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How to best improve 4G signal

 
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JimWWhite
EVDO Newbie


Joined: 04 Jul 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Near Statesville, NC USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:32 pm    Post subject: How to best improve 4G signal Reply with quote

Our address is now considered as being inside Verizon's 4G footprint. However, our house is not. At the end of our lane, which is .4 miles away there is a strong 4G signal with at least 4 bars on our Verizon/Novatel MIFI 4510L device. We have 3G in the house but the signal is all over the place. Typically the RSSI (or EVDO) is about -85 dBm. This makes for not a very good internet experience to say the least. I want to buy whatever equipment is required to pull in the 4G and get it on the 4510L device so we have a 21st century connection to the outside world. Also, we have very poor mobile phone connections on my Wife's 4G ready I-Phone as well as my flip-top Samsung phone. Calls are constantly breaking up and dropped. Maybe two bars at best but typically one. We are within a mile or so from a Verizon tower but it is not in the line of sight as there are trees in the way.

Now for my questions:

What do I need to do to improve my overall signal and pull in the 4G signal so we can use it throughout the house for both mobile phones and the MIFI device?

I would prefer to keep it simple and not cost more than $500. Is that possible?

Can we use the omni-directional 9-1/2 inch antenna connected to a 4G amp/repeater or what?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jim
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Osage
EVDO Junkie


Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject: Re: How to best improve 4G signal Reply with quote

[quote="JimWWhite"]Our address is now considered as being inside Verizon's 4G footprint. However, our house is not. At the end of our lane, which is .4 miles away there is a strong 4G signal with at least 4 bars on our Verizon/Novatel MIFI 4510L device. We have 3G in the house but the signal is all over the place. Typically the RSSI (or EVDO) is about -85 dBm. This makes for not a very good internet experience to say the least. I want to buy whatever equipment is required to pull in the 4G and get it on the 4510L device so we have a 21st century connection to the outside world. Also, we have very poor mobile phone connections on my Wife's 4G ready I-Phone as well as my flip-top Samsung phone. Calls are constantly breaking up and dropped. Maybe two bars at best but typically one. We are within a mile or so from a Verizon tower but it is not in the line of sight as there are trees in the way.

Now for my questions:

What do I need to do to improve my overall signal and pull in the 4G signal so we can use it throughout the house for both mobile phones and the MIFI device?

I would prefer to keep it simple and not cost more than $500. Is that possible?

Can we use the omni-directional 9-1/2 inch antenna connected to a 4G amp/repeater or what?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jim[/quote}
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As I can ask you the same question, and if you can tell me we will both know.

But lets start out with what we should both know.

(A) The Verizon 4510L modem may not be quite as good as its successor in the 4620L, but still the 4510L is an excellent 4G Verizon modem, and not the root cause of your problems.

(B) If your nearest 4G Verizon tower is only one mile away, you can right away reject any hypothesis that distance from your tower is any part of your problem.

(C) Which right away lead us to ask, what is killing both tour 3 G and 4G Verizon signal inside your house where you need it? By in large your usual suspects are either a bunch of close in trees or some Teriann features like a tall hill standing between your house and your local Verizon tower. Trees are a lesser handicap but a pile of dirt is a bigger handicap.

After than I can say that 9.5 " unidirectional antenna may be all you need but you may need more altitude to get any benefit. But that is the cool thing about a MIFI modem, you can use just it to see if altitude will solve any of your problems on a dry day. And if it does, then you can buy a waterproof antenna and low loss cable may be all you need to get over your handicaps.
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JimWWhite
EVDO Newbie


Joined: 04 Jul 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Near Statesville, NC USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:06 pm    Post subject: How to best improve 4G signal Reply with quote

As best as I can tell I'm on a high point of land so there should not be any hills or anything other than trees between our house and the Verizon tower. I believe the nearest tower is due south of us across some open and wooded land about a mile away in a straight line. I believe that is the tower I am connected to but I'm really not positively sure. Is there any way to determine that? Using the 9-1/2" omni-directional antenna would be great to improve the MIFI signal but what about the mobile phones?
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smithandwest
EVDO Heavy User


Joined: 13 Apr 2008
Posts: 138
Location: SC

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your best bet is to talk to the people at 3gstore directly. I improved my signal with just a 6" booster on my 3g modem (had those for years), and recently added the MiFi 4620 with the new Wilson Sleek (improved my 3g dramatically, not in a 4g area yet but expect similar when we are). I typically get worse RSSI than you are saying you get on your 3g phones, on my own phone, but it's enough for getting online on my phone occasionally, and usually can talk either in my office (best signal in the house) or outside. Maybe you have some other interference going on?

If you're wanting to boost signal to the whole house, both 3g and 4g (current iphone is not 4g btw) - you need outside and inside antennas, and amp in between. The inside antenna is to redistribute the signal inside. You'll need to see if there's a solution that will boost both 3g and 4g at the same time. It was cost prohibitive for me, and I'd opt for a 2nd & 3rd Wilson Sleek if I need to boost my phones too.

