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saul

Member
Hi

I'm currently living in the middle of nowhere in the countryside - there is a mast nearby (no LOS from the house) that I'm trying to get the best speeds from. Currently the speeds max out at 30Mbps down/10Mbps up, with the help of a Poynting XPOL-2 antenna ~3m high on the exterior of the house. I've just upgraded to a TP-Link Archer MR600 and that's helped eek a bit more performance to achieve these speeds. However the signal stats still seem a bit dire:

RSRP: -108dBm
RSRQ: -13dB
SNR: 1.8dB

It's worth noting that with LOS to the mast (a couple of minutes drive over the hill), I can achieve 120Mbps down/40Mbps up on an iPhone (using the same SIM). I know this is the theoretical maximum that's possible - obviously there's some hit because there's no LOS from the mast to the house. This is the elevation profile from the house to the mast (house on the left, mast on the right).

Capture.JPG

Is there anything else I can try to squeeze as much performance out of this connection?

Thanks in advance
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Yee canna change the laws of physics.

Simplest (and cheapest), thing to try is a taller mast for your antenna.

But dont expect miracles, what you already have is more than a lot of people I know of can get.
 

kommando828

Regular Member
I have just put a parabolic antenna up and mounted it on a longer pole than I had the yagi on, as I pushed it up higher over the eaves the readings got worse not better, seems just set above the slate roof it was picking up reflections and lost them as I pushed it higher. So its back down sitting just above the gutter, the reading is not much better than the yagi MIMO array but it sticks to to 3 bars regardless of the weather, the yagi lost quality of signal in rain and mist. Now I have a cable that's a meter too long and will be losing signal strength so next job is to get a shorter cable.

Lesson is to expect the unexpected and doing the opposite of whats recommended can sometimes work.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Yes that's been my experience too kommando. Sometimes you have to shell out a bit of cash and try a bunch of different approaches. The most logical solution doesn't always turn out to be the right one for your specific area, which is annoying but then wireless communications interact with the environment around you in all sorts of different ways.
 

saul

Member
That's all really useful info - thanks all. I'll try moving it to just below the eaves and see if that improves the signal. I imagine the cable from the antenna won't be long enough to reach the ground floor after that so may have to do some more adjusting.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
I have just put a parabolic antenna up and mounted it on a longer pole than I had the yagi on, as I pushed it up higher over the eaves the readings got worse not better, seems just set above the slate roof it was picking up reflections and lost them as I pushed it higher. So its back down sitting just above the gutter, the reading is not much better than the yagi MIMO array but it sticks to to 3 bars regardless of the weather, the yagi lost quality of signal in rain and mist. Now I have a cable that's a meter too long and will be losing signal strength so next job is to get a shorter cable.

Lesson is to expect the unexpected and doing the opposite of whats recommended can sometimes work.
Sorry to hear that, I wouldnt bother shortening the cable though, 1m is not going to make any real difference to the signal, but might be useful at a later date.

Reflected connections arent reliable though, unless you are certain it is your own roof doing the reflecting.
If someone does something to the reflecting surface, or a new obstruction between the reflection source and either you OR the transmitter, you could lose all signal.

At this point, the only options are expensive.

Find someone to host a receiver-transmitter; someone with a better LOS on the transmitter and LOS on your property.

Not sure what the legal implication are though.
 

Mark8253

Casual Member
That’s more or less what I do on a small scale. The house is shielded by tall trees, and even with an XPOL-2 high up on an external wall signal strength and speed are well below par. So the antenna and router go in an outbuilding 50m away with clear views across open fields and back to the house, linked with cheap TP-Link 5 GHz wifi kit. The wifi link comfortably sustains 80-90 Mb/s, which is faster than the incoming 4G.

I’ve no experience of working with longer links at that speed, but we did have long range wifi that worked over a couple of km (at lower speeds) in a community project I was involved in a few years ago.

Keep the router as close to the antenna as possible. Power and network cables can be as long as you like within reason, but antenna cables need to be short to minimise cable loss.

It might also be worth investigating a long high gain Yagi tuned to just the band of interest. Such an antenna will generally outperform a wideband such as the XPOL-2. I’ve got 2 relatively small homemade Yagi (plastic water pipe and galvanised fence wire) that give demonstrably better signal stats than my XPOL-2, albeit the speed differences are not so clear given the variability of 4G. But that’s in a moderate signal area - it might just make all the difference at the margins.
 

Mikerec

Casual Member
That’s more or less what I do on a small scale. The house is shielded by tall trees, and even with an XPOL-2 high up on an external wall signal strength and speed are well below par. So the antenna and router go in an outbuilding 50m away with clear views across open fields and back to the house, linked with cheap TP-Link 5 GHz wifi kit. The wifi link comfortably sustains 80-90 Mb/s, which is faster than the incoming 4G.

I’ve no experience of working with longer links at that speed, but we did have long range wifi that worked over a couple of km (at lower speeds) in a community project I was involved in a few years ago.

Keep the router as close to the antenna as possible. Power and network cables can be as long as you like within reason, but antenna cables need to be short to minimise cable loss.

