Cable TV Signal Booster

By Todd Fratzel on Electrical

When we built our new home I installed structured wiring to each room. The structured wiring consists of two CAT5 and two RG6 cables bundled together. This allows each room to have access to phone, internet, networking and cable TV.

The problem with this however is we have eight different rooms being fed by one signal. For telephone and networking it isn’t an issue. However, the cable TV is a whole different problem. We recently discovered that our digital cable box wouldn’t allow us to use the On Demand features in the 2nd floor bedrooms.

We called Comcast to report the problem and a technician came out to the house to find out what was wrong. When he hooked up his diagnostic equipment he found that the signal levels upstairs were far below the allowable range for that equipment. The problem is the main signal comes into the house, it is split 3 ways, one for the main living room, one for the VOIP phone system and the last splice feeds the remaining rooms. That first splice drops 7 db of signal. The third leg that feeds the remaining rooms then goes into a 7 way splitter with an 11 db signal loss. So before the signal even gets to the other rooms the signal has lost 18 db.

To correct the problem the technician installed a signal booster. Basically you hook the feed into the booster, then a piece of RG6 cable hooks up to a special transformer that you plug in, then the third connection is the boosted signal. You can buy the CABLE TV DIGITAL AMPLIFIER SIGNAL BOOSTER from Amazon for $28.

The only thing you need to be aware of is DO NOT connect a boosted signal to your internet modem or your VOIP modem. Those devices are very sensitive to the signal strength and you could damage them.

After the booster was installed the levels upstairs were almost as high as the ones downstairs and the digital box now works like a charm. So if you’re planning a large structured wiring project you may want to discuss the signal levels and drops ahead of time with your local cable company. They may be able to bring a stronger signal into the house or provide you with guidance on properly designing your system.

Filed in: Structured Wiring, Cable TV Booster, home improvement, home improvement blog, home improvement advice

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I’m full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I’m also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I’m also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today’s Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you’d like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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