Guide to Improving Cell Signal for Cars, Trucks & RVs
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Get Better Cell Reception in Your Vehicle
Improve your cell phone's signal strength when in your car, truck, van, RV and any other vehicle by choosing the best solution for boosting your cell signal. Dropped calls, undelivered and unreceived texts, and slow data speeds on the road can be frustrating and downright unsafe.
These issues affect many drivers across the United States, Canada, and Mexico and many of the affected cell phone and cellular device users have improved their weak cell signals by using a cell phone signal booster.
This guide provides all the information you need to identify the best cellular solution to improve weak cell reception inside your vehicle for you and your passengers.
A signal booster improves weak 3G and/or 4G cell phone signals and strengthens the incoming and outgoing cellular signals to reduce dropped calls and bad cell reception. Most signal boosters are compatible with every cell phone carrier and are used to boost cell signals in vehicles, RVs, boats, homes, apartments, offices and commercial spaces.
All of SureCall’s vehicle signal boosters have no monthly fees, support all carriers, work with all cellular devices, do not require special training or tools to install and are a great way to improve cell service for better calling, texting and data speeds. This guide focuses specifically on signal boosters for vehicles, but to learn more about signal boosters for homes and offices visit our Master Guide to Cell Phone Signal Boosters.
The cell tower sends and receives signals within a general area.
An outside antenna captures the signal, the signal booster amplifies the signal’s strength and indoor antenna(s) send the improved signal to your phone.
The call, text or 4G LTE data signal returns to the tower by following the same process in reverse.
Signal Booster Kit Contents for Vehicles
Outside antenna is installed on the exterior of a vehicle to capture the signal that exists outside of the vehicle. FusionTrek is the only signal booster that improves in-vehicle cellular reception without using an outside antenna.
Signal booster receives and amplifies the signal from the outside antenna before sending the strengthened signal to the indoor antenna.
Indoor antenna distributes the amplified signal inside of the vehicle.
Power adapter provides power for the cell booster system.
Why Get A Cell Phone Booster for the Car, Truck or RV?
A signal booster in a car, truck or RV is ideal for keeping drivers and riders connected via their cell phones and cellular devices. Benefits of signal boosters for car, truck, RV and any other vehicle include:
Fewer dropped calls
Improved call quality
Better data speeds
Coverage for all cell carriers
Support for multiple users
No monthly fees
Easy to install
Expanded cell coverage map
Extends cell phone battery life
8 Causes of Weak Cell Reception in Your Vehicle
There are many different causes for your phone’s weak cell signal. A strong cell signal should be able to overcome most of these obstructions; however, there are some materials that block cellular signals completely.
The most common causes of weak cell signal include:
•Non-Conductive construction materials like plastics, insulation, wood, glass, drywall, and others will weaken cell reception but, in most cases, will not completely reduce a strong signal.
•Conductive construction materials like aluminum, steel, tin, silver, and copper have the ability to reflect a strong cell signal completely. In fact, when SureCall engineers test our boosters they use a faraday cage, which completely blocks radio frequency (RF) signals using a blend of copper and steel.
•Organic material like mountains and hills, large snow piles and dense plant matter can totally eliminate the strength of a strong cell signal, whereas sparse plant and tree matter and small snow piles of loosely packed snow may only weaken a strong signal.
•Weather impacts your signal in more ways than simply a storm knocking over the cell tower. Rain, fog, snow, dust, hail, sleet and more can reduce your cell signal. In small or moderate weather systems this will have a weakening effect, however, in severe weather systems these could have a more significant weakening impact.
•Cell tower direction can have a serious impact on your signal. You may be right next to the tower but if the tower is pointed the opposite direction, or angled so the signal passes overhead you may receive no cell bars.
•Distance from the cell tower can have a varying impact on cell service. For example, if you are one mile from the cell tower you will most likely have great cell reception. On the other hand, if you are 30 or 50 miles from the nearest cell tower you will have weak or no cell signal at all.
•User capacity is limited on cell towers. This means as more users send and receive signals simultaneously, the power that tower has to dedicate to each of those calls, texts and data transmissions gets spread thinner and thinner.
•RF interference can cause weak cell reception that results from other device’s radio frequency (RF) emissions that interfere with the signals your cell phone uses to make calls, send texts or stream data using cellular.
