In this day and age, various tech advancements continue to flourish, adapt, and enhance numerous aspects of one's life. Keeping up with all the latest gear, their functions, and how they work can be challenging. For many, cellular signal boosters spur many questions, from the technical terms surrounding the tech and its function to general implementation concerns. Here are some answers to common questions about cell booster systems to help you gain clarity on any query you might hold.
How Do Cell Booster Systems Work?
One of the most common mysteries people want to first uncover about cell boosters is how they work and what they do. Radio frequencies are electromagnetic waves that carry and transmit data from one receiver and emitter to another. They play an essential role in conducting and receiving calls, texts, and data networks. Cellular signal boosters collect, amplify, and remit radio frequency signals between nearby emitters and receivers, like your phone and network towers.
Booster systems consist of three main components: an outdoor antenna, the actual booster amplifier, and an indoor antenna. The outdoor antennas capture signals from the nearest cell tower. Through cables, the captured radio frequencies travel to the booster, where they get amplified with increased power input. The amplified frequencies then pass through the booster to the indoor antenna, which finally transmits the signal to a designated and desired zone.
Do Cellular Boosters Work in Dead Spaces?
Cellular signal boosters come with a variety of perks. However, defying the laws of physics isn't one of them. According to the law of thermodynamics, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Boosters strengthen and improve your cellular signal by using existing frequency transmissions, not by creating more signals. Since dead zones lack any kind of radio transmission, using a booster in a dead zone doesn't work.
What Is a Good Signal Strength Rating?
Part of the signal booster's job includes improving the strength, speed, and quality of texts, calls, and data usage. There is a range of differences between signal strength and quality, but both use decibels as a form of measurement. Strong signals rank anywhere between greater than -60 decibels per milliwatt (dBm) to -75 dBm. Weak signal strengths score ratings around -90 to -100 dBm. Signal boosters amplify the radio frequencies to reach a dBm rating above the average signal strength of -80 dBm.
What Does Signal or Decibel Gain Mean?
Decibel or signal gain refers to the boosted power received from the amplifier. The gain is the added frequency rating onto the captured radio frequencies collected from the outdoor antenna. Some amplifiers offer gains like 25 dBm. When amplified to a signal strength of -80 dBm, the boosted signal strength you receive becomes a rating of -55 dBm, a rating well above the ideal decibel strength for cell service. Knowing the amount of gain a booster system offers determines your new signal’s strength and the appropriate gain that best fits your amplifying needs.
Do You Need a Permit?
Signal boosters are illegal in some countries and sometimes require special permissions due to potential network interferences. In Canada, you do not need a special permit to add a booster to your home, nor are you required to register the device as long as the booster system is preapproved by Industry Canada (IC). The IC regulates a wide variety of technology, from Bluetooth speakers to motion sensors and dashcams. The IC governs any equipment that works with frequency transmissions and radio waves.
What Does Antenna Separation Mean?
When installing a booster system's antenna, the term “antenna separation” often comes up. Antenna separation refers to creating a set distance between the indoor and outdoor cell booster antenna. Depending on the booster gain from your amplifier, building materials, and the type of antenna you use, the recommended distance between the indoor and outdoor varies. Placing the two antennas too close to one another causes signal interferences, thus producing a feedback loop. Adding space between the system's interior and exterior units ensures both operate optimally with reduced risks of signal overlaps.
Does Cable Length Between Amplifier and Antenna Matter?
Cables connect the antennas to the amplifier. Like antenna separation, cable lengths also affect the efficiency and optimization of a booster system. Long cable distances from an antenna to the booster increase the risks of losing signals during the travel process. The fewer the signals that arrive at the amplifier, the less influence the frequency gain will contribute to strengthening your cellular connectivity. Keeping the cable length between each of the booster's components at a certain range reduces the risk of signal loss and increases the efficiency of the entire booster system.
What If the Building Doesn't Allow Antenna Installations?
Whether you want to boost cellular signals in a communal building or a property with a strict landlord, sometimes installing an outdoor antenna isn't an option. Although mounting the outdoor systems onto the roof or exterior wall of the building provides the most optimized and maximized results, mounting your exterior antenna onto or by a window still suffices. If you are installing the exterior antenna indoors by the window, make sure to choose a window facing the direction of the nearest cell tower and a set distance from the indoor antenna. Also, ensure that any other possible signal interrupters, such as certain building materials, remain away from the antenna's radius.
Do Signal Boosters Work With All Phones?
With the wide variety of cell phones and devices available on the market, each with their own unique set of properties and abilities, it's difficult to know what tech works with what gadgets and accessories. The numerous variations don't provide much clarity or help on the matter. Luckily, all devices operating with a cellular data system such as 4G or LTE capabilities can operate with cell signal boosters. They work with cell phones, modems, tablets, and any other device that picks up radio signals. Signal boosters also often work with all cellular network carriers, allowing everybody to reap their benefits.
There is so much to learn about cellular boosters, from specific terminology to the scientific physics behind the operations. Uncovering all there is to know about these technologically advanced systems allows you to maximize and optimize your booster to best benefit your needs. Put any lingering concerns or qualms about signal boosters at ease with these answers to some of the most common questions about cell booster systems.