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A Detailed Look at Wilson Electronics 4G LTE (801865) Amplifier and Compatible Antennas (304411 and 301111).

Shortly after purchasing my Droid Bionic 4G LTE smart phone I was blown away by the results of my data transfer rates on bandwidthplace.com. Depending on my location I was getting speeds between 3Mbps to 32Mbps and no, I’m not joking. This along with the mobile hotspot capabilities of the Droid Bionic is what peaked my interest in finding a way to get a Verizon 4G LTE signal at home which has been a problem since we switched from At&t to big red a couple of years ago.

Our neighborhood apparently is in a Verizon black hole where the force is so strong that no reception can penetrate through. Well, that’s not entirely true, we get a signal but it’s random and jumps from network to network (1x, 3g, 4G LTE occasionally on one side of the house) every few seconds. Bear in mind that the signal we received was never enough to make a call or transfer data. Up until I decided to ditch my home internet and setup a home network using my Bionic we had been using a Verizon (Samsung branded) network extender which worked great for phone calls but required a high speed internet connection and did not function well with data functions like text messages.

Okay, enough with the back story lets get to the meat of what this article is about; Wilson Electronics (WE) 4G LTE signal Booster and the accompanying WE antennas. Considering that I am a rather cheap individual I was not willing to pay retail for a WE all in one kit ($700+) so I decided to piece the system together using several sources which I’ll detail below.

The Review:

The question on your mind is likely, Does it work? YES! Let me start by saying that I went from sporadic signals that lasted no more than 5 seconds to a consistent 4G LTE signal that floats between -82 and -95 depending on the tower I’m receiving the signal from. This provides roughly 4Mbs to 12 Mbs download speeds and upload speeds between 1 ½ Mbs to 5 Mbs. However, your situation may vary for a number of reasons. Careful research and thought must be conducted prior to making the investment. To give the primary and very general requirement for success with WE signal booster here’s what the technical support staff at WE told me, if you can attain a signal from the carrier then this system will work for you. Meaning, if you can lock onto a signal from the carrier even for a brief moment or two this system will likely help you attain a solid and consistent signal. I’m not saying you’ll be sitting with a -65db signal but if you’re situation is similar to mine you could see signals ranging from -82db to -94db depending on several factors; like distance to the tower, broadcast power of the tower, etc…

Negatives:

  • Monopoly on Cables: The cables used are WE exclusive which will force you to spend a lot of money on cables for the installation.(As detailed by a couple of different visitor comments, this statement is inaccurate. WE cables are LMR 400 equivalent with N connectors.)
  • The cable is VERY stiff and not easy to maneuver.
  • Price of Coaxial Surge Protector: We had a house hit by lightning so we appreciate the need for this product but $70 is outrageous for what the product is. We’d all probably pass out if we knew the markup on this item.
  • Installation Requirements: The distance between the antennas and the being forced to mount the booster inside the home/business makes for an expensive project.

Positives:

  • Works as advertised. I’m likely the only resident in a half mile radius with 4GLTE. That comes with bragging rights.
  • The booster, surge protector, and antennas all seem very well built.
  • WE support staff is very helpful and some of them are very insightful.

Bottom Line:

Depending on how much you pay for the system I would say it’s worth every penny as long as you don’t spend $800 as WE suggested it would cost during my first phone call with them.

The Hardware:

