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Wi-Ex zBoost Cell Phone Signal Boosters - FAQ

Question: My units not boosting the signal very well, what can I do?


The cable is the first thing to check, to make sure they meet the above requirements.

Second – If they have the YX510, then they must obtain a minimum of 15 feet of vertical separation.

The other option – The customer can use a grounding plane. This is a great solution and fixes most problems. If the performance is poor then the customer needs more separation (vertical). Tell the customer to raise the antenna higher. If they cannot, then they can get a piece of metal to go between the two and act as a barrier to prevent any feedback or interferences. This could be a pan or even a piece of sheet metal.

The number one problem with units not performing deals with antenna placement. If the customer has the antenna on the roof whether directional or omni-directional, then tell them to reposition it first. Tell them to do the cellular “two step” and keep trying different locations.

If the base unit is not using a directional interior upgrade then always make sure the customer puts the unit in a central location.

The unit needs to be away from wireless routers, wireless phone bases, and other RF emitting devices. These devices can cause interference and issues.

The users must always be approximately 3 feet away from the base unit when placing a call. This allows for the unit to perform without interference from the phone. This is called uplink overdrive and will cause the unit to flash red LED’s on signal and install.

Question: How can I best install the 500 series products?
Answer: The most important part about an install involves the antenna placement. The 500 Series antennas are circular in nature. They need to be about 3 feet away from metal. Please make sure that their antenna is always above the roof line if the customer says the performance is bad.

Question: My phone shows bars but I cannot place or receive calls?
Answer: You are getting in garbage RF readings on your phone. You need to move the exterior antenna higher, lower, or to the right or left. The readings are indicating good signal because the customers phone cannot tell if the signal in noise or actual signal. To alleviate this problem you must reposition the unit until the problems subside. A solid 2-3 bars is better than a sketchy 4-5 bars.

Question: I can only get 5-10 feet away and then the signal drops off?
Answer:The customer needs to get better signal into their unit. The signal going in directly determines the amount of performance out. They have a few options. 

A. Move the antenna (maybe they don’t have it outside, maybe no vertical separation, or maybe they have mounted it to a metal pole.)
B. Upgrade to a directional higher gain antenna (YX026, YX023, YX029). You always suggest an exterior upgrade first. Why? The signal going in determines the performance out.
C. Tell the user to let their phone refresh a few times. Make them give you bar readings at 10 second, 20 seconds, and 30 seconds while looking at it. The phones refresh rate can indicate crazy readings. This is because RF is always bouncing everywhere. Tell the customer that as long as they place clear and good quality calls they should not worry

Question: The unit no longer powers on. What can I do?
Answer:Make sure you try to test you power supply before assuming the base unit has died. It is usually a matter of the power supply failing.

Question: Will the Wi-Ex YX500-PCS or the YX500-CEL unit work with any wireless service? 

Answer: The Wi-Ex YX500-PCS unit will work only in the PCS frequency range (1850 – 1990 MHz), and the Wi-Ex YX500-CEL will only work in the Cellular frequency range (824 – 896 MHz).

Cell phones from providers like Cricket, Metro PCS, Suncom, T-Mobile, and Sprint (excludes Nextel) normally work with our YX500-PCS model, and cell phones from providers like AT&T and Verizon will normally work with the YX500-CEL model. Most of the wireless phones in use today are in the PCS or the Cellular frequencies. Some wireless service providers are PCS only while others will operate in the Cellular and PCS frequencies. This varies from city to city.If your service provider shows both 800 and 1900 MHz the YX500-CEL will probably work. If your service provider shows only the 1900MHz, the YX500-PCS booster will work.

Canadian use - The unit has been approved for use in Canada under RSS 131, however, consent for the use of this device to improve cellular or PCS coverage, must be obtained through your cellular or PCS provider, prior to placing the unit in operation. Please refer to the Industry Canada document CPC 2-1-05, Section 6.1 available or viewable at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/smt-gst.nsf/en/sf08942e.html

At this time our YX500 Series models do not work with the iDEN (Nextel) service. To determine what kind of service you have please visit www.wirelessadvisor.com enter your zip code and locate your service provider

Question: How much cable can I run if I need extra?

