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By:Brendan Gill

A new standard of technology is fast being developed in the field of cellular repeaters. These are bi-directional amplifiers for cell phone signal. The idea is that installing one of these repeater units in your home/office/vehicle can give a permanent boost to the cell signal you experience. Dropped calls can be eliminated and the speed of 3G broadband will also improve as a result. This increase in cellular reception comes with the additional benefit of extending the battery life of your phone, as phones can operate for longer in areas of strong cell signal as they find it easier to communicate with the cellular network. Less power is required if the cell signal is stronger. This also means that your phone will not be emitting as much radiation in the vicinity of your head, which although the health implications of this are not properly understood, this certainly can't be a bad thing.

A typical cellular repeater system is made up of three separate parts: An external 'donor' antenna sits outside your building and receives the cell signal. This is fed through a low loss coaxial cable to the actual amplifier, which will give the signal a boost. This is then connected to an internal antenna, which will rebroadcast the cellular signal throughout your home/office/vehicle. Thick walls can often be a barrier to cellular reception getting inside peoples homes, but this problem is avoided in cellular repeater systems as the cell signal is brought in through the cable, rather than through the wall.

Cellular repeaters have actually been around for a few years, but the technology was previously less advanced and there was problems with interference with the established cellular networks. In recent years, the technology has improved and increasing penetration of the consumer market has meant that prices have come down to levels that consumers can afford. The zBoost range of cellular repeaters from amplifier manufacturer Wi-Ex have actually just announce the first sub $100 dollar repeater, the zBoost zP Personal Repeater. This is not only innovative in the low price, but also its portability which will allow this product to be a truly 'take anywhere' gadget.

Cellular Repeaters come in many flavors with models available for in-vehicle use, portable use, large-buildings and of course standard residences and small offices. They can also be either direct-connect, where your phone is actually plugged into the amplifier, or wireless, whereby you are free to use your cell phone wirelessly as usual.

Purchasing a cell repeater can often be confusing for newcomers. A good idea is to go for a dual band model as this means it is compatible with all cellular networks other than Nextel, which uses different technology to the rest. This will save you the trouble of finding out which frequency your network is running on. A good place to start is the Wilson SOHO as this is suitable for typical homes/small offices where there will be multiple wireless cell phone users.

For more information, I recommend simple google searches as this will turn up a great deal of valuable and informative information.


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