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Advice required for new 4G router, totally in the dark about choice

Allan Collins

Casual Member
Nah, go ahead, share the details.
Cheers, both sites have clear line of site to 02 masts.
From a caravan window I can see the mast less than a quarter mile away with nothing in the way and at the back of our plot I can see the other mast, this one probably over a mile away on a road that is higher than us and again with nothing in the way.

First I placed the router outside and positioned it at various points around the caravan (at this point I didn't know where the mast was) the best result here was 48Mbps which I was pleased with.

At the plot, again with the router only outside, I achieved 59Mbps just sat literally within the hedge at the back of the plot.
So I came away thinking that was pretty damn good, and expected to be blown away with a directional antenna.
That came a couple of days later so off I went.
This time I left the router inside the caravan and a concrete block barn at the plot. I held the antenna up above my head pointing in the direction of the masts whilst my partner kept her phone and mine inside doing speed tests (very scientific I know) and the results were IMHO pathetic, at the caravan it was a consistent 20Mbps and at the plot 13-35Mbps.

Though disappointed I thought that there was more to just pointing the antenna to the mast and started to read a couple of pages on here, but to be honest I got bogged down a bit especially when it came to signal strength, mhz, decibels etc as I had downloaded a Huawei app to my phone and that should a consistent 100% signal strength but nothing in depth.

So any pointers to articles, ways to configure through other tools (if they exist) and anything else would be lovely!

Just out of interest, does it matter which way the two antenna cables plug into the router?
 

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Gandi69

Pro Member
In my experience with antennas (albeit omni directional ones not directional like yours in) its a real trial and error game. Especially with reflections bouncing off things etc.
My current antenna I only have turn maybe 10 degrees either way and I can knock 10mbit off the upload speed.
The only antennas I was using had to be mounted horizontally instead of vertically to attain a "decent" speed.
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
Sorry to hear that, yes, sometimes the antenna can get in the way, but that doesn't happen so often.

Did you go in the settings of the antenna and made sure the antenna is set to "external"? Try also with a mix of internal and external if it allows it.

The Android app I am using is HuaCtrl, it allows you to change bands, change antenna type etc. It will also report easily the RSRQ, SINR etc. This info is also shown in the router's UI in the Device Information page. Attached is a reference table with values.

Nothing else comes to mind that could help you.
 

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Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
If by the plot you mean your future house, I wouldn't worry, that spot is better covered by the likes of Vodafone and EE, you could switch providers.
 

Allan Collins

Casual Member
If by the plot you mean your future house, I wouldn't worry, that spot is better covered by the likes of Vodafone and EE, you could switch providers.
This is the weird thing though, at both sites (plot is future house) Vodafone was really poor.
The other thing that totally confused me is that there is another mast opposite the front of the plot on a small hill that online comes up as Hutchinson 3 https://www.mastdata.com/0/address/address.aspx?AdID=229298 but when I went up there on the fence surround there's a sign saying Telefunken 02.
Looking at the aerial pic, our plot is where "the" is on The old chapel and the mast is right where the compass label is, it's surrounded by trees so I can't see it, whereas I have clear line of site to the "real" O2 mast (going by their mast coverage map).
 

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Allan Collins

Casual Member
Another thought, are any handheld devices available that can be used to pick up signals from masts?
Or is the info too sensitive for telcoms to allow that kind of info out that easily for oiks like me?
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
Stick to O2 for now, then. In the new place EE should be fine, I hope.

I have both free and pro, you're not really missing out by not buying the pro. Free version should be fine.

Perhaps @GavinAshford could offer some more advice, as he's more hardcore with the inner workings of masts, bands etc.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
I'll give this all a detailed read next week and see if I can add anything that hasn't been said/considered.

