Update: things seem to be operating well over time. I have great pseudo-coverage now. I do notice from time to time that the red flicks on for one or two of the bands, but it''s not the device''s fault for tripping the attenuation, it''s probably the crappy tower I''m subject...
Update: things seem to be operating well over time. I have great pseudo-coverage now. I do notice from time to time that the red flicks on for one or two of the bands, but it''s not the device''s fault for tripping the attenuation, it''s probably the crappy tower I''m subject to, or some type of LoS radio interference that comes and goes. No idea, but the unit is doing its job and responding to radio environment changes appropriately. 9.5/10 final opinion
(This is for the "3G/4G LTEFusion4Home Omni/Whip" package. My carrier is T-Mobile in northeast IL. I don''t intend to use a high-gain antenna until I move to a rural area next year some time.)
For a base background of my perspective, I am an IT contractor/engineer. Installation of something like this is, well, I can do it in my sleep. I haven''t looked at the documentation in detail, just a quick glance. Beginners may make a few mistakes, most likely antenna placement errors (notably a lack of proper isolation to reduce feedback; you can have a LOT with two omni''s), and it''s very easy, relatively speaking, to destroy the shielding on coaxial cable without proper handling knowledge. I can''t count how many times I''ve seen someone just yanking on a cable to get it fished while it''s all knotted up and coiled, then when it''s finally up, the signal is either ridiculously noisy, has a DC float, or just isn''t there! Check out some simple how-to videos on YouTube for properly handling this stuff so you don''t get burned if you''re new! Nothing to be ashamed of, work smart, not hard!
On to it then. I had purchased two different units than this, all claiming to re-transmit without modulation the original carriers. The other two units were between 100-160 bucks. Both of them failed miserably, producing no elevated flux within the appropriate ranges advertised. They did literally nothing. This unit, however, gave me the full-spectrum miracle I was looking for.
Original circumstance: My office and workshop sit not only in the radio shadow of a deep concrete foundation, but the house is also in a graded depression. I might as well be in a Faraday cage here. 90% of calls go straight to voice-mail, text messages take 20 min to send/receive sometimes longer, the data network is non-existent, you get the picture. This all started happening after the carrier made a configuration change and/or lost a specific tower lease. Since I didn''t buy a Samsung/Apple phone like the rest of the world, nobody was willing to help, and the specific phone I have is an international version that was missing one of the (now) higher density carrier waves in use in my area (just my luck). Buying a new phone is a refused option, mostly on principle, but also because I really do love my still relatively new Asus phone. So, I bought a few repeater units, since it''s something I''ll keep using for years to come, regardless of my phone in-hand.
The unit: This unit has a simple low-gain rubber duck in a fiber tube. I used some of my software/spreadsheets and some public data to figure the best-educated-guess point for the duck, drilled out the brick, and mounted the antenna on the side of the house, no more than 4 feet off the ground, but it works. [Your mileage will vary significantly, especially if you are super-far from your carrier tower! The farther you are, the higher up you''ll need to go. These frequencies are line-of-sight restricted. They are not ground-current waves, nor reflected by the ionosphere!] Then, running that 50ft coax indoors (straight through the wall) down into the basement work area, I mounted the repeater "box" on the unfinished ceiling in the center of the area. In my case, because I created a large amount of isolation, I can basically turn the gain all the way up on each SSL channel without feedback (No red LED''s, at least). In my case, there''s a really good amount of high-density or radio absorbent material between my outdoor duckie and the basement transmitter. Before that, all of my different carrier waves were at about -135db, now, everything is at a nice, healthy -70. The noise floor is very low down there, probably about -150db last I checked with my USB-SDR, but that''s not "scientifically" accurate, as far as empirical metrics are concerned. Bottom line of it; it works very well, makes the ''discount'' competition look like literal garbage. Aside from any radio physical or science, for the lay person, I have "full bars" on cellular service, I''m getting working 4G (As mentioned, my phone doesn''t support my carriers LTE band, apparently they''ll only use one around here or something.) but the 4G is having some issues that I''ll look into when I have more time tonight. Also, other phones here with different GSM carriers are performing well, too.
I hesitated to buy this because of the cost, but the cheaper units did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. This fixed all of my issues, it seems to be very well constructed (without going into any level of detail whatsoever, just all around ''looks fine, feels fine, works fine''). If you are looking for a more rural or long-range solution, you will probably want a yagi or a parabolic dish, whatever makes you sleep better for a high-gain, directional choice. I''m in the suburbs, 3 miles from a tower that I cannot "see" due to my land depression and foundation. I tried to be detailed for this review, since it''s a pretty expensive little ''box'', but I wrote this in a hurry, so I might have missed something. It''s a good buy, if you need a working repeater with intuitive SSL, this will do the trick.