Posted by Admin on Sep 10, 2017
Have you ever wondered what are the main components and how exactly does a signal booster boost cellular reception in a home, or apartment building? Well, we're here to answer that burning question of yours. This blog post will answer your question thoroughly with detailed explanation to help you understand perfectly.
Living in an area with poor cellular reception is a nightmare in today’s digital world. After all, in an era where the sounds of technology are ringing in even the remotest corners of the world, low signal strength or less number of bars in your cell phone are hardly considered as excuses for missing calls. Or even not receiving text messages or not being able to access the internet on time.
If you're someone who happens to live in such an area, you must be knowing about devices called cellular signal boosters. These devices have gained recognition for being a boon to cellular devices in areas with poor signal reception.
A signal booster is capable of increasing the signal strength delivered to your cell phone from cellular base towers. It can empower you to dial quick connecting calls, send and receive text messages with little delay in delivery, and provide a lightning fast Internet access on whim without having to wait to power up your computer. Now you can see why, for someone who has never used a signal booster before, such a device seems to be a distant idea. Increasing the signal strength from a poor signal? It is almost as if magical powers are at work!
In order to understand how signal boosters work their magic with cellular signals, consider the functioning of a signal booster as a black box first.
When viewed as a black box, a signal booster is a device that takes in a weak cellular signal as input and delivers a strong powerful signal that improves cellular connectivity, as output. The maximum output power that can be delivered by the signal booster depends on two factors: The strength of input signal and efficiency of the signal booster. The better these parameters, the better the output power yielded by your booster, amplifier, or repeater (synonyms).
Now consider a signal booster as a white box.
A lot about the functioning of a signal booster becomes clear once we know what is inside it. But the complete working of a cellular booster is a little complex and requires some detailed knowledge about its components.
In order to understand the role of these components in the overall functioning of the signal booster, we need to understand two major terms that are commonly used when talking about it. These explanations clarify common confusions people who are not too familiar with the technical jargon often encounter.
Everything else apart from the actual signal to be amplified is classified as signal noise. A noise is an unwanted disturbance in a signal that can arise from natural as well as man-made sources.
Signal noises tend to reduce the efficiency of devices. A highly powerful amplifying device is capable of dealing with large levels of noise in the input signal, and will still yield a sufficiently strong output signal.
An output of electronic devices such as amplifiers is measured in terms of "gain". Hence, the gain is the measure of how strong an output signal is, in comparison with input signal.
Gains are measured in decibels (dB), which are logarithmic measurements.
An interesting point to note here is that gain of an amplifier is different from the gain of an antenna. The term “gain” serves different purposes in both these devices. As you understand the individual roles of an amplifier and antennas in boosting weak signals, you will come to know the difference between the gain of these two devices and their significance.
Now that you have a basic idea of gains, decibels and signal noise, you can proceed to understand the working of a signal booster as one device.
An outside antenna functions like the anterior limb of a signal booster. An outside antenna is the receiving antenna, and also referred to, as the "donor antenna" because it gives peak possible exterior "signal" to the system. It actually captures weak signal from outside, and provides it as an input to the signal booster.
For antennas, the gain is a measure of how well they collect or receive and transmit available signal. The direction from which the signal is received or the direction into which the signal is transmitted is known as the directivity of the antenna. It plays an important role in determining the gain of the transmitting or the receiving antenna.
Hence, the power of an outside antenna to collect the outside signal is called its gain. This antenna takes in the distributed outside signal as input and converts it into electric current.
There are two types of outside antennas: An unidirectional yagi antenna and an omnidirectional antenna. Considering the gain factor of outside antenna, if you live in an area with good exterior signal where cellular towers are many but are scattered around, you should go for the omnidirectional antenna with a high efficiency and low directivity. Similarly, if you happen to live in an area with weak exterior signal where a single cell tower is located at a far away distance, yagi antenna with high directivity and a low efficiency should be your choice.
An amplifier is at the heart of the signal booster. An amplifier simply creates a highly powerful and efficient copy of the signal it receives by adding the gain factor to it.
Since the gain is the ratio of an output to the input signal, mathematically, the higher the value of the output signal as compared to the input signal, the more the gain of an amplifier. Considering this in mind, it will be easy for you to understand that the gain of an amplifier is always positive. This is because the amplifier always amplifies the existing signal. Hence, if an input signal is zero, by the very definition of gain, the output signal will be rendered zero as well. This fact eliminates the popular misconception that signal booster can create cellular signals out of thin air.
When talking in terms of decibels, know that gains are logarithmic measurements. For an amplifier, this means that a gain of 2 dB will double the power of an input signal.
A normal amplifier is capable of handling moderate levels of signal noise. However, if you live in an area with electronic wires running all around, you're likely to encounter more levels of noise in your input signal and hence you must go for a low-noise amplifier that is empowered to amplify weak signals with high amounts of signal noise.
An inside antenna functions like the posterior limb of the signal booster. It converts an amplified electric current into a high power radio frequency signal that your phone can rely on, for better connectivity. You can go for a panel antenna if you are looking to broadcast an amplified signal across several floors. If you need a high amount of concentrated signal in a single room, then the dome antenna will work best for you.
An inside antenna converts electric current back to radio frequency signals. Hence, the gain of an inside antenna is its capacity to efficiently convert the electric current into high power radio frequency signals and retransmit it inside a closed space where cell phones can utilize it.
A coaxial cable functions as the nerves of the signal booster. It connects the heart and the limbs i.e., an amplifier and an antenna together and makes up the single unit that a signal booster kit, is. While considering the coaxial cable, it is important that you consider its transmitting length. If your antenna is mounted nearby an amplifier, a normal cable should suffice. However, if the cable should potentially run over a few feet of walls and cover a significant distance to connect the amplifier to antennae, you should go for a lossless cable (not possible for long runs) or minimal loss cable that minimizes the signal loss during its "to and fro" transmission. After all, you don’t want the precious signals to be lost in transit.
Okay, so I know something about signal booster components and its properties. What good is this knowledge to me? I only intend to “use” the signal booster.
The knowledge of the components and functioning of a signal booster is consumer knowledge. Now that you know about the three major components that make up a signal booster and their properties, you are empowered with the consumer knowledge required to choose the best cell amplifier for your location. There're numerous efficient cellular boosters available in the market but a brief idea of amplifier gains, antenna gains, noise levels, and attenuation can help you determine the impact of these factors on the working of the signal booster. You will be able to comprehend the booster specifications and decide on which device will work best for you. Additionally, you could also advise a friend or a relative on which one should they go for, depending on their requirements and the characteristics of an area where they plan to use the booster.