Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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July 15, 2013 • Reviews

zBoost DataBlast Review – Improve Data Speeds in the Home or Office

zBoost DataBlast

zBoost DataBlast base unit

I currently am fortunate to have decent AT&T 4G service despite living in a primarily rural area. My service is not perfect, but I do get average speeds compared to spots just a few miles away. My dad, for example lives about 20 miles away and struggles to get data most of the time. The bad thing about connection problems for country folks is there is no real-time table for new towers and improved coverage. There can also be an issue with certain buildings not getting service in an otherwise good service area. Even though I have good service at my house, there are places at the school, just 2 blocks away, that are horrible. Service issues are just a fact of life when you live away from the cities or live and work in big buildings. Wi-Ex has been kind enough to send a review sample for their AT&T 4G/LTE booster. Let’s take a look at the zBoost DataBlast.

zBoost DataBlast

The zBoost DataBlast is a 4G signal booster for AT&T LTE and AWS networks. The product supports multiple users and boosts signal for up to 2500 square feet. Everything needed to boost your data is included in the box and the DatBlast is super easy to set up. As you can see from the image, the package includes: base unit with antenna, power supply, signal antenna, signal antenna mounting hardware and 50ft of coaxial cable.

zBoost DataBlast

Setting up the device is relatively easy. The first task is to find a location for the signal antenna; it needs to be placed in the area with the best signal. This most likely will be outside and up high. The antenna does need to be at least three feet above any metal, and for best results it should be at least 15 feet above the base unit. Next, place the base unit in the desired spot. It is best to place somewhere central to the room or house where used. Connect the coaxial cable and power up the base unit. If there is any problem in installing, I would say running the coaxial could present the most difficulty. If planned well, it should be fairly simple to do though.

zBoost DataBlast

Once powered up, the light on the base unit should be green. If it is red, then some adjustments to the signal antenna need to be made. Location problems could be due to metal near the antenna or being too close to the base unit. At any rate, make sure the light stays green and the signal will be boosted.

Before I discuss the results of the tests I ran, let me explain the locations and procedures I used. My testing did not use the desired set up from the manufacturer. Since these were temporary set ups to get speed readings, I was not going to run the coaxial on top of any roofs or through any walls. The first test was performed at my home, and the second test was performed in a classroom at the school I teach.

Test 1

Like I discussed in the opening paragraph, I have decent 4G service at my house, but I wanted to see what improvements, if any, the zBoost DataBlast would bring. I turned off WiFi and ran a speed test on my iPhone 5 from my kitchen, which is centrally located in my home.

zBoost DataBlast

After the test, I set up the DataBlast by running the coaxial and signal antenna outside to my deck. The antenna was placed on top of a wooden chair and was probably 6 feet off of the ground. (again, I did not plan on climbing on my roof for the review) The green light indicated that the unit was working properly, so I conducted another speed test from my phone.

zBoost DataBlast

As you can see, the download numbers went from 7.62 Mbps to 9.54 Mbps. Keep in mind, this is not the ideal set up required for a permanent placement of the antenna. While not a huge jump, a 2 Mbps increase is a good bump in speed.

Test 2

I took the unit up to the school into the high school computer lab. The all metal building practically kills all cell signals. Just like the previous test, I ran a speed test first on my iPhone.

zBoost DataBlast

Once I had the initial speed, the base unit was placed inside the lab and the coaxial run out the door. The signal antenna was placed in a tree branch about 8 feet off the ground and the green light indicated I had a proper signal.

zBoost DataBlast

This test yielded more dramatic results. Going from .39 Mbps down to 3.98 basically means I went from unusable data to usable in just a few minutes.

As you can see from these two tests, the zBoost DataBlast does increase 4G speeds immediately. By simply placing the antenna in a tree outside a room, I was able to obtain 10x my original speed readings. If I were to actually place the antenna at least 15 feet above the base unit, the speed would have increased even more. I like how everything needed comes packed with the product and installation is easy. There was nothing that had to be done on the device side to see improved speeds. Basically, the given cell signal is boosted and works on any device within the 2500 foot radius. Anyone who lives in a rural area or uses a phone in a building that kills signal should look into the product. Stop the frustration of not being able to use your devices and boost the signal with the zBoost DataBlast.

zBoost DataBlast YX550-ALTE-AWS is available from the manufacturer’s website and from our Amazon affiliate store.

MSRP: $399 from manufacturer, $305.20 from Amazon affiliate store.

What I like: Everything is included to boost signal. The product works without log ins, docks or connections to the phone.

What can be improved: Some people may shy away from installing the antenna on a roof or top of a building.

Source: Manufacturer Review Sample

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