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Standard User helpme101
(newbie) Tue 11-Sep-12 19:42:54
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Please someone help me with this 3g issue!

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Hi, we live is a remote part of the UK, BT even said they promised we could get broadband now decided its impossible, even though there are just 3 properties on our postcode.
So.. we have tried everything, after playing around I managed to get a good deal with T-mobile at 20gig data sim card on a 24 month contract.
Now when it arrived, no signal, but... if i travel 30 seconds to a spot down my lane, I get 5 bar.. now I am only 2.2 miles from the mast and 2.9 from another one.
I purchased a omi dir antenna from online at a cost of £80.00 and a modem that takes a simcard for 3g at a cost of £190.00 and still no signal I really expected it to find the mast..

When I go to the bottom of my property and climbe the BT pole that suppliers a line, I can see the hill that the mast is just behind.
So.. I bought a directional antenna dish from online for £130.00 which is supposed to work up to 15miles.. still nothing.... which to be fair is properly me not setting the dish antenna correct.

Now I can find GSM fine, but thats not what I need, I need to find.. WCDMA umts, it seems the closer I get to the mast the signal switches to WCDMA and I get a whopping 12 meg download and 4 meg upload.

I wish the router could only allow 3g data through but it finds the gsm first...
so.. I found the hubba! £330 delivered... 4 antenna gets broadband ANYWHERE.. even in dead spots, still nothing,... even though this is a pretty nice bit of kit only finds data signals which is nice... but it wont work, tried it around the corder in my keep with a inverter and it works fine... now I am getting desperate to get it working, money is not the problem, I have spent alot through trial and error but only way to get things done as NOONE wants to help from mobile or broadband companies..but we must get on-line.
I can not BARE the sat broadband any more, £100 per month good speeds but terrible latency as you would expect.

I am wondering if someone can help me with this, we have many tall tress in our forest but as stated, on the BT pole I can more or less see a good line of sight over the lake.

any ideas? also t-mobile say 4g is expected soon, even just after Christmas in our area but nothing is in stone...

I refuse to believe this day and age I cant get a signal, I am thinking as desperate measure to stick that hubba modem antenna on a 60ft pole and strapping it to the biggest dam tree on our land so its above the tree line.

I drove to the base station in the middle of the forest, to try and trace its location, could not bare the alarms blasting for long but managed to trace it on google earth and the line of sight is pretty okay, a few trees but no buildings.

Edited by helpme101 (Tue 11-Sep-12 22:09:24)

(Unregistered)Thu 13-Sep-12 01:32:34
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Re: Please someone help me with this 3g issue!

[re: helpme101] [link to this post]
Good to see that the BT pole was useful for something. Our phone line is quite useful for hanging bird feeders on.

I've spent quite a long time on getting the most out of our 3G HSPA connection as it's the only way we can get broadband here, though we can get ADSL it's too slow to bother with as the phone line is too poor.

It's very difficult to get any meaningful information out of the mobile operators.

The cells you're trying to connect to are quite a distance away. You may have already tried some of these tips already, on the other hand, they may prove very useful:

We have a directional antenna. From the roof, with binoculars, you can actually see the mast in question. That gives us a signal strength of 71db which is quite good.

That's the best signal we can get here with the antenna. It is a better signal than the dongle gets by itself, which is nearer 90db to 100db (lower the better) and the cell it latches to is 2.7km away (straight line). That's with one of these:

With that plugged in, the modem *always* latches to that cell.

Worth pointing out - when I bought that, I also bought a Solwise router (434T) and tried to pair them together. It was as well that I noticed that although they both have the same type of connectors and one appears to screw into the other, actually, you need a connector between the pair of them to make the connection. Without it, you might as well not have the antenna at all.

We can actually attain faster speeds - sometimes, especially upstream getting on for 5Mbps - with a second cell roughly the same distance away, perhaps a fraction closer.

But only sometimes, and ping times (latency) are highly variable. That appears to be because it's over the other side of the hill that slopes away from our house. With a directional antenna, precise positioning is everything - left/right and up/down. Even that can't get better than about 98db (marginal) to that cell. At your distance from it, the hill might well be making the difference.

So, the cell which is geographically closest to you, may not be the best. If you follow the links supplied, observe the power levels from the ones you're interested in. The closer they are to other cells, the lower the power is likely to be. Contention at different cells is also something to take into account, that said, if you can only connect to one, it becomes irrelevant.

I don't know what the "hubba" is, but there is a piece of kit called the WiBE which is very good at latching to even the weakest signals. Where you can't get line of sight and the signal is marginal that may work very well. It's HSPA only, not HSPA+, so the speeds are limited, but it's better than nothing.

Your other option, as you yourself conclude, may be to get a very tall bracket/mounting and get the directional antenna higher up. Using the kit in the link I gave you, you may just be able to get it right so it latches to HSPA.

Finally, in terms of latency, ours can be anywhere between about 30ms and 80ms, 40ms is typical. That was massively improved by fine tuning the antenna positioning.

Post again if you need any more help.
Standard User ukhardy07
(experienced) Thu 13-Sep-12 01:51:34
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Re: Please someone help me with this 3g issue!

[re: helpme101] [link to this post]
PM me your post code and I'll look at the local areas phone masts and power levels directions of antennas etc. Might find a network which would give you coverage.

2.2 miles from the mast is quite a lot. I am under half a mile from a Vodafone mast and get no coverage from it. They often position the antennas facing in a way that only gives them very limited range. This is to avoid masts interfering with one another and causing too much cross talk.

Masts can go several miles but it's all dependent on how they are setup.

You would idealy be looking for a signal in the 900 range not a higher band service.

I think T-mobiles 4g is a no go as it's on the higher part of the spectrum. This basically means that it doesn't travel as far as those lower down. So it's unlikely you'll see coverage from that.

This being said it will mean less users hogging the 3g bandwidth so that might be faster.

What do you mean by bear the alarms?

Also trees are pretty bad for 3g coverage. They are filled with water so the effect becomes quite like trying to get service through tonnes of water - not just wood.

Edited by ukhardy07 (Thu 13-Sep-12 02:00:06)

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