General FAQ

Can I use Wilson cell phone signal boosters (or amplifiers) and antennas with my wireless air card?

Yes. Our equipment can amplify all data signals used in the U.S., both on 850 and 1900 MHz.

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Can I use a Wilson signal booster in my car or boat, which has 12v DC power?

Yes. Some of our signal boosters need 6v DC but we have power adapters to convert either the AC commercial power or the 12 v available in mobile applications, to the 6v DC. Every Wilson booster includes a power supply that provides the correct voltage for its usual application.

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Which cell phone carriers are supported by Wilson cell phone boosters?

Our equipment supports all carriers in North America and most providers in Central and South America. Wilson Boosters will work with all GSM, TDMA, CDMA and EDGE technologies. The iDEN band, used by Nextel in the U.S. or MIKE in Canada, have a different frequency range and Wilson makes amplifiers specifically for them as well. For more specific questions, please call our toll-free support line at 866-294-1660 and one of our skilled technicians would be pleased to assist you in selecting the best Wilson product for needs.

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Will a Wilson signal booster provide signal both inside and outside the building?

Wilson makes several booster models to improve signal in a vehicle or building. Depending on the outside signal level and frequency, you may get some coverage outside your vehicle or building but our amplifiers are not designed for this purpose.

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What frequencies does my carrier use? Isn’t data always on 1900 MHz? (Is GSM on 1900, etc.)

One way to find out what frequency your carrier uses in your area is to visit www.wirelessadvisor.com. They have information on which licenses the carriers are using in a certain location, based on what the FCC has granted to each company. Another way to get this information would be to call tech support at your cell company.

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How much coverage will your cellular signal booster (or amplifier) provide in my building/vehicle?

The amount of signal coverage depends on several factors, including the strength of the outside signal, its frequency, and, for a building system, the construction of the building. Please call our tech support line at 866-294-1660 for assistance on estimating the coverage you might get, or for the more technical savvy, please visit our online coverage area calculator.

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Will a Wilson cell phone booster increase the data rate of my air card?

A Wilson cellular signal booster can increase the data speed of an air card if you have a weak signal in your area. If you already have a strong signal, it can’t increase the upload/download speed of your provider’s tower and equipment.

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Do you offer adapters for air cards?

We may have an adapter for your air card.  Please call our tech support line at 866-294-1660 and we would be happy to see if there is an adapter for your card. If we don’t have one, there are other options available which don’t require a direct connection into the card.

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Can the mobile cradle solutions (i.e. U Booster, C Booster, iBooster, Sleek) be used with more than one phone at a time?

These solutions are designed as a single phone solution. However, they will boost the signal of multiple phones in close proximity to the cradle. The phone in the cradle will get the most gain.

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Do Wilson cell boosters come with a warranty?

Yes, all wilson products are protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee and all signal boosters and antennas come with a 2 year warranty. To view the official warranty click here.

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Cell Phone Booster FAQ

How do I boost my cell phone signal?

Dropped calls and slow data rates are generally caused by distance from a cell tower or natural and man-made obstructions, such as buildings, hills, trees, etc...

Cellular signals for both cell phones and data cards can be boosted by the use of a high gain antenna or the combination of an antenna and bi-directional signal booster system and Wilson Electronics offers multiple solutions to stay connected.

There are two components to ensuring reliable cellular communication. The first step is receiving a strong signal. Wilson’s high gain antennas collect weak or distant cellular signals and send them to the signal booster. The signal booster then boosts those signals and rebroadcasts them to nearby cell phones and data cards.

The second part of the equation is transmitting the signal back to the cell tower which is typically the weakest part of a phone’s ability when used alone. With a Wilson bidirectional signal booster you are able to broadcast a much stronger signal back to the cell site at a greater distance. A high quality Wilson signal booster system is critical to maintaining a constant connection and increased cellular standards.

All Wilson signal boosters are FCC-type accepted and most important, is our patented oscillation protection, which activates within milliseconds to prevent harmful interference to cell sites. It also monitors the signal boosters operation for optimum performance.

Wilson offers a wide range of powerful mobile wireless and building signal boosters for all carrier frequencies as well as high-gain antennas with multiple mounting options.

For more details call our tech support department directly at 1-866-294-1660.

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What is a basic wireless signal booster system and how do I know if it will work for me?

A basic system includes an outside antenna to collect the signal from the cell tower, a signal booster to boost the signal, an inside antenna to broadcast the improved signal over the inside of the building or vehicle and cabling to connect the three parts together.

