Cellular Antenna Advice
Cellular Antenna Advice
Need more information on how to improve cell phone reception and boost cellular signal? Well, you've come to the right place. The information we've compiled on this page is based on our conversations with carriers, antenna and phone manufacturer reps and engineers as well as our own customers. You should have a pretty good idea of the antenna you need to boost cellular signal after reading this page.
How to Improve Cell Phone Reception using External Antennas
In the past, many of our customers have had great success connecting an external antenna to their cell phones to boost cellular signal. Unfortunately today's cell phones do not come equipped with external antenna ports to enable you to connect directly to an external antenna. We recommend a powered signal booster for this purpose. If you to boost a signal when you travel, consider the Wilson Sleek or Wilson Mobile Wireless boosters. For home or office, consider one of our Building Signal Booster Systems.
Cellular Internet Devices
Other cellular devices to have external antenna ports that allow you connect an antenna directly to. We have external antenna adapters for cellular data cards, Hotspots / MiFi and Machine to Machine (M2M) devices.
Magnetic mount external antennas can be used on a vehicle or used in a fixed location at your home or office. Many of our customers mount these near or outside a window.
Wilson also makes a dual band antenna called the Trucker Antenna. This antenna can be mounted on truck mirrors or on a pole. It can also be bolted onto the side of a building. There is also an RV Trucker Antenna and hole mount Trucker versions. Because it has a built-in ground plane, it does not have to be mounted on anything metal. In some cases, the trucker mirror mount antenna outperforms the 3db magnetic mount because the gain is higher.
External Antenna Cost
Adding an external antenna to your cell phone is the most cost effective way to improve reception. The price range for adding an external antenna to your cell phone ranges from $40 to over $100 depending on antenna, adapter and cable type.
Antenna Kits & Bundles
We also provide antenna kits that include an external antenna and an adapter to connect to your phone. You can find these kits by selecting your phones make and model from our menu. They are listed with other accessories for you phone.
Can you connect to your device?
First, you will need a way to connect an antenna to your phone. Few newer cell phones have port to connect directly to them. Cellular Internet devices like cellular data cards, USB modems, Hotspots / MiFis have RF ports that enable you to connect an antenna directly. Also, some installable vehicle hands-free kits have external antenna adapters built into them. If there is no way to connect an external antenna to your device, you might consider a Wireless Amplifier/Repeater systems that boost cellular signal without needing a direct connection to your phone.
Type of Terrain
Terrain can have a lot to do with selecting the right antenna. For flat, more open areas, look for higher gain antennas in the 3db to 9db range. They have flatter, wider radiation patterns. For more hilly areas or areas with obstructions such as trees or buildings, consider a lower gain antenna in the 0db to 3db range. If you travel within different types of areas, consider a 3db to 5db range antenna.
Antenna Type/Frequency Range
Cellular service bands in the U.S. are usually 800MHz range (806-894 MHz), 1900MHz range Digital PCS (1850-1990 MHz), Nextel (806-821 MHz Tx and 851-866 MHz Rx) and GSM 1900MHz. Newer frequencies being used for 4G data are 700MHz LTE and 1700/2100. Some like Clear and Sprint use 2500MHz. Although a cellular device can work on multiple bands, they only work on one band at a time. You may work near a 1900MHz range tower and live near an 800MHz tower. If you want to make sure your covered wherever you go, consider a dual band antenna. If you're not sure of the type of phone network (800MHz, 1900MHz, GMS Range) you're using or having reception problems in, contact your cellular phone Service Provider or local dealer. They will be able find out for you.
Choosing a Cellular Phone External Antenna
Multi Band or Digital PCS & 1900MHz GSM Networks
If you're having reception problem s in 1900MHz range Digital PCS areas or need to cover both 800MHz and 1900MHz, we recommend one of the following:
Wilson Dual Band Trucker Antenna
The Wilson Trucker is a very effective all around omni-directional antenna in both 800MHz and 1900MHz digital areas.
The Trucker is about 3 foot tall and has a built in ground plane. The built in ground plane makes it a great antenna for applications where a metal ground plane is not available such as homes, offices, RV's and Truck mirrors.
The trucker is available in different models for mirror mount on larger trucks and pole mount for home or office use RV's, hole mounts (standard NMO) and car trunk mounts.More Wilson Trucker Antenna Info
Boost Home or Office Cell Signal
Many times you can use your phone outside your home but not inside. Many of our customers just use a magnetic base car antenna for good signal improvement.
If you need just a little help, consider the Micro Magnetic Antenna Kit. Set the Micro Mag Antenna close to a window and you should see a good improvement in signal strength. (Note: Due to different building construction, not everyone can get reception improvement from placement of the antenna inside.). The Micro Mag is also small and more portable than other options.
