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  • Hands on with the YX550 Verizon Data Booster, part 2: Standalone booster

    For part 1 of this series, click here.

    Does your data plan need a boost? You may find yourself traveling or choosing not to use wi-fi, and your smartphone's data plan may be all you have access to. What if the signal isn't very strong?

    Our friends at Wi-Ex have a solution for you: The YX550 Data Booster. It is like a cell booster that only works with 4G, LTE, and AWS networking. Because 4G data is so different between carriers, Wi-Ex makes versions for different carriers. We were lucky enough to get the Verizon version.

    All Wi-Ex products come in nice retail packaging that can be easily repacked for transport. If you want to use a data booster for traveling you'll want to keep this box.

    Of course, you should always look at the packaging to make sure that you are using the right version for you. Solid Signal has reasonable return policies but it's certainly best to know for sure before you open anything.

    There are two versions of this product. The one you buy will depend on whether or not you have a cell booster already. If you do have a cell booster you will probably want to use the Upgrade Kit as it's a little less expensive. The upgrade kit and the regular kit both have the same booster but one is designed to share the antenna and cable used for something like the YX545. You can use the full kit with a regular cell booster as long as you keep the antennas far enough apart that they don't interfere with each other.

    The full YX550 kit comes with the booster, power brick, RG59 cable, an antenna, and all the hardware you will need for a mast or wall mount.

    For a permanent install, start by running the cable from the YX550's resting place to the mounting point, preferably 15 feet or higher than where the base unit will sit. At this point remember that grounding is crucial, especially if it's going to be on a roof.

    The antenna comes in two parts and while it is easy to assemble, it takes a moment to figure out what to do with the roof mount. Push the RG59 connector through the hole at the top of the mounting bracket and used the supplied threaded ring to hold it tight. Don't rely on the RG6 cable to hold the antenna to the bracket. Once it's all attached, screw the rest of the antenna together.

    The nicest part of these products is that each connector is unique and that makes it easy to install. Every part will screw into precisely one place; the base unit's antenna connects to one side while the RG59 cable attaches to the other. There is only one light on the unit to show that it's working.

    Unfortunately most phones don't have signal meters on them to measure the boost that you're getting but you should see that your speed test results (try a site like speedof.me) should improve after installing the booster.

    In our next article we'll show how to use the upgrade kit to share an antenna and cable, and we'll follow it all up with a video showing you how it all goes together.

    For part 3 of this series, click here. For part 4, click here.

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