When you are singing the dead signal blues, look to the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 to get you back into the fray.
We all have our problems; some of these may be first world problems and others not so first world issues. Regardless, with enough ingenuity, with enough elbow grease and in my case, with enough bandwidth to navigate the internet and YouTube, a solution is often attainable. One of my families favorite activities is to spend time together while camping. Even though my two boys and I enjoy primitive tent camping with our Cub Scout Pack, my wife and daughter prefer a little more civilization. Thus, when we camp as a family, we enjoy our class C motor home and all of the amenities of a home-on-the-go. Some may say that this does not count as camping and many of them would be right. To use a common portmanteau, we enjoy glamping.
Whether we were camping at Land Between the Lakes State Park, numerous parks within Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the KOA at Gulf Shores, Alabama, Cherokee, North Carolina or any other KOA campgrounds, we experienced issues with the reception inside of our motorhome. While driving and sitting within the cab, we were often able to use navigation, stream music and make phone calls. However, we commonly found regions of low cellular signal, which limited data and calls even in the cab. I had read about cell signal boosters, and I was excited when I heard about the Fusion2Go device from SureCall. I thought that this device would enhance our camping experience and I was very pleased with the results.
The Fusion2Go 3.0 from SureCall arrived in an 8 1/4 inches long by 7 5/8 wide by 3 5/8 inches thick retail box. The white-colored cover was enhanced by a 3 5/8 inches tall by 7 1/2 inches wide green rectangle along the center and a 1 7/8 inches wide by 1-inch tall rectangle along the top left. I loved the alternating background/font coloration, using the white-on-green color scheme. The cover did a great job of detailing what to expect from the product. Interestingly, they provided the information in both English and French without clutter. In bold black font, they detailed that the device was designed to “Boost Cell Signal.” Within the green rectangle, we were provided with four icons with descriptions: “Even more miles of uninterrupted coverage, decreases dropped calls, Boosts 4G data, Works with North American Carriers, and Extends device battery life.” Toward my right, I was able to see a 3 inches tall by 3 inches wide image of the Fusion2Go hardware. Flipping the packaging over onto the cover, I immediately noticed the side-view outline of a hatchback coupe detailing the simple setup. To utilize this kit, place the outside magnetic antennae onto your vehicle, install the inside patch antennae, install the booster and then connect power cord into your 12V accessory port (cigarette lighter port). Within the lower green border, the company provided a list of the included contents. Again, this information was conveniently provided in both English and French. If you look toward the top right, you will see a yellow post-it note detailing a free magnetic phone holder.
The right side panel detailed the SureCall device though five bullet points. The outer antennae will capture the signal from the cell tower and will send the signal to the booster, which amplifies the signal. The amplified signal is sent to the inside antennae, which then re-broadcasts the signal inside of the vehicle. This process works then works in reverse to get the signal back to the cell tower. The left panel detailed a bilingual origin story and history of SureCall. The cluttered bottom panel provided the company name, product name, serial number and in much-too-small writing, a warning that is backed by the FCC to register the device with your wireless provider before using it. I have included a copy of a Verizon Wireless letter detailing the blanket approval by Verizon Wireless, but you will still need to register the Booster. Along the bottom left of the panel, you will find the product serial number and FCC ID. This process sounded overwhelming and costly but proved to be quite easy and free. Navigate to Verizon Wireless, select “Register/Manage Signal Booster” on the webpage. The website will take you to a second page, which allowed me to choose between “My Verizon” and “My Business/VEC.” I tapped “My Verizon,” and the site directed me to a Consumer Signal Booster Registration page. I entered my address, city, state, zip, and Verizon wireless phone number and then another page loaded. I had to enter the date of booster installation, nickname, manufacturer, Model number, FCCID, and serial number. Luckily, all of this information was visible on the sticker along the bottom of the packaging. When you enter all the necessary information, you will get a confirmation page to print for your records.
Lifting the lid, I found the bilingual instruction manual. Similar to the instructions on the outer package, the first step was to place the magnetic antenna on the top of your vehicle. The instructions recommended placing the device near the back of the vehicle to allow optimal placement of the internal antenna. It was then recommended to place the antenna near the dashboard, where you will rest your phone. Add the booster to a well-ventilated area (under the seat), connect the cables, and then plug in the DC power adaptor. When ready to use the device, flip the power switch to the on position and when done, switch it off to conserve your car’s battery. Within the box, the company packaged each of the components within the form-fit black foam. The top layer housed the 3 7/8 inches wide by 6 5/8 inches long by 1 3/8 inches thick booster, vent clip and metallic back plate with 3M tape and the outdoor antennae with 119 inches long cable. The booster had six LED with labels, which provide information about LTE-A, LTE-V, Cellular, PCS, AWS, and Power. The top end had a connection point for the outside antenna, and the bottom end had a connection point for the internal antennae. The serial number was listed along the side of the booster, and the FCC ID was listed along the bottom, along with the www.surecall.com website address, 1-888-365-6283 contact number and the FCC consumer device label also included on the bottom of the packaging.
The lower tray contained the 12V adaptor with a very generous 143 inches long power cable. The back of the power adaptor had a conveniently placed toggle switch, which allowed me to turn on/off the device without having to move cables/wires. To the side of the power adaptor, I found the inside antennae with 119 inches long power cable. The back of the internal antennae had a 3 1/4 inches long by 1 5/8 inches wide 3M velcro tape. Within the last of the compartments, I found a mounting hardware back containing four drywall anchors, four inch long screws and two 1 1/4 inches by 2 3/8 inches sticky-sided velcro strips. Lastly, there was a bag of serial number stickers.
To utilize this device, I placed the outside antennae on the hood of the motorhome and ran the cable through the window into the cab section. I placed the booster under the passenger side seat and connected the cable to the appropriate end of the booster. I plugged the internal antennae into the booster, the power cable into the booster and ran the device up to the dash. The part that I liked most was the generous lengths of cable. I could move the antennae back to the dining area and most of the way towards the back of my motorhome. The actual testing of the device became more of a subjective process than an objective one. We were able to make phone calls when the device was active and when the device was turned off, I lost the ability to make cell phone calls. It is important to note that the packaging, instruction manual, and FCC note that the e911 features become inaccurate when using a cell booster. We must weigh the benefits versus risks of a less accurate e911 feature versus an inability to call for help in the first place. I would personally err on the side of caution. My wife liked that the device allowed her to resume texting, increased her data speed for facebook and allowed her to make/receive calls, from within the motorhome. Even more, the antennae amplified the signal in an area that had a weak/unusable signal. I liked that the device did not require complicated installation procedures and allowed for a quick soft installation.
It was not until I got back from vacation that I realized that there was a hidden field test mode. Thanks to osxdaily.com, I learned that you could type in *3001#12345#* into an iPhone, press the call button, and a hidden iOS App became accessible. Tap “Serving Cell Meas” and then look for “rsrp0,” which supposedly represents the primary connection tower. The more negative the number, the worse the signal. Based on the OSXdaily website, signals of -80 or better provide great service and signals closer to -130 provide terrible service. To simplify this further, the larger the number, the more likely you will have a dropped call or data issues. Within the motorhome, I found the signal to be at approximately -110 to -120 at the campsite and around -100 in town. When I powered on the device, the values dropped to -89 and -81 respectively. If you are on the fence about this device, do not take my word for it alone. I found a nice comparison between the WeBoost and the SureCall device at https://www.signalbooster.com. Do not be surprised when you realize how well this system boosts the signal.