Do You Need Professional Installation For Your Signal Booster?

One of the first things that people consider when they open up their cell phone signal booster kit is, can I install this myself? Well, this depends on a few things and hopefully, we can clear up whether you think you can make this project a DIY one or if you should get a professional installer.

 

Professional signal booster installation.

 

 

What Kind of Booster Are You Installing?

There are four kinds of signal booster kits that most manufacturers sell. Of these four two typically require a professional installer.

Commercial boosters are the first of these two and it should be noted that it is not required to have a professional installer. However, there are many situations when you will need to get an installer for a commercial booster. First is when roof access is either difficult to get to or dangerous for a non-professional to be on top of. Secondly, many commercial signal booster users are business owners that are attempting to improve their ability to do business. They typically expect maximum effectiveness from their booster and this is best done by an installation professional.

The other kind of booster that will definitely require an installation service is the industrial booster. These provide such a high signal gain that they can actually disrupt major cellular carriers networks. For this reason, you will need a professional to properly attenuate your booster.

Residential and vehicle boosters are essentially the same to install however they typically are much more scaled down. This goes hand in hand with most manufacturers that try and market these booster kits as easy to install, DIY solutions.

 

Other Reasons to Look For Professional Installation

There are of course other reasons to get a professional installation. One of these is simply time. Time is one of the most valuable of anyone’s resources and we understand that everyone wants to save it. If you look for a professional installer it will almost certainly save you time. Another common reason for many that seek out professional installation is that the professional simply does a better job. Not only do they install the boosters quicker but they are able to clean up the wiring and make the installation look better at the end. They also are able to more accurately pinpoint the installation of antennas and your booster meaning you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck.

If all of this makes you feel as though you need professional installation for your cell phone signal booster let us know and we’d be happy to put you in touch with a member of our nationwide network of installation professionals.

Understanding Dead Zones, What Causes Them and How To Fix Them

With the advent of smartphones, we have grown accustomed to increased connectivity throughout our lives.Because of this, it’s no surprise that the dreaded dead zone is one of the most frustrating problems reported by cell phone users as reported by the Pew Research Center. This impacts not just our ability to make calls, but also things we expect from our smartphones such as texting, streaming videos, browsing the web, and sending important emails.

 

The Causes of Dead Zones

 

Cell phone dead zone.

 

Building Materials

The construction materials of your building is one of the leading causes of dead zones. Materials such as concrete, sheet metal, insulation, lumber, and high-efficiency glass can all block cell signal. This is because radio waves are easily obstructed by obstacles. This is only compounded when the obstructions are thick, which building materials often are. When the signal has to pass through all of these layers of material it often weakens and can lead to poor signal or full dead zones.

Distance From Cell Towers

Another reason that can cause dead zones is the distance from you to the cell tower you are connected to. As distance increases signal strength decreases. This can be compounded with issues such as obstructions as you will tend to have more of them as you increase distance. Most of the time this issue occurs because you are in a rural area. As there are fewer customers in these areas, carriers are not able to afford the infrastructure to widely cover them with comprehensive service.

The problems that arise from distant towers is often coupled with issues that occur during handoffs as you switch between towers. Typically when you are on the move and you leave the range of a tower it is able to patch you onto the next one relatively easily. However, sometimes this switch can be interrupted leading to your call dropping and other temporary losses in service. This type of issue is usually an error on your carriers side, so you are typically able to reconnect easily.

Problems With Your Device

Unfortunately, as your device ages, there are a few issues that can arise from simple wear and tear and daily use. One important component of your phone, the internal radio, can be damaged or weakened with age. This will cause your device to struggle to connect.

You can also experience issues if your phone’s software has not been updated with recent fixes. These software updates can provide crucial bug fixes to roaming software and will fix other bugged software if it exists.

Lastly, it is important to ensure that your phone has a proper charge when being used. The charge in the battery is important, as the charge of the battery decreases the chances of a dropped call increase.

Solutions to Dead Zones

A cell phone signal booster is a great way to solve problems such as dead zones or poor reception. They are able to extend networks and patch up dead zones. If you consistently get bad signal or have dead zones at your home or office a cell phone signal booster could be the solution to your problems.

Coaxial Cable: How to Choose The Right Kind For You

Understanding Coaxial Cables

There are many different kinds of coaxial cables and they are an integral part of many electronic systems. But with all these options it can be hard to decide which are best for you. There are a few important factors that can help you decide. First, the quality of the materials and secondly the impedance of the cable.

