How Boosters Work

At Walco, our customers are constantly battling to obtain sufficient signal in remote locations. As discussed in our previous post, Telus is working to increase towers in remote locations to boost signal. However, many areas still suffer from this problem. This is part of why cellular boosters are a common requirement in Canada. However, there is a limited understanding of what these devices can do. People purchasing a booster may be disappointed with the results due to this lack of understanding.

Here are a few key things to know about boosters:

1)      Work with what’s available

Boosters are aptly named. They boost signal. If there is no signal, the booster will not work. Thus, it is key to identify a location in your vicinity that has some level of signal consistently. If this cannot be located, a booster will not offer a solution to your problem.

The level of signal available dictates how wide a coverage area will be created by the booster. If 5 bars can be located, the range of the booster will be much greater than if there are only 2 bars. It also dictates how powerful a booster may be required.

A booster has a set amount of amplification power, rated in decibels. In theory, an increase of 3 dB amounts to double power. However, many factors affect signal and amplification. Nevertheless, it is important to know the level of signal you are working with prior to purchasing a booster.

2)      Antennas, Antennas, Antennas

Antennas are required to transmit signal. Therefore, it is not surprising that antennas are required for boosters. Actually, two antennas are required, one inside and one outside.

For outside antennas, there are two main options. First, is an omnidirectional antenna, which receives and transmits in all directions. This is best suited when receiving some signal from multiple towers.  Second, is a ‘yagi’ or directional antenna. This antenna does not cover as much area; however, it receives and transmits for a much greater distance in the chosen direction. This is best suited when receiving signal from one tower.

Inside antennas broadcast the signal inside the building.

Another feature of antennas to keep in mind is minimum separation. For 50 dB in building boosters, a separation of at least 40 feet must be maintained. This is to prevent feedback. The booster itself does not need to be separated from the antennas, just the antennas themselves.

3)      Other Factors

The amount of signal you obtain from a booster is dependent on many factors including frequency, strength of signal outside, and building construction. Factors relating to building construction include the number of walls, and the construction materials used. This is an important consideration when determining where to place a booster or antenna.

4) Summary

Increasing signal can be a complicated affair. At Walco, we have a great deal of experience assisting people with determining the best product for their needs. Drop by or give us a call if you have any questions about Wilson or Smoothtalker boosters and how they can help.

Huawei Smart Hub

 This week, we will take one step further in achieving signal in remote locations. Boosters and the Huawei Smart Hub work together to make the most of what signal is available. The Smart Hub can be set up in the same location as the booster, thereby receiving the strongest signal while allowing for maximum range.

Never heard of a Smart Hub? It is essentially a router for data signal. Simply plug the Smart Hub into a power source, connect to the Telus 4G network, and you have high speed internet for up to 32 devices. The Smart Hub is also telephone line compatible, acting as a portable home phone.


The Smart Hub requires its own Telus plan and SIM card. The SIM card is a onetime purchase concurrent with the Smart Hub. The plan options vary with costs relative to your particular needs. The benefit of these requirements is you can take your number and your data plan with you.

Telus notes the Smart Hub as ideal for those who:[1]

  • Live outside the range of ADSL or cable broadband access and want High Speed Internet;
  • Have a cottage or cabin and want High Speed Internet and home phone service services seasonally;
  • Frequent movers, renters and students who want to keep their home phone number and get online the same day they move in;
  • Want to quickly and easily setup connectivity without installation costs. Simply plug the device into an AC power source to get connected wherever there is TELUS 4G coverage;
  • Need to share data and provide connectivity to multiple users at a single location. You can connect up to 32 users via Wi-Fi with the latest Wi-Fi technology (802.11n).

 A further benefit of the Smart Hub is the support Telus provides for this product. The Telus site offers guidance on installation, resetting and updating your Smart Hub.[2] While this device is very simple to set up, outlined instructions take the guess work out of installation.

At Walco, we know how frustrating it can be struggling for signal. We have many customers who use this product concurrently with a booster to much success. We would be happy to help you establish if this product is right for you, and set you up with the right plan for your needs.




Stay In Touch This Summer: Cellular Boosters

As the weather grows warmer and the days grow longer, people begin to consider preparing cabins and trailers for summer use. Just what is necessary to be “up and running” has changed dramatically since the advent of cellular phones and internet. Many need to maintain coverage for business, or even just for emergencies.
Communication in this way has become an essential part of our lives, and many of us feel lacking without it. However, any BC resident knows that our beautiful province is also exceptionally difficult to cover. Our majestic mountains block towers, and our summer destinations often err on the side of remote.
This is exactly why cellular boosters offer so much to residents and vacationers in this province. Boosters act to increase weak cellular signal, thereby providing coverage in areas a cell phone alone would not work. At Walco, we are proud to carry Wilson Electronics products, offering a variety of boosters designed to tackle unique coverage concerns.
In-vehicle boosters are great for those with trailers or campers. Not only does this provide superior coverage when driving remote roads, but also increases signal once you have found the perfect camping spot. In-vehicle boosters come in three forms. The first option is wireless boosters. These boosters need not be connected to the cell phone or data device. Further, they are powerful enough to support multiple devices within the six foot range. The second option is a cradle, which acts as an antenna, charger and booster all in one. This is great for hands free operation.  The third option is ‘semi-wireless’, which attaches to the back of the device to provide a bump in signal.
In-building boosters are suitable for cabins and summer houses. Varying by space size, boosters offer customizable coverage. Small area boosters cover roughly the size of a small workspace or desk, and are plug and play. This can create a balance for those who want to maintain some feeling of being away from the hustle of emails and messages while on summer vacation, but wish to maintain a small access point in case of emergency. Mid-size area boosters provide coverage of a small room or office. This is useful for those who may work remotely or ensure they have a space to take important calls. Large-size area boosters are designed for houses or cabins. These provide coverage across your summer home, and reduce the need to go to a specific covered area. Large area boosters are designed for in-building installation, which allows for one time set up.

All devices require external antennas as part of installation. Walco has experience installing these devices, and would be happy to provide such services. As actual coverage areas may depend on the nature of the building and degree of signal, we would be happy to discuss your unique situation and find the best booster to suit your needs.