A wireless signal booster system will work for you if you can make a cell phone call from where-ever you might put the outside antenna. If you can make a call from outside of your vehicle or from the roof of your house or building, the signal is probably strong enough for the system to help you.

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How much separation do I need between the outside and inside antennas? How much separation do I need between the signal booster and the antennas?

As a general rule, in-building 50 dB signal boosters should have at least 40 feet of separation between the inside and outside antennas. The 60 dB signal boosters should have at least 75 feet of separation. Separation is measured as a straight line between the two antennas because signal travels through the air in a straight line. Separation is not measured by the length of cables.

In a vehicle it is best to place the antenna centered, or towards the rear area of the roof.

The metal roof acts as a “shield’ between outside and inside antennas, making placement a bit less critical. In any case there is usually a red light on all of our signal boosters which indicates that an oscillation has been detected and prevented by the protection circuitry. If this occurs, consult the install guide as more separation may be needed.

Point of interest: A signal booster does not need to be any specific distance from either the inside or outside antenna. You may, if necessary, connect the signal booster directly to one antenna or the other, though the separation between the antennas themselves remains critical.

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Can I leave my signal booster on all the time?

All Wilson signal boosters can remain on all the time; however, leaving the signal booster on when a vehicle is not running can discharge the battery in a day or two. As all of our vehicular boosters are supplied with cigarette lighter plug power supplies, you should verify that your cigarette lighter socket is not powered when the ignition key is off. If it remains on, Wilson recommends that the signal booster be powered through the ignition switch (from the fuse block) so that the signal booster turns off and on with the vehicle ignition.

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Does a Wilson signal booster need to be professionally installed?

In most cases, you can install a Wilson signal booster system yourself. The mobile systems and the building systems are designed for easy installation.

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Can I use an In-Building Wireless signal booster in a vehicle?

In-Building Wireless signal boosters are not recommended for use in vehicles as the higher gain usually requires a minimum separation of 40 feet between the inside and outside antennas. Less separation could cause the signal booster to go into oscillation (feedback) and shut itself down.

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Do I need to unplug the signal booster in my signal booster system before I make a change to the system?

Yes. Unplug the signal booster from its power source any time you make a change to the system. This is especially true when an antenna is removed from the system. This prevents possible damage to the signal booster.

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How many phones can I use at the same time on a wireless system?

Though Wilson signal boosters can operate on any cell service provider’s systems, the number of phones that can operate simultaneously on a wireless system depends on the outside signal strength. The stronger the outside signal is the more phones a signal booster can support. Conversely, the weaker the outside signal is, the fewer phones it can support. Wilson Technical Support has never received a report of a system supporting too few phones.

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Can I wire the 12VDC power connection directly into my vehicle's electrical system?

Yes. Most of our signal boosters have a hardwire kit available that allows you to connect directly to the vehicle's electrical system. You can also cut off the cigarette lighter adapter plug and wire the cord into a fused circuit. If you use a circuit controlled by the ignition switch, you can turn the signal booster off and on with the vehicles key.

The center contact in the signal booster's power connection is positive. Wiring the signal booster into the ignition system will prevent it from discharging the vehicle's battery when the vehicle is not running.

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Will your signal boosters work on GSM?

Yes. Wilson has signal boosters that work with all analog and digital cell phone technologies, including AMPS, CDMA, GSM, TDMA, iDEN, EDGE, 1xEV-DO, GPRS and the latest 3G HSDPA. Wilson has signal boosters specifically designed for GSM and iDEN.

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Will your Mobile Wireless signal booster work with the Glass-Mount Antenna?

Yes, though with the higher gain wireless vehicular boosters, the glass antenna should be mounted on the rear window and as far as possible from the ‘inside’ antenna. This is necessary in order to prevent feedback oscillations, which though detected and prevented by the signal booster’s protection circuitry, will cause the signal booster to be shut down and the indicator light to glow red. Consult the specific installation guide formore detail.

With a magnetic roof antenna, the metal roof acts as a shield between the outside and inside antenna. With a glass mount antenna, the signal booster’s signal can pass through the glass and be more easily picked up by the glass-mount antenna.

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Can I use a Direct Connection signal booster as a wireless unit by adding an inside antenna?

Our direct Connection signal boosters must be physically connected to your cell phone or cellular data card with an external antenna adapter as a Direct Connection signal booster does not produce enough gain to drive an inside antenna and give you even a small service range.

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Antenna FAQ

Does my Magnet-Mount antenna need to be mounted vertically or can I mount it horizontally?

