Friday, December 12, 2014

Wilson Signalboost Desktop for Cellular and Internet

Signalboost Desktop wireless at cabin.
If you follow our blog, you know Wayne and I haven't had Internet at the cabin. It was a decision to keep our lives simple. Now that we are at our floating home for longer stretches, we've decided to make a change.

We don't need high speed access, but want to check email, download a newspaper, and look up important stuff. None of those when used carefully are upload or download data hogs.

Pole mount of external antenna.
We researched satellite Internet. Two in our area are Galaxy and xplornet. We didn't choose that option because of cost and our remote location. We choose our Telus wireless provider. For limited use, it turned out to be the cheapest solution.

First, we had to figure out if we could get a signal. We live on the ragged edge of cell coverage for Wayne's old digital phone, and my iPhone doesn't work. The Telus office sold us a cell booster, let us test it, and return it if it didn't work without a charge. The total cost for a compete package was about $350 CAD.

Powered signal amplifier connects to outdoor antennae.
The cell booster was the Wilson Signal boost Decktop. Wayne did a temporary installation and we could get an adequate signal for our purposes. It allows us to pick up 4G. If not, it automatically steps down to capture whatever signal is available.

We mounted the external antennae on the pole we use for our wind generator. It points the the unit for best line of site to "Telus Mountain" about 11 kilometres (7 miles) away as the raven flies.

Indoor antennae.
Coaxial cable connects to the indoor signal amplifier. It needs AC, so we use it when our solar system is working. At night, we can turn power back on if needed.

Connected to the signal booster is the indoor antenna. This component also has an AC power connector. Fortunately, the indoor units have a low draw.

One bonus of our system is that my iPhone now works for cellular service. Despite what the specifications say, we need to be within a few feet of the indoor antennae for a good connection. This may be affected by the very low signal we actually get from Telus at our location.

In the next two posts I will tell you about our Internet plan and how we can connect our laptops directly to the Internet. -- Margy


  1. How nice to have this! I love 'reading' the newspapers!

  2. Anonymous12:19 PM

    It's good to be connected when you want to be. Glad this way is working out for you.

  3. This will help you be connected more online than before. Great stuff!

  4. I use something very similar and was chuffed when I could also get a mobile phone signal. It all just makes life so much easier xx

  5. Due to our house being in an odd dead cell phone (1 bar max) and our cell phone is one of two lines for the business we bought a wilson booster (paid 2x as much as got the maximum booster - not sure which model, it is current under the house in the crawlspace/on top of the roof) and we now get 3 bars in office and 2 bars in the rest of the house. It was definitely a required business expense but it works like a charm. I can see why so many RVers who fulltime have them.

  6. So happy you finally got internet and phone up there. It worried me that you were so isolated if something bad ever happened. Nice to be able to call out if you need to.

  7. A great read thanks! I've recently had to do a similar thing in my garage to get internet in there for when I'm there. The signal is poor, and like you have found, you have to be quite close to the receiver to get anything, but I'll keep cracking on at it and see if I can improve.

    Caroline Matthews @ Mobility Help


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy