Sponsored

4G Signal Test without SIM?

Mikerec

Casual Member
Is it possible to test for a 4G signal from a specific supplier (Three) in a rural area without having a phone loaded with a Three SIM?

Wanting to get a better indication of coverage in a very rural area than the online coverage maps. They don't always seem to be saying the same thing. This is researching 4G broadband.

Currently on Vodaphone - can test Vodafone 4G speeds and tower direction via Opensignal app.

Any help appreciated - thanks.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Obviously you can use the coverage maps on each operator's website to get a rough idea and nPerf do a useful centralised one, albeit not so good for rural testing.


However in order to properly test the mobile signal to a live device then you really do need a SIM because you'd have to make a connection to the network first in order to correctly measure it.

You may find some cell tower database/maps around too that give crowd-sourced based estimates but such results do vary.
 

purplebogmonste

Regular Member
I have just started using vfe 4g broadband (actually an unlimited voice and data sim). I can't get zip on my 4g Android phone (Google pixel 2XL) at home, I can get weak 3g.

With a cheapo Huawei home 4g router I could get 3 bars (out of 5) 4G and 5 bars 3g. Actual achievable speed will also depend on mast congestion. I am 4 km from mast without great line of sight. The Vodafone coverage map said I should get outdoors 4G but not indoors.

I have now installed a directional panel antenna and get 4 bars and about 30 to 40Mbps down.

It is a real crap shoot. I think if you do get a 4g signal on a phone then with a home 4g router you will get a reasonable signal. If the coverage maps say you can get 4g (even if a phone says no) then it might be worth a punt but if you can borrow some kit to try so much the better. If the coverage maps give no indication of coverage then it is probably not worth trying. The coverage maps are 'optimistic' I think. A typical home 4g router generally has higher gain antennas than a phone I believe. If you think your coverage might be poor it might be a wise move to make sure your 4g router has external antenna connections. As to what type of external antenna, Omni or directional, again it is a bit of trial and error and some educated guesswork. The Mastdata website might help identify what towers are about.

I believe I can only get 4g from one mast so I decided to use an external, directional antenna to point there. For 3g I actually do better on the internal Omni directional antennas connecting to masts in other directions. This is a useful fallback if the 4g mast goes down.

I do think it is a bit trial and error of you are in a weak signal area.

I don't believe there is any real way to test connectivity workout a SIM. I took a gamble but you might be able to borrow a Three SIM and 4G router maybe?
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
My experiences suggest the network coverage maps arent that accurate.

On the one hand, I have had a connection in a few areas clearly marked as not spots.
On the other, areas that are supposed to have a good signal, get nothing at all.

In both cases, moving even a few feet can make the difference between no signal and 3-4 bars.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Historically, O2 have had the best coverage in very rural areas, as they use band 20 - which goes further than the higher frequency bands used by the other networks.

It is a trade off though, B20 (800MHz) doesnt offer the 100Mb+ download speeds, but 20-50Mbps is acceptable for most people.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
apparently it doesn't fit into a smartphone?
As well as virtual SIMs, there are now THREE different SIM sizes.

The original
The Micro
The Nano.

Only a very few new phones (Huawei are the only ones I know of), use the Nano.

Most current phone SIMs come as dual use, with the standard SIM having a Micro SIM buried in it, that can be prised out.
(Very few phones still use the original size).

I am not sure about the Nano yet, you may need to manually cut down a Micro, or buy a suitable cutting tool to do the job.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
It fitted my phone, comes as a triple sized sim, break on the required size scribes line.
What network? I knew some SIMS come this way, but as of last year - not all of them.
It may well be the case that they all ship like this now.
 

kommando828

Casual Member
Three, also recently had a Vodafone sim and Giffgaff and they were exactly the same, 3 scribe marks, break on the desired size and keep the rest of the sim in case you need to go back up a size. My dual sim Mi A2 takes 2 nano's and my B525 takes Micro so to fit the nano out of the MI to the B525 I snap it back into the micro outline with the nano sized hole I keep.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Thanks.

I ordered SIMS from various networks early last year to try out - as we were having issues with O2/GiffGaff signal strength.

Some were 2 piece, some were 3 piece.

Turned out to be a mast fault which was fixed by the time the SIMs turned up - after weeks of poor signals.
 

Mikerec

Casual Member
Bought the SIM - zero 4g signal at ground level - decent signal in the loft/roof space.

Couple of questions:

1. The Poynting A0001 comes with 2 x 5m antenna cable - that's not a lot to get to where I want to be so could possibly position the router at head height on a shelf. If I wanted to extend those 2 antenna cables is it going to adversely affect the signal to the router?

2. Wherever I position the router are 2 (or 3) x 10m cat5e ethernet leads connected with one of those double-sided RJ45 connectors (to make 20 / 30m) going to be an acceptable way to get the feed to the other end of the house? There are lots of walls that I'm imagining may impact the internal wifi.
(I've seen the 10m leads in Screwfix.)

3. Could I stick a wireless access point on the end of the ethernet cable? - kit recommendations / pros / cons?

(it's the basic router that comes with the Three package)

Thanks folks
 

kommando828

Casual Member
Over 5m on the antenna cable and the loss increases, you can go 100m on the network cable before you get problems, a connector may drop that a bit but not much.

My 4G router is 30m away from my main router, pings to 1.1.1.1 are 40ms.
 

Mikerec

Casual Member
Over 5m on the antenna cable and the loss increases, you can go 100m on the network cable before you get problems, a connector may drop that a bit but not much.

My 4G router is 30m away from my main router, pings to 1.1.1.1 are 40ms.
So what's the connection between the 2 routers & what does that set up give you?
Thanks
 

kommando828

Casual Member
Cat6 between the routers for 30m, 4g is a B525 in bridge mode three sim, main router is Draytek 2925 dual wan setup as DHCP client waiting to be assigned IP by B525. Drayteks other wan is connected to a Mikrotek LNG with Vodafone SIM and both wans are load balanced.
 
Top
Promotion
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £20.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99 (*34.98)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £60 Cashback
  • Origin Broadband £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Promotion
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2487)
  2. FTTP (2143)
  3. FTTC (1645)
  4. Building Digital UK (1590)
  5. Openreach (1401)
  6. Politics (1398)
  7. Business (1223)
  8. Statistics (1087)
  9. FTTH (1045)
  10. Mobile Broadband (1021)
  11. Fibre Optic (963)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (907)
  13. Wireless Internet (894)
  14. 4G (883)
  15. Virgin Media (850)
  16. Sky Broadband (592)
  17. EE (582)
  18. TalkTalk (571)
  19. Vodafone (506)
  20. Security (408)
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms  ,  Privacy and Cookie Policy  ,  Links  ,  Website Rules