If you have a less-than-satisfying mobile reception, then, by all means, you should strive for a better one. A big chunk of our routine, day-to-day activities is carried out either online or on the phone. So a faulty connection is no bueno. That’s precisely why people use a cell phone booster, to speed up the internet and restore the call quality.
Choosing the right signal booster for your needs can be a tricky business though, so you have to be careful about quite a few details before you make your final choice. And there are nuances to the installation process as well. We’ll go over them to make sure you have the best possible connection as a result, but before we do, let’s make sure you fully understand how these devices function. It will help to choose the one that will suit you the most and better its performance.
How boosters work?
All kinds of mobile signal boosters consist of 3 components. They have an external antenna, intended to collect signal coming from the cell tower and direct it to the amplifier, through a coaxial cable. Once the amplifier gets the signal, it enhances the received signal and makes it stronger, subsequently passing it on to the indoor antenna with the same kind of cable. Then the indoor antenna broadcasts the strong signal over a certain area and voilà! Your phone will pick up the new signal and you will surf the web to your heart’s content.
Now the booster is wired to operate on one certain frequency (represented in MHz), or frequencies, if it’s a multi-band device. Moreover, different operators might use different frequencies for their Call, 3G, and 4G/LTE services. So before you purchase a booster, make sure it’s designated for the type of connection you want to be enhanced. But let’s go into more detail because this part is crucial.
Make sure the product matches your needs
As we mentioned above, boosters are programmed to respond to a certain frequency. There’s a typical problem when it comes to 4G connection, actually. Some operators represent the new 4G service as 4G/LTE and it runs on a whole other frequency, not the same as 3G/4G does. So make sure you check that before purchasing. And sometimes a 3g signal booster will take care of your 4G as well, but not 4G/LTE. If you are confused and can’t really figure out which option is the best, make sure you contact the manufacturer and ask all of the questions you need to be answered.
If you need a booster for your place of business, be sure to get a broadband device, that will cover all the major operators and all types of connection. It will benefit you more than having a specific service boosted.
Let’s move forward, and discuss what else you can do to make sure your booster performs to the best of its potential.
Map out your house or place of business before device installation
You have to mark where your weakest and strongest signal points are. This way you can position the booster correctly and you’ll get the best possible signal as a result. So let’s do a small step-by-step.
- Make a small map of your house (or any other area you need) and make sure you include all the rooms.
- Your phone can guide you to determine the strongest and weakest signal spots. If you have an iPhone, dial *3001#12345#* and hit “Call”. If it’s an Android, follow this path Settings-About Phone-Status-Signal Strength.
- As a result, you’ll see a negative number on the screen (which is the signal strength in decibels). As you move around the house, you’ll see that number change. The range of -90 to 0 is considered a great signal. As the number decreases down to -120, consider the signal lost.
- Following the number, find the best possible signal in the house. Mark it on your map. That’s the place you need your outside antenna to be. (on the roof, or outside the window)
- Find the weakest signal spot and mark it. That’s the best place to mount the indoor antenna (on the ceiling or on the wall).
This will help not only to position the booster correctly but also to choose the perfect cable length, which we’ll discuss below.
Install the right antennae in the right way
As we discussed earlier, the booster kit includes an outside antenna and an indoor antenna. Now, the outside antenna can be directional, or omnidirectional. As you can guess from the name, the omnidirectional antenna is equipped to receive signals coming in from any direction. But it has a downside as well.
Whereas it’s perfectly fine to use in a place where your outside signal is stable and strong, it won’t work its best in an area where the outside signal is weak and fluctuating. So if you are already having trouble with the outside signal, make sure you don’t get an omnidirectional antenna. Get a directional one and point it towards the nearest cell tower. Note, that the omnidirectional antenna would still work but not nearly as well as the directional one.
There’s a general rule of thumb, that the outside and indoor antennas shouldn’t be separated more than 50 ft. The ideal distance is 20 ft. This range of 20-50 ft will make sure the signal is distributed flawlessly. If you feel that you are not getting the best out of your device, this might be the place to troubleshoot.
Cable length and quality
This point is overlooked more often than you think, but it’s important to remember. Shorter cable equals better signal! Always, and without exceptions. This brings us back to the importance of mapping. If you have mapped out the area beforehand, you will be able to determine the best spots to position both the outside and indoor antenna, so the cable length won’t be an issue.
The cable quality is extremely important as well. Don’t go shy on the cable quality, because it can lose a whole lot of signal before it can reach you. So don’t roll up the excess cable, make sure you get the right length and be attentive to the quality.
These are the major things to consider in order to make sure you get the most out of your signal booster. If you need more information, or something is not quite working out, be sure to contact the manufacturer and get additional advice on your product.
Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
Salman Zafar can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org