Answer: RG6 Cable– Do not go over 65-70 feet with RG6

RG11 Cable– Up to 120 -130 feet no more

Question: What benefits can I expect from using a Wi-Ex product?

Answer: You can stop suffering from dropped calls when you’re indoors.

Most cellular networks were built for highways -- to provide the best coverage for people in their cars. When you’re indoors, chances are you encounter dead cell zones—areas where your cell phone signal becomes weak, crackly and full of static, or where the cell phone signal drops off completely. Many building materials interfere with, or block, the cell phone signal. With a wireless range extender, you can bring that outside cell phone signal inside – where you need it the most.

You can extend the battery life of your cell phone. Because the Wireless Extender boosts the signal, the phone will consume less power to capture the cell phone signal, thus conserving the battery of the phone and enabling you to talk longer.

Many cell phone users see the benefit of replacing their expensive landline phone service because they use their cell phone the most. The problem is that in many cases the wireless coverage isn’t good in their home. Wireless Extenders’ cellular phone signal booster improves the wireless coverage and will allow you to do away with that expensive landline connection. Imagine being able to cut the cord from your local telephone company! In addition, Wi-Ex cellular phone signal boosters enhance the following wireless applications:

• Sending and receiving text messages
• Instant messaging
• Picture mail
• Internet usage from your cell phone
• PDA interactive messaging
• 3G high-speed data
• Downloading software
• Security systems backup

Question: Why do I lose cell phone signal strength indoors?
Answer:Several factors affect cell phone signal penetration into buildings, including building material (metal, concrete, wood), wall density, number of windows and building height. Cell phone signals work a little like television signals (without cable or satellite). Remember the tall antennas that used to be on every house in the neighborhood? That antenna captured the television signal and brought it into the house to the TV. Fortunately, modern technology lets us capture a cell phone signal in a similar fashion, but with a MUCH smaller antenna.

Question: How can I tell if it will help extend coverage in my home or office?


You can run a simple test. If you can place a call outside your home or office, the Wi-Ex unit will help you by boosting the signal inside the building. If there is no signal outside, this unit will not give you an improvement in coverage. Remember, we can only help improve your signal strength if you have enough of a signal outside to place a call.

Question: How much will my cell phone coverage be extended with a Wi-Ex product?


The average coverage improvement indoors of the Wi-Ex YX500 basic unit is around 2,500 sq. feet. This is the perfect size for the typical home or office. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2003, the average size of the American home built was 2,137 square feet.
(source: http://www.census.gov/const/C25Ann/sftotalmedavgsqft.pdf)

The 2,500 sq. ft. number is an average only and represents open space. Some coverage will be greater, others smaller. Square footage will vary depending on the signal outside, type of building, foliage, installation quality and other factors. If you need additional coverage, we offer an upgraded interior antenna, which provides a stronger directional signal.

Question: What can I expect my cell phone signal range and strength to be inside my home or office?


The closer you are to the base, the stronger the signal. This will vary with different conditions. Some of the conditions that will affect the improved coverage area are signal strength outdoors, the type of walls in the home, the placement of the unit and proximity to cellular towers.

Your expectations should be that your indoor coverage will be improved. You will be able to make calls where you couldn’t before. The coverage improvement will depend upon many factors. The intent of the Wi-Ex products are to bring outside coverage inside. If you want an even stronger signal, consider a more powerful signal antenna or an internal directional antenna, available as options in our online shopping cart

Question: Can a Wi-Ex product help my signal in my RV?


The Wi-Ex YX500 Series units will work great in a RV. Because many RVs are metal, the wireless signal gets blocked. This unit will help coverage in your RV or boat. The only requirement is AC power and a signal outside strong enough to place a call. This unit can be installed in virtually any location that wireless service needs improvement.

Question: Where should I put my Wi-Ex base unit to get the best coverage?


