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Standard User gunner
(member) Sun 18-Feb-18 16:08:31
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EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[link to this post]
 
It's been nine days since EE launched its extension to its 4G broadband by having an external antenna fitted to the side of rural houses and a cable run to its 4GEE Home router. Introductory packages are from £35 to £60 which include the router, and EE mobile phone customers (not PAYG) get an extra 5GB a month. This technology isn't new as some companies such as 4G Internet have been doing this for a few years, but I find it surprising that it's the first time that one of the big mobile operators has a packaged product (of antenna, antenna installation, router and data plan) to sell.

I am interested in peoples' view of this offering.
Standard User 123brian
(newbie) Thu 01-Mar-18 16:46:27
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: gunner] [link to this post]
 
Yes it is surprising that this has not been done years ago. There must be many Notspots with a weak phone signal.

I am in a small village three miles from the transmitter, the download speed with 4G was around 5Mbs but an inexpensive omnidirectional aerial on the outside of the window increased this to 12Mbps and a directional aerial to 17Mbps.

Last year Ofcom asked Operators to come up with plans for a low powered signal booster, it will be interesting to see if this also has an outside aerial.
Standard User john_32
(newbie) Sat 03-Mar-18 14:53:35
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: gunner] [link to this post]
 
It also surprises me they are not going with an outdoor IAD, the losses and connection issues associated with an external aerial make it a PITA in my experience.

We have not looked back since moving to device like the Zyxel LTE7400

https://www.zyxel.com/uk/en/products_services/LTE-Ou...

John


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Standard User gunner
(member) Sat 03-Mar-18 16:50:47
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: john_32] [link to this post]
 
The IAD has an internal antenna. How is this better than an external aerial?

As for EE using an external aerial: I read it as a cheap way to be able to connect with their 4GEE Home router, but I am not at all familiar with this means of delivering broadband and am happy to be corrected.
Standard User john_32
(newbie) Sun 04-Mar-18 06:39:23
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: gunner] [link to this post]
 
The IAD put the router and the aerial outside, we just run a network cable to it (with PoE which powers it). So you get away from the issues with running an aerial cable - we found that 5m was pretty much the longest we could use before the losses made the benefit negligible. We now have sites with 50m + network cables.

John
Standard User connormill
(member) Sun 04-Mar-18 11:31:49
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: gunner] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by gunner:
The IAD has an internal antenna. How is this better than an external aerial?


I install these all the time (we use a different brand, but the principle is the same)

If you have the radio in the house and the antenna outside you will suffer at lease some loss on the RF cable between the antenna and radio. Plus, the SMA connections for connecting the antenna to the radio are a pain to make, so easier getting pre terminated leads

Also, as it's a MIMO service, you need 2 cables from the antenna to the radio, which is more hassle.

If you have the radio and antenna in one unit outside, you don't have those issues to deal with, just one Cat5e/Cat6 cable with POE running from the router inside to the radio/antenna - no line loss.

The hardware we use is from MikroTik - https://mikrotik.com/product/wap_lte_kit
Standard User SWMB
(newbie) Wed 07-Mar-18 14:05:29
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: connormill] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by connormill:
In reply to a post by gunner:
The IAD has an internal antenna. How is this better than an external aerial?


I install these all the time (we use a different brand, but the principle is the same)

If you have the radio in the house and the antenna outside you will suffer at lease some loss on the RF cable between the antenna and radio. Plus, the SMA connections for connecting the antenna to the radio are a pain to make, so easier getting pre terminated leads

Also, as it's a MIMO service, you need 2 cables from the antenna to the radio, which is more hassle.

If you have the radio and antenna in one unit outside, you don't have those issues to deal with, just one Cat5e/Cat6 cable with POE running from the router inside to the radio/antenna - no line loss.

The hardware we use is from MikroTik - https://mikrotik.com/product/wap_lte_kit


Hello all.

First post.

Yes we install the Mikrotik all the time too. However, we also install a small Higher Gain antenna to it, that only has 0.5m of low loss cable. Quite a neat solution.