Best Booster Kits for Your Car, Truck, Van, SUV and RV
Cell signal boosters have been innovating from the days of oversized antennas and bulky components. Now there are plenty of options to give you a cell boost with a kit that delivers exactly what you need by way of aesthetics, multi or single user compatibility, max power in urban and rural areas, coverage for all cell carriers, hands-free operation, easy installation and more.
FusionTrek works with all North American cell carriers and is the first signal booster for vehicles that completely eliminates all outside components. This booster installs in minutes and fits inside the rear-window of any car, truck, van or SUV. The phone or device on the hands-free phone mount receives the signal boost directly. With its small footprint, portability and cellular boosting performance, FusionTrek is a trusted solution for urban and suburban customers who need access to reliable data, calling and text.
N-Range boosts all cell carrier signals in North America using Extended Range Technology™, which uses a high-power active antenna to capture, amplify and transmit the improved signal more efficiently than any other booster on the market. Using just two components – active outside antenna and antenna phone mount – N-Range has revolutionized the vehicle signal booster to keep you within range of the cell tower. For single users in very weak signal areas, there is simply no better cell signal booster for calling, texting and streaming data. Installation is quick and the active antenna, which fits in the palm of your hand, delivers industry leading performance for individual devices in extreme fringes of the cellular network.
Fusion2Go 3.0 delivers the best performance for multi-user signal boosters and covers all North American cellular networks. With three components – outside antenna, signal booster, and inside antenna – Fusion2Go 3.0 distributes the improved cell signal throughout your car’s interior to deliver the industry’s most reliable coverage for more than one device no matter which cell carrier you or your passengers use. In areas with weak cell signals, Fusion2Go 3.0 delivers 2X more coverage than the closest multi-user alternative and is trusted by families, fleet vehicles, police cruisers, utilities workers and others who need reliable calling, text and data in very isolated areas.
Fusion2Go 3.0 RV delivers top-performance for motor homes, RVs, campers and trailers using the industry leading Fusion2Go 3.0 signal booster with a configuration of indoor and outdoor antennas that are built specifically for RVs, campers and trailers. Fusion2Go 3.0 RV supports all North American cell carriers to reduce lost connections and dead zones for multiple users who need more reliable calling, texting and data signals when they’re parked or exploring the United States, Canada, Mexico and parts of Central and South America.
Fusion2Go 2.0 provides the maximum gain and power possible for a vehicle signal booster to ensure seamless connectivity wherever the road takes you and your passengers. Fusion2Go 2.0 is completely hands-free and seconds only the Fusion2Go 3.0 in delivering the industry’s biggest cell signal boost for multiple simultaneous users in a vehicle. Just like all of SureCalls in-vehicle signal boosters, Fusion2Go 2.0 works with all cell carriers and supports calling, texting, 4G LTE data and all mobile applications.
Ask These Questions Before Buying a Signal Booster
Will a vehicle signal booster work with my cell carrier?
Yes! All SureCall vehicle signal boosters will work with all North American cell networks. That includes Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Telus, Bell, Rogers, Boost Mobile, TelCel and all others.
Do signal boosters with for apps and texts?
Yes! Every SureCall signal booster for vehicle reduces dropped calls and supports all other cellular activities, like web browsing, app usage, texting, sending photos and videos, and everything in-between. In fact, Fusion2Go 3.0 and Fusion2Go 3.0 RV are the leaders in the industry for app and data transmission speeds for multi-user boosters and N-Range is the top-performer for single user boosters.
Do signal boosters work with more than one phone?
Fusion2Go 3.0, Fusion2Go 3.0 RV and Fusion2Go 2.0 are all multi-user boosters. This means they improve the cellular signal for the whole vehicle to support more than one phone and any other device that uses cell signals, like iPad, iWatch and more. On the other hand, FusionTrek and N-Range are single-user devices, which means that only the cellular device on the phone cradle receives the improved signal.
Will a signal booster work in a dead zone?
No, signal boosters require an existing cellular signal to boost that signal’s strength and usability. Often the exterior of a car will reflect cellular signals and if the outside signal is already weak, it may cause dropped calls, undelivered texts and slow data. Signal boosters counteract this in weak signal areas to increase the quality and strength of the cell signal that penetrates into your car, truck, van, SUV, RV and any other vehicle. In some instances, a signal booster is able to provide a usable signal to make a call or send a text where the phone couldn’t before. For example, the Fusion2Go 3.0 products are designed to allow you to make a call 1.5 to 2 times further from the cell tower than the closest competitor. This could mean your phone could go from no service to a couple bars so you can make a call.
Will a signal booster work in the US, Canada, or Mexico?
