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Enterprise customers who are looking for cellular connectivity solutions often ask the question, what is uplink and downlink? Are these capabilities important when choosing the right cell signal amplifier solution to fit your specific needs? We can help answer these questions and provide a better understanding of uplink vs. downlink for cell signal boosters.

Smartphones, tablets, and other cellular devices operate within 3G and 4G radio frequencies (RF). Weak or intermittent signal can disrupt the ability to talk, send text messages and emails, stream videos, and more. A cell phone signal booster with strong uplink and downlink power ensures you get the strongest cell signal possible by reaching faraway cell towers and providing great coverage in large spaces.

What is uplink and downlink in mobile communication?

A cell phone signal booster amplifies the weak cell signal inside your building; allowing you to experience faster data speeds and fewer dropped calls. Uplink and downlink, also called upload and download, refers to the two-way communication between a cell tower and your phone.

  • Downlink definition – signal coming from a cell tower to your cellular device
  • Uplink definition – signal leaving your cellular device and going back to a cell tower

Most of us have experienced cell phone conversations when you can hear the other person but they can’t hear you or vice versa. A disruption in downlink or uplink in cellular communication causes this issue. Years ago, this was especially true because 3G cellular signal was comprised of two uplink and downlink frequency bands, 850 and 1900 MHz, one for uplinking (talking) and the other for downlinking (listening). To gain a better understanding, let’s look at how the technology works.

How does a cell signal booster work?

If you aren’t familiar with the components of a cell phone signal booster system, you may wonder, what does booster mean? Cell signal boosters (or amplifiers) improve cellular connectivity in buildings, vehicles, and homes. Powerful antennas are used to collect and amplify signal from nearby cell towers and then broadcast the enhanced signal to your mobile phone. A booster system includes the following three components:

  • An outside antenna pulls a signal from a cell tower into your vehicle or building.
  • An amplifier boosts the signal being received by the outside antenna.
  • An inside antenna broadcasts the boosted signal for immediate use by your phone and other cellular devices.

This technology will keep your smartphone, tablet, and other cellular-enabled devices connected – even in areas where signal is otherwise weak or obstructed.

How does uplink and downlink power affect your service?

Signal strength for all cell phones and cellular devices on all North American carriers is measured in decibels (dB), ranging between -50 dB and -120 dB.

  • -50 dB represents the best signal (full bars)
  • -120 dB represents the weakest signal (no bars or dead zone)

Poor cell reception usually occurs when signal strength is around -90 dB and -100 dB. It’s possible that signal will work at this level, although the reception would be severely impacted. Cell signal decibels are measured exponentially, so a small increase of +3 dB represents an improvement of 2x the power, and -3 dB means half the power.

decibal and amplified power chart

Keep in mind, however, that cell phone coverage varies for everyone due to specific carrier capabilities, cell tower locations, outside interference, and other factors.

What influences uplink and downlink on a cell signal booster?

Nearby cell towers communicate with cellular devices by sending RF signals. There are a number of factors that can interfere with that signal transmission and disrupt your uplink and downlink speeds, such as:

  • Cell tower distance. The farther away you are from a cell tower, the harder it is for your phone to communicate with it. If you don’t know cell tower locations in your area, there are resources to help you find the nearest cell tower.
  • Construction materials. Building materials, such as concrete, steel, brick, insulation, and energy-efficient glass can prevent signal from entering and leaving buildings and cause lagging data speeds and dropped calls.
  • Physical barriers. Mountains, tall buildings and trees, and thick vegetation located between you and cell towers are signal blockers that can reduce the relative strength of your cell signal.
  • Weather conditions. Heavy snow, rain, fog, and other types of weather can affect cellular reception, disrupt upload and download speeds, and cause dropped calls.

These factors can interfere with signal between cell towers and your devices. So, even if you are close to a cell tower, you may experience poor cell service.

What differences can you notice with improved uplink and downlink?

FCC-approved, commercial cell phone boosters are legally capped at +70 dB of max gain, which potentially adds a tremendous boost to signal strength and coverage. Although enterprise boosters can boost up to +70 dB, actual results generally range from a +3 dB to +42 dB gain for most users, which is a minimum of at least 2x amplified 3G and 4G signal.