Cell tower antennas are mounted vertically, so the Magnet Mount Antenna and all of the other whip-type antennas will give the best performance when mounted vertically. When both antennas are in the same orientation, they are polarized. Polarized antennas transmit and receive signals with the most efficiency.

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How do I tune a Yagi antenna?

Point the main center beam of the Yagi in the general direction of the cell tower. Make sure the radials are pointing up and down. Connect the antenna to a cell phone in TEST MODE. Pan the Yagi left and right in 10 degree increments until you get the best signal strength reading from the phone. In most cases, you want a signal as strong as you can get.

Signal strength is measured in negative decibels so a signal strength of -85 is stronger than -99. When you are panning the antenna, be sure to let go of the antenna or it may give inaccurate readings. Lock the antenna down at the position where you get the best signal strength.

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Can I paint an antenna?

Wilson antennas can be painted as long as the paint does not contain metal flakes (metallic paint). The metal particles would change and disrupt the antenna's signal transmission characteristics.

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Can I use the signal strength bars on my phone to tune my Yagi antenna?

Yes. However, tuning accuracy will be limited and more difficult than with a cell phone in TEST MODE. If your cell phone does not have a test mode, the signal strength bars may be the only way to tune your Yagi. Bear in mind that signal bars are more a marketing tool than a true signal-strength indicator.

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On a glass-mount antenna, what is the temperature range the glass should be for installation?

The Very High Bond (VHB) tape used on the Glass-Mount Antenna is produced by 3M Corporation and will provide good adhesion to a clean, flat glass surface. When you attach the antenna, the glass should be about 70 degrees F. Extreme temperatures will not affect the bond after the adhesive has set up (about 24 hours).

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Will my Magnet-Mount Antenna work if I place it on a non-metal surface?

A Magnet Mount antenna must be placed on a ferrous metal (iron or steel) for it to work properly. If the magnet on the antenna base sticks to a surface, the surface is made of iron or steel and the antenna will work.

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Why do I have to install the outside and inside antenna so far apart?

Placing the outside and inside antennas too close together, could cause the booster to oscillate (feedback) and to be shut down by the oscillation detection circuitry. For example the antennas on a 50 dB amplifier must be separated by at least 40 feet. The antennas on a 60 dB amplifier must be separated by at least 75 feet. A roof or wall will help with reducing the need for separation.

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Does a Yagi directional antenna need to be grounded?

The Yagi does not need to be grounded. We do however recommend a Lightning Surge Protector in all building installations. The Lightning Surge Protector will ground the antenna and prevent an electrical surge from damaging your signal booster.

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What is the range of the inside antenna?

The range or distance you can be from an inside antenna depends on the strength of the signal coming from the cell tower and the output power of the signal booster. The stronger your outside signal is, the greater the range will be. Range is not determined by the antenna.

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Can I install an antenna upside down?

Yes. The signal pattern for the omni-directional antennas (such as the Trucker, Low Profile, Magnet or Glass Mount) will work well as long as the antenna is vertical (pointing up or down). However, they lose much of their effectiveness if they are mounted sideways or at an angle.

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Can I hold my Yagi antenna to point it in different directions while attempting to tune it to a cell tower?

When you hold or touch a Yagi or any antenna with exposed metal surfaces, your body alters and distorts the signal and changes the antenna's performance. With a Yagi, Wilson recommends that you temporarily mount the antenna while tuning. It is important that you let go of the antenna when you are taking a signal strength reading or the reading will be inaccurate.

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Can I use a Yagi (directional) antenna on my RV?

Yes, but since the Yagi is directional, you would need to re-aim it at each new location.

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Can I use a Trucker antenna on my house?

Yes. Although designed for mobile use, a Trucker antenna will provide the same signal improvement if mounted on a stationary structure. However, we recommend a Yagi (directional) antenna for all building installations. A Yagi has more gain and can compensate for signal loss through the cable.

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Where should I place the inside antenna on an In-Building Cell Phone Signal Booster system?

Place the inside antenna in the area where you need service the most. Keep the inside antenna out of contact with metal objects and away from electronic devices and electrical wiring. Some situations may require more than one antenna. Remember to keep the minimum separation between the inside and outside antenna.

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Will your antennas work on GSM?

Wilson antennas will work with all cell phone technologies including AMPS, CDMA, GSM, TDMA, iDEN, EDGE, 1xEV-DO, GPRS and the latest 3G HSDPA.

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Do Wilson antennas work on digital signals or on analog signals?

All Wilson antennas work on both digital and analog signals.

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