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How does a mobile signal booster work?
With the increase in new buildings and also in areas previously not known for office buildings, we are finding more clients have a lack of mobile signal. However, many enquirers are because of the query of how does mobile signal booster work?
What is a mobile signal booster?
A mobile signal booster is a set of equipment that helps the client receive a better signal when it is lacking within their building. Therefore, it takes an outside signal that is broadcast and boosts that signal throughout the internal space of the office or other building. Therefore, the previously missing signal is now distributed throughout and usable by all.
They are legal in the UK for use in two ways
- For boosters that are used within a motor vehicle
- Indoor application mobile phone boosters
OFCOM outlines some of the legality of these repeaters here https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/features-and-news/mobile-phone-repeaters
They can only boost one operator at a time and must also amplify all ranges of signal such as 2G,3G,4G, etc
Operation of a Mobile Signal Booster
As previously mentioned, the booster takes in a signal, boosts it, and then distributes it throughout the building.
They consist of the following
- The outdoor aerial
- The Internal amplifier
- The internal antennas to distribute the broadcast throughout the building
- The internal data cabling to link it all together
The specific installation will depend on the size of the building, the layout, and how the building is constructed. The signal is lowered by each wall and structure so more densely populated buildings will require greater internal antennas
The outdoor aerial is the first part to consider within the system. A mobile signal booster canopy creates an additional signal. Therefore, it can only boost the signal it receives. For instance, a weak outdoor signal will be a weakly boosted internal signal. Thus, it is important to position the external aerial where the mobile signal is at its greatest. We can scan the signals to find the best position
These units can be either
- Uni-Directional (Yagi)
The difference between the units is their signal receiving scope. Therefore, the uni-directional or Yagi will pull in a signal from a 45-degree scope. In contrast, the omnidirectional can see the signal in a 360-degree coverage. Therefore, due to its focused field of vision, the uni-directional can pull in the signal from a greater distance away
The internal amplifier is where the signal from the external aerial is first sent. Furthermore, the external signal enters the amplifier and is boosted throughout the building to designated positions. The amplifier is usually positioned in the main communications room so that it can be maintained along with the regular IT equipment
The number of antennas will depend on the size and make-up of the building. Also, what proportion of that building needs to be covered. Therefore, a signal check survey is required before installation to ascertain these positions. In addition, the antennas are usually installed “on show” for best performance. Therefore, if they are to be hidden away, the signal will decrease and an additional number of units will be required
Internal data cabling for a mobile signal booster
To link together all the above elements, specific data cabling needs to be installed. For instance, data cabling is required from the external aerial to the internal amplifier. In addition, individual data cables are required from the amplifier to the internal antennas. Depending on the locations and distances to the internal units, a different cable can be specified. Thus, the importance of a pre-site survey to check requirements
In many aspects, the installation of a mobile signal booster is the same as installing a new WiFi system. They both have a central point where data cabling runs back two. In addition, they both have units or antennas that are mounted to different areas to boost a signal. The only difference is that the signal booster has an external aerial that needs to be connected.
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