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Do repeaters really work?

25 Mar 2013
quality-cost-330x292

So, you are suffering from poor mobile phone coverage and need to buy a mobile signal repeater kit. But which one to choose? There are so many different types, all with similar specs but varying prices.

The Chinese ones are  the cheapest and appear to have good specs. Why not just go with one of these?

There are other repeaters also, manufactured in Europe, but more expensive. Is the extra expense due just to manufacturing in Europe, or, are there real quality/performance differences? Is the Chinese repeater not going to work? And are you going to wish you had purchased the slightly more expensive, European version? We have all had bad experiences buying the cheaper version of a product.

But do these repeaters really work?

Stelladoradus designs and manufactures repeaters, so we know how they work. We also know what is required to make them work well. The actual amplifier circuit that is in all repeaters is only a small part of the circuit cost. However, to make the repeater work well and not cause problems to the mobile phone network, many protection circuits must be added. Automatic gain control (AGC) is absolutely necessary to protect the operators network, and give a good indoor coverage range. It is very important not to overload the amplifiers (back off the amplifier power), again to protect the operators network. All repeaters should have automatic oscillation control. Oscillation is best described using a music concert as an analogy.

Feedback issues:

During setup, you often hear someone at the microphone saying “one, two, one two”. They are testing to make certain there is no feedback between the speakers and the microphone. The feedback happens if the microphone and speakers are too close together. This would manifest itself as the high pitch shriek, squeal or whistling sound you sometimes hear. Similarly, if the indoor and outdoor antennas of a repeater system are too close, an oscillation will occur. It will seriously damage the mobile operators network. The repeater must automatically detect and stop this oscillation within a few seconds.

Stelladoradus uniquely includes “up-link switch off”, again to completely protect the operators network. A blue LED comes on while a call is in progress (you can actually see the repeater automatically switching on when you make a call, and off again when the call ends). We also include a 6 bar signal strength indicator. It helps during installation of the repeater, and gives great assurance the repeater is working correctly over the many years of good service it will give you.

Do Chinese manufactured repeaters really work?

We have analysed many different Chinese repeaters. None of the cheap models have AGC, oscillation control, up-link switch off, or a good signal strength indicator. That is the reason they are so cheap. By installing a repeater without all this protection, you effectively alert the mobile operators that a noisy repeater is operating in the area. They will more than likely call around to your premises and confiscate your repeater kit and possibly issue a fine depending on which country you reside in. Is it really worth the risk?

 

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