SureCall signal boosters are compatible with all North American carriers, which means if you live in the United States, Canada, Mexico and even parts of Central and South America a SureCall booster will be compatible with your cell carrier.
What’s the return policy?
SureCall has the industry’s leading customer satisfaction suite. That includes a three year warranty on parts, a 60-day money-back guarantee and lifetime support from our team of US-based technical support specialists.
How Do Signal Boosters for Vehicles Work?
Signal boosters for vehicles work by capturing the cell signal that exists outside of your car, SUV, truck or RV, amplifying the signal, and either distributing the improved cell signal through the phone antenna cradle mount or throughout the inside of the vehicle.
When selecting a booster for RV, you will want to consider the booster’s ability to improve more than just calling but also its ability to send and receive texts and data, durability, ability to support multiple users, price, and usability in your vehicle. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Fusion2Go 3.0 RV and its closest competitor, the two top-performing cell signal boosters for RV.
Fusion2Go 3.0 RV (US)
Leading Competitor (US)
Free Kit for Car
All North American Carriers
2G / 3G / 4G LTE
Max. Boosting Power
Max. Power to Reach Signal Tower
Warranty on Parts
Best Booster for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and All Cell Carriers
Alternatives for Better Cell Reception in Your Vehicle
There are a number of remedies and strategies for improving cell signal in a vehicle; everything from antenna cases and stickers to recommendations like stepping outside of the car to find a better signal. Although many of these can have a beneficial effect, many of our customers have found the free tricks to be impractical and the cases and stickers to have no impact on their cell signal. Carrier specific solutions, like femtocells, are available for homes and offices, however, they cannot be used in a car, truck or RV. Generally, two options are the best means of improving your cell signal. The first option is to change cellular carriers to another provider who has better reception in your area. The second option is to purchase a signal booster kit for your vehicle.
Frequently working in remote areas with critically weak signals, a Journeyman Lineman, who was responsible with utility pole setting and maintenance, needed a cellular solution that could keep him connected with his family and teams. “Driving off the job site to get a better signal was eating up my time. I just dealt with it for a while but a few months ago I gave it [a signal booster] a try,” explained Jake Taylor.
Most often working with multi-person crews Taylor wanted a cell booster that could help him and the rest of his multi-person crew make calls, send texts, emails, and transmit data in weak signal areas.
Fusion2Go 3.0 delivered max cell boosting power to keep Taylor connected twice as far from the cell tower than any other solution on the market. The booster kit also gave Taylor faster data speeds to send and receive data faster using weak signals and supported all of his crew member’s cell carriers and devices.
“I was skeptical of these but decided to give it a try. So far it’s given me usable signal 95% of the time, which is way more than I had before.” Jake Taylor, Journeyman Lineman
Major Utility Company
Cell Boost for Texas Oil Industry Worker
With an occupation that changed location from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and week-to-week, Andy, an oil industry Drill Site Manager in rural Texas needed a cell boosting solution that was as reliable as the location of his work was unreliable. He had a family at home and needed to call, send and receive emails and data from team members and, overall, needed to stay connected in areas that had extremely weak cell signals.
Typically, his primary housing locations average three bars of signal strength but when driving around to nearby or faraway drill sites, he would often average just a single bar. “I was dropping calls every day and I couldn’t get my jobs done without giving or getting info… my wife was getting ticked-off and I was too,” he explained.
Andy purchased his Fusion2Go 3.0 from Amazon.com and a few months after purchasing we reached out for his feedback. He explained that installation was “really easy,” that the booster has kept him connected in the majority of his problem areas, and that he is now more productive at his job.
“I checked out the options and it [Fusion2Go 3.0] checked
off all the boxes for what I needed… Since I installed it, I’d say my
call quality has gone from about 40% to 90%.” Andy, Drill Site Manager
Texas Based Oil & Gas Company
TERMS TO KNOW
Vehicle Cell Phone Signal Booster Terms to Know
Automatic Gain Control (AGC) means after you install the signal booster it will run without needing any manual adjustments. This comes built-in to all SureCall vehicle signal boosters and allows your booster to manage its settings automatically to give you the strongest cell signal possible at all times.
Broadcast Signal is the improved signal that the signal booster feeds to your cellular devices.
Decibel (dB) is written in negative numbers, decibel is the unit of measurement for RF signals. For example, -50 dB is considered a very good signal whereas -100 dB is a very poor signal and the further the negative number travels from 0 the worse the signal becomes.
