How to Boost Mobile Phone & Internet Signals With an Amplifier

Written by barbara conn
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Poor mobile Internet, or wireless, signals occur inside some buildings and vehicles, in some rural and remote areas, and in Internet "dead zones." Adding an indoor external antenna is an easy first option when you need a stronger Internet signal or a better connection. A second option is adding an outdoor antenna. If the resulting signal is still weak, or nonexistent, adding an amplifier can significantly increase signal strength to your devices that have built-in mobile Internet support, including laptops, netbooks, Internet tablets and mobile phones.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mobile Internet device
  • Indoor external antenna
  • Adaptor
  • Wireless indoor external antenna
  • Outdoor antenna
  • Amplifier
  • Cell phone

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  1. 1

    Check your mobile Internet USB modem or other mobile Internet device for a port for an external antenna. A rubber stopper may be covering the port. Remove the stopper.

  2. 2

    Select an indoor antenna and an adaptor compatible with an antenna port on your mobile Internet device. Connect the adaptor to the antenna. If your mobile Internet device has no port for an external antenna, select a wireless indoor external antenna instead.

  3. 3

    Position the wired antenna upright on a desk or table (or attach it to the inside of a window with suction cups) and plug it into the mobile Internet device. If you are using a wireless antenna, position it on top of or touching the mobile Internet device.

  4. 4

    Place an outdoor antenna on the roof or attach it with suction cups to the outside of a window.

  5. 5

    Add an amplifier to a wireless indoor antenna and an outdoor antenna to get a significantly more powerful signal. Plug the indoor and outdoor antennas into the amplifier. Connect the power cord between an electrical socket and the amplifier. When the amplifier powers on, signal energy transfers from the mobile Internet device to the outdoor antenna.

  6. 6

    Place your mobile phone on top of or touching a wireless indoor external antenna panel to enhance its signal.

  1. 1

    Position a portable outdoor antenna vertically on the roof (with a magnet), a window (with suction cups) or another elevated position on the vehicle. For best signal, it should be at least 12 inches from other antennas or obstructions.

  2. 2

    Run the outdoor antenna cable under the door seal or plastic moulding on the passenger side and behind the passenger seat. Connect the cables for the outdoor antenna and a wireless indoor antenna to the amplifier.

  3. 3

    Position the amplifier under the driver's seat, or in another location out of direct sunlight, away from excessive heat, away from moisture and with good ventilation.

  4. 4

    Plug the amplifier power cable into the vehicle cigarette lighter socket.

  5. 5

    Position the wireless indoor antenna so it is touching the mobile Internet device and/or mobile phone.

Tips and warnings

  • An amplifier can add 3 watts of power, greatly enhancing the speed, signal strength and range of your mobile Internet devices and phone. Signal strength bars can increase from 1 to 4.
  • An amplifier improves the signal strength and voice quality of a mobile phone whenever the phone is within 5 feet of a wireless indoor antenna panel.
  • Using an amplifier can keep you connected when moving on the highway, off the road or on the water. Amplifier packages include wall and vehicle chargers.
  • A phone cradle with built-in indoor antenna can be mounted for convenience on vehicle dashboard or console.
  • The Federal Communications Commission requires, for safety purposes, an 11-inch separation between outdoor antennas and people. (The metal roof of a vehicle, however, provides 100 per cent shielding.)
  • Do not use an adaptor to plug an amplifier directly into an Internet device or mobile phone. Direct connection damages data cards and mobile phones.
  • When using an amplifier, you must connect an outdoor as well as an indoor antenna. Plug in the outdoor and indoor antennas, and/or any cradle cable, before powering on the amplifier. Failure to secure all the cable connections before turning on an amplifier might cause burnout.
  • If the amplifier is left on when the vehicle is not running, it can discharge the battery in as little as a day.

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