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How to Minimize Signal Booster dB Loss Over Free Space

Apr 18, 2018

What is Signal Loss and Gain?

Loss which results from a decrease in wave amplitude has a negative impact on the strength of your signal. On other hand, gain - Which is caused by an increase in wave amplitude, positively impacts your signal strength. Free space path gain loss is something that a lot of people don't think about when determining how much coverage a signal booster can provide in a building, home or vehicle.

What is Free Space Path Signal Loss?

Free space path signal loss is a weakening of the RF signal due to a broadening of the wave. This broadening of the RF wave is known as signal dispersion or beam divergence. As a radio wave travels further from its point of origin, the wave broadens which causes it to get weaker. You can think of it like ripples in water. The further the ripple travels, the weaker the waves get. Atmosphere has the same effect on radio waves. Free space path signal loss is not linear. It is based on the frequency, amplitude and the distance of the wave. For example, if you're using a Force 5 signal booster with a donor signal of negative 80 dBm, and a single indoor antenna, you will get about 50 decibels of free space path loss by the time you're 20 feet away from indoor antenna. Pretty significant, right?

How do you minimize free space path signal loss?

First choosing a cell phone booster kit that offers the most output power will be the way to go. Second, during installation, you will want to see maximum gain on your signal meter when you plug into the connector at the end of your cable run. Third, place your indoor antenna in the location where you most often use your mobile device to eliminate space between you and the source of the boosted signal.

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  • How to minimize signal booster DB loss? Uh. I’m going to say have a certified installer set up everything and go through the maintenance aspect. There are so many helpful videos here and online, but this sounds like it’s something I’d rather reserve for the people who know the ins and outs of signal boosters.

    Phoebe Hartley on
  • Does anyone know how cell phone boosters increase signals? Cell phone boosters work by doing the following:
    1. Detecting and collecting very faint signals
    2. Helping those signals bypass obstructions keeping them from your phone
    3. Amplifying those faint signals so they are reliable signals
    4. Broadcasting the boosted (amplified) signals to the interior you are in so the signals can be used by your phone or whatever other cellular device is present.
    Short answer: Cell phone boosters turn weak signals into stronger signals.

    Mike Dutton on
  • Does anyone know how cell phone boosters increase signals?

    Lonnie Edmunds on
  • Speaking of gain, what is automatic gain control? Automatic gain control (AGC) is a circuit you can find in some electronic devices that moderates the gain of a signal. Automatic gain control will ensure weaker signals receive more gain while stronger signals receive less gain (or none, if needed). It regulates your gain automatically so you don’t have to adjust it yourself.

    Dave Falk on
  • Speaking of gain, what is automatic gain control? How does it work?

    Mark Goode on
  • This was extremely informative. I’ve wondered about why signal strength is measured in db. Only recently did I have db signal strength explained to me in a comprehensible manner. If you’re going to buy a cell phone booster, you naturally want it to work at peak efficiency. The db loss definition combined with db loss calculator and/or db loss formula should help anyone setting up a cell phone booster and trying to do so correctly.

    Geoff Welles on

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