NICE AND EASY: What is a “broadcast antenna?”

Commercial installers love to bamboozle you with terminology. It’s just part of the appeal I guess. It seems like hardly a week goes by when I don’t hear of some term I feel like novices ought to know more about. This week, it’s all about cellular signal boosters, and the term is “server antenna.”

Broadcast antenna?

Broadcast antenna is just another term for the indoor cellular antenna. It is the antenna that actually transmits the boosted signal from the amplifier and receives the signals from your cell phone. Without it, the whole system wouldn’t function.

That doesn’t completely explain why they call it a “server antenna” but they do. The outside antenna is sometimes called the “donor antenna.” I’ll be honest, I’ve heard quite a few explanations for those terms, and none of them are what you would call “authoritative.” As best as I can tell, the “donor antenna” receives the “donation” of a signal from far far away, and the “server antenna” serves it to someone close up. I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either.

It’s all part of a bigger system

The donor antenna and server antenna are all part of a cellular booster system. The other part is the amplifier, which handles the hard work of receiving the signal from outside, amplifying it a bunch so it can be used inside, receiving the signal from the phone, and shooting it out through the donor antenna. This all has to happen in a fraction of a second so there’s no lag in the sound, and it has to be done in such a way that there’s no chance that the amplifier would overload the whole cellular network.

When you really take a look at it, it’s very hard to believe that all that stuff actually happens so fast.

Choosing a commercial cellular signal booster

Commercial cellular signal boosters is a special art. The system, also called a Distributed Antenna System or DAS, is a little more complex than your average home cell booster. It tends to consist of multiple server antennas and sometimes multiple donor antennas. It’s usually custom designed to serve areas as large as 70,000 square feet.  It will provide excellent cell coverage in buildings where there isn’t enough signal. Unlike a home system, a DAS has to handle quite a lot of calls at the same time. Sometimes it has to deal with weird things like server closets that put out a lot of electrical interference.

If you’re searching for a commercial cell booster, call an expert. The folks at Signal Connect have decades of experience helping people like you provide great cell service where you work. Let’s be honest, cell service is sort of an expectation now. If you want to attract the best people you have to give them good cell service. The same is true with your customers: they expect good cell service. That may not be the way the world worked back when, but it sure is now.

Call Signal Connect at 888-233-7563 to get started on the road to great cell service in your building.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.