on May 05, 2016 James N
We get plenty of questions about that on a regular basis, and today's article is all about cables & connectors for your cell phone signal booster.
When signal travels though any cable, it loses strength. So the shorter the cable, less loss occurs. Less is more in this situation, and getting the right length of cable is important to maintain quality signal.
All cell phone signal boosters are complete kits and come with the appropriate cable type and length to maintain reasonable dB gain (signal strength). But there are times when you need just a bit more reach, so it's important to figure out how much length you can afford before signal loss offsets any signal gain.
First, it's important to identify your cable type & connector. For cell phone signal boosters for home, there are three types of cables.
The Wilson400 cable is an LMR400-like cable and is the best grade of Wilson cables.
They are 50 Ohm cables and are fitted with N-Male Connectors. These are essentially pro-grade cables designed for large installations from 7,500 sq ft to 50,000 sq ft. Cable length ranges from 50 to 1,000 feet. Comes in black or white.
The most popular units that include these cables are the weBoost Connect 4G-X and the WilsonPro line of commercial signal boosters. However, they are compatible with any equipment that uses 50 Ohm cables fitted with N-Connectors.
The RG-6 cable is a 75 Ohm cable with F-Male connectors. This is the same cable used with many Cable/Satellite TV devices and comes pre-wired in many homes.
Mainly used for the average home installation that covers 2,500 to 5,000 sq ft. Cable length from 20 to 50 feet. Comes only in white.
RG-11 cable is a 75 Ohm cable with F-Male connectors. It's similar to the RG-6, but there's a big difference. Whereas the RG-6 tops out at 50 feet, the RG-11 ranges from 50 to 100 ft and features low loss comparable to the Wilson400.
Both are fitted with SMA-connectors. The difference between the two is the better low-loss quality of the RG-58 with cable length up to 20 ft compared to the RG-174's max length of 6 ft.
As mentioned before, with increasing cable length more signal loss occurs. Signal gain and loss is measured in decibels (db). And decibels are measured exponentially. A loss of 3 dB means a weakened signal by 2x!
So looking at the chart, the Wilson400 (and the equally powerful RG-11) has the best minimal lost and is almost twice as effective compared to the RG-6 for home installations.
Whereas the RG-174 should never be installed in any unit that needs more than 6 feet of cable since it does a poor job of carrying signal at 10 feet.
And as always, you can convert your cable installation with special cable connectors and adapters. However, to mix and match 50 ohm & 75 ohm cables and systems would lead to further signal loss, so it's best to stay consistent with the same type of relevant 50 or 75 ohm system and cables.
For the average joe, just what exactly is the difference between 50 and 75 ohm cables? Think of signal as a drink and cables as straws. 75 ohm cables are your typical soda straws and 50 ohm cables are those big gulp carnival straws.
Hope this helps.
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