We also install these on the EE network too. Doesn't have outdoor wifi but the priciple is just the same.

https://mikrotik.com/product/RBSXTLTE3-7

Russ
Standard User Cammy
(regular) Wed 07-Mar-18 16:59:06
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: SWMB] [link to this post]
 
I'd be interested to know how you find the reception of the SXT compared with the signal strength of a phone. I can only get 2 bars of 4G outside (iPhone 6) so I'm wondering whether I would be wasting my time buying the Mikrotik SXT.

BTW, I notice that the SXT is only LTE cat 3 whereas the wap_lte_kit is cat 4. Anyone done a head to head comparison of the antenna gain?
Standard User SWMB
(newbie) Wed 07-Mar-18 18:04:37
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: Cammy] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Cammy:
I'd be interested to know how you find the reception of the SXT compared with the signal strength of a phone. I can only get 2 bars of 4G outside (iPhone 6) so I'm wondering whether I would be wasting my time buying the Mikrotik SXT.

BTW, I notice that the SXT is only LTE cat 3 whereas the wap_lte_kit is cat 4. Anyone done a head to head comparison of the antenna gain?


The SXT LTE has a 9dBi gain where you phone doesn't have any. thats the big difference.

Cat 3 means the max d/l speed is 100Mb/s. Cat 4 is 150Mb/s. So unless you have an LTE Advanced mast it is not really an issue,

The WAP LTE Kit only has a 2-4.5dBi Gain which is much lower. Thats why we put an external antenna on it, to give it a boost (the unit has small ipax connector inside it). With an antenna gain internally as that would unlikely get good speeds in the first place, without an extra external antenna, unless you live very close to the mast, and it is a double speed mast.

We install 4G Broadband in rural areas across the south-west anyway, so I rarely get involved in urban areas.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 07-Mar-18 18:35:33
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: SWMB] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by SWMB:
So unless you have an LTE Advanced mast it is not really an issue

On EE rural many masts will be LTE Advanced, with Carrier Aggregation - in rural areas with band 3 (1800) and band 20 (800)mhz.

However I note that hardly any fixed installation technology is above Cat 4, whereas phones are up to Cat 12 or higher. (Cat 18 for Samsung S9 ??)

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
19 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM
Standard User Cammy
(regular) Wed 07-Mar-18 19:19:43
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
I agree, there aren't many. The ones I have found so far are the Zyxel LTE7460-M608 which, for £350, is cat 6 and the 4GEE Home Router which is cat 7 (but the antenna is separate).
Standard User SWMB
(newbie) Wed 07-Mar-18 19:27:48
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jchamier:
In reply to a post by SWMB:
So unless you have an LTE Advanced mast it is not really an issue

On EE rural many masts will be LTE Advanced, with Carrier Aggregation - in rural areas with band 3 (1800) and band 20 (800)mhz.

However I note that hardly any fixed installation technology is above Cat 4, whereas phones are up to Cat 12 or higher. (Cat 18 for Samsung S9 ??)


True, but you will only get LTE advanced on Band 3. Band 20 on EE is really used for VoLTE. But in LTE Advanced with Carrier Aggregation, you should get faster speeds than 100mb/s but even EE advertise 4G+ at 90MB/s in rural areas. Only one mast have I seen it exceed this in my experience.

Phones will always be well ahead of technology than the UK's 4G network!

what concerns me more than speeds is getting the network capacity large enough to have increased data caps!

Anyway this is a great article.

https://www.androidauthority.com/lte-advanced-176714/
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 07-Mar-18 19:51:51
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: SWMB] [link to this post]
 
True, but you will only get LTE advanced on Band 3. Band 20 on EE is really used for VoLTE. But in LTE Advanced with Carrier Aggregation, you should get faster speeds than 100mb/s but even EE advertise 4G+ at 90MB/s in rural areas. Only one mast have I seen it exceed this in my experience.


CA is LTE Advanced. You'll see B3+B7 or B7+B7 and B3+B3 and also B3+B7+B7 in many big cities now on EE. Vodafone are also doing CA.

I thought that the 800mhz is usable for data with data SIMs, but phone SIMs won't attach unless the device is VoLTE capable. Its only 5mhz of bandwidth, but useful indoors.

