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iPhone External Antenna Connection Procedure and iPhone Booster Info.
How to Boost Your iPhone. By Nolan Hart
If you are wanting to add an external antenna to your Apple iPhone, sorry, there is no external antenna jack but you do have a couple of options. GSM, which is what iPhones currently operate on, is a robust, powerful cell phone protocol that enables good call quality in most areas. For most urban dwellers there will be no need for an external antenna but for those who travel in rural areas having an external antenna or amplifier and antenna combo, can mean the difference between making a call and not having cell phone service. I use both AT&T (my iPhone) and Verizon (Blackberry) for different areas that I work in. Here are some iPhone signal boosters that I have used.
Option # 1. A Conventional Cell Phone Booster and Patch
iPhone patch antenna adapter
The patch type iPhone antenna adapter, as seen above, is a passive connection between your iPhone and the wire leading to your rooftop magnetic mount or booster and antenna combination. It works similar to a glass mounted antenna, where the RF or radio frequency passes from one side of the glass to the antenna on the other side and up into the antenna. The black cover on the back of the iPhone is plastic. It allows for radio signals or RF to pass through to the outside world. If you place a patch adapter over this part of the phone, approximately 70% of the signal will be directed into the patch and on through the coax wire into the antenna or regular cell phone booster and antenna, and then out into space toward the tower.
It's not as perfect connection as with old style phones which had a rubber plug on the back where you could insert an adapter, but it is the best you can do for connection your iPhone to a regular cell phone antenna and amplifier. A better choice is a repeater type cell phone booster such as the Digital Antenna booster, which does not require a patch antenna and can pick up and amplify signals from any model cell phone inside the cab of the vehicle, or within several feet if used in the home or cabin.
Option # 2. For Boosting the iPhone. A Repeater Type Cell Phone Booster
A repeater type cell phone booster is a good way to boost your iPhone signal without having to use a patch antenna adapter. It works by creating a mini cell tower site inside the cab of your car. It picks up your cell phone signal and rebroadcasts it at the full legal wattage of 3 watts. It also amplifies the incoming signal from the tower so you get more bars on your iPhone or any other cell phone. Repeater type boosters such as the Digital antenna model amplify both GSM (which the iPhone uses) and CDMA (which Verizon and Alltel use) and amplify both the 1900 and 800 MHZ bands that the iPhone and other phones use. I use the same model as shown below in my truck and home for both of my phones including the iPhone and it has proven to work very well across the United States.
Below: Devices That Couple With The iPhone's Internal Antenna
The iPhone's antenna is located under the black plastic cover. The Clearboost and the Wilson iBooster couple with the iPhone's antenna.
Option # 3. The Griffin Technology Clearboost Antenna Boosting Case For The iPhone
The Griffin Clearboost Antenna boosting case for the iPhone is a unique concept. It is not yet available for any phones except the iPhone. It utilizes a passive connection from the iPhone's antenna, which is located under the black plastic cover above. The signal travels from the passive connection up an embedded larger integrated copper antenna which is built into the plastic case. This gives the effect of adding a larger antenna to the iPhone.
The Griffin Clearboost is guaranteed to give you fewer dropped calls and increased coverage area, plus help protect your phone from impact. At a price of less than $10 you get both a case and a signal booster. Keep in mind that the Clearboost is not an active amplifier like the one below and is not the best solution for very difficult areas. It gives you a bar or two at most, but does not actively boost your signal like an amplifier does. If you live in remote areas you may want to try an active iPhone booster such as the one below or the Digital Antenna booster. The Griffin Clearboost, shown above, did increase my iPhone reception by a couple of miles farther into an area where I normally can't make calls but wasn't anywhere near as effective as either the Digital Antenna repeater booster or the Wilson iBooster shown below.
Option # 4. The Wilson Booster
The Wilson iBooster is is a very handy device that I found to use with my iPhone. It is a signal boosting solution that combines the best of an amplifier and external antenna with a passive antenna connection inside a charging cradle. The iBooster will charge your iPhone and also amplify the signal sent to the tower by 20 times.
It is not as powerful the regular Wilson Cell phone booster, which is capable of a full 3 watts yet it is about $100 cheaper. It is lightweight and easy to take from vehicle to vehicle. Simply use speakerphone or a Bluetooth headset and leave your iPhone in the cradle. The Wilson iBooster is easier to use than method # 1 above since you don't have to attach the Velcro patch each time to connect to your cell phone booster.
Frequency: 824-894 MHz; 1850-1990 MHz
Gain: 40 dB / 42 dB
Max Output Power: 1000 mw (1 watt)
Max RF (downlink): -20 dBm
Noise Figure: 3.5 dB nominal
Flatness: +/- 4 dB
Isolation: > 90 dB
Power Requirements: 12V
Connectors: SMA Female
Dimensions: 2 x 4.75 x 1 (inches)
Weight: 3 oz
Keep in mind that there will always be areas where you cannot get a cell phone signal, even with the most expensive booster or antenna. If an booster or antenna does not work for you you can generally return it if purchased through any of the links above. Check the return policy of the merchant and keep all receipts and packaging. For more on boosting cell phone reception in remote areas see: How to boost cell phone reception in remote areas.
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