How to perform a site survey to determine the best cell phone signal booster for your needs?
When the cell phone signal is weak, or if the mobile Internet speed isn’t up to the mark, or if your calls are dropped often, or data speed unexplainably slow, you would probably need a signal booster. Even so, you need to know the signal strength before you determine the right equipment. You will need to know the precise signal strength inside and outside the area, to know which equipment will be suitable.
Before moving further, let us understand more about cell phone signal boosters, shall we? Basically, they have an antenna (outside) to receive signal, an amplifier than can boost your signal and another antenna inside, to redistribute the signal that is amplified. This way, you would get better signal on your tablet, phone or your laptop indoors.
When you want to do a site survey, use the device for which you are looking to improve the signal. So, if you want better signal strength for your tablet you use that. If it is your phone, you use that, so on and so forth. If you are looking for better mobile broadband signal for using it on your laptop, then you will have to connect your aircard or mobile broadband modem and determine the signal strength for use on your laptop.
Can I Perform a Site Survey?
I don't know, can you??? Just kidding - Of course you can! You just need to take a few readings with your laptop or phone.
Determine Signal Strength in Decibels (dB)
For a site survey, you need accurate signal strength measures from different locations. Of course, the signal bars give an idea of the signal strength, but you need the accurate strength in decibels or dB.
To know more about determining the signal strength of your phone, check our page on Field Test Mode.
Usually, Decibels are in the negative, like -70 dB for example. Closer the numbers are to zero, the stronger they are. This means that -70 dB is stronger than -90 dB. In case your phone shows just the numbers say 70, you can take it as -70 dB.
How to do a Site Survey with a Broadband Model or Cell Phone?
For a site survey, there are two important things you need to do. First is to determine a location outside your office or home where the signal is the strongest. Needless to say, this probably will be the roof of your building because the signal gets better with height and fewer obstacles. Second, you need to determine what are you want covered within the premises. In most cases, only the lowest part of a building will need signal boost, though there are times when the entire inside area should be covered for better signal.
To get the signal strength outside your building, you should take a few measurements in areas where you can mount an antenna, outside. In most cases, you should mount the outside antenna at a good height to avoid interference with the system that is inside. So, take a few readings and record the decibels you get on the roof for precise readings.
Now, identify the area in sq. ft., where you need the signal boost.
Understanding the Results of Site Survey
First you should know if you have a signal in at least one of the points you checked outside. If there’s no signal in any of the points you checked outside your premise, home or office, there isn’t a way to boost your cell phone signal using a signal booster. It would not work for you.
In case your signal is any less than -90 dB, a directional yagi-type antenna would work best to boost your signal, outside your premises. This will also ensure your inside areas are covered. Unless you prefer a system that would support more than one provider, we recommend a directional antenna.
Undoubtedly, choosing the right signal booster amplifier could be tricky. You can check the advertised coverage area to get an idea on the coverage it offers. In case your signal strength is weaker, the area covered can come down. Once done, you can proceed to purchase the most suitable cell phone signal booster.
Site survey summary:
• Start with a floor plan, hand drawn is fine. Include approximate dimensions.
• Determine the carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc) and their frequencies.
• Record signal strength on floor plan, inside and outside on all sides of building.
• Mark strongest outside signal on floor plan. Note direction of carriers towers.
• Mark areas on floor plan requiring improved signal.