Phones will always be well ahead of technology than the UK's 4G network!

Yes, that will always be the case.

what concerns me more than speeds is getting the network capacity large enough to have increased data caps!


EE often hits over 200mbps in a town centre, but generally around 40mbps in suburbs. In rural areas I've seen higher due to less users!

Useful link.

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
19 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM
Standard User SWMB
(newbie) Wed 07-Mar-18 20:55:04
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
Were both agreeing with one another jchamier smile

But you are talking urban and i am talking rural.

800Mhz in rural is VoLTE. I have seen too many installers put a multi band 20 and band 3 antenna up only for the band antenna to switch to band 20 from a band 3 from a different mast..

The customer is unhappy because their home 4G broadband goes from 50Mb/s to 10MB/s. EE antenna is for band 20 and 3, but they don't know why.

Will be interesting I think. I am amazed in rural areas that EE picked up a dual band antenna for installation.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 07-Mar-18 22:25:40
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: SWMB] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by SWMB:
Will be interesting I think. I am amazed in rural areas that EE picked up a dual band antenna for installation.

I think they're planning ahead. Band 20 on both EE and Three is so small it can saturate easily, but has good indoor propagation.

It will be interesting to see how EE handle capacity for the next 10 years, compared to other network. Having a dual band antenna gives more choice.

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
19 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Thu 08-Mar-18 10:28:17
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: SWMB] [link to this post]
 
Where do you buy the Mikrotik equipment from?
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Thu 08-Mar-18 10:42:52
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: robnicholson] [link to this post]
 
Ahh I found https://linitx.com/product/mikrotik-routerboard-sxt-...

Can't find an installation guide on the website but it comes with the metal ring shown here. I assume it also comes with the fixing bracket?

Thx...
Standard User Cammy
(regular) Thu 08-Mar-18 11:49:03
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: robnicholson] [link to this post]
 
It comes with a bracket and circlip for pole mounting it. It also seems to need a separate earth connection.
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Thu 08-Mar-18 12:57:25
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: Cammy] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the heads-up about the earth. That should be possible - I work with an electrician on-site. Very cost effective at £100 ex. VAT. I'm onsite next Monday when the Openreach engineer is visiting for the site survey for BTnet which I get the feeling is going to be £££. I'll have a look at install options. The 4G idea is a stop gap until hopefully Vispa get the area connected.

Next hurdle is an O2 reseller who offers a bit more than 30GB a month.
Standard User SWMB
(newbie) Sun 11-Mar-18 00:21:31
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: robnicholson] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by robnicholson:
Thanks for the heads-up about the earth. That should be possible - I work with an electrician on-site. Very cost effective at £100 ex. VAT. I'm onsite next Monday when the Openreach engineer is visiting for the site survey for BTnet which I get the feeling is going to be £££. I'll have a look at install options. The 4G idea is a stop gap until hopefully Vispa get the area connected.

Next hurdle is an O2 reseller who offers a bit more than 30GB a month.


Sorry, just read this.

Do not buy it if you want to use 02. They are on band 20 only. This is for Band 3 and Band 7 only.

You have to know where your mast is and what band it is on.

It is a directional antenna and is not that easy to set up. This is why Mikrotik are hard to buy in general.

They are more "aimed" at professional installers like ourselves, rather than a DIY, because you also have to set up pin, APN, know the signal strength in dBm.

If you do get it, and you know the band on your mast (most band 3 are EE), then you can do it. The DHCP address is 192.168.80.1 BTW if that helps.
Standard User connormill
(member) Sun 11-Mar-18 09:51:45
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: robnicholson] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by robnicholson:
Thanks for the heads-up about the earth. That should be possible - I work with an electrician on-site. Very cost effective at £100 ex. VAT. I'm onsite next Monday when the Openreach engineer is visiting for the site survey for BTnet which I get the feeling is going to be £££. I'll have a look at install options. The 4G idea is a stop gap until hopefully Vispa get the area connected.

Next hurdle is an O2 reseller who offers a bit more than 30GB a month.


