What Are Cell Phone Repeaters A Detailed Guide

By Staff Reporter , Jun 17, 2020 07:09 PM EDT
(Photo : Unsplash)

Let's say you move to an isolated area. However, your cellular reception is poor. Worst of all, you only have one provider to choose from.

The problem isn't necessarily your provider. In many cases, cellular towers are too far away, resulting in bad reception. It's a problem many rural residents face, but the answer comes in the form of cell phone repeaters. 

A phone repeater improves the signal quality from your current carrier. However, the right cell signal repeaters depend on such factors as the location and the size of the home or building.

This article will provide an in-depth look into cell repeaters. Let's explore. 

What is a Phone Repeater?

Cell repeaters improve signal quality for indoor and outdoor areas. You can find them inside homes or buildings. Also, you can use them in boats or vehicles. Repeaters don't create signals; they enhance the signal strength. They take signals in the air and amplify it accordingly. 

They're especially useful if you reside in an area receiving poor reception. 

  • Example: Many rural areas suffer from inadequate reception. However, signal repeaters bring quality reception in areas with poor cellular infrastructure. 

A cell signal repeater comprises the following elements:

  • Amplifier

  • Interior Antena

  • Exterior Antena 

The outside antenna enhances the signal. It receives and sends signals to cell towers. As a result, users receive better cell service. For the indoor repeaters, you'll receive an amplifier and interior antenna in a single unit. 

The amplifier is the core component of the device. The amplifier is bi-directional.

You can also add components (i.e. taps or surge protectors) to enhance the unit's strength. With that, you must also choose the right unit based on your circumstance.

How Do I Know Which Repeater is Right for Me?

Choose a repeater based on where you intend to use it. If you're installing it on a vehicle, for example, choose an outside car antenna. There are several types within this category, such as:

  • Waterproof antennas (i.e. boats)

  • Magnet antennas (i.e. cars)

  • Recreational antennas (i.e. campers)

You'll choose outside antennas for any mobile unit. The car-based variety is smaller and easier to install. 

Truck units or recreational units require longer installation procedures. Choose a waterproof antenna if you reside in an area prone to chaotic weather. 

On the other hand, buy an inside antenna for your home or building. This is a great option for office buildings or multi-layered structures.

You may have to pair the amplifier with multiple antennas to obtain stronger signal quality. Also, you could install the repeater to provide coverage to a certain area. 

  • Note: For commercial buildings, choose an industrial-grade version to boost coverage. 

One form of inside antenna is a panel antenna. You can install a panel antenna on walls or ceilings. Ceiling installations project the signals from the roof to the lower floors. Moreover, they're useful for wider spaces.

Another option is the dome antenna. You'll mount the dome version on your roof to obtain coverage in all directions. Additionally, domes are ideal for single-floor buildings. 

What are the Laws Regarding Cell Signal Repeaters?

Nations have different laws on cell repeaters. For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) endorses the use of repeaters for rural areas. However, not all repeaters come with the same quality.

Choose a certified device that has a good reputation. A non-certified repeater may not carry the same quality as a certified version. 

All repeaters in Canada and the United States must have certification. Certified repeaters have gone through a rigorous testing process. 

You should also register your repeater with your carrier. Registering your device gives you liability protection.

You can register your device by contacting the carrier. From there, a rep will help you complete the registration process. 

How Can I Get the Best Signal Quality?

In addition to proper certification, the signal strength also depends on the location. To know the best location, study the signal bars on your cell phone. A weak signal indicates the ideal place to install an external antenna. 

Also, note the square footage claims on the packaging. Your repeater should foster strong external coverage. A quality repeater should cover the full square footage.

A lesser external antenna won't provide the necessary coverage advertised on the packaging. If you receive less coverage, you'll need a tougher signaling system.

This is especially true if you live in an area with weaker coverage. Choose a device that has a powerful amplifier. 

With that, you may deal with factors that are beyond your control. For instance, trees and mountains may obscure signal quality, no matter how powerful your device may be. Powerful signal transmission relies on direct access to a cellular tower.

If you're dealing with trees or mountains, avoid getting cheaper signal repeaters. A device with a powerful amplifier is your best option. You may also need to get additional antennas. 

Also, choose an amplifier with a six-decibel increase. However, an amplifier that decreases six decibels will provide half the strength. 

Repeater Types

You'll find two main types of repeaters: analog and smart signal. Most amplifiers are analog versions.

Analogs boost signals around them. You'll also recognize them as bi-directional repeaters. 

The smart signal type improves signaling using processors that filter the coverage before broadcasting begins. This type is more powerful than the analog types.

The amplifiers of smart signals have 100 decibels. The analog option ranges from 50 to 70 decibels.

You don't need outdoor antennas with the smart alternative. They're also easier to install. However, they're more expensive than traditional versions. 

Cell Phone Repeaters Done the Right Way

The most important thing to keep in mind when shopping for cell phone repeaters is the amplifier quality. The amplifier is the primary vessel that enhances signal quality coming from cell towers. Additionally, certified repeaters will provide the quality you're looking for.

If you want to spare no expense, consider the smart signal variety. Though more expensive, smart signal types provide the best quality you need. Consider a more expensive option if you live in regions that block cellular tower reception. 

Interested in reading more? Read more in our tech section to gain additional insight into other topics. 

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