SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster Review

Hand holding a cell phone with no service, with an antennae in the background.
Getty Images

What does a cellular signal booster have to do with home theater? Depending on where your home theater room is actually located (such as in a basement), you may find that it may be difficult, in your specific case, to get a strong signal to your cell phone in order to make or receive phone calls directly from that room.

Although you don't want to make or receive calls while you are watching your favorite movie or TV show, it is still frustrating to have to leave the room and go to another part of the house while taking a break, just to make or receive a phone call. To aid in solving this problem, Wilson Electronics might have just the solution for you, the SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster.

Product Overview - SignalBoost DT

Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster - Package Front and Rear
© Robert Silva

To start this look at the SignalBoost DT is a combined photo of the front and rear view of the box it comes in. The front of the box provides some highlights of the product, and the back of the box lists some of the features and benefits, as well as an example of how the SignalBoost can be installed - which we will go into more detail later in this profile.

The key features of the SignalBoost DT include:

  • A do-it-yourself kit that includes everything needed for either self or dealer installation.
  • No physical connection to your cell phone or cellular data card.
  • Adjustable signal gain.
  • Multiple phones and cellular PC data cards can be used at the same time.
  • Amplifies signals to and from cell tower - Maximum 2500 milliwatts output power.
  • Compatible with CDMA, TDMA, GSM, and 3G. Not compatible with iDEN/Nextel phones. Covers 800 MHz and 1900 Mhz frequency bands.
  • Automatic oscillation/overload protection

Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster - Contents

Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster - Package Contents
© Robert Silva

Here is a look at everything that comes inside the Wilson SignalBoost DT box.

Starting on the top left is the desktop antenna, next is the AC adapter for the booster module, then the booster module, and on the top right is the cradle that is used to hold the cradle antenna.

Moving back to the right and down is some provided documentation and several bags of mounting hardware if needed. Also shown on the right is the cradle antenna that receives signals from the cell tower, and also transmits signals back to the cell tower from your cell phone (This can inserted into the cradle and mounted outside on a pole or wall, or mounted in a rafter or window). Underneath the cradle antenna are two coax cables (20 feet and 30 feet), and the printed edition of the user manual.

Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster Setup Options

Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster - Installation Options
© Robert Silva

Shown on this page is a closer look at the installation examples illustrated on the back of the SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster package.

The thing is that the provided cradle antenna be placed in a spot where it can receive the signals from the appropriate cell tower. You have four antenna placement options, depending on availability.

The best option is to place the cradle antenna on a pole mount slightly above the roof of your house. If that is not possible (for example, if you live in an apartment or condo that does not allow such an installation), then the next best option would be to place it against an outside wall (once again, may be restricted in an apartment or condo), the third option is to place the cradle in a rafter or attic, and finally, if all the above options are not practical, you can place it just inside of a window.

As you can see in the illustration, you connect the provided coaxial cable (or have one installed) from the cradle antenna to the actual signal booster, which can be placed anywhere in the desired room or office that is also near an AC outlet (power needs to be provided to the booster).

The booster, in turn, is connected to the transmission antenna via a thinner coaxial cable that is provided, with the booster antenna placed in a convenient location in the room, so you can access the boosted cell phone signal.

Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster - Setup

Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster - Connection Setup
© Robert Silva

On the previous page, I outlined the general installation option for the Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster. On this page, I have an example of how the main components actually look like when connected.

NOTE: The setup shown in the above photo is for review presentation only.

In a real world setup, the cradle antenna (top right) would be placed twenty, thirty, or more feet from the booster module (center), the booster module would be connected to AC power via the adapter shown, and the distance between the booster module and the transmission antenna (top left) has to be a minimum of 18-inches apart.

Also, you will notice that the booster module features two LED indicators (clear in this photo) as well as two adjustment controls (blue)

The LED indicators show the signal status - if either light is solid or blinking green, all is well - if he lights blink orange or red, the booster is not properly adjusted. The blue adjustment dials are used to fine-tune the incoming cell signal so that the LED indicator lights are blinking green. One adjustment dial is designated for the 800 MHz band, and the other is for the 1900 Mhz.

Review - Final Take

For the purposes of this review, I performed a temporary setup using the inside window installation option. I connected the 30-foot coaxial cable from the cradle antenna to the signal booster and placed the signal booster about three feet from the desktop antenna.

I found that when I first powered up the system, I did have to make some slight gain adjustments, but after just a few minutes, everything was up and running as advertised. My cell phone account is with ATT. As I walked around the room, the signal strength meter indicated full bar strength.

After determining the result with the signal booster in operation, I then unplugged the SignalBoost and, as a result, my signal strength went back down to its usual 1/2 to 2/3 level. I performed this operation several times, as well as walking to other rooms in order to positively confirm that it was the SignalBoost making the difference. Also, in making several calls from my phone with SignalBoost both on and off, I found that there was no breakup or dropped calls as I have sometimes experienced, especially with long calls.

The SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster definitely makes a difference in cell phone operation. If you need such a solution for your home theater room, another room, or office, it is definitely an add-on that you should check out. You can choose to install it yourself, or if you work with a local home theater installer, just have them do it.

For more details on the Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster, check out the Official Product Page, as well as an information Installation Video.