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.

Top 5 Apps: Organization

For many of our customers, the smartphone has replaced the agenda. Omnipresent devices allow us to check meetings, add scheduled events and make changes in real time. Also, the ability to delete, move and alter events without the use of white-out, allows for a cleaner and more environmentally friendly approach to organizing our lives.

There are countless ‘organization’ apps available on the market. Different apps have different capabilities, but we have tried to list a few that will be of assistance to those working in forestry, government, small business and everything in between. Listed below are a few we have found useful:


CalenMob is a basic ‘calendar’ app, which syncs with Google. This app is easy to use, intuitive, and visually attractive. CalenMob is prompt and effective at providing reminders when the push notification feature is enabled. This app includes features for addition of multiple notifications, assignment to a particular calendar, location and description. Holidays are automatically included.  CalenMob allows for various views, including, day, week, month and agenda (a list of all items). Also, as it syncs automatically with Google, all your calendars are consistent.

One complaint is that it tends to duplicate. An event scheduled in CalenMob will also be scheduled in the calendar on your device, thus listing each item twice. However, this does not always occur.

Overall, a simple to use app that is a step up from the included device calendar.

MileBugMilebug is a must if you have a company vehicle or charge customers for travel time. MileBug lists your start time, the business you are travelling for, the origin, the destination, and purpose. Further, this app allows for different vehicles to be listed. Mileage tracking can be completed by entering start and end odometer entries or by simply entering the distance travelled. If you are frequently taking the same route, it can be saved as a ‘favorite’ for future use.

Expenses may also be added. This is a great feature if you are driving on tolled bridges and need to keep track of when a toll will be charged. The main draw back here is that you must enter the amount of the toll manually every time.

Another great feature is the production of reports.  MileBug trip reports list all the information you include in your entries, including; odometer listings, vehicles, kilometers traveled and any notes you may have included. You can preview these documents in the app before sending them, to ensure they are correct.

OfficeTimeLiteOfficeTimeLite is a great app for tracking your time. This app is perfect for independent contractors, lawyers or other individuals who may require specific information as to the time spent on each project.

This app allows for various ‘projects’ to be entered and timed. The free version only allows for 2 projects, which is a drawback. The projects are assigned a rate per hour, as determined by ‘categories’.  Therefore, if you have different rates for different categories of tasks, this app will accommodate such calculations. Expenses may also be added for disbursements that may be made for a project, such as mailing, copying or the like.

Another helpful feature is the ‘reports’ section. This draws out the time spent according to divisions of time, such as day, week and month. The report view is then listed by project, to give a total for each project and over all projects during the time frame.

WunderlistWunderlist is an app dedicated to lists. Different lists may be named and created according to your need.  There are also various views for this information, including Inbox, Starred, Today and Week.  Inbox is a general holding pen for items, and allows for the quick addition of items off the top of your head. Starred contains those items of high priority as marked by you. Today lists all items which have been marked due. Week includes all items due in the upcoming days.

A primary benefit to this app is the ability to share lists between users. It also has higher functionality than reminder apps included on a device.

ThingsThings is an all in one organization app. It brings together CalenMob and Wunderlist into one. However, it costs $10.

This app is great for those who have many balls in the air, and need a centralized location to keep all the information. Lists are made up of different categories of tasks, including Inbox, Today, Next, Scheduled, Someday and Projects.

Inbox is for items that may not yet have a due date or specific time frame. Today contains all the tasks to be completed today. Next includes all upcoming tasks entered individually, as well as subtasks for projects (see below). Scheduled is the calendar function. Someday is for tasks you have thought up but do not have time to commit to at present.

Reminders are available once per day. Therefore, timed reminders are not possible as with CalenMob. This is a serious draw back if you rely on your device to remind you of events throughout the day.

However, what it lacks in reminders, it makes up for in ‘projects’. This feature allows you to create an overarching task with a due date. However, it also allows for ‘subtasks’ with unique due dates. This is a major plus for tasks that are completed piecemeal over an extended period of time.

Apps are personal and need dependent. However, these apps are just a few of the many available to assist in organizing your life. It can be hard to dig through the mountains of choice. At Walco Radio, we are happy to assist in making sure you have the right device and the right features in place to optimize your productivity.


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.