  1. WE 4G LTE 700 (801865) Booster (Purchased items 1, 2, and 3 from SolidSignal.com) Product Link: 801865 with 301135 and 301111 or 801865 with 301135 and 304411
  2. WE Dual Band Panel Indoor Antenna (301135)
  3. WE Wide Band Antenna (304411) NOTE: According to WE Support staff the 301111 Yagi antenna will not work for the 700 MHz band (Stated it’s an 800 MHz) THEY WERE wrong and even the manual that comes with the 301111 states that it works for the 700MHz band. Furthermore it is this antenna that I am using now so I can personally guarantee it works with the LTE network.
  4. AT LEAST 50 feet of WE Ultra Low Loss Cable 952350 N male connectors on both sides of the cable. In order to use your amplifier at near full power you need at least 50 feet of separation between the inside and outside antenna. (Bought mine on Rocksignal.com) Product Link: 50ft Ultra Low Loss WE cable
  5. AT LEAST two separate 2 foot (longer cables will allow more flexibility when it comes to installation. I recommend at least one of these be a 10 foot cable) WE Ultra Low Loss Cables 952302 N male connectors on both sides. (Only need one if you opt not to use the lightning protection) (Bought mine on Amazon.com) NOTE: I didn’t realize I would need these cables initially so I ended up buying them from Amazon but it would probably be more cost effective to buy these from RockSignal.com as well because shipping may be combined and their price is better.
  6. Mounting Hardware: A pole of 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter to mount the outside antenna on. The pole needs to be AT LEAST four 3 ½ feet long as there has to be at least 3 feet of clearance in all directions of the antenna. (I welded two top posts for chain link fences together and welded a 45 degree angle piece of metal conduit to the top to enable me to elevate the WE 301111 antenna. Found at Home Depot)
  7. Optional: WE Coaxial Lightning Surge Protector 859902 (Overstock.com currently has this item for a really good price.) NOTE: We were previously hit by lightning and lost a lot of electronic equipment so let me just say, Don’t be a cheap ass and spend the extra $60 or so to protect your WE amplifier and countless other devices that could be affected if the lightning jumps to another part of your electrical system. Product Link: WE Lightning Surge Protector
 While You’re Here, Get involved in a 4G LTE rivalry: Motorola Droid Bionic vs. Motorola Droid Razr

The Overall Cost: (Estimated)

  1. WE Amplifier (801865) and WE Indoor Antenna (301135) and WE Outside Antenna (304411) – $299.99 plus $12.95 for shipping = $312.94
    See links in the Hardware section #1 for links to the kits that include the 301111 or 304411 antenna.
  2. 50 ft cable (952350), 10 ft cable(952310), and 2 foot cable(952302) = $69.79 plus $8.95 for shipping = $78.74
  3. WE Lightning Protection (859902) = $46.49 plus $2.99 for shipping = $49.48

——————————————————————————-
Total = $441.16

Please keep in mind you will need some other materials including a pole to mount the outside antenna to, electrical tape, wire ties, etc… but this should give you a ballpark idea of what you’re looking at for the cost.

Installation:

  1. If you have a Android powered phone download an app called “Open Signal” as this will help you find your nearest towers and will help (Somewhat) in the aiming process.
  2. Utilize the app above to discover where you nearest towers are. Spend some time walking your property, neighborhood, and even drive down the street to see where the most consistent signal is coming from. Then move to step 3.
  3. Evaluate the best mounting area on your property/house while considering the following things; location of the cell tower, where your inside antenna will be mounted knowing the outside antenna can’t aim anywhere near the direction of the inside antenna (oscillation WILL occur), distance the outside antenna is from the inside antenna (50 feet minimum is required for near full power on the amplifier), and finally the most important thing; whether or not your wife will approve of the location because if momma ain’t happy 4glte or not, YOU WILL NOT be happy.
  4. Next run the cable to the locations you plotted making sure you’ve met the previously mentioned requirements.
  5. Install the antennas: Inside and outside.
  6. Install the Coaxial Surge Protector.
  7. Mount the Signal Booster and connect the cables. The SB needs to be mounted on the inside of your home away from the extreme temperatures of the attic or outside weather. Unless you opt to buy more than 50 feet of the cable listed above then this takes VERY careful planning. Mine is mount less than a foot from the ceiling behind our plasma tv. Consider whether you have an inside location that will work with only 2 – 2 foot cables to reach the inside antenna and surge protector. If not you will have to buy longer cable.
  8. Check all of the connections and then plug it in. If both of the lights are green it’s working as expected, now aim using the Open Signal app as your guide but give the cell phone plenty of time to process the signal before making adjustments to the outside antenna.

