Weboost to improve cell reception

Continuing the discussion from iOS only on vacation:

I’m breaking this off into its own topic so as not to hijack the previous thread. Right now, I have the Weboost Multiroom booster’s antenna temporarily mounted outside the house, very stylishly, on top of a ladder. We spent an hour testing different spots. Based on online maps, there is a somewhat close tower for all three major carriers behind our house, but with a big hill behind the house blocking things. There’s a further tower in front of the house with a clear line of sight. I’ll be moving the antenna up high on the house, or on a pole out in the driveway, later this week. Here are my findings with the Weboost in its temporary location:

  • My iPhone is with Verizon, and in the past I had zero coverage here. Now I have one bar, but it still is unusable.

  • My iPad is normally with Verizon, but I also have an AT&T Sim card, specifically for this location. In the past, I ranged from 0 to 2 bars with that setup. Today, in very limited use, I’ve had a steady 3 bars.

If I succeed in a permanent mount in a better location later this week, I’ll chime in again.


Looks like the device adds a bar – what’s the cost?

Thank you for bringing up this topic. I found this video that explains some things about boosters.


Right now it is adding a bar with the antenna temporarily set up at about 9 feet off the ground. Remains to be seen what it will do if I can get it mounted higher. I have the multi room booster, which was $569. They have cheaper and more expensive models, with the price based on how far the inside unit beams the signal that the outside antenna receives.

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Did you see any significant differences in internet speed?

I still don’t have it mounted high up on the house, but in its temporary location, on an AT&T iPhone, a speed test is giving me 40-50 megabits per second down. Without it, it was 6-10 megabits per second down on the same device. My iPad Pro, with an AT&T sim card, was a bit faster on both. Verizon looks like a dud, so we’ll probably go with an AT&T hotspot for non-AT&T folks.

EDIT: Also, with the booster, the iPhone switched over to 5G. Without it, it used LTE.

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Now that I’m back to civilization, I’m circling back on this one final time, or at least the last time for a few months, in case anybody else is considering one of these boosters:

After all the fiddling we did to find a good spot for the booster, and finding a spot with a nice 5G connection that at times was pushing 100MB down for AT&T devices (still nothing for Verizon), we mounted the outside antenna . . . and then proceeded to see horrible speeds the rest of the day, and the next two days. At times I had no bars. One of two things happened (this is my non-scientific analysis, with absolutely no basis except guesswork):

  • atmospheric conditions changed after we installed it, and before we got back on our devices again. It did get very cloudy after we installed it. No idea if this could be the real culprit

  • I damaged the inside booster antenna. With the endless wrangling of cables, I tripped over a cable once, and the inside booster antenna fell to the floor. I thought this was before we had a good connection, but I could be wrong.

My plan is to buy a replacement inside antenna and see if that gets us the old speeds back. The problem is there is no telling when I might get back to this spot (family vacation house) so it could be a while.

The whole process was very frustrating, and had me for a millisecond thinking that the price to run fiber from the nearest paved road wasn’t too bad (I forget the quote, but it was in the tens of thousands of dollars, as the cost is based on how far they have to dig a trench).

I was wrong when I said I was done posting on this. Although I’m back home, I have family still at the vacation home, and the Weboost is now working very well, according to them. I think I know what was going wrong.

I should have read the manual a little closer. The main inside device had a red light on it when I was there, which I took to mean it couldn’t get a signal. Instead, what it means is that the system has shut down because of oscillation — a signal loop when the outside antenna is too close to the inside antenna, and therefore picks up a signal from the inside antenna instead of the cellular tower. At some point when moving things around to install the outside antenna in a permanent spot, we must have come too close to the inside antenna. I think that “red light state” persists until the system is rebooted, so that’s why I never got a good signal again despite all my efforts to relocated the outside antenna. But after I left, someone power cycled the main device, and the red light went to green, and the connection has been good.

So, the moral of the story is to read the manual, I guess. I’m happy that it is working well (AT&T at least 3 bars, and even Verizon, which has never had any signal at all there, has varied from no signal to 3 bars, per my sister).

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Thanks for the update. Like I said above, I did know anything about boosters until you did your initial post. We have a camp and we get OK coverage with ATT but could always use a little better. I may try the Home Room model ($399). If I do, I’ll definitely post my experience with it.

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No matter how often I learn to RTFM, it never seems to stick.