With this enhanced signal, uplinks and downlinks are more powerful, which leads to two huge benefits: faster internet data speeds and greater coverage. Let’s look at some of WilsonPro’s top-quality, in-building cell signal boosters and their features.WP-ProductFamily-min

WilsonPro Enterprise 4300/4300R

The WilsonPro Enterprise 4300 and 4300R (rack-mounted version) are commercial-grade, in-building cell signal amplifiers designed for offices, warehouses, and large commercial buildings, covering up to 100,000 square feet. They work with all cell phones and cellular-enabled devices and are compatible with all U.S. and Canadian carrier networks. With the Enterprise 4300/4300R, you’ll get:

  • Max gain of up to +70 dB
  • Up to 26 dBm in uplink power and 17 dBm in downlink power
  • Four independently controlled indoor antenna ports
  • Three outdoor antenna ports to target multiple carrier towers

WilsonPro Enterprise 4300 uplink and downlink power output:

Enterprise 4300 uplink and downlink power output

WilsonPro Enterprise 1300/1300R

The WilsonPro Enterprise 1300 and 1300R (rack-mounted version) are professional grade signal boosters designed for offices, warehouses, and small to medium-sized commercial spaces up to 40,000 square feet. Like the Enterprise 4300/4300R, they work with all phones and cellular devices on all carriers. With the Enterprise 1300/1300R, you’ll get:

  • Max gain of up +70 dB
  • Up to 26 dBm in uplink output and up to 17 dBm in downlink output
  • Three outdoor antenna ports to target multiple carrier towers
  • Expansion kits available to extend coverage range

WilsonPro Enterprise 1300 uplink and downlink power output:

Enterprise 1300 uplink and downlink power output

Enterprise 4300/4300R and Enterprise 1300/1300R, both available in wall-mounted and rack-mounted versions, provide a maximum downlink output of 17 dBm. However, the key difference is in the uplink power. With an average difference of +3.24 dB, the Enterprise 4300 (coverage up to 100,000 square feet) is 2.11x more powerful than the Enterprise 1300 (coverage up to 40,000 square feet), which translates to slightly more than twice the coverage.

If you want to improve your cell signal while driving, weBoost offers a variety of in-vehicle cell phone boosters, including the Drive X and Drive Reach. These powerful, best-selling boosters will ensure you always have a reliable connection when you’re on the road.

Best Entry-Level Cell Phone Signal Booster for Cars: Drive X

Drive X is weBoost’s standard, in-vehicle cell phone signal booster. Designed for convenient tool-free installation, it features a four-inch magnetic antenna that easily mounts on your car.

  • +50 dB booster gain
  • Supports multiple users and devices
  • Tool-free installation in just minutes

Drive X uplink and downlink power output:

Drive X Uplink and Downlink power Chart

Best Cell Phone Signal Booster for Cars: Drive Reach

Drive Reach is weBoost’s most powerful cell phone signal booster that delivers the strongest possible cell coverage while on the road. It reaches the farthest cell towers, especially in remote areas where signal is weak.

  • Reaches cell towers up to 74% farther than weBoost Drive X
  • +50 dB booster gain
  • 5 dBm in uplink downlink power
  • Supports multiple users and devices

weBoost Drive Reach uplink and downlink power output:

Drive Reach Uplink and Downlink power Chart

Why do customers choose WilsonPro?

A true pioneer in cell signal amplification, WilsonPro is the sole provider of Multi-Tower Targeting Technology, making it possible to produce stronger cell signal amplification per carrier than our competitors, with a single amplifier. In addition to WilsonPro being an industry leader, customers choose us for several reasons:

  • Our products are FCC-certified, which means they meet the highest quality standards and comply with federal regulations.
  • Unlike competing systems, our proprietary antennas and other products are proudly designed, tested, and assembled in the USA.
  • We’re 5G ready. Our products will continue to enhance cell signals for all phones and cellular-connected devices, on all U.S. carrier networks, for the next decade and beyond.

WilsonPro professionals are available to help you find the best cell signal amplifier system to fit your specific needs for your business or commercial building. Contact us today.

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