Aiming Tips:

Consider your location carefully. If for example like me, you aren’t currently getting a good signal due to hills, trees, or land is blocking the signal you might need to slightly elevate your antenna in addition to mounting it at a higher point. As you can see in the images above I mounted my antenna fairly high (About 20 feet) and have it installed at a slight angle. Also, be patient when checking for signals, cell phone signal meters are not in real time. At points in the aiming process if you drop your signal all together be sure to check the amplifier inside the building, chances are you may have tripped the oscillation protection. This means your antennas signals are coming in contact with each other and need to be separated. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below and make sure to sign up on JealousBrother.com and get involved in some rivalries. Thanks.

Update: 6-22-2014

Verizon has discontinued the use of the 700 mhz frequency band in the are where I live so this amplifier is now completely useless to me. The quality of the amplifier cannot be questioned but unfortunately for me I have a pretty blue brick. Still have 700 mhz in your area and interested in buying the amplifier? service@jealousbrother.com

19 Responses to “A Detailed Look at Wilson Electronics 4G LTE (801865) Amplifier and Compatible Antennas (304411 and 301111).”

  1. Ryan,

    Thanks so much for this article! Very similar to your situation, I’ve been extremely frustrated with an erratic 1x, 3G, and 4G signal at my house, but was hesitant to fork out $500+ for booster equipment that I wasn’t sure would resolve the problem. So your research and advice on the resolution, installation and equipment suppliers is unbelievably useful (and saves some green, too.) Thank you very, very much, and I’ll let you know how the project turns out.

    JW

    Posted on by: John Whitney
  2. JW,
    You are Very welcome! I do have to issue a warning before you continue with the project. Just in case you are operating with the same data plan I was (Grandfathered into the unlimited data package) you may or may not know that Verizon is stripping grandfathered customers of their unlimited package on their next upgrade. So that may or may not be a factor in your decision. If that doesn’t affect you or you decide to continue on with the project please do let me know how it turns out. If I can be of any assistance do let me know.

    Sincerely,
    Ryan Kazinec

    Posted on by: Ryan Kazinec
  3. JW, One more note: Check into Alfa surge protector on Amazon. I’ll try and add a link. They are MUCH more affordable and despite the picture not looking like a n connector it is indeed an n connector.

    Posted on by: Ryan Kazinec
  4. Ryan,

    Thanks again, the installation went great and the cell signal is significantly stronger and more stable (consistent -83 to -90 dB even without yet fine tuning the antenna.) Again, your article was extremely useful and very much appreciated.

    Best regards, John

    Posted on by: John Whitney
  5. John,
    You are very welcome and I’m glad the post helped you out. Sounds like the system worked quite well for you and some fine tuning may prove to increase your signal even more. If you come across any questions please don’t hesitate.
    Sincerely,
    Ryan Kazinec

    Posted on by: Ryan Kazinec
  6. Hi Ryan,

    Do you know if the WE booster only works when using a cellular phone as a hotspot? I own a Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot (MiFi 4510L) and my signal gets very spotty and I usually have to have the thing outside for it to pick up any signal. I was curious if this solution would work for me, or if this only enhances signal/data from cellular devices.

    Thanks,
    Joel

    Posted on by: Joel Nelson
  7. Hey Joel,
    From what I understand with how the mobile hotspots work this should certainly work to increase your signal. As a quick breakdown, mobile hotspots are cellular devices that only access the data network, not voice. So, if your data signal is increased for a cell phone it is perfectly reasonable to assume your data signal on your hotspots should receive the same increase; depending on the quality of the antenna on your device.

    So in short, yes it should certainly work to improve your mobile hotspot device signal. However, as I’m not professionally trained with your device or on cell networks I would strongly suggest you call Wilson Electronics to confirm this. They have a very helpful staff.

