Poor cellular reception is a problem that, unfortunately, plagues a lot of organizations. Studies show that 1 in 5 buildings in the US do not have reliable cellular service throughout their locations. Commercial buildings, industrial facilities, and public spaces often grapple with a variety of connectivity issues, such as weak signal strength, frequently dropped calls, network congestion, and dead zones.
However, there are affordable and practical solutions to address these problems. The two most common are cell phone repeaters and cell phone extenders. While the latter are commonly considered the preferable solutions, closer examination reveals why cell phone repeaters are a better choice.
What Are Cell Phone Repeaters?
Cell phone repeaters (also known as cellular repeaters, cellular amplifiers, or cell phone signal boosters) are devices used to improve cellular signal in smaller spaces of less than 75K square feet. They consist of three primary components:
- Donor (outdoor) antenna
- Bi-directional signal repeater (amplifier)
- Rebroadcast (indoor) antenna
The outdoor antenna is connected via coaxial cable and connectors to the repeater, which amplifies the signal. The indoor antenna then retransmits the amplified signal locally. These three components, installed to maximize indoor coverage, can be configured in a variety of different ways depending on the power of the amplifier and the desired results.
Once installed, a cell phone repeater helps improve cellular reception in areas of a building where users are experiencing connectivity problems. It can enhance signal strength by up to 32 times for better talk, text, and data performance.
A key advantage of repeater systems is that they are carrier agnostic, so they can accommodate most mobile phone users on whatever carrier they use.
What Are Cell Phone Network Extenders?
Cell phone network extenders, also known as femtocells or microcells, are available through most major U.S. carriers. They plug into an existing broadband internet connection and work like a mini cell tower in a home or office. However, they only support a limited number of devices—usually between eight and 16—and tend to be carrier-specific so they’re only compatible with a particular provider.
Repeaters vs. Extenders Explained
The downside of cell phone extenders is that they require a stable internet connection and only improve the signal strength for the users of the specific carrier—they are not carrier-agnostic. This means that any clients, suppliers or visitors to the property who rely on a different network for their mobile connection would not get any benefit from the device. In addition, network extenders have a limited range and signal strength, so they are more appropriate for smaller premises or for homes.
Why Organizations Choose Cell Phone Repeaters
Because cell phone repeaters are carrier-agnostic and have a wider coverage area, they tend to be a better choice for business enterprises or large organizations. Cell phone repeaters offer enterprise-level organizations a number of benefits:
Enhanced User Experience
- Consistent and reliable connectivity regardless of the user’s carrier
- Avoidance of dead zones specific to one or multiple carriers
- The ability to switch carriers without changing infrastructure (if you have a business plan with a specific carrier)
- On-site guests have a better experience (without the interruption of logging into WiFi)
- Eliminate the need for multiple carrier-specific solutions—one solution works for all
- Less redundant systems and streamlined infrastructure management mean lower cost of ownership.
Improve Your Cellular Coverage With WilsonPro
Choosing WilsonPro for your cell phone repeater solution is a smart choice. We offer the simplest, most scalable solutions that require fewer components and less space while providing greater expandability—all backed by a 5-year warranty. With more than 30 years of success in the business and 250 patents, we’re known as a leader and innovator in the category.
With WilsonPro, you can count on clear and reliable cellular reception anywhere in your building or campus for every user—on any US or Canadian mobile carrier. As new 5G, next-gen applications expand, the volume of devices in your organization will increase. Partnering with WilsonPro, you’ll have the capacity to deliver on advanced connectivity demands and the necessary communication options in the event of a crisis.
To learn more, contact a WilsonPro expert for assistance in identifying which solution will support your goals.