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How Exactly Does a Cellular Antenna Boost Network Reception?

Telecommunication has made it possible for us to keep in touch with loved ones, have access to the Internet and basically do anything we can to be updated with what goes on around the world.

A bulk of the success of telecommunications relies on the excellent performance of the telecommunication provider’s network. You might have experienced disturbances while on a call, such as the line going off or the network breaking. If that has been the case, there is one logical explanation – your device doesn’t have enough network.

In such cases, you want to go for a cellular antenna, otherwise called a network booster. In this article, we explain how the antenna works, some of the benefits and the different options available for you to choose.

What is a Cellular Antenna?

The simplest explanation is that it is an antenna that is meant for use with cellular devices. To put it into perspective, you need the antenna to boost the telecommunication network that comes into your cell phone.

How Does an Antenna Work?

To have a better understanding of the operations of a cellular antenna, we would like to explain the basic concept – antenna. Here are some of the things you need to know:

  • Antennas enable the conversion of radio waves into electric power and vice-versa.
  • The antenna works hand-in-hand with the radio receiver. For this to work, the antenna has to receive the oscillating radio frequency electric current from the radio receiver. This is receiver in the antenna’s terminals and sets the stage for the antenna to radiate the energy derived from the current as electromagnetic waves.

When it comes to signal reception, the antenna works by intercepting some of the electromagnetic waves. Once this is done, tiny voltages will be produced at the terminals and these will be used to amplify the waves at the radio receiver/transmitter.

Do I Need a Cellular Antenna?

More often than not, you would make do with a cellular antenna, but you need to be sure you need it.

Here are some reasons why getting a high-gain cellular antenna is a good move:

  • Signal Amplification: you need the antenna to help the cellular phone’s built-in antenna to receive better signals. This need is necessitated by the fact that there might just not be enough signals outdoors. In this case, there wouldn’t be enough either to deliver indoors.
  • Data Rate Improvement: cellular antennas can also improve the speed of your network’s data. This works best if you are looking for a higher Megabyte per Second (Mbps) download speed.
  • Long-Range Connections: you need to get a long-range cellular antenna to help you connect multiple devices across a longer range.

What is the Importance of Cellular Antenna?

Besides the signal boosting capabilities, the cellular antenna can also provide a couple of other benefits. Here are some of the additional benefits:

Cellular Antennas are Reliable

Certain factors are responsible for the limited signal you get on your device. If it is not the farther distance of the cell site/tower, it would be the presence of obstructions, such as an exterior wall.

Whichever is the case, the fact is that the network coming into the home or office from the outdoors might not be strong enough. Getting a cellular antenna to compliment works fine, as it helps you get guaranteed coverage.

Improved Data Performance

Do you notice that your Internet connectivity becomes sharper and faster when your Wi-Fi router is close? Such is the experience when you get a cellular antenna – your data transfer speed will significantly improve.

Long-Range Connection Capabilities

The demand for wireless cellular networks that connect over longer distances fuels the increasing popularity of cellular antennas.

The capabilities of these antennas towards connecting devices over larger distances are impressive. For example, you can rely on the 5G antenna to provide a larger bandwidth per unit area for applications across different industries.

Cellular Antennas & Cellular Signals

The trend of 5G networks didn’t come about. It is a record of the impressive successes to the previous generations of cellular signals, such as 2G, 3G, 4G and now talks of 6G are already rife.

The success of cellular antennas relies on the type of cellular signals they are to be used. As a rule of thumb, these antennas must be used with the right cellular signals to avoid the primary problems they wanted to solve – the inability to get reliable signals.

We will now go in-depth to talk about the different types of cellular signals.

3G Antenna

This refers to the third generation of wireless telecommunication technology. Some of the highpoints of 3G cellular network include:

  • Simultaneous Cellular Network Usage: the 3G technology supports the dual usage of the signal both for data transfers and voice telecommunications.
  • Local Connection Enhancements: 3G networks also support the localization of cellular signals, such as the usage of devices on local wireless networks. It also supports the enhancement of the local Internet’s signal strength.

The Types of 3G Antennas

There are different kinds of antennas you can use for your 3G network. They range from directional, omni-directional and clip antennas.

Here is a summary of how each works:

  • Directional 3G Antennas: these antennas are pointed in the direction of the cell site/tower. The aim is to get better signal and supply the same to the cellular device.
  • Omni-Directional: unlike the former, the omni-directional 3G antenna doesn’t necessarily need to derive signals from the cellular tower. Instead, it can pick up these signals from any direction.
  • Clip 3G Antenna: this type of 3G antenna is designed for mobility purposes. You can clip or attach it to your device (laptop or computer)’s screen for better signal reception.
  • Outdoor 3G Antenna: this type of cellular antenna is meant for locations or areas with limited indoor cellular signal. By mounting the antenna outside, you get to receive better signals indoors.
  • High-Gain Cellular Antenna: this is one of the 3G antennas and its primary use is for boosting the (Internet/data) signal for areas with limited data coverage.