Where you need coverage the most. The Wi-Ex base unit is the component that amplifies the signal inside. The coverage is improved in a circular manner from the base unit. The farther you are away from the base unit, the weaker the signal. The base could be placed in the family room, the basement, an office, a bedroom, a home office or a central location.

Question: Where is the best place to put my Wi-Ex signal antenna?


The Wi-Ex signal antenna should be placed at the highest point in your house in order to “catch” the signal as it goes by. This could be in the attic or on the roof. We advise against putting the signal antenna too close to the base unit. The signal antenna should have at least 15 feet of separation from the Wi-Ex base unit.

Question: Is a cellular phone signal booster the same as a wireless router; will it help my WIFI signal?


The Wi-Ex unit will not help your WIFI service. This unit is designed to work with wireless PCS and Cellular phones and devices. The WIFI in your home or office uses a different frequency.

Question: Can using a cellular phone signal booster improve the battery life of my wireless phone?


Yes! Because the Wi-Ex YX500 Series unit will boost the signal, the phone will consume less power to capture the cell phone signal, thus conserving the battery of the phone -- enabling you to talk longer

Question: Can I install a Wi-Ex product myself?


We have designed the Wi-Ex system so that it is easy to install. We have included installation instructions in the unit and on the web site.

zBoost cell phone signal extenders are not difficult to install, but they do require mounting an antenna (attic, roof or near a window location) and running coaxial cable. Please See Below For Instructions On Installing ZBoost For The Home & Office:

The location of the Signal Antenna largely determines the level of performance and increased coverage area. Find the location around your home that provides the strongest signal level (usually on the roof or in the attic) using the signal strength indicator on your cell phone. Mount the Signal Antenna in that area.

Note: Other variables that impact performance:
• Make sure that the Signal Antenna remains at least 3 ft away from any metal
• The Signal Antenna should be placed at least 15 feet away from the zBoost Base Unit

Three ways to install:
• EASIEST Installation
• BETTER Reception
• BEST Reception

Easiest Installation: Inside of a window
• Locate a window where you get signal.
• Mount the Signal Antenna above the window.
• Place the Base Unit across the room (15 feet away) where you want to create a Cell Zone™.
• Attach the coaxial cable to the signal antenna.
• Attach the coaxial cable, which should already be attached to the Signal Antenna, to the Base Unit.
• Attach the Antenna to the Base Unit and position it so that it is at a 90 degree angle to the Base Unit.
• Set the Base Unit on a furniture piece.
• Attach the Power Supply to the Base Unit and plug the power supply into an outlet. See the • Troubleshooting section if a red LED lights up.

Better Reception: Outside of a window
• Locate a window where you get signal.
• Mount the Signal Antenna outside of the window.
• Place the Base Unit across the room (15 feet away) where you want to create a Cell Zone™.
• Attach the coaxial cable to the Signal Antenna.
• Run the coaxial cable from the Signal Antenna through the window to the Base Unit using a window entry kit (optional).
• Attach the Antenna to the Base Unit and position it so that it is at a 90 degree angle to the Base Unit.• Set the Base Unit on a furniture piece.
• Attach the Power Supply to the Base Unit and plug the power supply into an outlet. See the Troubleshooting section if a red LED lights up.

Best Reception: Attic or Roof Installation
• The following instructions are recommended for the best reception.
• Once you have confirmed that you have a cell phone signal either outside your home or inside your attic, you are ready to install the Signal Antenna using the supplied mounting brackets, Signal Antenna and coaxial cable.
• Identify the best location around your home with the strongest signal (best signal is typically found on the roof) for attachment of the antenna mounting bracket. For good the signal reception, install the Signal Antenna at the highest possible point in your area. Avoid placing the antenna within 3 feet (1 meter) of metal objects (pipes, metal siding, A/C unit, etc.).
• Attach the mounting bracket so that when the Signal Antenna is attached, it will be positioned vertically.
• Mount the Signal Antenna to the mounting bracket, making sure that the antenna is positioned vertically.
• Unroll the RG6 coaxial cable supplied with your zBoost Series kit removing any loops or kinks and attach to the base of the Signal Antenna.
• Run the coaxial cable from the Signal Antenna through the window to the Base Unit using a window entry kit (optional).
• Attach the Antenna to the Base Unit and position it so that it is at a 90 degree angle to the Base Unit.
• Set the Base Unit on a furniture piece.
• Attach the Power Supply to the Base Unit and plug the power supply into an outlet. If a red LED lights up, try further separating the antennas and then see the Troubleshooting section of the manual.