    Posted on by: Ryan Kazinec
  8. hi, loved the article. i had a 4g mifi that would pick up a 4g signal for about 30 seconds then switch to 3g and stay. according to vzw coverage map my home is dead on the border of 4g and extended 4g signal. i live about 2 miles from the tower but have a good bit of trees between us. my cell phone stays connected to 3g and have never noticed 4g in my home from it. will this get me a steady 4g signal

    Posted on by: jeff
  9. great article. I also use my grandfathered unlimited plan as my home internet. I luckily get a pretty consistent signal but need to keep my galaxy s3 stationary, so it’s basically a modem. I would consider doing this if it wasn’t so expensive. Maybe this summer if I catch the muse for a home improvement project. Thanks again

    Posted on by: Dave
  10. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the detailed and interesting article. I’m thinking about doing the same thing.

    I’m puzzled why your repeated signal is only -82 to -95. I mean, presumably you’re within 20 feet or so from the inside antenna, right? Did you lower the inside output to reduce oscillation?

    I’m getting -95 to -100 naked from Verizon’s tower on 4G LTE, which is a couple of miles away. I do get keep a 4G LTE lock, but it’s weak and voice quality suffers (lots of compression artifacts). I was hoping to see signal in the -77 to -80 range if I do this project.

    Comments? thanks….!

    Posted on by: Robert
  11. Hey Robert,
    Well there are a couple of issues. First, my geographical location is in between several towers and even with the amplifier it sometimes jumps from one to another (I tried two different antennas to alleviate this issue with no luck). Second, when I was able to lock into a signal without the booster my signal was -112 and worse. At my house it was actually rare to even grab a verizon signal which is why our phone batteries died in mere hours.

    You are correct the signals received are no more than 30 or so feet from the inside antenna but that antenna can only broadcast the signal quality the outside antenna can grab. Even Wilson states that typically modest gains are all that’s possible; hence you’re not going to drop from a -112 to a -70.

    However, depending on your landscape, obstructions, tower location, etc… you may very well see mid to high 70’s since your baseline is -95. It’s certainly an expensive experiment but I had fun with it.

    Posted on by: Ryan Kazinec
  12. Thanks a lot for your article.
    Spent a lot already in quest for consistent signal from Verizon, but still not satisfied. Download ranges from 0.8 to 3.5 MBps. Upload 5.0 to 11.0 MBps. Lopsided. Don’t know why!!. Surrounded by hills and trees. Things are a lot better than when I started. I manage to get RSSI of 46 dbi but SINR is poor -2 to 3. So I want to try directional antenna. To raise the SINR. SINR seems more important than RSSI.

    I currently have Omni directtional cellphone mate antenna, 700v amplifier, etc.

    It appears that you use both 304411 and 301111 antennas. Why is that? I am mauling over the choice of wideband 700-2700 MHz or the yagi 698-806 MHz antennas. Do I have to get both?

    Thanks again

    Posted on by: Ebekue
  13. Ebekue,
    No you don’t have to get both antennas. When I installed the wide band yagi the signal jumped from 1x, to 3g, to 4g frequently. I was hoping the low band yagi would eliminate some of the inconsistency since it would hone in on the 4g band. It did help a bit but it seemed to pull a slightly weaker signal. I’m still not content with the setup and probably need to spend a day re-aiming the antenna to acquire a better signal. Honestly, now that Verizon is going to force me out of my unlimited bandwidth package if I was to upgrade my phone I don’t think I’ll be investing any more money securing a stronger Verizon signal.

    Posted on by: Ryan Kazinec
  14. Thank you for taking the time to make this installation guide. It is extremely helpful to future Wilson amplifier users. I work for WilsonAmplifiers.com so hopefully I can add some insight as well.

