Cellular Antenna Connection 101

They say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. My objective is to prevent your antennas from being that weakest link in that cellular connection chain. So today I’ll briefly be discussing the basic concepts of cellular antenna connection.

My name is Rob Ramage. My official job title with OptConnect is Sales Engineer. I like to think of myself as a cellular antenna aficionado or an antenna connoisseur, while the guys at work just generally refer to me as “Antenna Man”.

There are actually two components to a cellular connection and they are both equally important. The first is signal strength most commonly shown in bars on your phone. It is technically measured as an RSSI value. (show various phones and OptConnect units with bars showing).

RSSI or Received Signal Strength Indication is an indication of how much of the signal transmitted from the tower is reaching the device. While this is important for a good cellular connection, this again is only half of the equation.

The other half is noise or interference. Some of the sources of cellular interferences can include; cooler or refrigeration units, heating units, microwave ovens, neon signs, fluorescent lights, industrial equipment, high powered sound equipment, nearby fuse panels, and in some cases power lines running behind a wall.

This is a list of some possible noise sources but is in no way is all inclusive.

The problem with cellular is that unlike frequencies in the visible spectrum like light, we are not able to see it. For light, we can see areas that are bright, shaded or even dark. Unfortunately, we do not have any special goggles that provide the ability to see where there is good, mediocre or poor cellular reception.

With our own cell phones we have seen situations where the slightest movement is the difference between a good call and one where the call is cutting in and out. The fact is that antennas provide better performance and greater flexibility.

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 10.31.07 AM

Cellular signals travel in an elliptical vertical wave like what is seen above. Because of this, it is best to place the cellular antenna vertical or straight up and down. This will enable the antenna its best chance at capturing the signal.

Additionally, when placing the two antennas it is best to place them at least the length of them apart.

Antenna diversity typically uses two antennas in order to increase the quality and reliability of wireless communications. It is because of this that the cellular device will work best with both antennas.

In conclusion, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the overall strength of your antennas. If you’ve gone through all steps to get the best connection and are still having issues, please contact our customer care center at 1.877.678.3343.

 

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