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Verizon Network Extender: Is It Worth It?

Verizon Network Extender: Is It Worth It?

Problem

Consumers and businesses rank Verizon as one of the top networks available in the United States, but even the strength of their signals can be compromised for reasons they unfortunately can't control.

Both natural and manmade structures contribute to slowing down and otherwise disrupting signals - the providers aren't at fault when these particular hiccups happen. Some of the obstructions include, but aren't limited to, the following:

  • Inside interference: Metal, concrete, bricks, glass, etc.
  • Outside interference: Trees, skyscrapers and similarly big buildings, hills/mountains, construction equipment, etc.

In some unfortunate cases, particularly when multiple factors are layered on top of one another, your service can drop completely. As mentioned previously, this isn't usually the fault of your providers - they don't have any control over the obstructions near your location.

Verizon Wireless does offer the 4G network extenders to help you make calls around the obstructions. They're probably one of the strongest options, with a range of about 7,500 sq. ft.

Unfortunately, these models are only capable of working when connected to wifi or landline internet In short, they convert wifi to cellular and vice versa, but if the internet or power goes down in your area, then no luck.

That's a major drawback if you require portability, or don't have access to landline internet like Comcast or Uverse, or want to boost other carrier services like Sprint or AT&T.

But there's a better, cheaper, and better alternative.

The Solution: Cellular Signal Boosters (aka 4G Network Extenders)

Cell phone signal boosters are equipment that amplify your existing cellular signal. They work by pulling in weak signal from the nearest cell tower, amplifying it, and then rebroadcasting into your home or car.

The end result: more bars, better signal, and faster internet.

Carrier-specific boosters will support only ONE carrier at a time but are more powerful. All-carrier boosters support all major carriers but are less powerful.

To help you make the right decision for your Verizon network extender needs, we've made a listing of some of the best choices for any budget and any location. Our recommendations for home, office, and vehicle follow.


Verizon Network Extenders for Home

Our Pick: Cel-Fi Duo for Verizon

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE indoors for Verizon
  • Up to 13,000 sq ft coverage
  • Up to +100 dB Gain

Probably the strongest Verizon network extender for home use on the market.

Cel-Fi brand products are some of the best on the market, boasting increases of +100 dB, as opposed to +70 dB for their leading competitors; that's a difference of 1000x radio frequency power. The only drawback is that this is a carrier-specific model, so it exclusively works with the Verizon network. While the best available, if you think you might switch to a different provider eventually, it might not suit your needs.

What we love most about the Cel-Fi is that there are no wires or cables necessary to hook it up. Instead, it comes with two wireless units. You place one close to a window to attract the signal, while the other goes on the opposite side of your home to broadcast the aforementioned signal. You should be able to see increases in most rooms.

Also Good: SureCall Fusion4Home

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE indoors for all carriers
  • Up to 4,000 sq ft coverage
  • Up to +72 dB Gain

Some of our customers have reported signal gains within 4,000 sq ft. of their SureCall booster, although it should be noted that they hooked up their machines under the most ideal conditions, meaning fewer obstructions.

We think this device, as well as the rest of SureCall's suite of offerings, is tops among the all-carrier boosters. Definitely the most cost-effective investment if you aren't sure if you're sticking with Verizon.

For Smaller Spaces: weBoost Home 4G

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE indoors for all carriers
  • Up to 1,500 sq ft coverage
  • Up to +60 dB Gain

If you only need signal boosting in one or two rooms, or a small section of your home where it's harder to keep a connection, we think the weBoost Home 4G is the way to go since it hits a range of about 1,500 sq. ft. It isn't carrier-specific, either. Because the booster is small enough to sit on a desk, we often suggest this to customers who need a stronger signal in their home offices.


Verizon Network Extender for Vehicle

Our Pick: Cel-Fi Go-M Verizon

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE for Verizon
  • For any car, truck, RV, and boat
  • Up to +70 dB Gain

Because it boasts gains of up to +70 dB, this is the strongest of the Verizon car signal boosters available to consumers. Its competitors reach up to +50 dB, for comparison's sake. Although carrier-specific upon purchase, consumers are able to download an app to switch their coverage to someone other than Verizon should they move their plan.

In addition, the Cel-Fi Go-M is encased in a weatherproof NEMA 4-rated enclosure, so you can feel free to install this device outside your vehicle. A unique feature!

Also Good: SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE for all carriers
  • For any car, truck, RV, and boat
  • Up to +50 dB Gain

The SureCell Fusion2Go features a durable, all-metal construction to mitigate heat dissipation. We also quite like the internal and external antennas, which do have optional upgrades if you need to improve your coverage.

Best of all, SureCell regularly releases upgrades for its models, so you're always going to get the highest possible quality. The Fusion2Go is currently on its third incarnation.

For Cradle Mounts: weBoost Drive Sleek

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE for all carriers
  • For any car, truck, and RV
  • Up to +23 dB Gain

Many states have restrictions dictating that you can't operate your smartphone or tablet while driving unless you're using a hands-free setup. The weBoost Drive Sleek helps make sure you get clear, crisp calls without breaking the law thanks to the included cradle mount capable of holding different-sized phones - even some tablets! With gains of up to +23 dB, you can hook this device up in most cars, trucks, and RVs/campers.

The weBoost Drive Sleek works best in urban settings, but can still function fine in remote areas.


