Wireless Repeater Redux: The option of longer range

I previous blogged about my experience with the Wilson Electronics 801247 which is a short range wireless repeater.  In my tests, the product worked as advertised, but the short range was somewhat frustrating.  I was aware of the limited range upon initial purchase and continue to wonder whether a longer range option (like the 841262) would have been a better choice.  However, I always come back to some key factors to justify my decision.

  1. Cost – These repeaters are expensive luxuries and the longer internal range units are sold at a 57% premium.  This is a significant additional cost.  I called Wilson Electronics and asked if the higher end units provide any superior external amplification, and their answer was “No, it just provides a more powerful internal signal.”
  2. Installation difficulty – I wanted a repeater that was highly portable and easy to install.  One of the challenges of these systems relates to spacing of the internal and external antennas.  The 801247 has a relatively small spacing requirement (~10 feet) while the longer range unit requires around 50 feet spacing.  This spacing requirements creates significant installation challenges and lends itself more to permanent installation than the portable approach I am looking for.
  3. Specific area coverage – My most critical need is providing signal to my desk.  Any additional coverage is a welcome improvement.  The nice thing about the 801247 is that I can put the internal antenna on my desk and know that I will get the signal exactly where I need it.  The 841262 will require a more complex installation and antenna placement can be a much more significant challenge.  Additionally, given the amount of signal broadcasted internally, I am not sure if I want it on my desk!  The result is that I think that the 801247 is better if you want to cover a specific and relatively small area.

In summary, both the 801247 and the 841262 provide significant benefits.  The question of which is a better fit for a given environment will vary depending on specific requirements and situations.  At times, I waver on my choice, but always remember the above points which reinforce my decision.

Note: I just realized that the Wilson Electronics website no longer lists the above products and is selling a new version.  They have added some kind of gain control and I wonder if this new functionality makes a significant difference.

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