Cell Phone Signal Booster Gets Teardown And Demo

Ever wonder what was inside a cell phone booster, or what it is like to set up or use one? If so, [Kerry Wong]’s got you covered with his teardown of a Cel-Fi Go X Cell Signal Booster by Nextivity. [Kerry] isn’t just ripping apart a cheap unit for laughs; his house has very poor reception and this unit was a carefully-researched, genuine investment in better 4G connectivity.

The whole setup consists of three different pieces: the amplifier unit pictured above, and two antennas. One is an omnidirectional dome antenna for indoors, and the other is a directional log-periodic dipole array (LPDA) antenna for outdoors. Mobile phones connect to the indoor antenna, and the outdoor antenna connects to the distant cell tower. The amplifier unit uses a Bluetooth connection and an app on the mobile phone to manage settings and actively monitor the device, which works well but bizarrely doesn’t seem to employ any kind of password protection or access control whatsoever.

Overall [Kerry] is happy, and reports that his mobile phone enjoys a solid connection throughout his house, something that was simply not possible before. Watch a hands-on of the teardown along with a short demonstration in the video embedded below.

Devices that claim to enhance or boost wireless signals of various kinds seem to attract more than their share of snake oil salesmen, but [Kerry]’s teardown reminds us there are legit hardware offerings (albeit ones with imperfect management app design.) There is also junk out there, like this antenna that was outperformed by a literal rusty nail.

7 thoughts on “Cell Phone Signal Booster Gets Teardown And Demo

    1. Maybe I didn’t lock it correctly, but my experience says this is easily defeated by turning off your cellular radio on your phone. If your phone doesn’t have Internet access, it can’t check with Nextivity’s cloud to see if the device is supposed to be locked. The app and device will let you connect in “Offline mode” and then you can do what you want. I really want to like this unit but the lack of authentication has me looking elsewhere.

      1. not tried that but is entirely possible. As other comment days, meant for rural areas where it’s unlikely. plus American company so not so tight on security. other products such as the Quatra are the other extreme. you need do online test to get access to setup which has to be done online. even then the network can’t be changed without physical wire connections!

      2. otherwise it is a great unit that does exactly what you want. Is possible to split to 4 internal antennas too. btw the Bluetooth is transmitted on the internal antennas which is good but compounds the security flaw somewhat!

  1. I am looking to find a good DIY tutorial for making a cellular signal booster for my home. I get a faint signal on my Iphone 10, maybe 1/2 of a bar, which I want to boost . I read Kerry Wong’s post regarding making one but as he mentioned one component is hundreds of dollars.

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