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Zboost YX545 For Better Cell Phone Reception

Updated on January 2, 2013

Fixing Poor Cell Phone Reception at Home

There is nothing more frustrating than paying for cell phone service that does not work properly in your home. Dealing with dropped calls, slow download speeds from 3G and 4G networks, and missing calls that go straight to voice mail does nothing but add to the frustration.

I recently moved to a new home, only to discover that our iPhone (with their expensive voice and data plans) do not work as well in our new home as they did in our old home. My wife talks on her cell phone constantly. After dropping yet another call the other night, she said she was going "to hurt someone if her cell phone didn't start working better". ( I suspect that someone will be me! ) So I have started researching my options to improve cell phone reception in this home, and have come up with some pretty good alternatives.

(Photo credit to Lazurite, sourced from Flickr and licensed via Creative Commons with Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lazurite/.)

The zBoost SOHO is designed for home or consumer use. It extends a cell phone zone within the home for multiple people using cellular devices that operate on 800 and 1900 MHz frequency bands. The YX545 won't help you if you are using Nextel/iDEN, 4G, or 2100MHz frequency phones.

This zBoost device uses an antenna to capture the cellular signal and amplify it. The antenna can be placed outside a window, in your attic, or even outside on the roof. If you have a poor signal inside your home, you are likely to have a good signal up on your roof, and you can bring that same signal inside your home with the YX545. It is capable of boosting the signal up to 3,000 square feet in your home or office.

Some of the benefits that you can see from the zBoost SOHO are:

  1. It works for multiple users at the same time.
  2. It increases the signal coverage up to 3,000 square feet indoors.
  3. It is compatible with most mobile phones, as described above.
  4. It improves voice and data transmissions offering your better voice clarity and better download speeds.
  5. It decreases dropped calls and calls that could be missed all together.
  6. It is easy to set up and configure. Everything you need to get up and running is included.
  7. It extends your cell phone's battery life, since cell phones use less power when they have a better signal.

Video Showing Easy Installation of Zboost YX545

The Zboost YX545 is one of the most popular cell phone extenders on the market today. It is also one of the easiest to install. Check out the following video that will show you the start to finish installation steps of the YX545. "It is so simple, a cave man could do it!"

How to Determine if the zBoost YX545 Will Work For You

  • So do you ever have problems with cell phone reception indoors, and find your self standing next to a window or stepping outside so that you can continue the conversation?
  • Are there certain spots in your home where you receive a better signal than others?
  • Do you have trouble making cell phone calls from the basement of your home?
  • If you answered Yes to any of these questions, the zBoost SOHO just might be right for you.
  • It is important to note that if you can't get a signal outside of your home or from up on your roof or outdoors, then the YX545 is not going to help you.
  • A cellular signal must exist which allows the antenna to capture that signal and amplify it through the base unit that you will locate in your home.
  • The zBoost YX545 brings that outdoor signal into your home, eliminating the obstructions and interference that would normally weaken your signal.
  • It is very likely that you will get a good cellular signal outdoors, and even a better cellular signal from up on your roof. That makes these ideal locations to place the zBoost antenna.
  • So how do you determine where to place your antenna so that you can capture the best signal?
  • That's easy! Just use your signal meter on your cell phone. Check how many bars (if any) you have inside of your home. Then step outside, walk around your home stopping on all corners and sides. Check the cellular signal meter to see how many bars you have in each location, and make note of the location that had the strongest signal strength (i.e. the most bars). You can even check your signal from up on the roof (use extreme caution or have a licensed contractor do this for you to avoid injury from a fall). If you have a two story home, you can hold your cell phone out the window from the top floor and check to see how many bars you have. Check all sides to determine the location with the best strength of signal. Where you get the best signal is where you will want to place your antenna.

iPhone -dBm Signal Meter
iPhone -dBm Signal Meter

Using Your iPhone as a -dBm Signal Meter

So I mentioned in the previous module that you could use your cell phone's signal meter to find out where you are receiving the best signal for the placement of your antenna.

