11-18-2016 07:54 AM
37 12
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  1. Almeuit's Avatar
    I wanted to just make a quick post about the "Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster" from T-Mobile. I recently called about getting one of these since I have an International Device (LG G4) and do not have WiFi calling. I will post my results below.


    Intro

    I went ahead and called T-Mobile to let them know I have an international device and do not have access to WiFi calling but would like a better signal at home. In Jacksonville I actually get great service all over (friends houses, parks, movie theaters, restaurants, etc.)... except for inside my house. I get LTE if I go out in my driveway and walk down it some but I also noticed I can get LTE if I go in my bedroom and stand by the window. Since I know these boosters work as long as you have 1 bar of 3g, HSPA, or LTE I figured I could snag one and boost this LTE signal. I could consistently get about 10 Mbps on speedtests when standing by this window so the signal was OK.

    I called and T-Mobile let me "borrow" (I must return it when I leave T-Mobile) for free. I only had to pay for shipping ($6).


    Setup

    The setup was pretty painless. T-Mobile sent me the boosters in a nice neat box. The funny part is they actually sent me two of them (I will call to return one of them) but that isn't too big of a deal.

    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-cellbox.jpg


    I opened the box to find the Window Unit (the cell signal "grabber"), the Coverage Unit (the cell signal "booster" for the house), and the power cords with neat little stands I could place on them if I wanted.

    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-cellboxopened.jpg

    I immediately took them out and read the instructions on how to set it up. The setup is pretty straight forward and basically just plug & play. I went ahead and put the Window Unit by that window in my room that I spoke about earlier. I also went into the other room (living room) and placed the Coverage Unit on a shelf. That way it can boost the signal from the middle of the house and I should be good all over. Once both are plugged in they will talk to each other and work. It took about 2-3 minutes to fully connect up once they were both plugged in.

    After they were booted I saw that the Window Unit was holding that 1 bar of LTE my phone got.

    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-booster.jpg


    The Coverage Unit shows a number on it but that doesn't mean that is how many bars it has. The Window Unit & Coverage Unit can't be too close. The farther away the Window Unit gets away from the Coverage Unit the higher the number goes. The max number is 9. What does the number mean you ask? It simply means it is boosting even more signal (the coverage) into the house. Bigger houses will see higher numbers since you can move it farther away whereas smaller houses will have a 4-6 number which is still good. My house is 1600 sq. ft so this number is good.

    T-Mobile has an interactive demo on their website that shows what I explained above. You can play with that demo here - https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-1590

    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-boosterhouse.jpg

    Once these were setup it was time to test out how much it helped.



    Results! (a.k.a "Does it actually work?")

    Simple answer - Yep! I was very happy to see how much it improved my indoor coverage. I went from a very weak 3G signal in my house (unless by that window.. haha) to a strong 4G LTE Signal anywhere I go in the house. I have Comcast and use my wifi for data but having this 4G LTE signal as a backup is nice. My main thing is I can now send MMS messages in about 2-3 seconds versus 30 seconds or sometimes up to 5 minutes (and then timing out).

    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-signalbefore.png

    Above was my signal before the booster.


    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-signalafter.png

    Above is my signal after the booster.


    While the dBm may not be the best it is a drastic difference from the dBm of a weak 3G / HSPA signal to a stronger LTE signal. I even did a speed test just to see if it was reliable enough for more "data intense" tasks and the results were just fine.

    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-speedtest.png


    Calls so far have been working fine (they did before the booster) and what is nice is there really is no "hand off" needed (like with WiFi calling to cell tower) since you're already on the cell tower. I have noticed I can walk inside / outside without any issues since I am technically still always on the same cell tower signal regardless if it is the boosted version or not.


    Conclusion

    If you happen to have bad signal and cannot use WiFi calling (or do not want to) I would suggest giving T-Mobile a call and seeing if you can get one of these sent out to you. The only catch is you MUST have at least 1 bar of service (3g, HSPA, or LTE) for it to work. It has helped me a lot and I am very excited to have this in my house. This solves the 1 pain point I had with T-Mobile. I hated going to friends/families houses or pretty much anywhere else in town and having a great signal but then going home and struggling on basic tasks such as sending SMS/MMS messages.

    Also keep in mind... you will be "borrowing" the device so ensure to take care of it. You don't want to go to return it one day and they say it is damaged then you get charged (I think it costs around $500 for the booster at retail pricing).


