Nowadays mobile phones are ubiquitous because most of us use them as our daily drivers for various purposes. Because of this, it is important to have good network connectivity. However, occasionally we come across issues like dead zones, dropped calls, slow internet speeds, etc., and they can be really frustrating. One of the most reliable solution to avoid this is to use a cell service booster at your office or home. Shared below are things that you must know before buying a signal booster; read ahead to know more about them.
Wi-Fi Calling And Femtocells
In case you are facing issues due to bad cellular network connectivity, you can make use of the Wi-Fi calling or VoWiFi that is supported by all the major 4G cellular networks. It makes use of the internet to make calls and is an ideal solution. However, its performance depends on the broadband internet connection, as well as the Wi-Fi reception at your place. Also, before using it, you must ensure that your mobile phone supports VoWiFi. Moreover, it is a no-cost solution that does not require any additional hardware installations.
The other solution to resolve bad cellular network issues is to use a femtocell provided by your cellular carrier. It is like a mini cell phone tower that can be installed at your home or office, and they have a coverage area of up to 3,000 square feet. This device uses your broadband internet connection to send and receive cellular signals, and they face issues like Wi-Fi calling. However, some carriers are beginning to withdraw femtocell services as VoWiFi is becoming common.
Cell Service Booster Is A Bidirectional Device
Cellular signal boosters receive weak outside signals, amplifies them, and retransmits to your phone. Apart from this, they also boost the signal your phone is sending back to the cellular tower. The performance of this device depends on the quality or the strength of the outside signal. There are three main components in a signal booster, and they are listed below.
- Donor Or Outside Antenna: The donor antenna receives the outside signal that is boosted by the cellular signal booster. It is usually installed on the rooftop to give a clear line of sight with the cellular tower.
- Amplifier: It is the most important component of a cellular signal booster because it boosts the weak signal received by the donor antenna.
- Indoor Antenna: It broadcasts the boosted signal to your phone, as well as receives the signal from your phone that is sent to the cellular tower.
Gain And Downlink Output Power
Gain and downlink output power are the two important specifications that determine the performance of a cell service booster. The units used for measuring them are explained in detail below.
- The amplification of a signal booster is called gain, and it is measured in the unit decibels (dB). They are directly proportional to each other, i.e. the higher the gain, the higher the amplification, and vice versa.
- The maximum strength with which the signal booster can broadcast the boosted signal is called downlink output power, and it is measured in the unit decibel-milliwatts (dBm).
The government authorities that regulate telecom services sets strict limitations on the gain and downlink output power of cell service boosters used for various purposes. Of these two, only one of them matters at a time. When the outside signal is weak, choose a signal booster with higher gain; when the outside signal is strong, choose a signal booster with good downlink output power. In the latter case, the amplifier will not require all its gain to reach the maximum output power. To decide between these two specifications, it is important to measure the outside signal strength.
Measure Outdoor Cellular Signal Strength Before Buying A Cell Service Booster
Measuring the outdoor cellular signal strength is important for two reasons. Firstly, it helps in purchasing the right type of signal booster kit, i.e. one with a high downlink output power or gain. Secondly, it helps you to identify the ideal location around the building where you can install the donor antenna. The most important requirement for this is a clear line of sight between the antenna and the cellular tower. The signal strength is measured in the unit decibel milliwatts (dBm), and this ranges from -50 dBm to -120 dBm; -50 dBm is excellent, and -120 dBm is considered poor or a dead zone.
The cellular signal strength is accurately measured using a signal meter. It can also be measured using your cell phone, but this is a less accurate method. It can also be found in the carrier signal settings on your Android phone. On iPhones, you can use the field test mode to measure signal strength.
On a final note, a signal booster is used when the outside signal strength is between the range of -80 dBm to -110 dBm. On the contrary, if the signal strength is excellent, it causes signal overload, which decreases the performance of the device. These are the important points that you must know before buying this device.