We are a good 4 miles from the tower, and I'm repeatedly surprised by the number of people on here that are within a mile or so of a tower and get such a bad signal. I'd be interested to know why that happens, though I know sometimes it's simply issues with the tower itself that needs a tech. We have a lot of trees in our yard, across the neck from us (on a river of a lake) and between here and the tower, though there's breaks of open spaces (water & fields). Probably helps us that the tower is a tall one too.

~ Lori
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dmc271
EVDO Heavy User


Joined: 31 Jan 2011
Posts: 115
Location: Oklahoma, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In regards to acquiring a 4G signal, I suggest the 801865 Wilson 4G repeater. See the following page for a detailed writeup with some great photos...

http://www.jealousbrother.com/blog/detailed-wilson-electronics-4g-lte-801865-amplifier-compatible-antennae-304411-301111/

I have a similar setup at home, though my antenna is mounted in the attic at the moment since I can't yet go on the roof due to several wasps nests! Evil or Very Mad
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Osage
EVDO Junkie


Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: How to best improve 4G signal Reply with quote

JimWWhite wrote:
As best as I can tell I'm on a high point of land so there should not be any hills or anything other than trees between our house and the Verizon tower. I believe the nearest tower is due south of us across some open and wooded land about a mile away in a straight line. I believe that is the tower I am connected to but I'm really not positively sure. Is there any way to determine that? Using the 9-1/2" omni-directional antenna would be great to improve the MIFI signal but what about the mobile phones?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------For some stupid reason I can't understand, wireless telco's tend to keep the location of the towers tip top secret. Nor can you easily go on the internet and find out who owns which local tower.

But one trick I found that usually works is simple, legal, and almost always works. Just drive as close to the tower as possible, park the car and walk towards the the little fenced in enclosure. And look through the fence to see whose name is on the electric meter and various other pieces of equipment inside the enclosure.

And if you want to amplify your cell phone, a 4G Wilson sleek is what you need. If your cell phone carrier is AT&T you need the 4G-a version and if its Verizon you need the 4G-v version. As for me, when I am at home, I don't need to use a land line phone for long distance or a cell phone, because I just fire up gmail and my already downloaded 3.5 MB app. And then use a USB phone type handset to get free calling in the USA and Canada. You can get very good call clarify with even a 300 Kbits/sec connection as long as your pings are under 200 ms.
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JimWWhite
EVDO Newbie


Joined: 04 Jul 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Near Statesville, NC USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:41 pm    Post subject: How to best improve 4G signal Reply with quote

Thanks, DMC271. The link you provided was excellent info. I'm planning on calling Wilson tomorrow and get started on this before I go crazy with my wireless communications. Actually, I have to keep the Darling Wife happy which is even more of a challenge, if you know what I mean... Laughing

Many thanks to all who contributed also. I think I now have a good idea how to proceed with this project.

Jim
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Matt
3Gstore Employee


Joined: 02 Apr 2008
Posts: 1370

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:47 am    Post subject: Re: How to best improve 4G signal Reply with quote

JimWWhite wrote:
Thanks, DMC271. The link you provided was excellent info. I'm planning on calling Wilson tomorrow and get started on this before I go crazy with my wireless communications. Actually, I have to keep the Darling Wife happy which is even more of a challenge, if you know what I mean... Laughing

Many thanks to all who contributed also. I think I now have a good idea how to proceed with this project.

Jim


If you don't need to improve the reception on your phones too, I'd recommend doing the Panel Antenna plus a direct connect amplifier. Here is a cart for your reference - http://3gstore.com/cart/2532

The advantage to this setup (similar to Wilson from DMC's link) is it's a direct connect amplifier. This will produce even more signal gain and is cheaper than a full on wireless repeater.

If you have questions about equipment feel free to give us a call and we can go over the pros/cons of different components.
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thrillhouse
EVDO Junkie


Joined: 05 Oct 2007
Posts: 292
Location: VA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
we can go over the pros/cons of different components.


Maybe post that info, a lot of people can use it. Not trying to tell you your business but those questions are asked here over and over again, it could be very useful to some. Maybe sticky it on the top of the board or sub board for quick reference.

EDIT: nevermind, there already is a post like that. To any who are interested and haven't seen it: http://3gstore.com/page/12_which_antenna_is_best_for_me.html
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Matt
3Gstore Employee


Joined: 02 Apr 2008
Posts: 1370

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thrillhouse wrote:
Quote:
we can go over the pros/cons of different components.


Maybe post that info, a lot of people can use it. Not trying to tell you your business but those questions are asked here over and over again, it could be very useful to some. Maybe sticky it on the top of the board or sub board for quick reference.

EDIT: nevermind, there already is a post like that. To any who are interested and haven't seen it: http://3gstore.com/page/12_which_antenna_is_best_for_me.html


The big difference is that the wireless system is going to provide enhanced data connectivity for multiple users. If you have a smartphone that you want to enhance 4G LTE with in addition to a modem it makes the most sense.

