How to Install Cellular Booster
A Cellular Booster or Repeater System if not installed properly can prove to be quite ineffective and create an atmosphere of frustration and dissonance. A typical Cellular Booster system for a home for instance is relatively simple and consists of these basic components:
- External (Donor) Antenna – Either Directional or Omni-Directional and picks up available external signal
- Amplifier – Provides gain (power) to the signal
- Internal (Server) Antenna – Again, either Directional or Omni-Directional and rebroadcasts the signal within the coverage area
- Coaxial Cable with appropriate connectors – Connects the antennas to the amplifier
There will at times be other components utilized for a home application; for example, larger homes will require multiple internal antennas to effectively cover the entire home and antennas will either daisy chain or home run from the amplifier utilizing the appropriate splitter or coupler (contact the Cellular Solutions Design Team at 1-877-233-6673 for free design assistance). In-line surge protectors are also suggested to protect the amplifier from a lightning strike to the external antenna.
External (Donor) Antenna
The best location for the external antenna is going to be on the roof or at the roofline. For an omni- directional antenna, ensure that it is placed where there is existing signal for all necessary carriers and ensure that the signal for all carriers is fairly consistent (within 5dB). In a home or building setting, the directional yagi is going to be the preferred donor antenna. This can be positioned directly at specific cell towers and increase the overall composite signal coming in to the amplifier. Point it away from the building or home and ensure that it is perpendicular to the ground. Connect the donor antenna to the surge protector utilizing the 50ohm coaxial cable such as LMR 400. The surge protector will connect to the amplifier utilizing another piece of 50ohm coaxial cable such as a 2’ jumper cable.
The amplifier can be placed anywhere inside the home, it will need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Most amplifiers signify if some type of warning event such as oscillation takes place so ideally the amplifier would be located somewhere that can be easily accessed in case the system is not working or adjustments need to be made to the amplifier itself.
Internal (Server) Antenna
A panel (directional) antenna will distribute the signal directly in front of it at a narrow beam width; ensure that it is directed towards the area of the home requiring coverage away from the external antenna. Most internal antennas utilized inside homes or buildings are omni-directional dome style antennas. These redistribute the signal all the way around them so the more centrally located they are within the coverage area, the more reliable the coverage capacity will be.
It is important to consider that prior to permanently installing the components and cabling that a soft install should be performed to ensure that the equipment will work for the necessary application. After the permanent install monitor the system for any warning events or unreliability.