Gear Review: WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR Vehicle Cell Signal Booster
Summary: The WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR is a great addition to any mountain enthusiast’s vehicle as it will enhance voice and data signal for peace of mind and convenience when you’re living life at the far range of cell service.
What Does The WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR Truck Do? And What Does It Not Do?
The WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR is a vehicle signal booster that enhances your voice and data signal while on the move. Out of WeBoost’s product line the 4G-X OTR is the strongest 4G booster. If you install it on your vehicle, it will:
- Boost signal up to 32X
- Reduce dead zones on cross country road trips #vanlife
- Limit lost calls
- Improve audio quality
- Increase upload/download speeds
- Enhance 4G LTE
- Provide longer talk time
- Work with multiple users at once
- Work with all major US and Canadian carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular)
Now before you get all excited and immediately buy one, it’s important to look at what a WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR can actually do. The 4G-X OTR will ENHANCE a signal. It will NOT create a signal. What this means is if you’re rolling down the highway and you have 1 bar of signal, the booster might pop it up a couple of bars, thus enhancing the signal. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere camping and there is no signal, the WeBoost 4G-X OTR will do nothing for you. Does that make sense?
Testing The WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR
During a 3000+ mile skiing road trip through Idaho, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana we put the WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR to the test and we were pleasantly surprised with how it performs. What we found is that even when we were on the fringes of cell phone service, we still had a strong signal allowing us to take advantage of things like Google Earth, calling our wives, checking emails, or posting on Instagram. If we ventured too far off the grid, the WeBoost didn’t do much for us as was to be expected. Basically,
The WeBoost 4G-X OTR works really well, but it’s almost hard to appreciate it. Until you turn it off. Throughout our road trip we flipped it on and off to test its signal abilities. When a weak signal was present and the WeBoost turned on, the signal would jump several bars. We found it best to leave the WeBoost on at all times. This way we didn’t exactly notice jumps in service, but we had a stronger signal at all times – unless we were completely out of cell signal range.
Being able to access a more reliable cell signal offers both convenience and peace of mind. That’s a good thing – especially when you need to look up random trivia on the backroads of Oregon, check the weather at the trailhead in the Eastern Sierra, communicate with loved ones after an adventure, or potentially call for help in the event of an emergency.
For communication when we’re completely off the grid, we always carry a DeLorme inReach Explorer. It’s text messages only, but it works like a charm.
How Does The WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR Works?
If you’re buying a WeBoost vehicle booster it’s good to understand how it works. The screenshot directly from WeBoost.com keeps it simple – even a ski bum can understand it:
What’s In The Box?
The WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR includes everything you need for most installs:
- 24 inch 4G Trucker Mirror-Mount Outside Antenna with 15 foot cable
- Low Profile Inside Antenna
- Mounting Bracket
- Power Supply
- Drive 4G-X Booster
Installing the WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR On A Sprinter Van
The supplied 4G-X OTR’s outside antenna is designed to be mounted on the side mirror of big rig trucks, but it can also be mounted on the roof of an RV or a van if you make a few small modifications. The mounting bracket will fit over horizontal or vertical bars up to 1 inch in diameter. Unfortunately, it did not fit over the roof bars on the Sprinter Van. This left a few options: hard mount the outside antenna to the vehicle, order the magnet antenna that comes with the Drive 4G-X, or get creative.
We opted to get creative. We ordered the Tram 269 Triple Magnet Mount and modified it to attach to the 24 inch WeBoost antenna. (FYI there is a shorter 19″ spring mounted antenna available on Amazon). The Tram 269 just barely fit over the ridges in the roof of the Sprinter Van. Once securely on the roof, the magnet mount is solid. There was no movement going 80 MPH on I-90 in crosswinds for multiple hours. Take note at how high the antenna sits though and be aware of overhanging branches, late night drive throughs, and other low hanging hazards. One of our concerns is the long term durability of the antenna – especially if it gets dinged by something.
Once the outside antenna was secure, we ran the 15 foot cable along the roof and through the back door of the van. The length wasn’t quite long enough so we added an SMA Male to SMA Female extension to make up the extra distance needed to connect to the booster.
Before we connected the booster, we plugged in the power supply to a 12V outlet at the base of the driver’s seat. This outlet was ideal because it is powered at all times – even when the engine is off. We ran this cord around to the booster, but did not connect it yet.
The last piece of the puzzle was the inside antenna. It’s about the size of a candy bar and attaches anywhere with hook and loop velcro. WeBoost suggests attaching it to one of the front seats. The inside antenna has a range of about 4 feet, so proper placement is important. We attached the inside antenna on our galley that sits mid-van. This way it had range to the front seats and the back seats. Plus it’s adjustable as necessary since it is only attached by velcro and has a long cord. This way we can move it forward while driving and back while relaxing.
The Drive 4G-X booster can be mounted anywhere or slipped under the seat. We placed the booster under the sink near our water supply where it was out of sight. Please note that the booster has the potential to get hot so be sure to place it in a safe spot away from anything flammable. Finally we attached all three cords (outside antenna, inside antenna, and power supply) to the booster and flipped on the power. The green light went on and we were live.
The full install only takes a few minutes. We managed to do everything without any hard installs, so we can remove it if we choose. We probably won’t because it’s the ideal addition for any vehicle that’s rumbling down FS roads, staying at somewhat remote campgrounds, heading on road trips across the west, or just needs reliable signal for remote #vanlife or work. All of those things apply to us on a regular basis so we give the WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR two thumbs up.
One last thing to note: WeBoost has fantastic customer service. So if you have any questions about products, installation, or compatibility, be sure to give them a shout directly. They’re happy to help.
Where do you plan to use the WeBoost 4G-X OTR? Tell us about your adventures in the comments below.
Buy The WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR on Amazon.com:
Shaky video install of the WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR on a Sprinter Van:
Disclaimer: WeBoost sent the Drive 4G-X OTR to A Mountain Journey test and review.
Official Specs for WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR from WeBoost.com:
- Band 17/12 | 700 MHz
- Band 13 | 700 MHz
- Band 5 | 850 MHz
- Band 4 | 1700/2100 MHz
- Band 2 | 1900 MHz
- Max Gain: 50 dB
- Power Req: 6V/2A
- Connectors: SMA Female
- Dimensions: 3.5 x 10 x 27.5 in
- Weight: 4.95 lbs