    1. Wilson400 ultra low-low coaxial cables with N-Male connectors offered by Wilson Electronics are equivalent to LMR-400 cables with N connectors. So they are not WE exclusive cable/connector combination. Wilson400 cables and connectors are guaranteed highest quality products (made in USA) but other LMR-400 equivalent cables and N-type connectors can be substituted. Always consider cable dB loss and impedance when selecting the right cable for your system. They are not all created equal. But they are indeed very stiff and heavy. But thick, well shielded solid copper-core cable is exactly what you need here. Average loss per 10ft Wilson400 cable at 800MHz frequency is only 0.45bD that means about 2.5dB for a 50-foot cable installation (plus approximate 0.5db for each connector used on amplifiers and antennas).

    2. Both antennas should work for Verizon 4G LTE for most areas (700MHz frequency). The 304411 (“Wide Band” 50ohm antenna) and the 301111 (“800MHz” 50ohm antenna) should cover the full spectrum of the 700mHz frequency. The gains will be +7.3dB and +10.0dB, for 304411 and 301111 respectively. Both antennas MUST be mounted thin side up (ribs in vertical, up-down plane) which may be hard to see in the images posted.

    3. If thinner cable for flexibility (or longer cable for reach) is needed, an inline booster (pre-amp or post-amp) can be used to compensate for cable loss. Always minimize the length of cables and amount of connectors needed. They all, even the best quality Wilson stuff, result in considerable signal loss.

    4. Lightning surge protectors are always recommended for home amplifier systems to protect the booster and other cellular devices. The correct 50ohm LSP for this 50ohm system is the 859902. Always buy new stock, new model components and do not try to save a few bucks at the risk of impairing the entire system.

    Just my advise. Hope it helps. Again, awesome installation guide!!! thanks a lot.

    Posted on by: Tomasz
  15. Is the connector on the back of the Bionic an N-connector?

    Posted on by: Tillman
  16. An “N” connector is 3/4″ (just under) diameter. You will never see an N connector on a cell phone. The N connectors mentioned are used for the RF cabling between amplifier and antennas/lightning protection. With this system if relays regular cell signals inside your house. No connection to the cell phone is needed. You are free to roam about your home connected!

    Posted on by: Dewey
  17. I had Similar problem . Got a Cell Antenna booster repeater in 2008 for Verizon Casio .Boulder mounted at 33′ on 50′ cell tower and worked Great till I got Iphone 4 no signal. If I fire up the Boulder phone it still works full signal just phone and text though.
    Was able to get a Verizon 5s in 2013 Fall and still using fist model Saomsung Internet booster with Linksys WRT1900!EC. That is until my power goes off, generator fires up and then no cell signal since cable usually goes out also. I was able to use mothers upgrade I pay for get 5s and keep my grandfathered Data Unlimited plan. Live in mobile home and even outside only get 3 to 4 bars. Go exactly 3 blocks up street and get 4 G LTE. I am having tower painted and on top is a 20 foot schedule 80 pipe with remains of old astro plane and half of Wilson TV antenna I no longer need since I have Had Dish for 17 years. My internet is also grandfather long story on how I fought to keep it, but have 100 down and 10 up but still 90 bucks a month. Never see any data usage on phone, since disabled and rarely leave home. Would like to mount antenna on top of pole and raise up and secure in old rotor no longer working or alignment would be a snap. 20 miles away they have the new XLTE is possible for me to get that signal on top of the tower? Be great for when cable goes out?

    Posted on by: Bcs
  18. Hi,
    I am looking at a booster the same as you are describing installing. (801865). I was figuring on this working, until I read your update about Verizon changing using the 700Mhz system in your area. How can I find out what system they use in my area?

    thanks
    Eric

    Posted on by: Eric
  19. Eric,
    There is a app for Android phone called LTE discovery. It will show you which band your connecting to. From memory, band 13 is 700mHz and band 4 is 1900/2100, check that as I’m going by memory.

    Posted on by: Ryan Kazinec

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