Donor Signal is the non-boosted signal that exists outside of the vehicle.
Extended Range Technology (ERT) is the latest and greatest innovation for better in-vehicle cell phone reception. Best for areas with extremely weak cell signals, ERT amplifies the signal immediately at its strongest point to maximize and deliver the best possible signal directly to your device through a cell phone cradle mount antenna. ERT is unique to SureCall and is built into the SureCall N-Range.
Free Space Path Loss is the loss that occurs when your phone is too far from the cell tower or internal antenna. Best practice for vehicle boosters is to keep your device close to the internal antenna. The closer you are to the antenna, the closer you are to the source of the strengthened signal.
Gain is measured as a positive number, more gain is better. For example, you have a -95 dBm signal coming into the booster and max gain of 50 dB you would have a signal of -45 dBm, which is a perfect cell signal.
Loss is the opposite of gain and is measured as a negative number. The less loss the better. Think of it a the loss of a signal. If you have a -95 dBm signal coming into the booster and -6 dB of signal loss you would have a signal of -101 dBm, which is a very poor signal. The best practice is to minimize loss and maximize gain.
Multi User Booster is the term that defines a signal booster kit that will improve the cell phone signal for more than one cell phone or other cellular devices simultaneously. Most multi user vehicle signal boosters will support up to six simultaneous users, however, fewer simultaneous devices means more boost for each user.
Omni Antenna is the most commonly used outside antenna for vehicle boosters. This uses a 360-degree window of reception to receive the donor signal from any direction and feed the source signal to the signal booster for amplification and distribution inside of the car, truck, SUV, RV, or other vehicle.
Oscillation is created when the outside and inside antennas are installed too close to one another. To know if your SureCall booster is oscillating, you will want to pay attention to the light sequences on the booster. For vehicle cell signal boosters, this is an easy fix – simply move the inside or outside antenna to create additional space between the two.
Patch Antenna is the indoor antenna that is commonly used for multi-user vehicle booster kits and transmits the improved cell signal with a 180-degree pattern. Place this in the car, truck, SUV, or RV facing the direction where your phone will be to receive the best boosted signal.
Phone Cradle Mount Antenna is used for single-user vehicle booster kits. Typically mounting on an air vent, the driver’s phone will magnetically attach to the phone mount to receive the improved cell signal directly from the antenna.
Radio Frequency (RF) is the basis of cellular. This wave frequency transmits all cellular, AM and FM radio and Wi-Fi signals.
Reflection is caused when an RF signal bounces off of a surface that it cannot penetrate. Aluminum and other metals are used as exterior structure materials for cars and are highly reflective.
Single User Booster is a term used to describe a signal booster kit that will improve the cell phone signal for one cell phone or other cellular device at a time.
Whip Antenna is used in SureCall’s RV booster kits to distribute the signal throughout the internal structure using a 360-degree signal distribution pattern.
Wide Band is a term used to describe signal boosters, antennas and cell signal accessories that work for all frequencies available in that country. For example, all SureCall signal boosters and accessories are wide band and work with all carriers in the US, Canada, Mexico, and many countries in Central and South America.
What can I expect from a cell phone signal booster for vehicle?
Most signal amplifier options for a car, truck, van or RV are small and easy to install. The ideal booster for a single driver in a sedan will not be the same as the perfect choice for the family of four road-tripping in their RV. Click here to find out which booster is best for you.
Will a cellular signal amplifier work with my phone?
Yes, if you have cell service with a carrier located in the United States, Canada, Mexico and some Central and South American countries a SureCall signal booster will work with your cell phone or mobile device. That includes all Apple, Samsung, LG, Google, Huawei and all other cell phones and cellular powered devices, like iWatch, iPad and more.
Will a cellular signal amplifier work with my carrier?
Yes, all of SureCall’s signal boosters for vehicle work with any carrier in North America. N-Range, FusionTrek, Fusion2Go 3.0, Fusion2Go 3.0 RV, and Fusion2Go 2.0 all improve cell reception for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Telus, Bell, Rogers, BoostMobile, Sasktel, and every other North American cellular provider. Buy one booster and get coverage for every North American carrier!
Does weak cell signal drain my battery?
Yes, when your phone has to work harder it expends more energy and this drains your battery. A phone that has a weak signal will automatically search for a stronger signal from nearby towers. On the other hand, if your phone is content with the strong cell signal it has it will not look for other towers and this extends the life of your cell phone battery.
