Anybody who has spent any amount of time with a Mobile Broadband connection knows that reception is one of the most frustrating aspects of the service. Good reception means your operator will switch you to its fastest network platform and be more stable. Bad reception forces you to tolerate slower and increasingly unstable links that have more in common with the Internet of 10 years ago than today.Article Index:
Furthermore most mobile operators advertise headline Mobile Broadband speeds that, in the majority of cases, are simply unattainable. In reality the average performance is much more likely to be in the 1-2Mbps region than the dizzy heights of 7-14Mbps. This is one of many reasons why current technology is best viewed as a compliment to existing fixed land-line services and not a replacement.
The good news is there are some handy tips, tricks and tweaks you can make to improve your chances of getting a good Mobile Broadband signal. During our testing we found that some solutions were more effective than others and there were a few surprises. We have written about our experiences below in the hope that others will benefit from it and maybe even avoid making a costly mistake or two.
Understanding the basics
I’m sure we’ve all done it, glanced down at our mobile phone or laptop screens to see what those four or five tiny vertical reception bars are doing. These are an easy and commonly identifiable way of quickly seeing whether you’re in an area of low/poor (1 bar) or very high/extremely good signal quality (4 or 5 bars).
It’s important to recognise that this is not a perfect way of determining the kind of service quality you may receive (more on that later) but it does have the most significant bearing, especially in terms of power usage and connection stability. For example, when the signal is poor most mobile devices will attempt to automatically boost their power output in an effort to improve reception; this can also lower the battery life of your device.
Mobile networks also operate several different technology platforms and signal quality can vary depending on which you are on. One moment you can be on a 2G voice network with an excellent reception quality of 4 bars and the next you might cross onto 3G, which could see the quality reduce (note: 3G also consumers more power than 2G).