I would say that mastdata site isn't always accurate, especially since MBNL (EE/Three mast share) has seen their separate sites merged and left some no-longer having one or the other provider on.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Now semi up and running, I've taken the router to both the caravan site and our building plot. Mixed results, some very impressive, some pretty poor.
Have also added a Poynting 4G-XPOL-A0002 directional antenna into the mix and have so far been very disappointed with what happened.
Should I start a new thread?
No keep it on here, I am quite excited to see you results and I don't know why 😆.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
No keep it on here, I am quite excited to see you results and I don't know why 😆.
Sorry my phone was being stupid and not loading the whole thread 🤣. I'll have. A look now :)
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
This is the weird thing though, at both sites (plot is future house) Vodafone was really poor.
The other thing that totally confused me is that there is another mast opposite the front of the plot on a small hill that online comes up as Hutchinson 3 https://www.mastdata.com/0/address/address.aspx?AdID=229298 but when I went up there on the fence surround there's a sign saying Telefunken 02.
Looking at the aerial pic, our plot is where "the" is on The old chapel and the mast is right where the compass label is, it's surrounded by trees so I can't see it, whereas I have clear line of site to the "real" O2 mast (going by their mast coverage map).
I think it may have originally been a three site, (Maybe so now, that's why it shows as that on cellmapper). Arquiva is EE/3 and CTIL (Cornerstone) Is VF/O2. I think O2 has acquired this site off three. If someone has said this before I sincerely Apologize, haven't read through this thread much.
 

Allan Collins

Casual Member
No updates yet, been busy working, hope to get more time later today or tomorrow...
I appreciate all of the replies!
 

Allan Collins

Casual Member
My saga continues and gets more confusing by the day...
I've tried to pinpoint the actual masts in use at both locations using 3 different apps on various phone's with 3 different SIMS, doing speed tests with each, with the aim of then deducing the correct mast to eventually point the antenna too.
The problem I get is each app shows a completely different location.
I've attached 2 screenshots of the supposed location of a Vodafone mast near to the building plot. (Can't add three for some reason)
I'm guessing that the info provided is pulled from differing databases and so could be outdated.
Is there a way to ensure the best accuracy?
What would a professional company use to set up a directional antenna?
If I had any hair, I'd be losing it know, I'm thinking about this in the middle of the night!!
Network Cell Lite_compress37.jpg
Screenshot_20210311-111626_compress16.jpg
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
@Allan Collins so.. the saga continues because you are not happy with the current speeds you get from O2, right? What was it, 20 Mbps down?

So.. all these apps do not have the most accurate, up to date information. The best thing you can do is to find out the cell ids when you are connected (it can change if it switches to a different mast). Based on the cell ids you can then find out more about which mast and which bands it supports on cell mapper. Hopefully @GavinAshford can take pity and explain us once again how.
 

Allan Collins

Casual Member
Sorry Lucian, I'd been checking back for replies and hadn't seen any and work/life took over plus never received a notification.
The units are now setup at the caravan, I'm not in there yet so haven't really done much configuration. Partners son just needed WiFi like now (!) kids...
So initially with no direction of antenna it's getting 28mbps on Giffgaff which is fine on a temporary basis.
Major issue I have is the range of the WiFi.
Router is at one end of the 35ft caravan and TV is at the other end and the signal is too weak for setting up (message on screen)
There is nothing in the way, clear line of sight, open doors all the way through.
Currently using a TP-Link WiFi extender to reach the TV.
I've never come across a router with such a poor range, barely 25ft.
I've not been able to look into the finer configuration stuff online.
So two questions,
It should be more than capable of reaching 35ft plus? (One floor, no doors,paper thin surfaces and walls).
And is there anything in particular to change in basic settings?
Many thanks

PS. my most recent BT router, 3 years old could manage 3ft thick walls, solid oak doors both upstairs and downstairs & placed slap bang in the middle of 90ft in either direction
Regardless of it having rain come through the roof, heating permanently on right up to June and costing more than a small car to to paint the outside, so the great WiFi wasn't a good enough reason to stay!
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
Hi @Allan Collins
28mbps doesn't sound too bad tbh. You can stream 4k with that.

About the wifi, I am a bit surprised as in my experience the B818 worked quite well in that regard. What can I say.. try to macgyver it a bit, maybe put some aluminium sheet on the side of the router opposite the TV so the signal bounces back towards it.
Otherwise.. a cat6 cable is always ideal. Maybe get a white flat one and pull it across the ceiling, fixed by double sided tape if you are allowed to do this kind of stuff.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
I never use these units for WiFi. I have everything plugged into my mesh system with both my BT and my Huawei as outputs.
 
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