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4G Antenna Mounting Advice

ally153

Member
I got 4G home broadband from Three UK about 11 months ago. Initially I was consistently getting good speeds of around 35-40Mbps. A few few months ago the connection speed dropped on my Huawei AI Cube and after trying out a number of things I eventually got a TP-Link MR600 coupled with a Poynting XPOL-2 antenna that I mounted in my loft. I used my phone to find the best position and direction of the antenna, which I confirmed with the admin portal of my router to make sure I was getting the best signal.

Initially this resolved my internet issues, but I've noticed again recently that my connection speed has gotten inconsistent again - sometimes I get speeds of over 40Mbps, but at peak times or in adverse weather conditions it can swing as lower than 10Mbps. I also notice at times I get really bad pings - usually if you check a moment later the ping goes back to normal, but I think it's enough to throw some internet services. Really I'd be quite happy if I could just keep a more consistent minimum speed of around 25Mbps and a more reliable ping. I'm now thinking of getting the antenna professionally installed on the outside of my house.

My question is two fold - before I spend money on a professional install, does anyone have any advice of anything else I should try first? Looking around, I could only find sat-works.com that provided an install service - does anyone else know of any other companies they would recommend?
 

Lucian

Pro Member
I think you should look at another provider. If you read the forum you will notice a pattern, people complaining how rubbish 3 mobile broadband is..

I signed up to them in July and it hardly is usable during the day, even after spending a small fortune on antennas. Their signal is good, but the network is well oversubscribed. Stop wasting your money..
 

ally153

Member
Right now I'm locked into the network for another year because it is a 24 month contract. The service seemed great initially, it's only now I'm starting to have issues, so I'm out of the period to switch.

To cancel and switch will cost me over £240.
 

Lucian

Pro Member
Oh right.. ok, if you check the rsrp, rsrq and sinr values in your router, what are they? This can tell us whether you need further antenna fiddling or not..
 

ally153

Member
Right now I'm getting around 16Mbps. Below is what my router is telling me about the signal:

Signal Strength: 75%
RSRP: -96dBm
RSRQ: -14dB
SNR: 7.8dB

The router is connected to band 3.

A few months ago my signal dropped marginally with a regular RSRP of around -89dBm and maybe marginally better values for the other numbers.

I'm about 2km from my local mast. If I move around 1km from it with my phone (also on Three) and I typically get speeds around 20Mbps faster speeds.
 

Lucian

Pro Member
Ok, those numbers are not great, despite the xpol-2, I think part of the problem is you keep it in the loft, it really wants to be outside. Can you find a high place you can temporarily hold the antenna outside, even if you have to hold it in your hand, see if signal and speed improve?
 

ally153

Member
I tried sticking it out the window and taking readings, but I found this difficult to do safely while keeping the antenna in place and didn't see any improvements, but that wasn't exactly an extensive test.

Do you have any recommendations on any professional installation service who can mount the antenna? Sat-works.com appear to be the only specialist 4g installers I have found.
 

Lucian

Pro Member
I have no idea really.. sorry. I had to diy it, as I couldn't find someone to fix mine to the chimney. I bought a mast pole from screwfix and will try to raise it along the wall of the house. I know it's hard to keep it out the window, sometimes my hand goes numb, hehe. You should try the other sides of the house, too.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
Right now I'm getting around 16Mbps. Below is what my router is telling me about the signal:

Signal Strength: 75%
RSRP: -96dBm
RSRQ: -14dB
SNR: 7.8dB

The router is connected to band 3.

A few months ago my signal dropped marginally with a regular RSRP of around -89dBm and maybe marginally better values for the other numbers.

I'm about 2km from my local mast. If I move around 1km from it with my phone (also on Three) and I typically get speeds around 20Mbps faster speeds.
Those stats aren't too bad really. The power is down but SINR is pretty good for the given power.
Given you're 2km away from the mast, I feel like you'd located towards the middle/middle-edge of the cell coverage, which aligns with the somewhat lower power signal you're receiving.
Moving closer to the mast will, as you reported, give better speeds as the signal is better (though it could also be due to your phone having better radio technology than your router and aggregating bands etc when closer - you don't say how well your mobile performs in the same location as your router).

You mention speeds trailed off over time and also are lower in adverse weather - that could suggest there is some vegetation between you and the mast (trees/woods etc) as they will have grown in the past 12months (and more so over the spring/summer).
Water in the leaves of trees can impact the radio signals and when it rains the water on the leaves themselves adds to that. If this is the problem then likely the only way to work around it is to get higher with your antenna, but eventually that would become unfeasible.

Peak-time speeds there isn't much you can do about, that's just congestion on the network (though a different mast, if there is one in the area and you can get a good signal from it may have more).
 
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