In life, we often encounter poor signal conditions, such as not being able to scan videos on the subway, not displaying payment codes during shopping, etc. These are all caused by poor mobile phone signal or poor network. Then we need a cell phone signal repeater at this time. Cell phone booster are a growing market that has moved from rural areas to urban markets over the past few years. Every once in a while, we run into questions about the capabilities and legal status of cell phone boosters. This concern is entirely valid, especially with a device that sounds too real.
Cell phone signal amplifiers are FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and IC (Industry Canada) certified electronic devices that can improve existing 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks. Some boosters are even 5G ready! Basically, signal boosters are legitimate devices that help improve call quality, weak cell signals and provide faster data speeds. If you tend to have a usable signal outside your house, vehicle or office building but weak to no signal inside, a cell phone signal booster will definitely improve your battery service and signal strength. The idea of eliminating dropped calls, slowing down data transfer speeds and sending unsent text messages without being connected to WiFi, arguing with carriers or switching carriers raises many questions about how cell phone signal boosters work.
How does a cell phone signal booster work?
A cell phone signal booster (also known as a signal extender, signal booster, or cell phone repeater) works by bringing in a weak external signal, boosting it, and then rebroadcasting the boosted signal to the desired area. They also work in reverse: the signal booster will pick up the signal from your phone and send it back to the tower.
There are different boosters for different needs:
Built-in Signal Boosters - They are designed for residential, office buildings, commercial buildings, and any building that requires a signal.
Vehicle Signal Boosters - They are designed for use on cars, trucks, RVs, SUVs, boats and fleet vehicles.
Remember, for a cell phone signal booster to work, you must have an existing signal outside your home, office, or vehicle. A cell phone signal booster boosts an existing signal, but doesn't produce it.
Most signal booster kits contain three main elements:
External Antenna - Used to capture weak cell phone signals.
Amplifier – Used to boost weak signals.
Indoor Antennas – for rebroadcasting boosted signals inside the home, office or car.
Coaxial cables are used to connect the three elements on top. They are designed to transmit high-frequency electrical signals over long distances with low signal loss.
The external antenna (also called the donor antenna) is the first major component of the cell phone booster. They capture weak 3G and 4G LTE signals.
There are two types of external antennas:
Omnidirectional Antenna: This antenna pulls in signals from all directions or 360-degree angles. They're best for people with moderate to strong outside signals, or people with multiple cell towers nearby to boost multiple carriers.
Yagi Antenna: This antenna (shaped like a triangle) extracts the signal from a 45-degree angle. They are designed to point in the direction of the nearest tower. Having a more concentrated signal allows the antenna to reach greater distances than an omnidirectional antenna. Dedicated performers for handling extremely poor signals and those who just want to boost a single carrier.
The location of the antenna is critical. It greatly affects the signal power sent to the amplifier. You need to set the antenna on the side of the house where the signal is best. You can use a variety of methods to find where the signal is best. You can use your phone, the number of bars on the smartphone app, or the field test mode.
You'll want the antenna as high as possible to give cell towers a better line of sight and reduce the number of obstacles between you and the tower. Generally, the higher the antenna, the better the signal captured. Typically, outdoor antennas will be mounted on the roof or panels of the house. You can use your existing exhaust pipe or bar mounts. It is important to place external antennas on or near the edge of the roof. If you have a Yagi antenna, it should point away from the house, towards the nearest cell tower.
What if you can't mount an outdoor antenna on your roof? In situations where the antenna cannot be mounted on the roof, the antenna can be mounted in an attic, on a wall, or in a window facing a cell phone tower. When installing an outdoor antenna inside, keep in mind that the signal will be affected by obstructions (building materials, walls, windows, etc.) between the antenna and the tower.
Vehicle Car External Antenna
Most vehicle antennas are omnidirectional; they are designed to function best when moving.
External antennas are easy to install on vehicles such as cars, trucks and SUVs. Most external antennas are magnetic, and you can absorb weak signals simply by sticking them on the roof of your car. Magnetic antennas are easily moved to improve their performance.
On the other hand, other antennas are more durable and they are designed for larger vehicles like RVs, fleets, delivery trucks, etc. Most of these antennas have springs (pictured above) that can withstand shocks.
When looking at different signal boosters, you will see the terms dB (decibels) and dBm (decibels-milliwatts). what do they mean?
Cell phone signals are radio waves that operate in specific frequency bands in the radio spectrum. Signals can be measured in dB or dBm.
Decibels (dB) are used to measure an increase or decrease in signal strength (gain or loss); they measure radio waves. The decibel-milliwatt (dBm) is used to show how much power an amplifier is capable of producing, or how much power a mobile device gets.
The bars on the phone represent how strong the cellular network is. Typically, cell phone signal levels range from -50 dBm to -120 dBm. In a "bar" call, -50 dBm is the full bar and -120 dBm is the dead zone.
All amplifiers are measured using the dB output; this will be the maximum gain provided by the amplifier. What the amplifier does is probably to increase the dB (signal gain), bringing you closer to the -50 dBm range. For example, if your signal level is -110 dBm, and your amplifier has a maximum gain of +50dB, your signal will be close to -60dBm (-110 + 50 = -60).
In general, a good home amplifier should have at least +60 dB of gain. The most powerful devices achieve a gain of +70 dB. A good car amplifier should have at least +25 dB of gain, and the best amplifiers must achieve +50 dB of power.
It's important to note that an amplifier can boost a signal to its dB value, but it is not guaranteed to boost it to that dB value immediately. As many factors are involved, such as distance from cell towers, external interference, internal interference, construction materials, etc., may affect the results.
Hence why it is important to first find a dBm reading and talk to a certified signal enhancement expert to achieve ideal and realistic results.
The built-in antenna is the third main component of the cell booster.
After the amplifier boosts the signal, it passes to the internal antenna to rebroadcast the signal to the desired area. There are two types of indoor antennas:
Panel Antenna: This antenna (pictured above) is usually wall mounted and tends to send a signal cone with a range of 45-70 degrees, which means the strongest signal will be delivered to the area closest to it.
If you need the absolute best signal in an area of your home such as a single office, home office (SOHO), living room or bedroom, placing the flat panel antenna in that area will provide the best signal for that area , and then broadcast the signal to lower priority areas.
Dome Antenna: This antenna is usually mounted on the ceiling and tends to distribute the signal equally in all directions or 360 degrees. They work best when trying to boost the signal over a large area.
When installing an indoor antenna, make sure that there is at least 20 feet vertically or 50 feet horizontally between the external antenna and the internal antenna. This will prevent oscillation, which will cause your signal booster to automatically shut down.
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