The Wilson Building Mount Antenna is also popular for in home or office use. It has several mounts available and has a built in ground plane.
If you need a lot of help such as you get no signal or you cannot make a call at all, you might want to consider a Yagi Antenna. These are directional antenna and are more difficult to install. You might try another antenna first before resorting to the Yagi.
Magnetic and Glass Mount Antennas
Larsen or Wilson antennas perform very well in this range. The Larsen's have heavier duty magnetic bases and thicker ultra low loss cables. They come with a magnetic base or glass mount.
If you plan to use it away from the car (home or office), we recommend providing a ground plane such as setting it on a piece of metal, filing cabinet or metallic tape.
Glass mount antennas should be used on cars, trucks and vans only. The glass you will be mounting your antenna to should be non tinted and not contain metals which can reduce it's effectiveness.
Wilson Electronics also makes very effective, smaller antennas with lighter weight magnetic bases in this category.
Shop Glass Mount Antennas
Mini Dual Band Antenna
For more portable use, the Mini Dual Band antenna is very effective in metropolitan areas where large buildings may block your signal. It's small (about 3" tall) and easy to move from place to place.
Single Band Analog and Digital Cellular (800MHz) Phones & Networks
If you're having reception problems in 800MHz range Analog (Cellular) or Digital Cellular areas, we recommend our:
5db Gain Antenna: This is a very popular and effective 800MHz antenna. It's a little large (about 2 ft.) and comes with a magnetic base or glass mount. This antenna will increase your range in more wide open, flat rural areas and is great for the traveler. If you plan to use it away from the car, we recommend providing a ground plane such as setting the antenna on a piece of metal or metallic tape. If you plan to use it away from the car, we recommend providing a ground plane with magnetic mounts such as setting the antenna on a metal plate, filing cabinet or metallic tape. Glass mount antennas should be used on cars, trucks and vans only. The glass chosen to mount this antenna on should be non tinted and not contain metals which can reduce it's effectiveness.
Wilson Dual Band Trucker: These are longer, highly effective cellular antennas with built in ground planes. They come in mirror mount for larger trucks and pole mount for home or office use as well as vehicle use. A version is available for RV's, NMO hole mounts and trunk mounts.
3db Gain Antenna: If the 5db gain and Wilson Trucker antennas are too tall, select this antenna. It also comes with a magnetic base or glass mount. This antenna will increase your range in more open areas. If you plan to use it away from the car, we recommend providing a ground plane such as setting the antenna on a piece of metal, filing cabinet or metallic tape. Glass mount antennas should be used on cars, trucks and vans only. The glass chosen to mount this antenna on should be non tinted and not contain metals which can reduce it's effectiveness.
MicroMagmount: It's very effective in metropolitan areas where large buildings may block your signal. It's small and easy to move from place to place.
Yagi Directional Antennas
Yagi Antenna: We recommend this antenna for more remote areas. It's not a easy to install and set up as other antennas but they have higher gains. It's a directional antenna so it must be mounted permanently on a pole. You'll have to play around with aiming it in the direction that gives you the best results. Get more info on Yagi Antennas here.
Shop Yagi Antennas
iDen Antennas - Nextel, BoostMobile, MIKE (Canada)
iDen frequencies are typical within the 800MHz range. Depending on the system, 800mhz single band antennas can be used. We do have specific omnidirectional antennas in the iDen 806-866 MHz / 896-939 MHz range as well.
RVers / Travelers
We have many customers that travel about the US in RV's. Most of these motor homes do not have metal roofs which could act as a ground plane for their antenna so an antenna with a built in ground plane or construct a metal plate to mount the antenna on top of.
We have a couple more recommendations.
Wi-Fi antennas can increase WiFi wireless antenna power.
You can cover larger areas or direct WiFi signal towards or from a certain direction.
The applications for a WiFi antenna area unlimited.
- Grab a Signal From your home to a workshop
- Cover a section of a home
- Cover multiple floors
- Get a signal outdoors
Cellular Antennas & Signal Boosters
How to improve cell phone reception in areas where the signal is very weak or non existent?
Probably the most effective way to improve cellular reception in areas with little on no signal is to attach a direct connect type cellular amplifier to your cell phone.
Building Antennas and Cellular Repeater Systems
A great to improve cell phone reception for multiple cell phones in small or larger areas, is to install a building cellular repeater system. A basic system is one antenna on the outside, one antenna on the inside, both connected to an amplifier inside.
Antennas & Short Range (Car, Truck, RV), Portable Repeater Systems
A versatile system that is powerful and portable would be one of Wilson's short range cellular repeater systems.