Not everyone enjoys the benefits of good cellphone reception in their home or office. If you’re one of the many who don’t, there’s a better solution than switching wireless carriers: the ARC Wireless Freedom Antenna.
Design and Construction
Unlike antennas designed for use in (or on) a vehicle, the Freedom Antenna doesn’t have a magnetic base as some of ARC’s other models do. Instead, there are two main mounting options. The package comes with two stick-on suction cups which allow you to press the antenna flat against a window or other smooth surface and stick it there. The bottom of the antenna also holds a snap-on base can be used to stand the antenna on any flat surface. Both worked quite well for their respective jobs.
The cable is a very basic 3 foot lead from the antenna, ending in a standardized connector. Since device makers can’t agree on a connector for the phone end, you’ll need a specialized adapter for your particular make and model of phone.
While the PR material for the Freedom Antenna mentions using it in a car by sticking it to a windshield, I don’t think I’d choose it for this purpose over a vehicle antenna designed to be magnetically attached to the outside of a car. The Freedom Antenna is best suited to home or office role.
To objectively determine just how well the antenna itself worked, instead of looking at signal bars, I connected it to a device capable of “field test” mode, displaying the actual strength of the received signal in dBm.
The antenna consistently displayed an average of about 5 dBm gain over the device’s internal antenna when both were tested in the same spot. While not huge, this is close to typical for a small indoor antenna. The antenna itself is only rated for 3 dBi gain, so don’t expect to be pulling in connections from towers 20 miles away, but it will definitely fill in some dead spots.
The biggest gain comes in the form of portability: by putting the Freedom Antenna in the best spot for reception, say near a window, you can work a certain distance away (dictated by your cable length) and enjoy better signal strength. Doing this, I saw gains of up to 20 dBm relative to what you’d get without the antenna.
While the Freedom Antenna doesn’t perform wonders as far as signal strength, it does do the basics that one would expect from a small antenna: it gives a bit of a signal boost, and it allows you to easily relocate the antenna to a more favorable spot. In the end, that’s what most of its users are going to be looking for.
- Compact and versatile design
- Wide compatibility
- Reasonably cheap
- Not ideal for vehicle use
- Requires an adapter cable
To learn more, about the Freedon Antenna, visit the ARC Wireless website.