 

A diagram of a coaxial cable.

 

 

Cable Materials

There are three materials that most coaxial cables are made of; copper, aluminum, and silver.

Copper is the most common of these and is the second highest quality. It is the second best conductor and is fairly cheap. Copper can be difficult to use even when soldered because using most common fluxes will leave behind corrosive residues.Despite this, it has become the standard metal used for electrical conductors.

Aluminum is the cheapest metal used and it was extremely common decades ago when copper was in short supply. While aluminum is not as conductive as copper or silver it actually conducts better than copper on a per pound basis making it an ideal choice for wiring in weight constrained situations such as aircraft. Aluminum is also very susceptible to corrosion especially in the presence of moisture. Many older residences with aluminum wiring and connections often need to be switched over to copper because of this corrosion.

Silver is the third metal that you often encounter in wiring. While silver is the best conductor of the three it is the least common. This is for purely economic reasons as it is significantly more expensive than both copper and aluminum. Despite this, if you can find silver wiring it will provide superior conductivity and is easily soldered.

 

Cable Impedance

Cable impedance is directly related to the materials that the cable uses. This is measured in Ohms (Ω) and it can be described as the resistance that electricity or signals experiences as it travels through the wire. This means that the lower the impedance the higher quality the cable is. For coaxial cable there are two common impedances used in household electronics, 50 Ohm and 75 Ohm.

75 Ohm cable is the most common coaxial cable. It is the cheaper option and is commonly used for televisions and internet routers.This kind of wiring is often built into homes and electronics unless customers specify they need the higher grade connections. While 75 Ohm is not as fast as the 50 Ohm cables it is still perfectly capable of transmitting information across small distances (50 feet or less) before any serious loss occurs. So if you’re in a small use scenario you can easily save some money using the cheaper cable.

50 Ohm cable is not as common as it’s 75 Ohm counterpart however it offers considerable benefits. It is able to run over a hundred feet before it starts to experience data loss which makes it ideal for larger scale commercial applications. This does come with the drawback of having to install thicker cables and larger connectors to accommodate the superior data transfer. This can be a difficult constraint to overcome especially if the building was not originally designed to have these thicker wires running through it.

To provide a concrete example for you a 75 Ohm cable will lose about 1.6 times the amount of signal every 10 feet. This ends up being about -2 dB at 50 feet and this is where the affect can start to become visible.

A Brief Summary

The quality of metal used in cables can make a big difference in the end result of not just your cell phone signal booster system, but in any electronics. When price is not an issue it is best to get cables that have silver or copper in them and to only get aluminum cables when you are constrained by budget.

When comparing impedances of cables it is important to remember that as a rule of thumb lower is better. That being said common cables such as 75 Ohm cabling will not provide much benefits in situations where you are running cable less than 50 feet. After that distance though you will notice that the higher quality cables will begin to make big impacts in the end result of your projects.

5G Edges Closer to Reality

After an exciting week in Barcelona we are seeing new plans shaping up for a 5G network to be implemented in the United States. We saw keynote speeches from key players in this development such as Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, and executives from major United States carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. There were two big 5G announcements and we’ll outline them for you real quick.

 

5g logo

 

The 5G Auction

During the conference Pai expressed his desire to take the first steps in creating our nations 5G network. This first step is deciding who will be using the radio waves. This will be done with an auction that the carriers will all participate in. During this, each carrier will have the opportunity to purchase different spectrums of the wavelength. They will be bidding on the mmSpectrum, which has been previously unused.

This auction can’t take place unless Congress passes a bill, H. R. 4986, which would remove a requirement for auction payments to be placed in an interest-bearing account before the auction occurs. This is problematic as most banks and other financial institutions prefer to not open accounts like these. This bill has bipartisan support and is expected to pass on March 6th.

 

How Carriers are Proceeding

The Chief Technology Officers of Sprint and T-Mobile criticized their competitors AT&T for their zealous goals of launching their first 5G network this year. Both CTO’s expressed that they would rather launch their first 5G devices that are “more meaningful” as opposed to the 5G internet router that AT&T plans to launch. Both executives also shared that they would be planning on rolling out the 5G networks first in “places that matter” such as New York City, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. But they believe that their networks will have expanded into at least 30 cities by the end of 2018.

All of these announcements show that we are moving forward with 5G within 2018 and 2019 depending on what you consider a true 5G network entails.