If you're using O2 or Vodafone you'll need the WAP LTE

The SXT supports 1800 and 2600 only where as the WAP supports 800 and 2100 also

If you need O2 or Voda Sims above 30gb PM me, I can get you some good prices up to 300GB/Month
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Sun 11-Mar-18 19:42:13
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: SWMB] [link to this post]
 
It's almost like the client is doomed to never have decent broadband frown Thanks for the heads up. There is an Orange transmitter 1.7km away at Ilford Photo and EE, Orange & Vodafone 3.06km. I know that the EE signal on my phone at the site is pretty dire.

Hear what you're saying about professional installation. So do you cover south Manchester?
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Sun 11-Mar-18 19:47:04
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: connormill] [link to this post]
 
Thanks Conner - I'm going on-site tomorrow to meet the client and Openreach so I'm hoping we can pull all this together soon.
Standard User SWMB
(newbie) Mon 12-Mar-18 11:20:18
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: robnicholson] [link to this post]
 
Hi I dont, but if you PM you email and post code I can give you a map of the mast in your area. (it is usually about 3 months behind), but the most accurate one there.

PS I can get EE sims for you at 100GB and 200GB for £45 and £60 respectively.Much better value than 02.

Cheers

Russ
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Mon 12-Mar-18 14:23:55
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: SWMB] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for this - the 4G route is currently on hold as Openreach came out to do the survey today and it transpires that there is a 100Mbps leased line terminated 100m down the lane and a conduit to right outside the premises. So it might be that the leased line installation isn't going to cost a small fortune.
Standard User connormill
(member) Mon 12-Mar-18 22:50:28
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: robnicholson] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by robnicholson:
Thanks for this - the 4G route is currently on hold as Openreach came out to do the survey today and it transpires that there is a 100Mbps leased line terminated 100m down the lane and a conduit to right outside the premises. So it might be that the leased line installation isn't going to cost a small fortune.


Better hope there are spare fibres in that duct then, they can't Tap/Split a leased line fibre so you may still have to pay install all the way back to the exchange
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Tue 13-Mar-18 09:51:51
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: connormill] [link to this post]
 
Better hope there are spare fibres in that duct then, they can't Tap/Split a leased line fibre so you may still have to pay install all the way back to the exchange


The Openreach engineer said there was spare capacity so I assume he checked this.
Standard User Aerialuser
(newbie) Wed 14-Mar-18 11:30:09
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: gunner] [link to this post]
 
My experience at 12km from the nearest exchange in Ceredigion: BT installed a Cabinet ( oh joy! ) 3km from the exchange to serve my area. There was an immediate effect on our ( unconnected ) broadband service - which had only ever reached 250Kbps, in any case. BT finally agreed that the new 21CN technology actually rendered our existing service so unreliable, that they told us that they could no longer provide a service, and released us from contract. I bought a 4G signal booster, an external aerial, a 6 metre long aluminium scaffold pole, and a 60G/month EE router. I now have a pretty reliable signal - often reaching 20Mbps. I have got rid of the landline, and used EE Pocket Landline to keep the number and port it to the mobile phone, and use EE wifi call. This has all resulted in a cheaper and more efficient system...as well as faster broadband! BT are doing ok out of it all...owning EE as they do!
Standard User Ancient_Mariner
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 24-Mar-18 21:19:46
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: connormill] [link to this post]
 
Certainly an interesting device and poe makes much more sense than RF feeder(s) between the antenna and receiver.

Do you have any idea how much data is used, just in stand-by, say over 24 hours or whatever? I am thinking of a use where actual data usage would be very small (control of heating system at a venue that does not have a telephone line, so ADSL not available).

Many thanks.

Cheers!

Clive

Andrews & Arnold FTTC
DrayTek Vigor 2920Vn

Andrews & Arnold Data SIM
HUAWEI E5776
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Tue 27-Mar-18 10:53:57
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: Ancient_Mariner] [link to this post]
 
Looks like one of my new clients is going down the 4GEE route and we (electrician friend and myself) plan to install this antenna on the roof:

https://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/products/15383-solw...