Question: Do the Wi-Ex products have a warranty?


Yes, Wi-Ex products are covered by a one-year warranty covering parts and labor.

Question: Why isn’t my cell phone indicating more signal with more bars?


Our YX500-PCS product has a total gain (antenna to antenna) of 58 dB. The YX500-CEL has 56 dB. You will not observe that gain on your signal meter because of the signal spreading out from the antenna. If your phone has a dB meter, 3dB is a significant increase of 2x, 6dB is 4x, and 10dB is 10x. On a four bar phone, 1 "bar" equals about 10dB.

The increase in signal you will see depends upon:
1) The level of signal at the Signal antenna (outdoor),
2) The care of the installation (few feet away from metal, adequate antenna separation [15-20 feet vertical recommended]),
3) The signal already present inside (related to building losses)
4) The distance of your phone/device from the Base Unit (signal spreads or diminishes rapidly with distance.)

Question: My signal light is continually blinking. What should I do?


What you are witnessing on your unit is completely normal and your unit is functioning within normal parameters. In order for the signal light to flash, all the base station has to do is to receive a signal from any phone. Phones will periodically update themselves to their network. What the base unit is receiving is that update signal. The frequency and duration of the update will vary from phone to phone, and from areas of weak signal, to areas of ideal signal. If this occurs when all cellular phones are off, please call technical support at 1-877-259-4629.

Question: Which unit is the right one for the new iPhone 3GS? According to Apple the iPhone 3GS operates on GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz). I assume that the '3G' functions are on the 1900MHz band and the EDGE service is on a lower band. Since she'd want to use the 3G features, I presume that the YX500-PCS would be the correct unit to buy. She could, of course, buy the 510 unit, but she'd rather not have to spend the extra $100 for dual band capability. So, is the zBoost YX500-PCS the proper unit for the iPhone 3GS?


The YX500-PCS only covers the 1900 band. AT&T is notorious for putting these communications on both bands. They don't keep the 3G on the higher band anymore, rather switching between the two. I am much more comfortable recommending you the YX510 which is a fail safe solution to her problem. Also, the iPhone supports 800 and 1900 Mhz frequencies simultaneously. The iPhone uses 800 for voice and 1900 for high data applications like "surfing the safari" !! I recommend the YX510 for your application. I understand the price worry and I am going to toss you a "bone" to hopefully help with that. The YX510's MSRP is 399.99 but Quantum Wireless is offering the product for 279.99 for a limited time only. They are also authorized resellers which means you get expedited access to support, a 1 year warranty, and 30 day MB guarantee.

Question: I have been trying to set up a new 510 and am having issues.


There are several different things you need to try to eliminate this.
1. Please make sure you have adequate vertical separation. The vertical separation requirement is a minimum of 15 feet between the base unit and exterior antenna. If this is not satisfied the unit will try to "turn itself down" so the performance can be spotty at best. The term vertical separation refers to taking the cylindrical white "cigar tube" type antenna and going straight up from the base unit 15 feet at least.
2. Make sure that the base unit is not near any wireless devices such as wireless routers or cordless phone's. If there are any devices like this close to our unit there can be some interference. Please separate these devices by at least 7-10 feet.
3. Make sure any users of cell phones are at least 3 feet away before attempting to place a call while using the base unit. If you are closer than 3 feet, then you run the risk of "over driving" the unit which will also cause problems.
4. Finally, if all else fails then move your exterior antenna from where it is mounted. Try to reposition the antenna 5 feet or so to the right or left.

