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Standard User autopilot
(newbie) Fri 20-Jul-12 12:39:37
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Which type of external 3G antenna - Omni or directional?


[link to this post]
 
looking for some advice on the best external antenna setup.

I live in a rural area, but there is a Three mast not too far from me and after years of suffering 0.5mbps ADSL i was pleased to discover i could get a good 3G signal. I have a Zoom router (best 3G router i have tried) and a Huawei E353 dongle (with a connector for an external antenna not currently used) connected to the router and situated in an upstairs bedroom window. Up until recently i was getting speeds of ~5mbps down, ~1.5mbps up and a ping of ~70ms.

However, the old single glazing window it is situated in was replaced a few days ago with a new double glazing window. This has had a big impact on signal strength and performance, probably due to the invisible thermal coating on the glass, and i don't want to be hanging the dongle out of the window when it rains!

So... i have been thinking about getting an external antenna for some time, but now i think im going to have to. The question is what? I was thinking a directional panel antenna would be best, but i just spoke on the phone to Solwise and he thinks an omni directional antenna would be better. The reason being that i cant see the 3G mast as there are trees etc between me and the mast. What he said seemed to make sense, but i have read so many different thing on the internet that my head is spinning.

Would people with knowledge and experience suggest here in my situation?

Many thanks in advance
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Mon 23-Jul-12 20:30:48
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Re: Which type of external 3G antenna - Omni or directional?


[re: autopilot] [link to this post]
 
Given line of sight, a directional will be better, but if having to rely on scattered or reflected signals an omni directional may well be best.

Also you want to keep the length of the connecting lead from antenna to router to a minimum, as the loss in a long cable may negate many of the antenna gains

Andrew Ferguson, andrew@thinkbroadband.com
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User autopilot
(newbie) Mon 23-Jul-12 20:42:34
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Re: Which type of external 3G antenna - Omni or directional?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Just to be absolutely clear, as there does seem to be some ambiguity in some information I have read, "line of sight" means that if you stand where your antenna is you can actually see the transmitter (or just about) - a few trees in the way would not allow line of sight - correct?


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Standard User GeorgeLloyd
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 24-Jul-12 14:14:40
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Re: Which type of external 3G antenna - Omni or directional?


[re: autopilot] [link to this post]
 
You need to remember radio signals don't just go in a straight line, they bound off buildings, trees etc. If you can SEE the mast with no obstruction then directional may be better if not go for omni.

George
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Standard User 5km
(knowledge is power) Wed 25-Jul-12 22:30:47
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Re: Which type of external 3G antenna - Omni or directional?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
There would be little point in a directional antenna if not installed outside.

At 2100Mhz you don't need true Line-of-Sight, although the clearer the LoS is the better.

Newer 3G cards rely on MiMo (multiple antennas) for the highest speed (21Mbps) and as far as I know USB dongles only have one antenna connector (if any). So using an external antenna may actually reduce the speed in some cases.

O2 Broadband Premium LLU
Now on twitter @timmay2
Standard User blueacid
(committed) Sat 04-Aug-12 16:24:40
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Re: Which type of external 3G antenna - Omni or directional?


[re: 5km] [link to this post]
 
Is there no way to build a box or similar to hold the dongle outside, e.g. in the relative shelter of the eaves of the house?
Standard User 5km
(knowledge is power) Sat 04-Aug-12 16:34:40
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Re: Which type of external 3G antenna - Omni or directional?


[re: blueacid] [link to this post]
 
Yes there is.

But due to the limited reach of USB you'll probably want to (or need to) use a USB over Ethernet extender. http://www.maplin.co.uk/usb-cat5-booster-221290 That one isn't USB 2.0 so will be limited to 11Mbps data rate which is probably about 3~6Mbps maximum. That might be enough for 3G for now but not future-proof for new dongles.

*** I don't see why this wouldn't work, but I have never tried this. ***

You'd need to put the dongle in a weather proof box. A drinks bottle would do the trick upside down with the hole where the cable comes in through the lid sealed up with silicone sealant.

You're not adding an antenna you're just moving the dongle to outside where the signal is better.

O2 Broadband Premium LLU
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