​Installing a cell phone signal booster in a building

Posted by on April 26, 2015

Building signal booster

Today, let us discuss how to install a cell phone signal booster system designed for a building. Various models of signal boosters are available but most have a similar installation process.

For a signal booster to work properly on any building, it requires three main components. First is an outside antenna that detects the incoming signal and re-transmits the signal from your phone back to the cell tower. The outside antenna can either be directional or omni directional. This is an important detail as directional antennas should be facing your provider's cell tower. Information is available online or in various smartphone apps that will help you identify where your service provider's nearest tower is located. Our technical support team can also assist you in finding your nearest cellular tower. Second, a signal booster is needed to amplify the signal coming from, and going to, the cell tower. Finally an inside antenna is needed near your phone to relay the boosted signal to, and from, your smart phone or mobile device like a tablet or Mifi (mobile wi-fi hotspot). It is important to note that the inside antenna can be a low profile panel antenna or a desk top mount antenna. These three components combined together form a complete signal booster system.

Before installing your signal booster system, please read through the instruction manual to familiarize yourself with the installation process, including knowing how to prevent a feedback loop, which is where the inside and outside antenna talk to one another. The first step involves correctly positioning inside and outside antennae. The preferred install should be back to back with inside and outside antennas no closer than the distance outlined in your instruction manual. The next thing to do is to plan out the location where you will be installing the outside antenna, the signal booster, and an inside antenna. We will go into greater detail about finding the best location thereafter.

It would also be a good idea to check the location to make sure each signal booster component will fit properly within available space. Before you begin installing your signal booster, it is important to find the best possible signal outside your home or building. There are several methods to help you find the best reception. You can check the bar indicator on your cell phone display and note the location where your signal's strength appears to be the greatest. Be patient with this because most phones take 30 seconds or more to update the signal graph on your cell phone. You can make a few phone calls from several different locations outside of your home or building and make a note of the place where you have the quickest and best connection. Some phones have a signal strength test mode that will output an accurate reading of the received signal strength. To find out how to put your phone into test mode, go to /blog/field-test-mode-an-overview-enabling-it-on-your-phone/

If you have a smart-phone, there are numerous apps that will help you find a location of nearby cell phone towers as well as help you find the best signal area in your home. First open the app store for your particular phone and search for cell signal. On Android devices, we recommend the free Open Signal application. For other devices, consult the comments and ratings before downloading an app to make sure it will help with your setup. Now you're ready to begin.

The first step in installing a signal booster system is to install the outside antenna. For example, we can use the weBoost wide band 304475 outside antenna. You may have a different outside antenna depending on the configuration of your system, but these steps will work with all outside mount antennas, except for the outside antenna that comes with a weBoost DeskTop (DT) signal booster kit. If you own a weBoost DT and need assistance with installation, please consult the installation details at /home-3g-for-one-to-two-rooms-weboost-473105/. Otherwise, place provided outside antenna in the location outside where you have the strongest cellular signal and as high as possible in order to clear any obstructions. In addition, remember to point the outside antenna towards the cell tower if you have a directional antenna. If you have an omni-directional antenna, place the antenna as high as possible for best performance because omni directional antennas get the signal from all directions, you will not need to point the antenna towards the cell tower.

Once the outside antenna is securely installed, route the coax cable inside to the signal booster. Connect the outside antenna coaxial cable to the outside antenna connection found on the signal booster unit. Next, install the inside panel antenna. In our example we would use weBoost 301155, which is a panel mount antenna. Select a location or room where you need the most improved cellular signal. Next, mount the inside antenna using the supplied hardware. You will want it facing the direction that will provide maximum indoor coverage near home or office. Remember, follow the minimum antenna separation guidelines outlined in your instruction manual and avoid pointing the inside and outside antennas towards each other. For best results, mount the inside antenna directly below the outside antenna and on the same vertical plane. If it is not possible to mount the inside antenna directly below the outside antenna, then more horizontal separation between the inside and outside antennas is required. Refer to your install guide for separation guidelines.

Depending on the construction materials or layout used for your home or business, more separation may be required. For optimal performance, you will want to work on adequate spacing between the two antennas. Alternatively you can reduce the gain if it is not possible to have sufficient antenna separation. If at any time you have any questions about your specific installation, you could always call or email our cell phone signal booster technical support team.

If you have an inside antenna panel, you may choose to mount that antenna on the wall pointing in the direction where you need the best signal coverage, or you may mount the antenna to the ceiling pointing down. Once the inside antenna is installed, run the cable from antenna to the signal booster. Connect the coaxial cable to the inside antenna connection found on the signal booster unit.

Now, plug the power supply in and a green light should begin blinking on the signal booster. After 15 minutes, the light should become solid green indicating that everything is working properly. If you see a red or flashing orange light, something is not working properly and needs to be adjusted. Usually it means that the inside and outside antennas are too close together, which creates a feedback loop, similar to what happens when you get a microphone too close to a speaker at an event. Therefore, a further separation may be needed to make it operate correctly.

Another way to overcome a red light caused by antennas being too close is to turn the dial on the front of the booster to a lower number until the light turns green. However, please note that doing so, will probably result in a reduced coverage area in your building. Wilson signal boosters will shut down or reduce gain if it detects overload or oscillation. To prevent the potential for interference to cellular networks, a blinking orange light found on boosters with adjustable gain control means the unit is experiencing signal overload, typically from a near by cell tower that is overwhelming the booster. The best option to correct this condition is to de-tune your antenna.

To de-tune with a directional outside antenna, simply point the antenna away from the cell tower until the light on your signal booster turns green. If you have an omni directional outside antenna, you will not be able to de-tune your antenna. Instead, you will need to dial down the gain control on the frequency band that is blinking orange until you see a blinking green light. The booster is now working properly with reduced gain. If you do not have a booster featuring adjustable gains, consult your installation manual or call our technical support team.

Now you're ready to enjoy stronger signal and keep your smartphones and other Internet devices connected to your wireless network by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. We hope this discussion has been helpful in getting you set up with your new weBoost Signal Booster. If you have any questions about your specific installation, please feel free to contact our tech support team. Have a great day!

Questions? Call us for a FREE product recommendation. Need a cell phone booster installer? We offer installation services by a certified installing team that installs boosters nationwide across USA and Canada. Submit your details for a quote to have your amplifier kit installed by professionals.

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