My client doesn't want to sign up to a fixed contract as fibre is tantalisingly close so they're going with the monthly PAYG option where they have to buy the router up front. EE don't seem keen to offer their own antenna to 3rd parties/not on contract.

My mobile is getting 20Mbps-30Mbps outside their cottage which is fine for their small business. The above is an omni-directional antenna - like my phone has. So we're hoping to get at least the above, maybe a bit more.

My question is whether a directional antenna would be a better choice?
Standard User Ancient_Mariner
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 28-Mar-18 00:03:13
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: robnicholson] [link to this post]
 
That aerial does have a small gain, so should be fine. As I see it, the advantage of an omni-directional aerial is that should your intended 4G mast go off air, you may be OK with another 4G mast in a different direction. Whereas a directional aerial would have to be swung around to point to another 4G mast.

Mounting the aerial up in the clear should help too. At the turn of the century when I was still at sea, I found that a simple Omni directional magnetic base car phone aerial enabled much better phone and email data from within my cabin - this by putting the aerial as close to the window glass as possible.

However, don't extend the two coax feeders or you will loose more in the coax than you gain by good clear positioning. So in other words the 4G router has to be mounted close to the aerial.

Cheers!

Clive

Andrews & Arnold FTTC
DrayTek Vigor 2920Vn

Andrews & Arnold Data SIM
HUAWEI E5776
Standard User techtree
(newbie) Wed 28-Mar-18 06:28:45
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
there’s no telling if they actually have the tools in-hand or not. In theory, the seller could order the tools directly to your house. Belkin Router Customer Service
Standard User techtree
(newbie) Wed 28-Mar-18 06:30:19
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
https://babasupport.org/routers/belkin-router-custom...
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 28-Mar-18 11:07:09
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: Ancient_Mariner] [link to this post]
 
Yeap keep the wiring as short as possible

Ideal world the router would be in the mast itself to reduce signal loss due to cable length and be powered by power over ethernet

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Wed 28-Mar-18 11:11:32
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Wouldn’t just the modem suffice in the antenna assembly?

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - AAISP Home::1 80/20. 200GB. Sync 71456/14100Kbps @ 600m. BQMs - IPv4 & IPv6
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 28-Mar-18 14:16:42
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Just modem would suffice, but usually 4G modems are the router too.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Wed 28-Mar-18 15:05:14
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Ta.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - AAISP Home::1 80/20. 200GB. Sync 71357/13895Kbps @ 600m. BQMs - IPv4 & IPv6
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 28-Mar-18 19:11:52
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by MrSaffron:
Just modem would suffice, but usually 4G modems are the router too.

Or you suffer the USB overhead problem, with a "USB modem".

Generally in networking, avoiding USB is the no 1 maxim. There is too much software to make USB work. I've not yet seen a 4G modem that is not built into a router (aka, does NAT/NAPT).

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
19 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM
Standard User robnicholson
(regular) Wed 04-Apr-18 10:26:38
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: Ancient_Mariner] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Ancient_Mariner:
Whereas a directional aerial would have to be swung around to point to another 4G mast.

However, don't extend the two coax feeders or you will loose more in the coax than you gain by good clear positioning. So in other words the 4G router has to be mounted close to the aerial.

Cheers!


Thanks for the reply. There are other EE 4G masts in the area so this would be useful. We're still not 100% sure which mast we're picking up as OpenSignal and wandering around the field points towards somewhere where there isn't a mast. But my client will grab 20-30Mbps as they are getting <2Mbps at the moment via ADSL. Upstream on ADSL is horrible... reminds me of dial-up modem days.

Fortunately their office is up the in the roof space with a handy skylight where the attenna could be mounted a few metres away. We're going to try it first without the antenna.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 04-Apr-18 15:52:00
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Re: EE's 4G broadband via external antenna


[re: robnicholson] [link to this post]
 
If you have an Android phone, try Cell Mapper. If you set it to log, and drive around the fields (where you can) it will attempt to plot the actual location of the masts. You can also see if any are found on www.cellmapper.net

Its a lot better than the guesses OpenSignal does.

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
19 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM
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