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5G long-distance worth a try?

daveake

Casual Member
We live on a hill with line-of-sight to several masts in the local town (Ross On Wye). I currently have a very good 4G connection to the nearest EE 4G masts (one at 3.5km the other at 5.7km), using an external aerial pointing towards the masts. I've attached the latest hourly speed tests to the more distant mast as I tend to get better speeds with that one.

1646071227835.png


1646071254960.png


I just received an alert saying that EE now have 5G in the area. Their coverage checker shows a "good" (2 bars of 5) outdoor signal. Is it likely that, if I get a 5G router, speeds would actually be any better than I'm getting on 4G? My antenna is a Poynting XPOL-2-5G so it should support the 5G signal OK.

Dave
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
What router are you using now with that Poynting aerial?
I think in theory that 5G signal is good enough, but you might struggle on the hardware side.

5G for now is NSA, so basically it's just another band on top of 4G..
So you could get what you are getting now + whatever 2 bars of 5G can give you...

That said if you change the router for a 5G one you will most likely lose the ability to get 4G via the external antenna and only use it for 5G unless you mod it.. Most 5G routers have this issue.

So imho not sure it's worth it, you could end up spending a lot of money for not much gain.

Can you try some tests with a 5G phone at your location, just to get an idea?
 

daveake

Casual Member
What router are you using now with that Poynting aerial?
I think in theory that 5G signal is good enough, but you might struggle on the hardware side.

5G for now is NSA, so basically it's just another band on top of 4G..
So you could get what you are getting now + whatever 2 bars of 5G can give you...

That said if you change the router for a 5G one you will most likely lose the ability to get 4G via the external antenna and only use it for 5G unless you mod it.. Most 5G routers have this issue.

So imho not sure it's worth it, you could end up spending a lot of money for not much gain.

Can you try some tests with a 5G phone at your location, just to get an idea?
My 4G router is a Huawei B818, with the 2 external ports connected to the Poynting. I don't have a 5G phone, but I'll see if a neighbour has one that we can try.

My feeling at the mo is that with the routers being £400-£500, it would need to give me a lot of extra speed to be worth it, and that seems unlikely to be easily achievable.
 

WelshPaul

Regular Member
I know that you're using EE and that what I'm about to write won't be an issue for you but it's worth knowing just in case you need to change network in the future...

Many of the 5G routers that come with external antenna ports only work with 5G on frequencies higher than 3500MHz. EE and O2 are the only networks that utilise such frequencies but be careful with O2 as they also use band N40 (2350 - 2390 MHz) in some locations. Sure, you can mod the router but it's an added expense and has some caveats of its own.

I'm now using a ZYXEL NR5101 with its internal antenna for the reason I stated above, and I get 4-5 bars of 5G signal with SMARTY (THREE) here and I'm getting download speeds as low as 320MB and as high as 550MB with my setup. I was using a 4G Huawei router and was getting download speeds as low as 20MB and as high as 60MB. So, for me it was worth the switch. I have the same external antenna as you and it hasn't worked with any of the 5G routers I have tested so far (Vodafone and Three).

I had access to several 5G mobile phones and did some tests around my home and planned on using an external antenna to improve on things which I think is where you should start. Good Luck! 🤞
 

daveake

Casual Member
I know that you're using EE and that what I'm about to write won't be an issue for you but it's worth knowing just in case you need to change network in the future...

Many of the 5G routers that come with external antenna ports only work with 5G on frequencies higher than 3500MHz. EE and O2 are the only networks that utilise such frequencies but be careful with O2 as they also use band N40 (2350 - 2390 MHz) in some locations. Sure, you can mod the router but it's an added expense and has some caveats of its own.

I'm now using a ZYXEL NR5101 with its internal antenna for the reason I stated above, and I get 4-5 bars of 5G signal with SMARTY (THREE) here and I'm getting download speeds as low as 320MB and as high as 550MB with my setup. I was using a 4G Huawei router and was getting download speeds as low as 20MB and as high as 60MB. So, for me it was worth the switch. I have the same external antenna as you and it hasn't worked with any of the 5G routers I have tested so far (Vodafone and Three).

I had access to several 5G mobile phones and did some tests around my home and planned on using an external antenna to improve on things which I think is where you should start. Good Luck! 🤞
Thanks, interesting. I chose the antenna as it does say 5G-compatible though I don't recall which 5G frequencies, and I don't know what frequencies EE use locally either. No other operators have 5G here as yet.


My router is by a window that faces the masts, so it's possible that I'd get away without using the external antenna, but with EE forecasting 2/5 bar I'm not sure it would be enough. If I switch the B818 to internal it's not hugely slower that with external, but it does become very dependent on orientation.

O2 on 4G here is hopeless. Vodafone I can get a good download speed (100-150) but slow upload (5-10). Dunno why that's the case. Three is slower than EE and I left them after a run-in with their "support" people when they weren't interested in fixing their local mast after the broke it.
 

prog78

Casual Member
Hi Dave I live just outside Ross and have been keen to get 5g where we are so have been doing a lot of testing resently.
I can confirm that there is a strong 5g signal around Roman way area currently on three.
Hope this helps you out
 

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WelshPaul

Regular Member
Here you go:
n402350 - 2390 MHzTDDTelefonica (O2)
n783410 - 3460 MHzTDDVodafone
n783460 - 3480 MHzTDDH3G (Three)
n783500 - 3540 MHzTDDTelefonica (O2)
n783540 - 3580 MHzTDDEE

The Poynting aerial is suitable for all of the above frequencies and it goes up as high as 3800MHz I believe. The issue isn't the antenna, but a hardware limitation on most routers.

Three's coverage map says I have outdoor 5G coverage only but this is my indoor coverage signal as displayed on my ZYXEL router right now:

vEskbUg8Q3y95isvj-cBRg.jpg


This is a speed test I ran over my WiFi just now:



So, you never know! 🙂

There are other options such as the ZYXEL NR7101: https://www.zyxel.com/uk/en/products_services/5G-New-Radio-Outdoor-Router-NR7101/
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
An outdoor 5G router would change the game a bit, especially if you can plonk it in front of an old satellite dish, but there isn't much availability on the market nowadays.

Personally @daveake I would not bother, not right now anyway, maybe in 1-2 years once we'll have more 5G mast deployments and more outdoor routers.
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
I'd hold on for 5G versions of their LHG parabolic device.
 

BFG

Regular Member
I'm in a similar scenario. I've been using 4G + external antenna for years, living in the sticks. The external directional antenna gives me decent db. I don't have app running at the moment to quote the figs, but in the realms of a 4 to 5 bar mobile signal. 4G mobiles get only 1 bar by a window.

We have EE. Recently a visitor exclaimed that they had 5G signal when outside, also on EE, so I made an experiment.

Same day tests:
My 4G broadband as above gave a speed test result on desktop (connected to router with ethernet) of 60Mbps, which is typical.

I used a samsung mobile with 5G enabled SIM, and a usb to ethernet adapter, connected to same PC.
With the mobile showing 1 bar of 5G signal, the same speed test gave a consistent 95Mbps.

Worthy of further experimentation.
 
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