Well, this can be a little difficult sometimes when you phone shows you only 5 potential bars to measure the strength. If you have an iPhone, a much better way of doing this is to enable the -dBm signal meter on the phone. This will give you a numeric representation of your signal strength instead of the "bars".

Take a look at the picture. You can see the top half of the photo shows the normal "bars" and below the pink line you can see what the -dBm signal meter looks like.

Enabling the -dBm meter on the iPhone is pretty simple, and this feature has been available since at least the iOS 4.1 version (if not earlier). To enable this meter, perform the following steps:

  1. Enter the Field Test Mode by opening your phone app and dialing *3001#12345#* .
  2. Tap the Call button and the phone will enter the Field Test Mode.
  3. Then hold down the Sleep button (on/off button) on the top of the phone until the red slider bar appears.
  4. Then release the Sleep button, and press and hold the Home button until the home screen appears.

That is all that there is to it. You should now see a numeric representation for your signal strength, instead of the bars.

You can switch back and forth between the bars and the -dBm meter by simply swiping your finger over the bars or the -dBm numbers.

This will give you a much better representation of your signal strength. Note the the number is a negative number. The closer this number gets to zero, the stronger your signal strength is.

So you can now walk around your home, in your attic, outdoors, or even up on the roof to determine where you are receiving the strongest signal. Then mount your antenna there.

Note that it will sometimes take several seconds for your signal meter to update its reading. So take your time as you sample your signal strength. I even like to set the phone down, so I can ensure that my body is not interfering with the antenna.

If you want to disable the -dBm signal meter feature from your phone, simply dial the *3001#12345#* again to reenter the field test mode, and then just press the home button. The default bars will reappear again.

I used this exact method to determine the best location for my antenna.

This has totally resolved our cell phone reception issues in our home, and once again made my wife 'a happy camper'.

We now experience great signal strength, no more dropped calls, great call quality, and even see '5 bars' of signal strength on our phones. I didn't think this would ever have been possible!

A Tip to Help You Get the Best Performance from your Cell Phone Extender

Here is a great tip for you that will help you get the best performance out of your zBoost SOHO YX545, or any other home or office cell phone booster...

The included RG-59 coax cable that attaches the antenna to the base unit is not the best quality. It is a smaller gauge cable that has less shielding, and is therefore more susceptible to interference. I was reading a number of the user-submitted reviews of the zBoost YX545 prior to making my purchase, and found that upgrading the cable could offer some great benefits in performance.

There was one review in particular that I kept going back to. The reviewer had installed the YX545, but was not getting good signal quality and kept the thought of this lesser-quality RG-59 cable in the back of his mind as he was troubleshooting. He ended up switching out this RG-59 cable for a better quality RG-6 cable and the zBoost YX545 worked perfectly.

After reading this review, I went ahead and purchased an RG-6 cable up front. I didn't even try to install it with the included RG-59 cable, and went with the RG-6 cable from the get-go. My system worked perfectly. I would recommend you do the same. It will only add another $10.00 or so to your total purchase, but very well may save you a ton of headaches.

The cable I used is pictured and linked to below:

This RG-6 Low Loss cable is perfect for cell phone boosters installed in your home or office. It comes in a 50 foot length, and has two F-Male connectors that the antenna and cell phone extender base units utilize.

Cell Phone Extenders on Amazon

There are a number of cell phone extenders available to suit a number of different situations. Before you select a model, check the amount of square footage of your home that you are wishing to cover, and ensure that you have selected a model that offers an adequate coverage range.

You may also consider adding a high gain or bi-directional antenna to your cellular extender unit to capture an even stronger signal.

Note, if your phone uses the 4G network, the YX545 won't help you. There is a new Zboost model coming out in the Spring of 2013 that will work to extend 4G networks.

Do you experience poor cell phone reception in your home?

Have you tried a cell phone signal extender with success?

Please let us know about your experiences or thoughts about these devices.

Thanks for stopping by!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great tips. Thanks for sharing!