Complete Guide to Antennas 2021
- 05 Mar, 2021
If you drive a Maserati, you don’t try to save money by buying cheap tires on the side of the road. Owners of high-performance sports cars know that tires are one part of your vehicle where quality counts. The reason? Tires are the only part of your car that is touching the road, so they make a big difference in performance.
The same goes for the antennas used with cell phone signal booster systems. It is the only part that is "touching" the network. Using the right antenna for your situation can be the difference between having reliable cell phone signal or having to drive 5km in the middle of the night to get cell phone signal.
Antennas are essential components of signal booster systems. Lets take a closer look at the type of antennas that form part of cell phone signal booster systems.
Signal booster systems include three main components:
1. An Outdoor antenna or “donor antenna”
2. A Cell Phone Repeater or Amplifier
3. An Indoor antenna or “broadcasting antenna”
Choosing the right antennas for your system is crucial in order to get your cell phone signal booster to perform at its best. There are many factors that influence the choices of antenna such as:
- Are you seeking to amplify signal for one or multiple networks?
- Distance to the cell towers
- Strength of incoming signal
- Type of building material – does the building have concrete slabs or ceilings?
- Layout of the building or home
- Typography of your location
With regard to antennas, the basic rule of thumb is, the taller (or larger) the antenna is, the more decibel (dB) gain it produces. The more dB gain, the better the performance. Now there are exceptions to this rule, but only in some unique circumstances. If you want to bring in the best signal possible, then you want the tallest antenna with the most dB gain you can afford or tolerate (as far as antenna height goes).
For increased signal, the best position for your antenna is as high as possible outside your office, home or car.
Choosing the Correct Outdoor Antenna?
The main advantages of parabolic antennas such as The Long Ranger, is that they have high directivity and high gain. Parabolic antennas functions similarly to a flashlight reflector to direct the radio waves in a narrow beam, or receive radio waves from one particular direction only. Parabolic antennas have some of the highest gains, meaning that they can produce the narrowest beam widths, of any antenna type.
These antennas are great options for remote areas, where you are far away from towers or in very weak signal conditions. One disadvantage of parabolic antennas is that it can take some time to calibrate due to their high directivity and narrow beam width.
Directional Antennas (Yagi or LPDA Antennas)
Directional antennas are best used when you are far away from cell towers, or only looking to amplify signal for one network. If you are in a remote area, and are not surrounded by plenty of towers with close proximity, we would recommend a Yagi or LPDA antenna aimed at a specific tower to bring in signal.
Omni Directional Antennas
Omni directional antennas are recommended in situations where you are located in urban areas surrounded by plenty of cell towers and are looking to bring in cell signal for multiple mobile network operators. The benefits of omni-directional antennas are that they bring in signal from 360 degrees. Omni-directional antennas have slightly lower gain than directional antennas.
For Urban areas with strong signal we recommend our 4G Outdoor Omni-Directional Building Antenna 50 Ohm, PIM 140.
IF you are further away from cell towers or in weaker signal conditions we recommend our Medium Gain Omni-Directional Antenna.
Where to position your Outdoor Antenna?
The best place to start is often by performing a quick survey. Walk around the home or office – is there a particular spot where signal is good? Walk outside the building or on to the road– does the signal improve?
We recommend using an app such as Cell Network Info Lite (Only available on Android Devices) to see your signal strength reading in dBm (decibel milliwatts), which will give you a more accurate indication of your true signal strength and strong or weak spots in your building.
Climbing onto the roof can give you an idea whether height is an important factor in improving signal.
The next step is to find out where your nearest cell towers are, and how many towers are in the area. You can locate your closest cell towers by reading our Guide to Finding your Closest Cell Tower.
If you are still not sure, get in touch with one of our cell phone signal experts for a detailed site-survey and installation.
While each component of your cell phone signal booster plays a major role in getting the absolute best signal, the Inside Antenna is what ultimately delivers the final goods.
So which one will work best for you?
Wall Mount Panel antennas
Panel antennas are typically wall-mounted and send signal in a directional cone ranging from 45 to 70 degrees. Having such a narrow focus allows for stronger signal at the source (i.e. the closer to the panel antenna, the better the signal).
So panel antennas in general are good for spot locations where certain parts of the home, office, or building need better signal like a living room or conference room.
They are also a great option for multiple story buildings, to avoid interference or for homes that have concrete slabs and no ceilings.
Dome Antennas are generally best for buildings with Ceilings. Ceiling-mount domes broadcast amplified signal 360 degrees. This provides a wide horizontal spread of signal delivering equal signal to every direction it broadcasts.
Dome antennas are perfect in buildings with open plan floor layouts with little obstructions such as thick walls and other building materials.
For a sleek, inconspicuous broadcasting antenna, our Low Profile Omni-Directional Dome Antenna is a great option.
So Which Inside Antenna is right for you?
Do you have lots of inside interference like thick walls and metal and glass material all around? Do you have a concrete slab roof ceiling? Go with the panel antenna.
Do you have open space with virtually no walls or thin walls? Do you have ceiling boards? Go with the dome antenna.
How May We Help You?
Bolton Technical is the leading provider of cell phone signal boosters. Cell phone boosters amplify 3G & 4G LTE for any phone with any mobile network 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 JHB-based customer support
Free shipping on orders over R500.
Better signal or industry-leading 30 money-back guaranteed. No questions asked.
We want everyone to be satisfied, so we provide lifetime technical support and a 1-year warranty for all products.
Ask us anything and we'll be glad to help.