    Have any questions? - Let me know below! .
    07-10-2015 11:16 AM
  2. LeoRex's Avatar
    I second this.... I have the same booster. My signal without the booster is around -110 with a really low signal quality (<10 ASU). With the booster, the LTE signal is extremely strong. The window unit is on my porch and the broadcast unit is upstairs in the middle of the house. I get around an 8, it sometimes wobbles between 7 and 9. This is the signal downstairs in my dining room:
    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-screenshot_2015-07-07-19-48-47.jpg

    And this is in my living room, in the opposite corner of the house:

    T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-screenshot_2015-07-07-19-10-22.jpg

    Both are considerable improvements over the non-boosted signal, both in signal strength and quality (ASU stands for 'Arbitrary Strength Unit'... the higher the better).

    I have a Nexus 6 and utilize WiFi Calling, but the phone radio is still active while on WFC, so this does a good job of reducing the power usage of the phone radio (it will boost power to the amplifier if your signal is poor). With the booster, the phone radio uses about 80% less power.
    Almeuit and geekaren like this.
    07-10-2015 11:54 AM
  3. Aquila's Avatar
    Everyone wants to know... does it blend?
    Almeuit likes this.
    07-10-2015 11:56 AM
  4. Almeuit's Avatar
    Everyone wants to know... does it blend?
    I tried .. it won't fit .
    Aquila likes this.
    07-10-2015 12:03 PM
  5. dpham00's Avatar
    I tried .. it won't fit .
    You might need to cut it in half first
    Almeuit and geekaren like this.
    07-10-2015 01:20 PM
  6. Crashdamage's Avatar
    It will blend, but not puree.

    +1 for these things. And kudos to T-Mobile for making them available for no charge, unlike a certain provider I won't name but is known sometimes as Big Red.

    We've had these for years. We traded in the original set for a newer set to get LTE compatibility. Still no charge.

    My wife has a Nexus 6 with WiFi calling which works very well. Handoffs to cell towers are seamless and WiFi all through the house is good so she could do fine without the booster now. But I'm still using a Nexus 5 without WiFi calling and no intention of replacing it. So we'll keep the booster for a while.

    Anyway, they work and they're free. Recommended if you need a boost.

    Android since v1.0. Linux since 2001.
    geekaren and Almeuit like this.
    07-10-2015 01:58 PM
  7. DumDee2's Avatar
    the Att cell fi signal booster is better. The t-mobile one only boost 2 bands 2,4 while the att does 2,4,5 12/17
    07-27-2015 05:48 PM
  8. Almeuit's Avatar
    the Att cell fi signal booster is better. The t-mobile one only boost 2 bands 2,4 while the att does 2,4,5 12/17
    The AT&T one (Micro cell) uses your home internet - unless you're talking about a third party booster that supports AT&T.
    07-27-2015 09:39 PM
  9. Crashdamage's Avatar
    T-Mobile Cel-Fi boosters include bands 2, 4 and 12 now. Really nice units, super simple to setup and work well.

    Android since v1.0. Linux user since 2001.
    geekaren likes this.
    07-28-2015 12:58 AM
  10. DumDee2's Avatar
    The AT&T one (Micro cell) uses your home internet - unless you're talking about a third party booster that supports AT&T.
    http://www.cel-fi.com/cel-fi-pro-sig...-3g-4g-4g-lte/

    T-Mobile Cel-Fi boosters include bands 2, 4 and 12 now. Really nice units, super simple to setup and work well.

