How To improve your Cell Phone Reception with a Repeater Antenna

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    Depending on where you live and who your provider is you may find that your cell phone reception is less than great. There are two parts to cell phone reception there is the signal strength which we all know from the number of bars we get on our phones and then there is signal quality. In most cases as signal strength gets lower the quality of the signal will also go down. However if you are like me you might live or work in an area where your strength is low but the quality is good.

    If you have a high quality signal available to your home then that means the signal normally does not drop calls even though you may only get one or two bars. This type of signal can be due to a variety of reasons but it means there isn’t any interference in the signal and it is probably distance that is causing you problems.

    Normally it is best to be within 10 to 15 miles of a cell phone tower to get good reception. If you live in a mountainous area your provider may need to increase the number of towers in your area to improve the quality or availability of the signal.

    Lower signal quality and power levels may mean that you can do some things like text and make calls but if you obtain the internet over your phone or a wifi hotspot you might have a lot of dropped packets that reduce the speed of your connection.

    Due to the fact that more people are using cell phones for their primary phone and costs are limiting buildout of network towers cell phone providers and phone companies have begun offering supplemental antennas that can improve reception in your individual home.


    Cell Phone Repeater Antennas

    Repeater antennas have been used by the broadcast industry for a long time. They are used to extend the range of  both radio and television broadcasts to rural areas.

    A repeater antenna works by listening for a weak radio signal and then amplifying it. In Television and Radio it is pretty easy because the signal is in one direction from the original broadcast. To extend the range a broadcaster will place their repeater antenna just within good range at the outer bounds of their broadcast area. This is normally about 40 miles from the original antenna towers. The Repeater will listen for television signal and then rebroadcast it away from the original tower as to not bounce the signal. Bouncing the signal back at the original antenna would cause it to cancel out.

    In your home your Cell Phone Repeater needs to listen for broadcasts from the Cell Phone Towers and also broadcast back the signal from your cell phone.

    To do this there are two antennas. One that is placed in your attic or on the top of your home that connects to the cell phone towers and one that is inside your home to connect to your cell phone.

    Proper installation of both antennas is important because just as repeater antennas can bounce signal and cancel them for television towers your personal repeater antenna can do the same thing. Normally they say that you should have 15 feet of vertical separation at minimum between the antennas.

    In reality the best results will be when you place your the antenna that connects to the cell phone towers as high as you can get it. This might mean placing it on a sturdy pole or tower outside of the home. You should not place it in a tree because of the movement of the tree in the wind. Even a small breeze can sway a tree enough to make reception change.

    The antenna inside the home that connects to your cell phone should be placed away from any electronic devices like a computer or television. These devices and ones with motors generate radio signal that will cause you problems with reception. You should also elevate the antenna in the room so signal that passes through walls won’t also have to pass through furniture and other items in your home. These guides also apply to wifi signals in your home if you have poor wifi in your home try raising the antenna to the top of the room and getting distance between the adaptor and your computer or TV.

    How do Cell Phone Repeaters Perform in real life?

    As for everything the results you can get depend on many factors related to your specific location.  To work best the External antenna that talks to your Cell Phone Tower should have a clear line of sight to the tower. This doesn’t mean you can actually see the antenna because it may be 10 or 15 miles away. It means that there are no obstructions like the building next to you or a mountain. It should also be positioned as high as you can get it. If you have a Television Antenna on your home that might be a good place or on the side of your home at the peak.

    You will also need to contact your cell phone provider and ask them for the location of the tower nearest you so you can point your antenna. Normally they won’t give you an exact location for security reasons but they may give you a general compass position to help you point your antenna. If not it will take a lot of trial and error to find the right direction.

    In some instances you can see amazing results of no reception resulting in a full 5 bars. In other instances you can see 8 to 10 times signal strength improvement however if your signal is very weak it may mean nothing.

    Final Note

    You can see amazing results for improving your cell phone reception with the use of Cell Phone Repeater Antennas.

    You can expect to pay from $100 to $300 for a general consumer grade repeater and more for a commercial model.

    If you have Verizon for your provider they may even provide a free repeater depending on your location.  They do this because of the FCC Requirement to provide Telephone Service and now Broadband Service to every home in their service area. If you are not served by Verizon another provider in your area may also provide a free repeater. As you can guess if they give you a free repeater it will only work with their service.

    If you buy your own repeater it will work with any service and it should work with any cell phone technology like 3G 4G LTE and others.

    Before you buy any specific device you want to check out reviews for it. Some of these devices do not work because they are not made well. They are often pushed on consumers by retail companies because of the profit margin.

    If you contact a few commercial installers and your provider you are likely to come up with brands that are not recognized by retailers but are available and often these devices work really well.

    On the other hand your specific home and how you install it has a lot to do with performance.


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