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Selecting an Antenna to Maximize Cell Modem Signal Strength


Spectrum Controls, Inc. recommends the following antenna for use with WebPorts:

Taoglas WM 90.A305111

When selecting an antenna for your WebPort cell modem, keep the following information and guidelines in mind:

  • Antenna Polarity. Monopole radio antennas require mounting perpendicular to a conductive surface (ground plane). The mechanical design of the WebPort is not designed with this in mind as the plastic enclosure does not provide a proper ground plane. As such when mounting an antenna directly to the WebPort a dipole antenna is required. If the antenna is not mounted directly, and instead extended to an external mounting location, a monopole antenna may be used with the requirement that it is installed perpendicular to a proper ground plane.
  • Antenna Gain. A carefully selected gain must be used targeting typical cellular frequencies. These are the 700-850 MHz and 1.7-2.1 MHz frequencies depending on the carrier. The standard dipole antenna shipped with WebPort offers 2 dB of gain at these frequencies. 0-dB gain antennas radiate more energy higher in the vertical plane to reach radio communication sites that are located in higher places. Therefore, they are more useful in mountainous and metropolitan areas with tall buildings. A 2 dB or 3 dB gain antenna is the compromise in suburban and general settings. A 5 dB gain antenna radiates more energy toward the horizon (compared to the 0, 2, and 3 dB antennas) to reach radio communication sites that are further apart and less obstructed. Therefore, they are best used in deserts, flat lands, and open farm areas.
  • Antenna extension cable. Bad reception usually requires a better placed antenna in a better, higher location. When moving the antenna off the WebPort directly significant dB losses can be seen if the right extension cable is not used. Depending on the length of the extension a sufficiently large gauge extension cable must be used to minimize these losses.

Other equipment that you may install to maximize your signal strength includes:

  • A cellular booster/repeater. www.jdteck.com provides boosters, repeaters, and antennas, coaxial cable, tools, and assorted supplies for troubleshooting and improving cellular coverage issues.
  • Provider Coverage. You may use www.wirelessadvisor.com to find service providers for your area. You can also review individual provider websites for further coverage information.