Increasing the signal strength AlarmAgent WRTU

My AlarmAgent WRTU shows low signal strength (<40%). How do I increase the signal strength?

Antenna Location

The antenna location has a lot to do with the signal strength of the wireless connection to the local cellular tower.  The location you choose for installing your AlarmAgent� WRTU is important if the antenna is mounted directly on top of the WRTU.

If the antenna is to be located separately from the WRTU, then the mounting location of the WRTU is not as critical.

To select an optimum location for either the WRTU with top-mounted antenna or for a separately located antenna, use the bar-graph LED signal strength indicator built into the WRTU.

  1. To view the signal strength indication, turn on the WRTU.
  2. If input power has not yet been connected, you can still view the bar graph which will flash along with all other LEDs.
  3. The stronger the signal strength is, the more segments that will be illuminated. 2
  4. At least four segments of the bar graph should be lit, allowing for momentary variances.
  5. Allow a few seconds for the indication to adjust to any new antenna positioning.

Note: If you are installing the WRTU inside a me1tal enclosure, it will be necessary to install an antenna at a separate location outside the metal enclosure. If the WRTU is being installed in a control panel at a location other than the final destination, issues of antenna placement and network testing will need to be dealt with separately at the time of final installation at the ultimate WRTU site.

If the WRTU is installed within a metal cabinet, the antenna will need to be located separately outside the enclosure. This in turn will require a �cabinet cable� which runs from the WRTU to somewhere on the outer surface of the cabinet. Cabinet cables are available in 18� and 36� lengths.

The same is true if the WRTU is installed inside a metal building, except that a longer extension cable will be required in lieu of the cabinet cable, to reach a suitable outer surface of the building. Extension cables are available in 10� and 30� lengths, or other lengths on special order.

Cable Length

Signal loss is proportional to cable length. For that reason, long cable runs are discouraged. If your installation requires a long cable, contact RACO about custom lengths and low-loss cables.

High Gain Antennas

Optional high gain antennas can be ordered directly from RACO by following the links below.

      Indoor Antenna and Cable Kits

      NEMA Enclosure Antenna and Cable Kits

Rule of Thumb

If the WRTU works outside the building but not inside the building at the desired WRTU location, you can assume that a separately located external antenna will be required.

If the WRTU is installed indoors, but not inside a metal cabinet or metal building, which standard antenna to use depends upon the WRTUs enclosure option. 

  1. A �whip� antenna is standard for the Indoor Enclosure or Open Chassis option. 
  2. A RM3 conical shaped antenna is standard for the outdoor NEMA 4X enclosure option.

A special caution about using cell phones to assess signal strength�

While any cell phone can be used to assess whether a separately located �outside the building� antenna is required as described above, a cell phone cannot be relied upon to assess the need for an externally mounted antenna. This is because the AlarmAgent� WRTU may use a different network type than your cell phone uses. The LED bar graph on the AlarmAgent� WR