It can be an extremely frustrating experience settling into a campsite and then realizing your phones and other devices barely work because of poor cell signal. And for those who work on the road or encounter an emergency, it can be seriously problematic.
Luckily, RV cell boosters can help. Let’s take a closer look at these valuable devices and how they work.
What Is an RV Cell Booster?
An RV cell booster is a piece of technology designed to improve weak cellular reception. The devices include an antenna to capture cellular signals from a cell tower and the booster, which processes and amplifies them.
Cell boosters can function on their own or as part of a more extensive RV mobile internet setup.
How Much Do RV Cell Boosters Cost?
Depending on the brand, model, and features, cell phone boosters for RVs generally sell for between $200 and $500.
While this may not be much to many RVers in the context of a five- or six-figure rig, it may be cost-prohibitive to those traveling on a tighter budget. Those looking to buy top-of-the-line boosters could see prices close to $1,000 for equipment alone.
How an RV Cell Signal Booster Works
The process starts when your device requests information from a cellular tower. Your booster processes the request, amplifies it, and transmits it toward the tower with a powerful antenna.
The cell tower receives the request and sends back the information. The antenna captures this information in ways your device wouldn’t be able to on its own.
The booster processes the signal itself and then transmits it to devices on your network. You can think of it as an intermediary. Boosters ensure communication between your devices and the cell tower goes more smoothly.
Benefits of an RV Cell Booster
So why should you invest the time and money into buying and setting up an RV cell booster? Here are a few major benefits.
Boosts Weak Cell Signal
The most obvious benefit is the ability to transform a weak cellular signal into something you can use. Suddenly, that measly one bar becomes a powerful communication channel.
As a result, you’ll enjoy clearer calls and faster loading times. You can also run apps you might not have been able to otherwise.
Helpful for Remote Workers
It’s becoming increasingly common for full-time RVers to have full-time, remote jobs. However, these “digital nomads” still need to stay connected.
RV cell boosters are a crucial tool to ensure that’s possible. Boosters can allow remote workers to stay at campgrounds or in regions they couldn’t otherwise due to an inability to get online.
Ability to Camp in More Remote Areas
Whether you’re working or not, cell boosters allow you to dramatically expand your camping possibilities while remaining on the grid in case of emergencies.
This is a crucial benefit these days, with many RV parks booking up months in advance. With more options available for camping, you’ll remove a major stressor by not losing contact with the outside world.
Cons of an RV Cell Booster
Like all technology and RV features, there are naturally some negatives to RV cell boosters. Keep these potential downsides in mind before purchasing one.
As we noted previously, even the cheapest cell phone boosters will set you back several hundred dollars. And that doesn’t include any costs for installation. All in all, you could easily face a $500-$1,000 bill.
Doesn’t Work if There’s No Signal
RV cell boosters aren’t magic. If there’s no signal to boost, they won’t be able to help you get connected. All the technology can do is improve upon the connection between your devices and cell towers. Being too far away to communicate with one at all will render your pricey accessory useless.
Doesn’t Work if Towers Are Overloaded
This is another potential issue entirely out of your control. If your network connection is slow due to an overcrowded tower with too many cell phones trying to connect simultaneously, nothing will speed you up.
You’re simply competing with too many other devices over a network with limited capacity. You’ll need to either wait until the network is less congested or move to a different area.
Are RV Cell Signal Boosters Worth the Price?
Whether or not RV cell signal boosters are worth the price largely depends on your camping style, needs, and budget. For those who almost always stay at RV parks, don’t need regular and high-quality internet, or are RVing on a budget, a cell booster may not be worth it.
RVers who routinely stay in places with no signal will also likely not find boosters worth the price. However, many RVers appreciate the additional connectivity, allowing you to explore new, more remote campsites. Remote workers will find their investment especially worthwhile if it allows them to keep their job on the road.
Consider your circumstances before deciding whether to invest in these powerful but expensive devices. Have you ever used a cell signal booster? How did it go?
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