Femtocell v mobile repeaters for boosting mobile signal – which is best?

Femtocell or mobile repeater - which is best?

When researching solutions for improving your mobile phone signal, you may have come across two solutions – “Femtocell” and “mobile repeaters”. In this article, we’ll discuss the key differences between how the technologies work, the advantages and disadvantages, and our recommendations for the optimal solution. Whether you’re looking to improve the signal in a large building, your home, or a remote site, read on to learn more.

SPOILER – the good news is, there IS a solution for you, no matter how bad your signal is.

Femtocell

Commonly known as the “Boostbox”, “Sure Signal”, “Signal Box”, and “Home Signal”, these are solutions offered by the main network carriers in the UK. The technology requires a stable broadband connection to operate, with the box then outputting a local GSM signal for you to use. 

Boost Pro Systems Mobile Repeaters

Our system works via a high gain external antenna that connects to the mobile phone signal outside, which is then fed into the internal repeater known as a Network Unit. This is then connected to Coverage Units distributed throughout the building which amplify the signal from outside. The coverage units all talk to each other creating a super cell within the building, no matter how large or small.

But wait, aren’t mobile repeaters illegal in the UK? 

The majority of repeaters which can be purchased online are, yes (it’s not illegal for these companies to sell these, but it is illegal for them to actually be used). Boost Pro technology is fully network approved and Ofcom compliant, so you can rest assured that you will not be breaking the law. See our previous blog article for more information on the legalities of mobile repeater technology. Keep yourself, and your business, in the right, otherwise you could face a fine of £5000 and a prison sentence!

Pros and Cons of Femtocell

The main advantages of Femtocell are that the units are quick to install (plug and play) and relatively inexpensive.

Unfortunately, there are a number of downsides:

  • Femtocell requires a fast, stable broadband connection to operate effectively. In rural areas, which may already have a weak mobile signal and slow broadband connection, Femtocell will not provide a reliable connection.
  • Due to requiring a broadband connection, Femtocell takes up bandwidth. If there are many users connected, or the wireless network is being used for other activities (e.g. working on a computer, streaming video, games consoles etc.), it’s likely that the signal quality and data throughput will drastically decrease
  • Femtocell units are only capable of up to 3G, which will limit networking capabilities e.g. for using devices as hotspots.
  • All sims need to be pre-registered on each Femtocell unit, with a limited number of sims per unit. This does not make it a viable solution for construction sites for example, with staff or visitors changing on a regular basis.

Whilst Femtocell may be a viable solution for small homes with a fast broadband connection, it’s simply not an effective solution for buildings with multiple users who require a strong mobile signal for reliable calling or fast data download / upload speeds (e.g. for video calling or streaming).

Pros of Mobile Repeaters

A much more powerful solution for boosting mobile phone signal and data throughput, Boost Pro fully supports LTE voice and data coverage – technologies supported are 3G(UMTS/WCDMA), 4G (HSPA/HSPA+) and LTE. It does not require a broadband connection and does not interfere with other wireless networks, offering users a much more reliable, stable connection. It only needs to find one bar of signal outside from the closest mobile tower, to amplify and repeat the signal within your building.

Boost Pro technology has clear advantages over Femtocell – 

  • No Wifi connection required
  • No interference with existing wireless networks
  • High-speed 4G data capability, in addition to calling
  • Scalable solution, covering thousands of square feet and hundreds of users
  • Network approved, Ofcom compliant solution (fully legal)
  • Home, small office or enterprise capabilities

Conclusion

Legal mobile repeater solutions are a much more powerful, viable, long term solution for businesses (and homes). Whether you work from home, an office, hospital, warehouse or windfarm, Boost Pro Systems will cater for any need. Don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free estimate today.

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