Editor's Choice Cell Phone Booster
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ZBoost Cell Phone Signal Extender
Reviewed by Terry Kibiloski
The Wi-Ex zBoost cell zone™ signal extender is a revolutionary product that improves indoor cell phone coverage. zBoost captures the wireless signal outside, brings it inside and enhances, or boosts it, to extend the cell zone in your home or office.
In our testing, we used the zBoost YX510-PCS-CEL - Dual Band (Retail $399.99), which extends a zBoost Cell Zone for single or multiple users in homes or offices simultaneously, and is compatible with all phones operating on PCS (1900Mhz) and CEL (800 MHz), except Nextel. The package (shown at right) comes with everything you need: an amplifier base unit, power supply, base unit antenna, low-loss SATV coaxial cable (RG6), signal antenna and mounting hardware. The omni-directional antenna is easy to orient and can receive from multiple cell towers. Unlike other devices, zBoost's patent-pending technology protects the carrier network. The installation is very simple.
The outdoor antenna, which repeats the signal, can be installed outdoors above the roofline or indoors in the attic or near a window. The coax cable (RG6- ultra low-loss, DBS satellite) simply connects from the outdoor antenna to the base unit, which amplifies the signal and provides oscillation detection/correction to protect the carrier network. The indoor antenna, which connects to the base unit, repeats the signal and creates a "Cell Zone."
The Wi-Ex zBoost cell zone™ signal extender will decrease your dropped or missed calls by increasing your cell phone coverage up to 2,500 square feet indoors. With the boosted signal, your battery will last longer on your phone. Also, the stronger signal will let you use your phone or PDA with all the new applications that require a stronger signal, like e-mail, Internet browsing, text messaging, interactive gaming, hi-speed data, and instant messaging.
The illustration below came directly from the Wi-Ex Web site at http://www.wi-ex.com/. It shows the outside signal strength being 3 bars, yet the inside signal strength is only one bar, without the zBoost unit. Once the zBoost antenna is installed outside and connected to the indoor base unit, which boosts the inside signal strength to echo the outdoor 3 bar strength, you are able to experience this boosted indoor signal in an area up to 2,500 square feet.
In testing this unit at Computer Times, we just moved offices and had the very same condition shown in the illustration above. Our outdoor signal strength was 3 bars and our indoor signal strength was one bar, at best. When we plugged in the base unit, placed the outdoor antenna in a 3-bar receiving location, and connected the two with the supplied coax cable, our indoor signal immediately increased to the outdoor 3 bar strength. If the 2,500 square foot boosted signal is not sufficient for your needs, Wi-Ex sells a YX029 Dual Band Upgrade Antenna (Retail $149.99) to extend the amplified cell signal up to 10,000 square feet.
To be honest, we were skeptical when Wi-Ex sent us this cellular phone signal booster since there are a lot of boosters on the market that do not live up to their promises. We were pleasantly surprised with the zBoost YX510-PCS-CEL - Dual Band kit. It performed exactly as advertised and definitely earned the Computer Times Editors' Choice award.
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