Testing Our New Cell Booster – WeBoost Drive X RV


A little fact about my life that seems to get lost in the shuffle is that I still have a full-time day job.  (And I mean a day job that’s NOT this blog.)  Fortunately, I can do this job from almost anywhere.  But it does require me to be online and reachable by phone Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm.  So for me, good cellular voice and data connections are an absolute imperative.

Rather than rely on campground WiFi, we travel with a cell booster.  We’ve had one in Lance since day one, and that one was also a model from WeBoost.  It’s served us well for a few years now.  In this video, we install a new booster in Parky – the WeBoost Drive X RV – and head off into the desert to put it to the test.

 

The video pretty much speaks for itself, but I’ll call out a few things here.

First – the install was pretty darn easy.  This was in large part because WeBoost included everything in the kit that I needed.  I had to use my own wrench and drill, but that was literally all I needed.  This install kit included cable ties, extra parts for contingency installs, thread lock, you name it.  This was by far the most complete installation kit I’ve ever had the pleasure to use.  Hats off to WeBoost on the completeness of their kit.

Second – They don’t make it easy to find the actual signal strength on iPhones these days.  If your carrier supports it (ours did), you can get to it, but it’s far from intuitive.  And when you do find it, the numbers bounce around a lot, and even the screen itself changes layout every few seconds.  I did the best I could with screenshots and point the numbers out in the video.

And finally – bars and dbm are great and all, but it really doesn’t matter if I have 4 bars of service or -90dbm of signal.  What really matters in the end is what can I get done with the signal I have.  That’s why I ran the speed test.  For the test, I used the Speed Test app from Speedtest.net.  The results were pretty impressive.  I ran the test on my Verizon iPhone Xr, with iOS 12.4.

 

 Without
Booster
With
Booster
Improvement
Download Speed0.27 mbps6.57 mbps24.3 x!!!
Upload Speed0.08 mbps0.50 mbps6.25 x

So there you have it.  With that install, I just converted a remote desert camp site into my office for the day.  That’s the real beauty of the WeBoost.  This wasn’t our first WeBoost booster, and it likely won’t be the last.

Stay online, everyone!

 

Full Disclosure:  WeBoost did not sponsor or pay for this review, but they did provide the equipment that I used.  That didn’t affect the results you see in the video.  We’ve had other WeBoost boosters for years, and can attest to their performance.


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    29 thoughts on “Testing Our New Cell Booster – WeBoost Drive X RV

    1. Mike B

      Thanks for a great post, as usual. I wonder if (for those of us who don’t have the roof port) connecting the WeBoost antenna coax signal cable to the side port for cable TV, and then connecting the amplifier with the internal coax cable port inside, would work. Of course, driving in such configuration would not be safe, I guess, but for stationary use – perhaps this might work? At least no drilling! Is there a risk of damaging the installation? Thoughts?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Well, you might need some adapters. The WeBoost connectors are a much smaller diameter than a typical coax TV connector.
        Also, I don’t know what other splitters, amplifiers, etc, are installed on that line. Any of those would have an effect (likely negative) on the booster.
        I also don’t know how long that cable is.
        Best bet is to just install the line provided

        Reply
    2. Gregory Leet

      Have you had any issues adjusting to having extra height due to the an antenna? Or, AC you collapse it or fold it over when not in use?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        No issues. It’s only 2 inches taller than the air conditioner.
        I never like to cut things that close anyway, so no changes.

        Reply
    3. Vincent K.

      That roof access port is a very good idea.

      I have noticed some changes to the newest version of the 59GL; 230W solar instead of 200W, Rolef bug screen, roof access port, Anything Keepers, Sumo Springs, and various other changes (I got this information from the Lichstinn RV web site and a video of theirs).

      Is there an official list of the new features or are you planning to do a video to cover the newest features?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        There’s not an official list, and we hadn’t really planned to do a new video.
        Winnebago makes rolling changes to their models and model years. So the list of changes from a 2019 to a 2020 is different from the list of changes from a 2017 to a 2020, which is different from the 2015-2020 year differences. You see the problem.
        In software, there are usually release notes where you can see what was changed or added in each version. Something like that is what you’re looking for, but it doesn’t exist. I’ll mention it to Winnebago.