5. Please make sure that you reset the base unit by unplugging the power and plugging it back in each time you make one of the above changes.

Question: Can you confirm if the zBoost YX510-PCS-CEL, will boost the signal of a Sierra Wireless Compass 597 USB aircard using Sprint?

Answer: It will absolutely work for this. I suggest the YX500-PCS because Sprint solely operates on the 1900 MHz frequency and the YX500-PCS is much cheaper than the YX510.

Question: Can you confirm if the zBoost YX510-PCS-CEL, will boost the signal of a Sierra Wireless Compass 597 USB aircard using Sprint?

Answer: It will absolutely work for this. I suggest the YX500-PCS because Sprint solely operates on the 1900 MHz frequency and the YX500-PCS is much cheaper than the YX510.

Question: You online instructions say to mount the antenna a least 3 feet away from any metal object. Do you have a bracket that would keep it 3 ft from the tower or would it be ok to mount it closer?


The higher the better with any antenna. I love the idea of having the antenna on the tower. I suggest using something as a go-between. The bracket wont be big enough. Let me suggest a few items:

1. PVC pipe about 2-3 feet in length. You can mount the antenna to the PVC and extend upwards accordingly. You cant have the antenna touching the metal at any time.
2. Wooden plank. The wood can act as a go between the metal and the antenna. Again make sure the antenna never touches the metal.

Question: Do I need an antenna grounding kit?


I don’t think you need to ground this product. Grounding only takes care of static in the atmosphere and not direct lightening strikes.

Question: I have Verizon and AT&T. I have a 1200 sq. ft. home and a 200 sq. ft. office about 50’ from the house. Service is ok but not good in the house. Service is poor or worse in the metal out building. What product do I need?


You will need the YX510 for both locations. The YX510 will reach about 20' in a full circle. It supports both ATT and Verizon service. If you need coverage in both areas then I suggest one YX510 per area. It usually tops out at about 2,000 sq ft at a max.

Question: I own the YX510 and would like to increase the signal. Will a Yagi antenna improve the reception, If so do you sell one?


The best thing to purchase would be the dual band upgraded antenna system. The model number YX029. This antenna will usually result in about 10-20 feet of additional coverage.

Question: I’m on the 30th floor of a building and my indoor cell reception is not the best. I’d like to improve my 2,500 sq ft space with an amplifier/repeater. Signal strength outside is good but inside drops off and is uneven. There is an outdoor balcony where I can mount the antenna and the best for me would be a magnetic mount. I can fish the cable in between our sliding glass doors (metal frame) and would like to power the amp on 115v. There are three rooms but the main area is pretty open. Can you recommend a system? We’re a small office so cost is important as well. 


I recommend the YX510 dual band unit for your situation. The YX510 covers all the carriers in the US except nextels iDen network. The mounting area is fine for your unit and it will do well. I can’t ever guarantee exact coverage areas because it depends on how much signal you have going into the unit. I would imagine a good 20-22 feet in a circle would be obtainable. Quantum Wireless actually has one of these mounted in their office in a similar manner and it has helped them significantly.

If the coverage is coming from a distant tower then you have even more reason to buy the upgraded antennas. They are directional and are designed to be aimed at your towers. I highly suggest going ahead and upgrading if possible.

Question: I just received a YX 500 CEL. I did the first test recommended, which is making a call and seeing if I get a blinking green light. It did not. I checked on wirelessadvisor.com. I have AT&T and use an iphone. It appears that AT&T uses both 800 and 1900mhz in my zip code. Do you have any way to confirm this?


You will definitely need the YX510 dual band. AT&T does use dual in your area. If you have any issues with the YX510 call 1-877-259-4629. I suggest purchasing this and trying it. Your problem right now is definitely only having the single band. 

Question: I purchased one YX510-PCS-CEL unit a while back and it seems to be helping. My management has asked me to purchase a few more to help the coverage in other areas of our offices. Is there a minimum distance between the outdoor antennas?


No. There is no minimum distance. The goal of the outdoor antennas is just to capture the best incoming signal. They should not interfere with one another.