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Standard User 123brian
(newbie) Fri 20-May-16 16:11:53
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Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


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In it's efforts to help not-spots the Government appears to be ignoring the possibility of providing a mobile phone signal. Many notspots have an outdoor signal which in practice is too weak to support mobile broadband, if the strenth of the signal could be increased this would be of tremendous benefit. In Wales this may just be happening.

I live three miles from the nearest transmitter and the outdoor signal provided by E.E and Network Three is of little use, however for five months last year the EE signal was much stronger resulting in a download speed of around 6Mbps. It reverted to normal last December but at the same time the Three signal was similarly increased until about ten days ago.

There is a rural area so there is no financial incentive for the operators to improve the service so it may (hopefully) be a Welsh Government initiative?

On the face of it this would make good sense, anyone have any thoughts? Is it technically possible to permanently boost the signal? Has this happened elsewhere?
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Fri 20-May-16 17:19:21
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: 123brian] [link to this post]
 
http://ee.co.uk/help/mobile-and-home-connections/bro...

The commercial route, and also nothing stopping you buying unlocked 4G routers (which often pick up a better signal or adding an external antenna high up on the side of the home).

So its not about boosting the signal its about using a device with better antenna and gaining the height to be above the obstructions to gain line of sight.

Issue usually comes down to the usage allowances which work out expensive per GB of data.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User 123brian
(newbie) Fri 20-May-16 17:39:51
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Yes I have an external antenna and a Huawei unlocked 3G, not 4G, router. The point of the post was to draw attention to something unusual. Two operators have boosted their signal for a limited time. I thought that to be of interest.


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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Fri 20-May-16 17:49:10
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: 123brian] [link to this post]
 
Without measurement kit in a reproducible location hard to know if they boosted power or just some obstacle was missing for that period, or a bounced single was just ideal for you for a short period.

Things like moisture content of tree leaves is enough to play a factor 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 123brian
(newbie) Fri 20-May-16 17:59:22
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Of course, but.. The signal is normally weak and only works with the aid of an antenna, then at less than 1Mbps. For ten months my neighbour enjoyed 7 plus Mbps, without any antenna. My connection occasionally reached double figures.
The transmitter is 2.9 miles away, almost line of sight, just part of a hill in the way. Open rural location.
I am not trying to con anyone, just wondering if this could be the start of a new initiative, the Welsh Government have been keen to provide broadband to rural areas.
Standard User Ribble
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 20-May-16 18:03:03
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: 123brian] [link to this post]
 
They may have been playing about with the base station antenna alignment.
Standard User 123brian
(newbie) Fri 20-May-16 18:12:29
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: Ribble] [link to this post]
 
For ten months?
Standard User Ribble
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 20-May-16 18:21:15
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: 123brian] [link to this post]
 
They would onlt have to move in a favourable direction once, then re-align it again 10 months later. It may not even have been intentional in either case.

Edited by Ribble (Fri 20-May-16 18:22:04)

Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Fri 20-May-16 18:38:59
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: 123brian] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by 123brian:
On the face of it this would make good sense, anyone have any thoughts? Is it technically possible to permanently boost the signal?


On the whole, increasing signal strength without planning is not a good idea. At worst, it is an extremely bad idea.

One problem is really that you have multiple base stations, multiple cells, all/mostly attempting to reuse the same spectrum. They are going to interfere ... and careful planning is required to make sure the interference is controlled.

If you just turn up the power in one location, you just move the problem of interference. If you turn up the power in multiple locations, you just create more interference.

The second problem is that each cell only has a certain amount of capacity; the spectrum used by that site only has a limited number of Mbps to share between all the subscribers in the area served by the cell. If you turn the power up, you increase the area of the cell, which increases the number of subscribers. More people get coverage - hurray - but each person gets less speed - boo. Eventually, all your subscribers get peed off.

If you want good capacity, you actually need more base stations, more masts, more sites. And then get each to transmit at lower power, covering smaller areas.

The third problem is that this is a one-way solution to a two-way problem. Increasing power of the base-station works to increase coverage, but you can't get the mobile to transmit with more power. The mobile device might hear a louder base-station, but the base-station might not be able to hear the device.

The whole invention of cellular comms is a confused trade-off, trying to get lots of coverage *and* lots of capacity *and* lots of subscribers, but with limited spectrum to do it with.

The changes you saw might have been adjustments being made to cope with a site failure, where they make a temporary increase in power to restore coverage - and accept the hit on capacity.

Or they might have changed the way they are using the spectrum, and the new frequency doesn't propagate as well to your location.

As usage increases, and as subscribers increase, the only way the network can cope is by adding more sites. That means there is a constant juggle, from any one site, over the spectrum being transmitted and the power it will use.

Edited by WWWombat (Fri 20-May-16 18:42:17)

Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Fri 20-May-16 22:35:06
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Re: Stronger phone signal for not-spots?


[re: 123brian] [link to this post]
 
Worth noting as well, signal range on 3G decreases as more users connect.
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