Cell phones have become an integral part of our life, and they are now a necessity without which getting things done seems difficult. Because of this, bad cellular signal reception or call quality can be quite annoying for many of us. Some of the main causes for this are the distance from cellular towers, building materials, topography, electromagnetic interference, weather conditions, and network congestion. One of the most reliable solutions to ensure good cellular reception is to use a cell phone service booster. This guide will best attempt to explain different aspects of a cell phone service booster.
An Introduction To Cell Phone Service Booster
A cell phone service booster is a device that receives weak cellular signals, amplifies them, and then retransmits them to ensure good connectivity. It consists of three main units the outside or donor antenna(s), the amplifier, and the inside antenna(s). Also, these three units are linked with each other using coaxial cables, splitters, combiners, and taps. The performance of the signal booster depends on the quality of the devices mentioned previously because it significantly affects the output quality of the boosted signal. Moreover, it is a bidirectional device, i.e. it boosts both downlink and uplink for better connectivity.
Cellphone Signal Strength
Cellular signals are radio waves meant for long-distance communication, and its strength or quality is affected by anything that comes in between the line of sight between your cellphone and the cellular tower. The signal strength is measured in the unit decibel milliwatt (dBm), and it ranges from -50 dBm and -120 dBm. -50 dBm is considered excellent, and -120 dBm is a dead zone or area with no cellular connectivity. Also, the further you get away from the tower, this value drops more, and hence the signal quality. You can check the carrier signal strength by checking the SIM settings of your mobile phone.
The best way to ensure good cellphone signal strength in areas with bad connectivity, like rural areas, is to use a cell signal booster. However, its performance depends on the outside signal, the components used in its setup, and the device installation. These devices need a minimum outside signal strength of -95dBm to work properly. Another important factor that you must ensure is that there is a minimum separation between the outside and inside antennas so that they do not form a positive feedback loop or oscillation. You must ensure that there is at least 20 feet of vertical separation, and 50 feet of horizontal separation between the antennas.
Different Types Of Cell Phone Service Booster
The two major categories of signal boosters are single-carrier booster and multi-carrier booster. The former only boosts the signal from a single carrier and offers up to +100 dB gain, and the latter simultaneously boosts signals from multiple carriers and offer up to +74 dB gain. The multi-carrier cell phone service booster is a more versatile option, and suitable for areas where people use cellular phones with multiple carriers, like commercial spaces, large offices, etc. Also, it is a future proof solution because it can be used even if you switch to a different carrier.
Gain And Downlink Power Of An Amplifier
The amplifier is the most important component of any cell phone service booster. The gain and downlink power are the two major factors that differentiate between amplifiers. The former is measured in dB gain, and the latter is measured in dBm.
The amplification of most home signal boosters ranges from +60 to +70 dB, while that of a commercial booster is +70 dB and they have better downlink power. Bear in mind, decibels are measured exponentially, so for every 3 dB gain, the power doubles, and for every 3 dB decrease, the power is halved. This the most important point that you must be aware of when comparing amplifiers. The downlink power is measured in dBm, and it governs the coverage area of the amplifier.
Selecting Amplifier For Cell Phone Service Booster
If you have a weak outside signal, then the deciding factor should be the gain of the amplifier because it determines the strength of the boosted signal. But if you have good enough outside signal, the deciding factor is the downlink power. However, if the input, i.e. outside signal is too strong, it will cause signal overload, and this can be resolved by installing a signal attenuator.
Cell Signal Booster Shutdown
Sometimes, the cell signal booster shuts down, and there can be two reasons for this, oscillation and signal overload. Oscillation happens when a positive feedback loop is formed between the outside antenna and the inside antenna. Because of this, the output of the inside antenna is picked up by the outside antenna and relayed back into the system. It is usually experienced in the form of increased noise in the output of the signal booster.
Sometimes it happens that the outside signal is excellent, but the inside reception is bad due to building materials. In such cases, when you install a cell signal booster, it causes signal overload for the amplifier, and this is indicated by the orange blinking light on the device. These are the two major things that cause the shutdown of these devices. The shutdown is performed to prevent damage.
We hope that the details shared above gave you a better understanding of the functioning of a cell phone service booster.