A direct connect system is going to have less signal loss giving you the best possible performance for a single device. Think of cellular amplifiers like WiFi vs. Ethernet. A hardwired connection is always going to outperform something wireless.
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thrillhouse
EVDO Junkie


Joined: 05 Oct 2007
Posts: 292
Location: VA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Makes sense, thanks.
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Osage
EVDO Junkie


Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Matt says, "A direct connect system is going to have less signal loss giving you the best possible performance for a single device. Think of cellular amplifiers like WiFi vs. Ethernet. A hardwired connection is always going to outperform something wireless."

But for a skeptic like me, I always doubt the conventional wisdom and wonder if I am just hearing one more old wives tale acquiring more legitimacy the more often its repeated.

But then again, I have no real way, at my location to test the Matt hypothesis. Yes Yes yes, I want to believe the Matt hypothesis that hard wired internet is best, but at my rural location the only hard wired option I had then and still now is dial up. I have largely given up any any dream that any direct hardwired broadband option such as even vanilla dsl, cable, fios, or uverse will ever come to me in my lifetime.

After that, then what? Does it really matter where in the chain, you place various hardwired or purely wireless devices when your primary broadband internet comes from either wireless internet satellite or cell phone based data plans such as 3G or 4G? Or for that matter, if I share my internet connection with other computers when all I have is hardwired dial up. As I spent 5 long years after service pack 2 for XP came out sharing a hard wired ICS crossover cable dial up connection using windows ICS, with my wife. Only investment required was a long cross over cable that cost me only $18.00 As I set out to learn as much as I could about networking.

But as it was, I came too late to that game, as any technological improvements in 56-K dial up modems stopped dead in 2002. As I went through a plethora of 56-k modems, and leaned just one thing, the more expensive they were, the slower they were. Until I got lucky, and found an el cheapie win modem that would deliver a whole 40 Kbits/sec over my suckie phone lines to share. Which beat the heck out of the 20 Kbits/sec I had to share before. But still, my wife and I could use the internet at the same time, as long as we did low bandwidth things. Even if we were often at each others throat for hogging all the bandwidth.

Things finally improved for me in late 2009, when Verizon finally activated a 3G filler tower only 2 miles from me. Before that, I lived in the middle of a cell phone desert, not a single cell phone tower within eight miles from me. That is when I finally found this forum and leaned to be a wise 3G data consumer. And oh what sweet paradise it became, as suddenly I had a average of 600Kbit/sec down to share with my wife. Using the same hardwired cross over cable as before. And may I add with rock solid results With the only limitation being, only a two computer limit with ICS. No big handicap for only my wife and I, but it would be a big handicap for a family with more than three or more people that want to share the internet a the same time. Then a router makes sense.

But when I posted my results on other networking forums, I would have been burned at the stake as a hieratic if they could have ever get a hold of me. They may had in the past conceded ICS might be able to handle slow dial up, but I still remember all the dire predictions that ICS would never be able to handle 3G speeds. Balderdash and old wives tales is all I can say, as I spent two very happy years on 3G ICS with rock solid results. Meanwhile back at those other networking forums, if I had a nickel for every hard wired or wireless routers that crapped out, I would be a very wealthy man.

To make a long story short, I later switched to a 3G MIFI modem for reasons of economy. And won the bonus of being able to update my seldom used wireless capable laptops without inconveniencing my wife. Now that 4G finally came to my area, I get the bonus of a 10x increase in speed compared to 3G as I switched to a 4G MIFI modem.

As I ask Matt, do I pay a wireless hit compared to a hardwired router? If I do, I never noticed it. I don't like the 3G or 4G cap, but it still beats the heck out of my other option of going back to cheaper dial up. As for a 3G or 4G router, what good would it do me, when my 4620L is a combo modem and router. When my past MIFI 2200 and my present MIFI 4620L have never given me a moment of trouble.

As my final evdo forum comment is, for those that use 3G or 4G routers on this forum, and experience various problems, trouble shooting problems becomes almost impossible. As the question becomes, is it the wireless 3G or 4G modem, is it the 3G or 4G router, or some weird interaction between them?
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thrillhouse
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Joined: 05 Oct 2007
Posts: 292
Location: VA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That mirrors my rural internet experience. Except I wasn't on 56k (shudder) and got unlimited 3G so don't want to go to 4g. But the part about not having any hard line option at all, I feel like this is a niche market that a company could make a fortune in. A true rural broadband connection without data restriction or other treachery.
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Osage
EVDO Junkie


Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thrillhouse wrote:
That mirrors my rural internet experience. Except I wasn't on 56k (shudder) and got unlimited 3G so don't want to go to 4g. But the part about not having any hard line option at all, I feel like this is a niche market that a company could make a fortune in. A true rural broadband connection without data restriction or other treachery.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All I can thrillhouse is that I really envy you, way past the point the point of turning green. I would have almost killed to have an unlimited 3G Verizon connection, but by 2009 it was no longer an option for me.

I don't blame you a bit thrillhouse, if I had unlimited 3G it beats the heck out of faster 4G.

Most of my internet use does not require fast download, but when my wife and I spend a lot of time on the internet, even a 10 GB/mo. cap is delimiting.

And when every wireless telco has us rural wireless users by the shorthairs, as we become their cash cows. And our new FCC overlord in Greenowski is absolutely delighted.
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