        Reply
    4. Hal Smith

      Sorry to be a dolt but what is a roof port? We have a 17.5 K and I am 3000 miles from the rig so do not even know if we have one. Thanks, Hal Smith

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        The roof port is a feature on newer Travato models that makes it easy to install items on the roof.
        I don’t think your 17.5 will have it.
        Look for a video on the roof port coming soon!

        Reply
    5. Craig Zerbe

      How are you accessing the little wiring port on the roof? Are you just drilling a hole ? Using a connector ? Silicone caulk ?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        You’re in luck!
        We’re working on a whole other video that covers everything you’d want to know about the roof port. What drill bit to use, what sealant, etc.
        Expect that to be up within the month.

        Reply
    6. Pat

      Doesnt look like you installed the extendable mast. Is that right? If so, did you not install it due to the increase in overall antenna length, even when closed, that may make it higher than your AC and other roof mounted stuff?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Correct. I didn’t install any extended mast, and the results you see in the video were achieved without it – just as it’s installed.
        As it is, it should be more than adequate for over 99% of our travels.
        I’m not a fan of making things more complicated in the interest of solving problems I don’t have. But if I decide we need it, I can always extend the mast later. There’s enough slack in the cable for that.

        Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I used to use it, but then I stopped.
        We don’t typically “wing it”. We try to plan out where we are going to stay. Especially during the work week.
        We’ll use “Campendium” or sometimes the “Coverage” app to pick those places.
        I don’t like surprises when it comes to work, so this is better for us than getting someplace and then trying to find a signal.

        Reply
    7. Erica Hammer

      Glad to hear the WeBoost worked for you in the Travato. We tried one several years ago in our Era (don’t remember the model, but it was a top-of-the-line at the time.). Couldn’t get it to work. After numerous calls to tech support (they were great), they decided we couldn’t get enough separation between the internal and external antennas in the 24 foot Era. They had us return it for a full refund. If you can get this one to work in your (shorter than our Era) Travato, we may just have to try again. We don’t “need” it for work (retired), but husband supports several websites as a volunteer, and we are just so used to being connected! Frustrating when we can’t get enough signal.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Interesting. We’ve never had an issue in Lance, and now in Parky as well. I can tell you from experience that antenna placement has a LOT to do with how well they work.

        Reply
      1. James - Post author

        The Reach doesn’t come with the larger external antenna in kit form. And the antenna was really what I was interested in testing.

        Reply
        1. William Holt

          Makes me wonder if the new antenna is plug compatible with what you have in Lance?
          If so, would it maje a difference?

        2. James - Post author

          Yes, the antennae are compatible. However, the booster in Lance works fabulously, so I don’t really need any more there. Plus – getting the cable through the roof in Lance is a lot more difficult.

    8. wes

      I may be wrong but isn’t the shell of a travato all metal. It would seem like this is a great solution for inside a van, just not an RV with a more composite structure. I have watched a lot of mixed reviews on weboosts.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Without a booster, we frequently find that reception is much worse inside a metal box like a van.
        I see no reason why this booster would not also work on a differently constructed RV.

        Reply
    9. Philip "Todd" Stewart

      We have an 2018K with no inverter seems like if these were designed for the RV market they would come standard with a 12 volt power option. Wondering if a small inverter would degrade the signal. Any thoughts would be welcome.

      Thanks Todd

      Reply
        1. Rich Ambrose

          When I installed our WeBoost, I specifically wanted the 12 volt power because I didn’t want to have to run our inverter whenever the WeBoost was on. This might not matter as much with the extra battery capacity of Parky, but on an original KL the inverter draws down the battery noticeably faster than without it.

        2. James - Post author

          I’d actually prefer to not have the inverter running as well. BUT… in Parky, I’m not really supposed to make many mods, and there isn’t a 12v outlet in that cubby. The WeBoost actually came with a 12v direct wire adapter, in addition to the 120v one, but you know… not my van…

        3. William Holt

          I wonder if you were to mod a 12v socket in the cubby, could you then connect a plug on the provided 12v cable and everything would work?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Comment moderation is in use. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear once we have had the chance to review it.