Can you have one cell booster for an entire apartment building?

Everyone wants better cell service, right? Sometimes we can’t get it and it’s not our fault. Even today’s brand-new buildings aren’t friendly to cell signals, and older buildings certainly aren’t. Before I answer the question in the title, let’s talk about what causes apartment buildings to be unfriendly to cell signals.

Building materials

Almost any building material used for apartments is pretty bad for cell signals. The worst, surprisingly, are energy-efficient windows. They may block the heat and UV, but they do just as well blocking cell signals. The next time you have trouble hearing a call, don’t go to a window. Try going to an outside wall instead. You’ll probably have better chances.

Metal girders or studs play havoc with cell signals as do metal conduits and wiring. Commercial buildings tend to have a lot more metal especially if they are more than one or two stories.

Don’t think you’ll do much better with an older building. Red bricks have a lot of iron that can scatter cell signals, and stucco buildings have a metal mesh that is particularly good at rejecting data signals. It’s a coincidence, but it turns out to be true.

Radio-frequency interference

All the microwave ovens, routers, smart home devices and even other cell phones in a large building can cause radio-frequency interference. Older heating and venting systems can, too. These problems are there in smaller homes too but they’re magnified in apartments where a lot of people live close together.

Cell boosters for large spaces

While most cellular signal boosters are designed for self-installation, it’s different when you’re talking about large spaces. Each apartment dweller could try to put up his own booster, but that could lead to interference that makes it worse for everyone. Not only that, but most apartments wouldn’t allow you to put the outdoor antenna up 15 feet like you would in a home. That’s why it’s best to create a system that works for everyone.

You’re better off putting in a centralized system like this WilsonPRO 4000. It can cover up to 100,000 square feet when properly installed and depending on the cell reception outside, can handle unlimited users. Multiple systems can be put in place to handle virtually any size area.

This is the sort of system that airports put in to make sure tens of thousands of people can call their loved ones. It handles voice for all carrier and data for almost all.

Certainly a system like this isn’t going to be inexpensive. Still, it’s something where, if you’re talking about hundreds of people benefiting, it’s worth it! Installation is done by trained professionals.  They plan everything out from the very beginning to make sure it all goes smoothly.

When you’re ready to step up to a truly professional solution, call us. If you’re just an apartment dweller who is looking to improve cell signals in the home, call us. It just takes one call to the experts at Signal Connect, the commercial arm of Solid Signal. The number is 888-233-7563. Ourexperts can help you find a perfect solution for yourself or for everyone in your building!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.