate.

If you have additional questions that weren’t covered here, you can contact our Pre-Sales department at 866-294-9234.

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