For those who want the internet on the go, cellular broadband is a popular option. However, in exchange for their portability and convenience, cellular signals can also be relatively unstable. In order to solve this dilemma, the industry has rolled out a variety of cellular antennas and signal boosters to amplify your mobile broadband speeds. The following guide will provide you with things to consider before making your purchase.
These days, cellular phones come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, this means almost all of these devices are equipped with their own proprietary antenna socket, which may cause problems when attempting to connect a signal booster to your phone. This is why it is critical to purchase either a device that is compatible with your phone or an adapter cable that allows for the standard FME antenna connection.
Another thing to keep in mind is the type of signal being boosted. 3G, 4G and EVDO are the most popular cellular broadband technologies in the market today, and each signal is carried across a different part of the radio spectrum. Therefore a cellular antenna or signal booster designed to work with EVDO may not perform as well with cell phones on a 4G plan. Be sure to verify what type of signal your cellular carrier provides and purchase an antenna that complements it. An incompatible antenna may interfere with your signal and in some cases even damage your phone.
Positioning Your Antenna
Cellular signals are tenuous things. They can be disrupted by buildings, power lines, trees, and even the walls of your house. For example, many homeowners who get poor service in their home mount a cellular antenna to the roof. The higher the antenna is positioned, the better its line of sight to the nearest cellular tower. There are also cell phone boosters which can be affixed to the ceiling, rebroadcasting and strengthening incoming and outgoing cellular signals. However, for mobile phone and laptop users, these mounted antennas are not an option. In this case a cellular antenna can be placed strategically by a window, thus relaying the signal to the desired location.
Strength and Location of the Existing Signal
A cell phone antenna can only work if there is an existing signal to augment. In rural areas with no signal or poor lines of sight, there may not be enough boost to justify the expense. On the other hand, in an area with a relatively low but detectable signal, a cell phone antenna may significantly increase the stability of your connection. Under ideal conditions an antenna can improve signal strength by up to 15db.
Whether a cell phone antenna is right for you depends on your particular situation. For those in need of a better signal at home, a roof mounted booster can greatly improve the stability of a weak signal. More compact antennas are available for those on the go, and should always be purchased with a compatible adapter. Lastly, as the strength and reliability of the boosted signal often depends on that of the original, it may be wise to ensure you can return the antenna if it does not provide any improvement.