When customers call us about an installation of a signal booster, they will often hear us use the term "soft install" or "soft installation". What is a soft installation, and why would we mention it?
Soft installation simply means a non-permanent installation. We recommend performing a soft install before doing a hard (permanent) install for a few reasons:
1) You can test the system to see if it will work for your application. We offer a 60 day money-back-guarantee on our products so our customers can try their setup out and return if not suitable for your needs. Doing a soft install will also simplify the process because permanently securing the cables, etc. would be more difficult than letting them sit loose until the solution is confirmed.
2) It will also allow you to decide where exactly to place your outside and inside antennas. Those antennae need to be far enough apart, and adjusted so that the cellular signal being retransmitted by inside antenna does not reach outside antenna. If it does reach outside antenna, the system will oscillate (experience feedback) and may shut down. There may be a situation where the outside antenna is in a position where it is receiving too much signal. A soft install will allow you to adjust in such scenarios.
3) You would also be able to decide the best way to route the cable inside your house or building. During the soft install, most clients will run the cable though a door or window so they can connect the antennas and experiment with the boosting system. Once they have decided the placement location of where they want their internal and external antennas, they will have a better idea of how they would need to run the cables connecting them.
The purpose of the Soft Install is two fold. First it will help you to map out what sort of coverage you will be getting inside the building and can help you with setting up the system for maximum cellular coverage. It can also help you to work out any bugs you may run into, and even help you to decide the best placement for inside antennas. Second, a soft installation can be a useful sales tool for professional installers. By setting up the system and showing the customer before and after results of the cell phone signal booster kit, it would demonstrate just what a great difference a complete signal booster kit can make in their house or building. By switching the signal booster on and off, the customer can see in real time on their own phone the results of the same, and how much improved cellular signal they receive.
For now, we will be focusing on the soft install as a sales tool for Wilson certified installers that purchase signal booster kits from us. As stated earlier, a soft installation is simply a quick set up of the entire signal booster system. You will first need to find the best possible signal outside the home or building (see our blog post on setting up an outside antenna). Once you have found the best signal outside and know which direction to aim the antenna, temporarily mount the outside antenna in this location. You can do this in a number of ways, but it is as simple as clamping the outside antenna to a ladder. The actions are numerous. As long as the outside antenna is kept stationery, keep in mind you will need to keep adequate separation between inside and outside antennas for this system to work properly. Read about antenna separation in detail in our blog post on understanding signal booster warning lights.
Attach the cable to the outside cable and run it into the building through a window or door into the signal booster unit. Attach the cable to the signal booster on the connection labeled, "outside". Then place the inside antenna in a location where you intend to install it. You do not need to mount it at this point. You can simply place it on a shelf or desktop. Connect the cable to the inside antenna and run it to the signal booster, attaching it to the connection labeled, "inside". Plug the signal booster in, and power the booster up. If you set everything up correctly, green lights should appear. If the booster display is amber or red lights, you will need to adjust the system to have it perform correctly. We have covered trouble shooting tips and various lights you see, in our blog post topic, signal amplifier alert lights.
With the soft install complete, you can demonstrate to the customer before and after affects of the signal booster and how it will improve cellular coverage in the home or building. Not only will this allow the customer to make calls wherever the boost signal is located, but it will increase data speeds for 3G and 4G, depending on which signal booster has been installed. It may be helpful to pull up a speed test website on the phone or laptop and show the before and after results. Please be forewarned that the customer may be so impressed with the results that they won't let you take the system down. This is a great thing:)