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How Amplifiers Work

on December 10, 2013

A cell phone communicates with a tower by sending and receiving radio signals between the antenna and an antenna on a cell tower. Within the United States and Canada, there are many different protocols for this communication which utilize different technologies on different radio frequencies. Finding which cellular signal booster you need may call for additional research on the cellular provider which requires the signal enhancement. A strong cellular signal will result in faster data speeds as well as outstanding reception and call quality (which includes reducing the number of or close to eliminating dropped calls).

A cellular signal is weak due to many factors. This may include the distance from the cellular tower, manmade obstructions such as buildings, bridges and tunnels and natural obstructions such as trees, hills and storms. Usually, the higher in which you are able to position a cellular (or booster) antenna, the stronger your cellular signal would be. However, reducing distance to a tower is always the most reliable way to strengthen a cellular signal and improve reception.

A cellular signal booster is a repeater. It does not create a cellular signal but enhances it. It is similar to how a microphone and speaker combination greatly raises the volume of a voice. This technology is designed for areas of poor but existent cellular signal. A consumer cellular signal boosting solution is comprised of three components and cables to connect them together. These include an outside antenna to pull the cellular signal, an amplifier (or booster) to enhance the cellular signal and an inside antenna to broadcast the cellular signal. There are wired (or direct connect) solutions which eliminate the need for an inside antenna by directly connecting to the cellular device (making them a single-user solution). There are amplifiers available for different situations which may include the cellular band or protocol which requires a signal boost, the coverage area which requires a signal boost or the amount of signal boost required.

Consumer responsibility is required due to the power of many cellular signal boosters. Cellular signal amplifiers and antennas both provide gain. Gain is the ability to increase the power of a signal; it is measured in dB and is the power added to the signal by the amplifier or antenna. Too much gain can result dangerous consequences. This is where attenuation (or loss) becomes important. This is a reduction of signal strength, it is cumulative and subtracted from the signal. It is provided by cables, splitters, attenuators, connectors as well as advanced amplifiers. Too much signal gain too close to a tower can result in the overload of a tower potentially damaging the tower. Since cellular towers are property of a cellular provider and a cellular signal boosting solution is the property of the consumer, the consumer does have personal financial liability for damage to a cellular tower. This is caused by amplifiers which are either too unnecessarily powerful and/or utilize unintelligent hardware designs of a system. Another risk when installing a cellular signal boosting solution is oscillation (or feedback). This occurs when the spacing between the outside antenna of a system and the inside antenna of a system are too close to each other causing the two antennas to interfere with each other and into a possible radio frequency (RF) loop. The risk with this is that it can potentially damage the cellular signal boosting system rendering it useless.

While many low quality solutions provide risks, Wilson Electronics products are well-designed and able to safely provide the cellular signal boost required for many consumers. Wilson Electronics amplifiers have three lights, a red light to alert for the risk of oscillation, an orange light to alert for the risk of overload and a green light to let a user know that everything is working as it should. When there is a risk of getting to the point of overload either by too much power produced by the system or being too close to a cellular tower, Wilson Electronics boosters have an automatic shutdown feature which will power the system down prior to getting to that point keeping consumers safe from this potential liability. Due to the built-in safety features of the Wilson amplifiers, it is extremely rare that a Wilson amplifier system will pose a physical danger to any cell phone tower. In terms of keeping the system safe from the danger of oscillation, Wilson Electronics also has an automatic shutdown feature in the case that the inside antenna and outside antenna are too close to one another. Wilson’s entire selection of cellular signal boosting solutions in a building setting includes adjustable gain knobs allowing for a user to control the amount of gain and lower it in the case that too much unnecessary power is being produced. While cellular signal boosting solutions do pose great risks, Wilson Electronics products include many features to ensure that it is safe and secure for users.

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