Advantages of 3G Antennas


Cellular antennas designed for use with 3G networks are useful in the following ways:

  • The antenna provides high-speed access to both data transfer systems and cellular phones.
  • It improves data reception and transfer rates for supported devices, such as telephones, computers and laptops.
  • 3G antennas reduce signal noise.

4G Antenna

The fourth generation of wireless technology comes behind the 3G antenna. One of the major reasons for developing the 4G network was to bolster Internet connectivity.

However, this comes with some considerations, such as being close to a “4G area” to access the 4G network.

The Role of MIMO in 4G Networks

Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) is one important feature of the 4G wireless technology. It functions as a slant polarizer for the electromagnetic waves. This plays an important role in the derivation of faster Internet speeds via the use of two separate antennas.

Types of 4G Cellular Antennas

There are two primary types of cellular antennas you can use to boost Internet speeds for your 4G device.

Here they are:

  • High-Gain Antennas: this type of 4G cellular antenna supports the delivery of Internet-enabled signals across longer distances. You however want to take note of the fact that the data speed might be reduced, as more users access the 4G bandwidth.
  • Multiband Antennas: these antennas also provide reliable data transfer rates across longer distances. They also increase the operating bandwidth.

5G Cellular Antenna

This is one of the cellular antenna types, but it is a step-up to the 4G network. The 5G wireless technology can provide data transfer rates of up to 1 Gbps.

Types of 5G Antennas

The following are some of the antennas you can use with 5G devices:

  • MIMO: this refers to the Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna that uses the 5G NR architecture to support the MIMO capabilities for multiple users.
  • PIFA 5G Antenna: this is the Planar Inverted-F Antenna (PIFA) antenna that provides omnidirectional radiation and reduces the number of bits a smartphone uses.
  • Fractal Antenna: this 5G antenna improves the outside structure or internal components’ circumferential. It achieves this via the use of a recursive, identity system.

Challenges with 5G Antennas

Using 5G antennas to boost Internet connections and data transmission speeds can pose some difficulties. Here are some of the challenges to the usage:

  • The MIMO functionality on the antennas often require a synchronization of different antennas. This synchronization must be done on a device that uses a similar frequency band.
  • The 5G (small cell) antennas are commonly used to fix and relay cellular signals. They are also used for distribute these signals in denser packages. This is the reason why the non-obstructive properties and compactness of the antennas must be a priority.

6G Antennas

The success of the fifth generation of wireless technology paves the way for the sixth generation. The 6G technology is expected to introduce a couple of innovations, chief among which is the delivery of higher frequencies than the 5G network provided.

In a publication, Popular Mechanics hinted that the 6G wireless technology may use the “human being.” The publication cited a report by a team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts who suggested leveraging the use of human-worn coiled copper and a Visible Light Communication (VLC) system to “harvest waste energy” for fostering the performance of the 6G technology.

The following are some of the things you need to know about how 6G antennas are poised to fuel the next-generation of wireless technology:

  • High-performance vertical and horizontal interconnections, as well as feed networks will be facilitated by the following: Antenna-in-Package (AiP), reduced signal integrity and on-chip antenna technologies.
  • Sub-THz communication will leverage relevant innovations, such as metasurface-based antennas, massive antenna arrays, and lens antennas.

Cellular Antenna Buying Guide

Looking to buy a long range cellular antenna? Here are some of the factors you want to consider before making that purchase:

1. What Material is the Building Made of?

Whether you are using the antenna at home or at the office, you want to make sure that the signal doesn’t get interrupted.

The type of material used for the building can influence the rate of transmitting the signal inside. As a rule of thumb, the signal waves can be blocked if the building material comprise any of the following: brick, wood, drywall or glass.

2. Determine the Best Cellular Antenna Types

The indoor and outdoor cellular antenna types are the most common. While the former is used inside the home or office, the latter is best used outside.

When it comes to this, let us see how they compare:

  • Indoor Antennas: these are either panel antennas or dome antennas. The panel antennas are best for transmitting cellular signals across multiple floors, while the dome indoor antennas are best for one floor in the building.
  • Outdoor Antennas: here, you get to choose between the directional and omni-directional outdoor antennas. While the former gets signals from one direction, the latter initiates a 360-degree search to pick up working cellular signals from multiple directions.

3. Be Certain of the Coverage

The size of the area to be covered is also important. The general rule is to go for a cellular antenna that can cover the length and breadth of the area where you intend to use it.

4. How Many Users are to be Connected?

As much as the cellular antenna can draw in more signals, it could also be impeded at some point. The number of users connected to the antenna or booster could potentially reduce the data and signal transmission speed.

5. The Incoming Signal Matters

The strength of the signal coming from outside the building is very important. It is important to note that this works best for indoor antennas. In this case, the outdoor antennas need to connect to the cell site/tower so that it could derive the cellular signal. Once obtained, the signal is sent to the amplifier, from where it is enhanced ahead of the transmission to the cellular antenna for rebroadcasting.

Wrapping Up

RayPCB can help you evaluate the numerous options so you can have a clear-cut idea of the best cellular antennas to get for your home or office usage.




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