The Science Behind Cellular Amplifiers Simplified
- 24 Oct, 2019
Cellular Amplifiers or Cellphone Signal Boosters are gaining popularity in South Africa. More people are starting to realise how cellphone signal boosters can improve their lives, and in many cases these devices have become a necessity to facilitate communication in remote areas or guarantee constant connectivity for your business located in the urban jungle.
But do you truly understand what an amplifier is, and how it works? Most people don’t research the inner workings in-depth, fearing it might all be too technical. Well, we are here to simplify how cellular amplifiers work, in a manner easy enough that even a layman can understand.
The Simple Facts On Cellular Amplifiers
Let us begin with the definition of an amplifier. In our daily lives we might use many amplifiers, yet, most of us don’t truly understand what it is and how it works. Amplifiers you might be familiar with include hearing-aids, loudspeakers and those black boxes you plug into an electric guitar. In it’s most simple form, an amplifier is an electronic device that increases the power of an input signal.
The amplifier takes power from a power supply and changes it to match the shape of the input signal, even if the incoming signal is stronger. The level of amplification of the input signal depends upon the power of the amplifier. The ratio between the input signal’s strength and the enhanced signal’s strength is called “gain”. The higher the gain, the more powerful the amplifier.
Cellphone Signal Amplifiers
When cellphone amplifiers are considered, the incoming signal is what the phone receives from the cellular tower. A Cellphone amplifier increases that signal to higher levels, resulting in improved signal reception. When you receive amplified signal reception, your call quality improves, date speeds increase and dropped calls are a thing of the past.
The benefits of a cellular signal amplifier are varied. Within South Africa, various radio frequencies are used by mobile network operators, thus choosing the correct amplifier requires some understanding of how they operate. That’s why the Bolton team are here - to explain the differences and benefits of various Cell Phone Signal Amplifiers.
Bolton Technical Cellular Amplifier Benefits:
- Boosts signal for all SA Networks - MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom.
- Amplifies signal on 2G, 3G and 4G.
- Improves signal up to 32X!
- All products are ICASA approved.
- Purchase an easy install kit OR make use of our design and installation service.
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee- if you are not 100% satisfied with your improved signal, we will provide a full refund.
- 1-year Product Warranty.
Weak Signal - Remote vs. Urban Situation Explained
You might wonder why your cellular signal is weak in the first place. If cell phones receive signal and cellular towers send them out, then why would you need an amplifier? That is a great question to ask.
While cellular networks are everywhere in urban areas, there are several remote and rural areas that do not have any cellular towers from their particular mobile operator nearby. This means weak signal for that telecom network.
Conversely, in metropolitan city areas, cellular signal is often obstructed by man-made objects such as skyscrapers, tunnels and bridges. Even the weather can influence and disrupt signal resulting in poor signal reception.
How Is The Signal Amplified?
Cell phone signal amplifiers work different to other types of amplifiers, in that they don't form a new amplified signal. Instead they repeat the original signal that was broadcasted from the cell tower, after boosting it. That is why we also refer to cellular amplifiers or signal boosters as “repeaters”.
The main difference between a cell phone signal amplifier and other types of amplifiers is that the signal is not created, but only enhanced. A standard cellular amplifier consists of three main units:
1. The outside antenna that receives cellular signal from the cell tower
2. An amplifier which receives signal from the outside antenna and enhances it
3. An inside antenna that broadcasts the amplified signal to your cell phone.
There are alternative configurations available for this setup, and it is not fixed in stone. Many different accessories can be connected for large-scale boosting operations or vehicles that require constant connectivity such as ambulances.
Risks and Responsibility
As mentioned earlier, “gain” is the ratio of the input signal strength and the amplified signal strength. One might think that the higher the gain, the better the amplifier - but this is only true to some extent. Firstly, using an amplifier that has higher gain then you need is a waste of resources. This will give you no additional benefit. Secondly, if a cell phone amplifier's gain is too high and is operating in close proximity to a cell tower, it can overload the tower. This could lead to serious consequences and can result in damage to the cell tower.
Currently there aren’t many laws that regulate amplifiers and much less the gain from amplifiers. Thus it is the installer or consumer’s responsibility to keep amplifier gain in check. To minimise unwanted gain, attenuation is key.
Attenuation is the opposite of gain - meaning loss. Loss is basically a reduction in signal strength and can be achieved by using various connectors, crimps and cables. Advanced amplifiers often include embedded components that can reduce the gain on the signal if needed.
Amplifiers from non-reputable brands often have extraordinarily high gain in order to provide a more powerful amplifier. Not only is there a risk that the cell tower might be damaged, but these radio frequencies that are broadcasted over such a powerful amplifier could interfere with emergency radio frequencies. To avoid such issues, it is always prudent to go with a reputable amplifier manufacturer.
These risks are not only to outside entities, but to your own amplifier too. Should the authorities identify your amplifier as interfering with a cell tower, it could be removed and you could face a hefty fine. Another common reason people experience problems with their amplifiers is when the outside and inside antennas aren’t located far enough from one another. The result is a radio frequency loop, referred to as oscillation - which means that the two antennas interfere with one another. This could lead to the entire system malfunctioning altogether.
Making Decisions On Purchasing Cellular Amplifiers
To avoid issues and problems, one should consider buying amplifiers from reputable brands. In the SA market, Wilson Electronics is possibly the most trusted manufacturer of cell phone signal amplifiers. Another important consideration is to purchase signal boosters that are ICASA certified.
All amplifiers from Wilson Electronics come with three lights: red, indicating risk of signal oscillation; orange, signifying risk of overload; and green which lets one know that everything is working as it should. Should there be oscillation or overload the booster automatically shuts down to protect the system and the cell towers. Wilson Electronic's amplifiers have a patented feature called "automatic gain control" which means that the up-link and down-link signal's are automatically adjusted to the strongest workable signal.
Without going into technical details too much, we hope that the information will help make informed decisions on cellular amplifiers. When considering a purchase decision, one needs to keep cellphone and network compatibility in mind, firstly. Safety is a close second.
Our friendly world-class support team is standing by to assist with any queries or questions about cellular amplifiers.
Call us today on +27 11 749 3085 or email email@example.com and take the first step to amplifying your signal.