Verizon Network Extender for Commercial Buildings

Our Pick: Cel-Fi Quatra for Verizon

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE indoors for Verizon
  • Up to 200,000 sq ft coverage
  • Up to +100 dB Gain

Easily the strongest Verizon network extender intended for use in commercial buildings. The Cel-Fi Quatra is around 1000x more powerful than the competition. It can provide gains up to +100 dB, compared to the next leading booster's gains of +70 dB.

Unlike many commercial building booster models, you're going to be dealing with two different parts, as follows:

  • A network unit (NU) boosts existing signals and can cover up to four coverage units.
  • A coverage unit (CU) broadcasts boosted signals. This can cover an area of about 50,000 sq. ft. A fully-stacked device is capable of covering up to 200,000 sq. ft.

The Cel-Fi Quatra requires power of ethernet (PoE) Cat5e cables as opposed to coax cables, making it a unique device. Such a switch increases digital signal quality and sustainability - you'll get a much more reliable boost than you would with analog cables. The cable runs on this device are about 3x the size of their RG-6 and LMR400 counterparts.

Also Good: WilsonPro 70 Plus (50 Ohm)

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE indoors for all carriers
  • Up to 35,000 sq ft coverage
  • Up to +72 dB Gain

The WilsonPro 70 Plus consistently lands on our bestseller list - and we're the leader in North America when it comes to consumer and commercial signal booster sales, so that should say something! This device is capable of servicing a 35,000 sq. ft. range and provide excellent signal quality outdoors.

Budget: HiBoost Commercial 20K

  • Boosts 3G & 4G LTE indoors for all carriers
  • Up to 20,000 sq ft coverage
  • Up to +72 dB Gain

You don't need an all-powerful device if you're only concerned with signal boosting in a small commercial space. This budget-friendly model services between 5,000 and 15,000 sq. ft. beautifully.


Why It’s Not 100% Verizon’s Fault, It’s Also Your Building Material

Because 80% of all smartphone calls are made indoors, it makes sense that indoor cell phone use is the leader in dropped calls. About 72% of smartphone calls are either compromised (slow internet, voice quality issues, etc.) or dropped entirely.

Why does this happen?

No matter how strong your provider - and this includes Verizon - your signal quality can lower if you're in a building (home or office) constructed of thick, heavy materials. While how far you are from a cell tower still obviously has an effect on your call, text, and internet access quality, outside issues like mountains, hills, tall buildings and even trees can also interfere. In fact, the #1 reason why calls drop is because of building materials and layout.

The following 7 factors are the most likely to negatively impact your signal quality:

  1. Metal: The type of metal doesn't matter here, as most are going to prove disruptive. Tin, steel, iron, aluminum, brass, and copper are the most common used in buildings.
  2. Low-E- Glass: Low-E Glass does a great job in helping buildings become more eco-friendly and energy efficient, but a major downside is that it does cause signal problems when you use your phone indoors.
  3. Brick/Concrete: Depending on the thickness of the nearby bricks or concrete, your signal can be blocked entirely.
  4. Plaster/Drywall: Plaster and drywall aren't as much of a problem as bricks and concrete, but still acts as a "dampener" of sorts to your signal.
  5. Wood: Thick wooden planks have the same disruptive capability as plaster and drywall.
  6. Thick Walls: Most problematic in the center of a building.
  7. Electromagnetic Interference: Try to avoid standing near wireless devices, computers, TVs, and other machinery that emits RF noise whenever possible, as they can also be an issue when trying to get a clear signal.

No matter how close you stand to a cell tower, obstacles such as these are still capable of compromising your signal access. Signal boosters are a great "anytime, anywhere" investment.

Verizon Frequency Bands

The following are the major Verizon frequency bands. These may change on a statewide or local level, however.

Verizon Frequency Bands
Band 17700 MHz
Band 13700 MHz
Band 5850 MHz
Band 41700-2100 MHz
Band 251900 MHz

Finding Your Verizon Cell Phone Signal Strength & Cell Tower Location

Most of us look at our bars to gauge the strength of our cell phone signals, but that isn't the most accurate - or even the only way to figure it out.

An accurate dBm reading is the most accurate option, as it's the metric by which signals are measured. -50 dBm usually corresponds with full bars, and -120 dBm with only one bar.

Use the following methods to find your dBm:

Field Test Mode (Using Your Cell Phone)

For iPhone Users:

Thanks to Apple’s removal of easy access to your dBm in Field Test Mode, it’s a little harder to get a reading - especially since there’s two different chipsets, Intel and Qualcomm.

This is how to find the dBm of your iPhone with the Qualcomm chipset for Verizon customers:

  • On phone mode, call: *3001#12345#*.
  • If you see the following options: 1x EV-DO and 1x, congrats, you can find your dBm.
  • Tap on 1x EV-DO.
  • The number next to RX AGC0 is your dBm reading.

It's not a big deal if these techniques don't allow you to see your specific dBm. You can download an app to help you figure it out. We've listed some of our favorites below.

For Android Users

Android’s open system makes it simpler to find your dBm than if you're an Apple user. Every Android phone is going to be a little bit different in terms of labeling, but these are general instructions that should be close enough to most setups.

  • Access your Settings.
  • Tap on About phone.
  • Tap on Status.
  • Tap on SIM status.
  • Your dBm reading should be under Signal strength.

Smartphone Apps

If you're unable to find your dBm readings with the aforementioned methods, try one of these apps to check your signal strength instead:

For iPhone Users:

For Android Users:


Need to Boost Signal for Another Carrier?


Contact Us

We’re here to assist with any issues you might be experiencing with both Verizon signals and your Verizon signal booster. Contact us today.

Meredith Nudo & James N
30th Jul 2018

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