A cell phone signal booster comes in three main parts: the outside antenna, the amplifier, and the inside antenna. Each plays a crucial role in getting more 3G or 4G LTE signal into your home.
Today in part 1 of our 2-part series about outside antennas, we take a look at signal booster antennas for the home. Our top-selling SureCall signal boosters ( Fusion5s and Fusion5X) all have cylindrical-shaped antennas known as omni-directional antennas.
So what’s the difference between the two?
Omni Directional Antennas
Omni directional antennas are the set-it-and-forget-it type. Once installed high on the roof or wall, the omni-directional antenna will pull in signal from 360 degrees.
This is great for users who:
- Want a no-hassle installation
- Want to boost cell signal from multiple carriers
- Are located close to at least two cell towers of the same carrier
Think of omni antennas as the “vanilla ice cream” of antennas. It’s a popular albeit non-specialized choice for most users.
Many of our corporate clients prefer omni-antennas, because they usually have to service multiple carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.) inside their buildings.
Although it’s plausible for two T-Mobile or any other same-carrier towers to be close enough to each other that the omni-antenna pulls in signal from both, it's most likely a rare situation. Depending on the location, you’ll most likely be close to one of each carrier tower (i.e. one AT&T tower, one Sprint tower, one Verizon tower, etc., not two AT&T towers, three Sprint towers, one Verizon, etc.).
That’s when a directional antenna comes in handy.
Directional (Yagi) Antennas
Directional or yagi antennas are slightly more advanced than omni antennas. Once installed high on the roof or wall, the directional antenna will pull in signal from 45 degrees.
With such a narrow field of concentration, it allows the antenna to reach out farther to pull in signal. So it it must be pointed at the cell tower.
This is great for users who:
- Live in extremely poor signal areas (remote, rural, etc.)
- Want to boost coverage for only one carrier
- Know the location of their cell towers
So directional antennas are specialized antennas that potentially can pull in more signal, however they do require more work in setting up.
Knowing the location of the cell towers is important. Luckily, we’ve written about a few apps that help find your cell tower location.
So Which One is the Best?
Well, do you use a fork to drink soup and a spoon to eat pasta? Even though they’re both kitchenware, it depends on the situation. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.
But as a rule of thumb, if you’re only looking to improve cell signals for one carrier, go with a directional antenna. If you’re looking to boost all the major carriers, go with the omni.
Stay tuned for part 2 of 2 of our article on outdoor antennas.