Antenna boosts weak signals
For the mobile road warrior, one of the most frustrating experiences is the inability to connect with the world — office, family or friends — because a weak signal in a given location renders the cell phone or other wireless communications devices useless. For those occasions, the recently announced Freedom Antenna all-in-one package from ARC Wireless Solutions (www.arcwireless.net) can make life much easier.
Small enough to fit into a briefcase or a coat pocket, the Freedom Antenna provides 3 dBi gain to a cell phone signal when affixed inside a car and connected to a handset, said Joshua Stewart, product manager for ARC Wireless. This “extra juice” provides about eight times the signal strength of the cell phone’s antenna, improving voice clarity and effectively enhancing coverage.
“One of the biggest benefits people realize from this is the reduction in dropped calls,” Stewart said. “If you have that spot on your drive into work where you typically have dropped calls, this really helps reduce — or eliminate — that problem by giving your signal that extra little boost.”
Expected to be sold for a retail price of $34.95, the solution also will lengthen cell phone battery life of the device, Stewart said. “When you’re in a weak area, your cell phone is sending out signals to try to find the network, and it really uses a lot of battery juice,” Stewart said. “When you connect this antenna, it helps reduce the need for that.”
Operating in frequencies from 800 MHz to 2.5 MHz, the Freedom Antenna is a passive device that works with all major cellular providers and more than 200 phones, including six of the 10 top-selling phones in the U.S. The four that are not supported lack the connector port needed to link the phone with the antenna, Stewart said.
Previously, the Freedom Antenna was sold under the RadioShack brand. While the antenna is unchanged, ARC Wireless believes its new package will be more effective because the vendor has migrated to a TNC connector from the FME connector on the previous models, Stewart said.
More important, the ARC Wireless all-in-one package includes the adapters — previously sold separately — that are needed to make the antenna compatible with virtually any cell phone, and Bluetooth capability to allow hands-free driving.
“It is the same technology and antenna performance, we’ve just redesigned it to make it more technical and consumer-savvy,” Stewart said. “We’ve also combined it with two of the most popular adapters. With the old product, it was a pretty plain-Jane look, and you had to purchase the adapters separately — and we typically didn’t support those adapters.”
In the future, ARC Wireless plans to enhance the Freedom Antenna package to enable compatibility with PC data cards and expand the frequency range to the 3.5 GHz or 5.8 GHz band, Stewart said.