The best way to eliminate the issues due to weak cellular signals like dropped calls, poor data services, etc., is to use a signal booster. It can be used at your home, office, commercial building, or in the vehicle. There are multiple reasons for poor network connectivity, and the configuration of the boosters varies depending on this. Often, it is provided by the carrier or a third-party vendor recognized by the carrier. In this article we will explore in detail the various factors that you must know before buying a cell signal booster; read on to know more about them.
Why Do You Have Bad Cellular Reception?
As already stated in the introduction, there are multiple reasons for bad cellular connection, and they can either work independently or together. One of the most common causes for this is the distance from the cellular tower; the further you are from the tower, the greater the loss. Weather conditions like snow, rain, hail, fogs, thunderstorms, etc., also result in bad network connectivity. This is because, the tiny water droplets in the atmosphere act as a conductor of ions, and they deflect radio waves, i.e. cellular carrier waves. Apart from this, building materials like metals sheets, concrete, brick, glass, etc., attenuates cellular signals.
What Is A Cell Phone Booster?
Cell phone boosters are devices that capture weak cellular signals, amplifies them, and retransmits boosted signals to your cell phone. They can be used for your home, office, commercial spaces, RV, truck, or car. Apart from this, these devices increase the coverage area up to 100,000 sq ft. Also, keep in mind that these are bidirectional devices, i.e. they also transmit signals from your phone to the cellular tower. Listed below are the benefits of using a signal booster.
- Improves cellular reception
- Improves call quality
- Avoids dropped calls
- Improves data speed
- Extends battery life
- Increases coverage area
How Does A Cell Phone Booster Work?
A cell phone booster has three main components the donor or outside antenna, the amplifier, and the inside antenna, and these are connected using coaxial cables.
- Donor Or Outside Antenna: Outside antennas capture weak cellular signals that are to be amplified by the signal booster. Since they receive the input signal, their quality affects the performance of the device. You can either use one or more depending on your requirement.
- Amplifier: The weak cellular signal received by the outside antenna is boosted by the amplifier. Because of this, it is the most important component of a cell phone booster. The number of times the signal is amplified depends on the gain of the amplifier, and it is adjusted to get the optimum performance from the device. This also determines the coverage area of the device.
- Indoor Antenna: The indoor antenna(s) is installed inside, and they transmit the amplified signal indoors. They also receive the signal from the cell phone and transmit back to the cellular tower. Also, the coverage area of the signal booster depends on the type and number of indoor antennas used.
- Coaxial Cables: They connect the main components of a cell phone booster and have a significant impact on the performance of the device. As the length of the cable increases, the signal strength drops, and vice versa. Besides, the impedance of the cable also affects signal strength.
What Are The Precautions That You Must Take When Installing A Cell Phone Booster?
The two issues that you might come across when installing a signal booster are oscillation and overload.
Oscillation: If the outside and inside antennas of a signal booster are too close to each other, it results in the formation of a positive feedback loop, and this phenomenon is known as oscillation. This happens because of the crosstalk between the two antennas, and it reduces the quality of the output signal of the system. It also affects other cellular devices operating in its service range, and might potentially damage the cellular tower. Because of this, signal boosters must have an oscillation autodetect function that shuts down or reduces the gain of the device.
Oscillation can be avoided by isolating the outside and inside antennas from each other by putting more distance between them. The vertical separation is more important than the horizontal separation. However, in cases where this is not an option to increase the separation, it is recommended to add shielding between the two. In the case of installation in a vehicle, the metal roof acts as a barrier between the two because it attenuates radio signals.
Overload: Cell phone boosters are devices that are designed to amplify weak cellular signals. So, if the signal strength is excellent, it overloads the amplifier; it is indicated by a blinking orange light on the device. One way you can fix this issue is to install an outside antenna with lower forward gain. The other solution is to install a frequency filter between the outside antenna and the amplifier; it attenuates, as well as helps to filter out unwanted frequencies from other carriers.
These are the important points that you must bear in mind before buying and installing a cell phone booster at your home, office, or commercial establishment.