Oscillation and Overload
27th Dec 2018 /
by Alex B. / Comments

Oscillation and Overload

weboost signal booster lights

It came.

The gift you didn’t even know you wanted for Christmas: a cell phone signal booster. The gift of better signal.

Maybe it was a weBoost Connect 4G, or a weBoost Home 4G. Maybe it was for your car or truck, or RV. Either way, you’re looking forward to saying goodbye to bad signal for good.

You carved out some time in your busy schedule to install the device. You read our signal booster guide, and learned about the differences between bars and dB. You’ve installed the outside antenna in the place where outside signal is the strongest, and pointed it toward your cell tower. Finally, you installed the inside antenna where you need the boosted signal most and hooked everything up with the proper cables. You even registered with your carrier.

Then, all that was left was to turn on your amplifier and enjoy your boosted signal. But once you did, you saw something was wrong. The lights are supposed to be green, but instead they’re red, blinking green, blinking red, or orange. What’s worse, the signal increase you were promised is moderate to non-existent.

“What a waste of money!” you instinctively think. “This thing’s a piece of junk!”

Not so fast.

The Truth About Oscillation

If the above scenario happened to you, you’re a victim of oscillation.

Oscillation is one of the most common answers to the question: “Why doesn’t my cell phone signal booster work?”

signal booster antenna installation

It’s a feedback loop between your two antennas, caused by them being installed too close together.

Think of a speaker and a microphone. When you bring the microphone too close to a speaker, an unpleasant humming sound is created, with the screech getting louder and louder the closer they are together. This is oscillation, and it occurs with your antennas, too.

This is a problem that’s fixed by increasing the distance between the three components of your signal booster. Your antennas need to be at least 50 feet apart horizontally, or 20 feet vertically in order to prevent oscillation. Unfortunately, if you’ve set up your antennas for your ideal setup, you may have to move one or both antennas to a slightly less optimal position for you to get rid of the oscillation. However, this is balanced by the fact that the booster’s performance will dramatically increase, and that should more than make up for the fact that the broadcast antenna might not always be in the perfect position.

Booster Overload

"But my booster isn’t working at all," you might shout.

In that case, you might actually be too good at installing your antenna. Weird? Yeah. But possible.

What do I mean? Well, most consumer boosters have the possibility of overload. If you’ve bought a cheaper signal booster, have fantastic outdoor signal but terrible indoor signal, and use high-gain antennas and cable, you might actually be delivering too much signal to your booster, and overloading it. This causes the booster to shut down completely, in order to save itself.

Fortunately, this is very easy to fix, with multiple options as to how you go about it.

If you want to throw money at the problem and deal with it easily, we sell attenuators to slightly decrease the amount of signal you’re bringing in and prevent overload. There are also commercial-grade boosters that automatically attenuate the signal you’re receiving, but they come with a rather high price tag and are overkill for most home setups.

If you don’t want to spend any more money, you’ll need to place your antenna differently. There are two options for this: placing it in a spot with weaker signal than where you have it, or turning it away from a signal that’s too strong, thereby attenuating the signal. This is the easiest, cheapest method, as long as you don’t mind going on the roof again.

Hopefully, this helps troubleshoot any problems you might have, and let’s you enjoy your booster to the fullest!

How May We Help You?

Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of cell phone signal boosters. Cell phone boosters amplify 3G & 4G LTE for any phone with any carrier for home, office, or vehicle.

We seriously hate dropped calls and poor coverage, so it's our goal in life to stomp on spotty signal like the little roaches they are:

  • Free consultation (ask us anything) with our US-based customer support ( or call us at 1-800-568-2723.
  • Free shipping.
  • Better signal or industry-leading 90 money-back guaranteed. No questions asked.
  • We want everyone to be satisfied, so we provide lifetime technical support and a 2-year warranty for all products.

Ask us anything and we'll be glad to help.