    Android since v1.0. Linux user since 2001.
    according to cell fi .com it only does band 2 , 4 unless t-mobile came got newer units than the ones they starting giving out last year
    07-28-2015 08:29 AM
  11. Almeuit's Avatar
    http://www.cel-fi.com/cel-fi-pro-sig...-3g-4g-4g-lte/
    Ah yes -- a 3rd party. I thought you meant the actual AT&T one offered by them (their Microcell) since it doesn't actually boost but rather uses your internet connection to connect you to their network.
    07-28-2015 12:22 PM
  12. tonyr6's Avatar
    The signal booster is great as LTE works down starts but has anyone had issues where you had to unplug and plug it back in again to get it to work because it is searching for a signal? I might exchange it as this happens every few weeks.
    Almeuit likes this.
    09-12-2015 05:16 PM
  13. Almeuit's Avatar
    The signal booster is great as LTE works down starts but has anyone had issues where you had to unplug and plug it back in again to get it to work because it is searching for a signal? I might exchange it as this happens every few weeks.
    I've noticed if I unplug it can take awhile (up to 10 minutes) to reconnect... Other than that though no complaints.
    09-13-2015 02:50 AM
  14. tonjaaldis's Avatar
    tonyr6, I represent Nextivity, the manufacturer of Cel-Fi. I wanted to pass along a few details that will hopefully help!
    If the system is used in an area where new channels have been instructed, it can take up to 30 minutes to learn the new channels. When it is looking it says searching for signal, users should not unplug during this period as this just restarts the process again. The good news is that once a channel is found, the system learns it for next time and does not have to search.
    09-15-2015 01:47 PM
  15. tonyr6's Avatar
    Thanks I will tell my mother not to unplug it as the repeater is in her bedroom.
    09-16-2015 02:09 PM
  16. Almeuit's Avatar
    It looks like the signal at my house is getting better.... My window unit now holds 2 bars of LTE and my speed tests look like the one below. .
    Attached Thumbnails T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-1445115689217.jpg  
    geekaren likes this.
    10-17-2015 05:01 PM
  17. geekaren's Avatar
    My T-Mobile voice calls have begun dropping lately and T-Mobile is sending me this LTE repeater. Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their experience in this thread -- very helpful information!
    Almeuit likes this.
    10-19-2015 08:00 PM
  18. geekaren's Avatar
    My T-Mobile LTE repeater arrived today. I plugged it in (truly plug n play) and now have 5 bars of LTE. I can use Voice over LTE on my Note 5... calls sound great, and more importantly aren't dropping. I'm a happy camper :-D
    Almeuit and tonjaaldis like this.
    10-22-2015 06:19 PM
  19. Almeuit's Avatar
    My T-Mobile LTE repeater arrived today. I plugged it in (truly plug n play) and now have 5 bars of LTE. I can use Voice over LTE on my Note 5... calls sound great, and more importantly aren't dropping. I'm a happy camper :-D
    I am glad it is working for you as well ^_^.
    geekaren likes this.
    10-22-2015 06:54 PM
  20. Almeuit's Avatar
    Another test. It's late but was just curious how it was.. Still solid. The window unit is still holding 2 bars of LTE.
    Attached Thumbnails T-Mobile: Cel-Fi 4G LTE Signal Booster-1445755934894.jpg  
    tonjaaldis likes this.
    10-25-2015 02:52 AM
  21. tonyr6's Avatar
    I have Band 12 support in my area but when i am in my house it switches to Band 4 is it because of the LTE signal booster? I notice when I reboot my phone it goes right to Band 12 but after a few minutes switches to Band 4. Band 4 is still plenty fast for streaming music and I need the repeater for the bottom floor because my parents only have the older Nexus 5 that only has Band 4 support.
    10-25-2015 09:48 AM
  22. Almeuit's Avatar
    I have Band 12 support in my area but when i am in my house it switches to Band 4 is it because of the LTE signal booster? I notice when I reboot my phone it goes right to Band 12 but after a few minutes switches to Band 4. Band 4 is still plenty fast for streaming music and I need the repeater for the bottom floor because my parents only have the older Nexus 5 that only has Band 4 support.
    Yeah that is most likely the cause -- since band 4 is stronger due to the booster it swaps. The booster doesn't support Band 12 (going off memory here) so that is why it doesn't work. If you get good enough band 12 inside I would return the booster.

    I am hoping my service will become good in my house where I don't need it anymore. It is nice to have if needed but .. not needing it would be even nicer .
    10-25-2015 03:21 PM
  23. LeoRex's Avatar
    Yeah, when 12 went live here, the tower signal increased to just a tick below the booster. I might do some checks.. I use WFC, so the booster is only there to save my battery.

    And lately, my booster has been flaky (SNR is fluctuating from OK to horrid), so it may be worth my while to just turn it off for a couple and see if the tower is strong enough now.
    10-25-2015 06:12 PM
  24. tonyr6's Avatar
    If you get good enough band 12 inside I would return the booster.
    I would but my parents have a Nexus 5 with no Band 12 support so they still need it for the bottom floor to get a signal.
    10-25-2015 11:11 PM
  25. Almeuit's Avatar
    I would but my parents have a Nexus 5 with no Band 12 support so they still need it for the bottom floor to get a signal.
    Ah okay -- makes sense .
    10-26-2015 01:51 AM
37 12

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