What if I don’t want an outside antenna?
Although an outside antenna is useful for finding signals in remote areas, the latest generation of cellular signal boosters for cars, trucks, vans and RVs are able to find and amplify signals using only internal components. The SureCall FusionTrek is the first and only vehicle signal booster with no outside antenna, cables, or any outside components at all. You still get a big cell signal boost with FusionTrek’s small, easy to install and portable kit.
How to get cellular service in a dead zone for my car, truck, or RV?
A signal booster will not work in a complete cellular dead zone. A cell phone signal booster for car, truck and RV can help amplify an existing signal, however, this does require a signal to be present, however weak it may be. Where signal boosters are a low cost solution to improving cell signal, there are a few free tricks you can try next time you’re in a dead zone. Try charging the battery, removing ruggedized cases, rebooting the phone to help find a stronger cell tower, or find a way to remove obstructions between you and the nearest cell tower.
What causes a dead zone?
Cellular dead zones and weak cell service are caused by one of two things: either the signal is obstructed or the device is not within the cellular tower’s range or window of reception. Things like mountains, trees, buildings, dense weather systems, and more can block a cell signal.
When do signal boosters for cars, trucks, and RVs not work?
Cell phone signal boosters, regardless of manufacturer, will not work in cellular dead zones. The keyword in signal booster is “boost.” In order to boost a cellular signal there needs to be a signal present outside or very near to the vehicle. Using the signal that exists outside of the vehicle, the signal booster will amplify the signal’s strength and bring it to devices inside of the vehicle.
How do I install a cell phone signal booster in my car, truck, or RV?
Installing a SureCall cell phone signal booster does not require special tools or training and can generally be completed very quickly. While installation time will vary from product-to-product and person-to-person, the average installation time for FusionTrek takes just 2-3 minutes, N-Range requires under 4-5 minutes, Fusion2Go 3.0 requires less than 5-10 minutes and Fusion2Go 3.0 RV installation takes about 30 minutes. Each SureCall product comes with everything you’ll need for installation, clear instructions and the SureCall YouTube channel also has a number of videos offering tips, tricks and advice for installation.
How much antenna separation do I need for a vehicle booster?
Separating your receiving and distributing antennas is important to get the most performance from your signal booster. For some boosters, like FusionTrek and N-Range, very little separation is needed and you will want to keep more than two feet of distance between the booster/antenna and indoor antenna. Booster kits, like Fusion2Go 3.0 and Fusion2Go 2.0 will require slightly more antenna separation of about four to five feet. Fusion2Go 3.0 RV will require antenna separation closer to about twenty feet. Generally speaking, the more antenna-to-antenna separation, the better.
How many users will a cell phone signal booster support?
Depending on the cell signal booster you use, the booster will either support one or many devices. Where FusionTrek and N-Range will support one device the Fusion2Go 2.0, Fusion2Go 3.0 and Fusion2Go 3.0 RV boosters have the ability to support up to five simultaneous devices. For multi-user boosters the devices closest to the indoor antenna will receive the biggest boost.
How much area will a cellular signal booster cover?
The coverage area delivered by your signal booster is dependent on a few things; single or multi-user kit, the strength of the incoming signal, and the level of performance delivered by the booster in the kit. Single user signal booster kits will only provide reliable cellular coverage to the cell phone or cellular device on the cradle antenna mount. Multi-user kits like Fusion2Go 3.0 with a strong amplified broadcast signal will be able to cover the entire inside of a car, SUV, van or truck. Multi-user RV kits with a strong broadcast signal can provide coverage for the entire internal structure of a small or medium size RV, trailer, motorhome, or camper.
Can I use a home cellular signal booster for my RV?
No, you are unable to use a cell booster for home in your RV or any other vehicle for a few reasons. To name a few, boosters for home and office are not approved for mobile applications by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). If you live in a mobile home that is permanently stationary, you can petition to use a mobile booster, however, if your vehicle is mobile in any way you cannot use a home signal booster in your vehicle. Additionally, the antenna separation required for the more powerful home and office boosters, like Flare and Fusion4Home, is often more than a medium or large RV can support.
What comes in a cell phone signal booster kit for vehicles?
Every cell phone signal booster kit is comprised of the same basic elements; the outside antenna, inside antenna, cell signal booster, power adapter, and cables to connect each component. Some SureCall signal boosters are leading the way in making the booster kit footprint smaller and even easier to install. Select the vehicle booster below to see exactly what comes in the package.