The most important test of a cellular signal boosting product
is: What is the weakest signal it can pick up and boost to the
desired device that will allow for a clear call to be made and
Understanding cellular amplifier performance is extremely
important when researching different amplifier products on the
market. At Wilson, we stand by our claim that our amplifiers
perform better than any of our competition because we design
and engineer them to work better than our competitors. After
testing by our own engineering staff, we have an outside,
accredited, independent cellular industry testing laboratory
verify our test results with their own testing.
There are three major performance specifications that form
the basis for a performance comparison: The first performance
specification is receiver sensitivity, which is
the ability of the Wilson repeater or receiver to pick up a weak
signal from a Carrierís cell site. Testing must be done with the
correct criteria and methodology using equipment specifically
made for testing cell phones. Wilson Electronics has the
ability to do this type of testing in our engineering facility
where we have a cell site simulator and a double electrically
insulated radio frequency (RF) enclosure.
Once we test internally, then we have our testing results
independently verified by an outside testing laboratory that
performs tests for the major carriers and cellular
The performance standard we test against is the CDMA
performance standard. This is the most complete and
preferred testing standard because it tests for the weakest
signal that will still give a usable, quality voice and data
output from the test device with a 0.5% frame error rate (FER)
or less. In other words, an amplifier with better receiver
sensitivity can detect a weaker signal, which allows the cell
site to communicate with the cell phone at a greater distance.
The Wilson amplifier outperforms all the competition on the
CDMA performance standard.
By using the CDMA performance standard as a baseline, a true
comparison can be made between cell phone and amplifier
performance. A typical cell phone must have a sensitivity of
-104 dBm or better. The higher the dBm number a tested device
gets, the weaker a signal that it can receive and pass the
test. (For example, a -110 dBm level can pick up a signal 6 dB
weaker than -104 dBm.) A 6 dB improvement in receiver
sensitivity will allow an amplifier to pick up the same signal
at twice the distance from the cell site.
1. Using the same CDMA performance testing standard, the
Wilson Dual-Band Direct Connection Amplifier on 1900 MHZ has a
-109.3 dBm receiver sensitivity, while the Digital Antenna
DA4000 Amplifier has a sensitivity of only -104.2 dBm. That
means the Wilson amplifier can pick up a signal 79% farther than
the Digital amplifier on flat terrain.
Misleading sensitivity claims are used by our competition,
which is why we test their products against ours. Digital
Antenna claims their direct connect amplifierís receiver has a
sensitivity of -123 dBm. This higher number is meaningless
because it gets higher and higher by reducing the received
bandwidth during testing. The measurement must be done at the
cell system bandwidth as the established benchmark and then be
compared with other amplifiers using the same comparison
criteria on the same CDMA cell site test set. This is the
methodology we use at Wilson and the standard used by all other
accredited comparison tests. That is Wilson quality in action.
2. The second performance specification is the
Transmit Test, which includes open loop power,
closed loop power, minimum and maximum power tests for CDMA to
assure the amplifier meets CDMA specifications and will not harm
the Carrierís cell site. Some amplifiers such as the Richardson
Electronics B800-1900-1 do not even meet the minimum power
requirements for the cell phone being tested (see
test results, click here).
3. The third performance specification is to test for
quality control and assurance. Wilson Electronics uses
sophisticated automatic computer testing stations that run as
many as 40 different operational tests on each amplifier before
it is shipped out to our product dealers. This assures
consistency that each Wilson amplifier and Wilson repeater
system has been tested for performance and meets our quality
control criteria before it is shipped out.
Our approach at Wilson Electronics is to follow these three
performance specifications in determining the performance of our
amplifiers. We publish the test results and make the
comparisons against our competition available for product
dealers and customers to make an informed decision about what
product to purchase. We stand by the testing results that show
Wilson amplifier products outperform the competition!