Complete guide to Cellphone Repeater purchase and installations
Now before you order your repeater, are there some things you need to know.
- Will the repeater work in you area or location?
- What type of Cellphone Repeater to get?
- How the cellphone repeater works?
I bought my first cellphone repeater online, tried to install it and then discovered when I arrived at the remote location on a farm that I was totally un-prepared and wasted my money. Man, did I waste my time and money.
1. Will the repeater work in you area or location?
And one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest questions to answer. Just download any APP on your phone through Google Store that track cellphone towers. (Smart phone required.)
I been on a farm, seen some towers on a distance and then discovered they not cellphone towers. Do your homework, check the location and distance to the closest tower. There area some really great free apps out there.
No signal? Not a problem at all. Just go to the highest point and get the app to work for a moment, even if you only have 1 bar for a second. (Only take GPRS to work for a couple of seconds.) I also suggest that you install the APP on your phone before testing it.
Now, don’t rush, there might be some towers close by that do not show with the first test. On the APP you will be able to determine your closest tower, may that be over a mountain, trees or just a very far way. (At least you know what you dealing with. Distance is much better than going over a mountain or trees tho.)
Also bear in mind that signals can move over a mountain or through a valley, but as the picture above indicate, that it “dips’ with an flow, and not directly as we always want to. Determine your location and do your calculations first. (This might help you with the location of your receiver areal for a better connections. Roofs, towers, height or trees)
Now we ready to move to the next step, especially that you know what you dealing with.
2. What type of Cellphone Repeater to get?
Now there are many different types of repeaters (click here for more detail for one source), some for radios, some for TV’s and some for Cellphones that also depend on your country and local legislation on radio signal use. South Africa seems to be more in the region of GSM 900/1800, so that already tells you one of the criteria to search for when buying a cellphone repeater. Now, 2G is the basic data and voice service. Most devices can handle 2G + 3G also that is just and upgrade of 2G (Faster speed) but also note that most older devices can’t handle 4G yet, to maybe stick with the basics for now.
- 2G capabilities GSM 900, GSM 1800
- 3G capabilities UMTS 900, UMTS 2100
- 4G capabilities LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2300
When working on remote area’s like farms, I suggest you also research the power in-put of the repeater, for example 12V DC and Amp usage. No use of installing this device on a farm for emergency use if they have often power cuts. (It does not work with load-shedding and definitely not during a power outage.) Most of the devices I used come with 12V DC input, some 1 to 2Am input. Installing a small solar panel, charger and a small battery might be vital for emergency situations.
3. How the cellphone repeater works?
Basically we have 3 components, namely:
- Receiver, (Antenna outside your house on the roof)
- the repeater, (box that does the work)
- and the extender. (The thing in the house that broadcast the signal.)
Now the receiver you have to place with your calculations done in section (1) above, may that be on top of your roof or tower. (Note that there are some very specific instructions to install this, reference to the height and sometimes minimum distances between the areal and the repeater box for better performance.) I also suggest that you do a temporarily installation to test before doing this permanently. In theory, your permanent areal installation should deliver better results of your temporarily location.)
Now, I never new this before, but your setup will require a constant power flow to work.
- The cellphone repeater put out (mostly 5V) out to the antenna through the cable, (from the 12V intakes it uses in most cases.
- The areal uses this 5V it receives through cable to collect signal, and
- takes it back to the repeater. Then it
- magnify the signal through the indoor antenna that can also be extended through a large area as the area will be limited, depending on the location and size. (Taking into consideration of the size of the house, the thickness of the walls [old farm houses] and flow-process of the layout. Not even WIFI runs through thick walls, but openings like doors.)
You only need 1 x aerial on the roof, 1 x repeater but you might need more in-door aerial in the house, depending on the surface you want to cover. Now there is a constant flow of power, (most cases 5V) trough the repeater, the external areal and the in-door transmitter. [Like a light globe working with electricity.] In-door transmitter use is totally dependent on the type of structure [thickness of the walls] and the area to be covered.