It might also be worth investigating a long high gain Yagi tuned to just the band of interest. Such an antenna will generally outperform a wideband such as the XPOL-2. I’ve got 2 relatively small homemade Yagi (plastic water pipe and galvanised fence wire) that give demonstrably better signal stats than my XPOL-2, albeit the speed differences are not so clear given the variability of 4G. But that’s in a moderate signal area - it might just make all the difference at the margins.
wow - I'd like to see a pic of those home made Yagis - water pipe & fence wire
 

Mark8253

Casual Member
Antenna.jpg

Each main rod is 40 cm of 15 mm plastic water pipe (£2.12 for 2m, Screwfix).

Dipole is 3 mm Cu rod, bent to shape using a jig made of two pipe stop ends screwed to a wooden board (£3.38 each, Ebay). Any metal will do, but Cu is easy to work with.

Other rod elements are 3 mm galvanised fence wire (available already, but if you have to buy 3 mm rod any metal is fine as they don’t have to be bent into shape).

Joining T piece is a 22 mm plastic hose fitting (£2.05 each, Ebay).

Elements are secured to the main rod with epoxy adhesive to prevent any movement.

Connecting leads are a 3 m 50 ohm BNC to BNC lead, cut in half so each piece can be the balun and connector for one antenna (£2.19, Ebay). I prefer BNC rather than SMA, as the cables are generally better-specified and connections can be easily made and undone (SMA and the like are designed for permanent installation, not frequent removal, and SMA-BNC adapters are readily available).

Each antenna is clipped to the wooden framework with nylon pipe clips from your favourite DIY shed and inclined at +/- 45° to match signal polarisation.

Ideally, the metal fixing mast should be replaced with a non-conducting material such as wood or plastic as it is in front of the dipoles, but performance as pictured is fine.

Total materials cost for antennas is just over £15, plus the frame (slightly more if you have to buy the straight elements as well).

There is easy to use design software at http://vk5dj.com/yagi.html and just Google “DIY 4G Yagi” for detailed instructions.

As built, it is not particularly weatherproof, but that doesn’t matter as it is used indoors. I prefer not to have external antennas on a combustible wooden building for obvious reasons, as well as advertising the presence of radio kit to passing ne’er-do-wells. I did test it with the antenna roof mounted (so about 1 m above the position shown) but performance was virtually the same for EE 4G. The design could be modified with fully waterproof enclosed connections and a revised mounting if outdoor use is required.

I monitor antenna performance hourly with a Raspberry Pi, and RSRP is constant at -86 dBm, RSRQ is -7 dB and average SINR 22.6 dB. This equates to a “good” signal strength and “excellent” quality, which is probably about the best we can do at over 4 km from the mast.

Before our local mast was upgraded, I had to point the antenna at a more distant mast around 6 km away. We were eligible for a free BDUK-funded antenna installation, but the installation engineer was not able to get an acceptable signal with the Panorama antenna supplied by EE. By contrast, this home-made rig gave a stable and useable signal and reasonable download speeds of around 20 Mb/s! With the closer mast, I have measured over 80 Mb/s at times, although around 40-50 Mb/s down and 25-30 Mb/s up is more typical.
 

Attachments

Storyline

Casual Member
I am surprised nobody has suggested you try another router. IIRC I tried your Archer one on my journey to improve speeds and although it was Cat 6 I found that by moving to a Cat 11 Huawei B618 my speeds improved significantly. Theoretically the Cat 6 was already sufficient for the 4G+ signal I sometimes get but as Kommando and Mark suggest, not all results seem logical. I should point out though that I am not really qualified to comment and as it happens the reason I have visited the forum today is to try to find out about some inexplicable behaviour the B618 has started. It has been lovely and stable for weeks but now it has decided to torment me ;)
 

saul

Member
Hi all

Thanks for the suggestion re routers. I have tried the following modems already: Cradlepoint IBR600LP3, Huawei B618s-22d and TP-Link Archer MR600 (currently using).

I achieved the best speeds by far with the TP-Link. It wasn’t clear from the UI of the B618 that it was using carrier aggregation - it was always saying that it was only using band 20. On the other hand, the TP-Link says that it’s using 3 & 20 and the speeds reflect that.

On to some good news! I spent most of yesterday moving the antenna around the back wall trying to find the area with the best signal. As suggested early on I tried placing it just under the eaves to absolutely no benefit. After many hours of trying different spots, we tried it lower down on a whim... the results were surprising to say the least.

Before:
9514A17E-F7B1-485D-B442-CE55C9D71251.png

After:
E6AD679D-9570-427A-8C91-911876A6C051.png

The antenna is now ~1 foot off the ground. This improved the RSRQ to -8 (was -12), and the SINR to 12 (was 0)

In my mind this breaks the laws of physics but something fishy is obviously going on. At the moment it’s working great.

Considering that I’m using a directional antenna and its position/angle didn’t seem to make a huge difference (until I put it lower down), I’m wondering whether I’d be better off with an omnidirectional antenna?

Thanks for all your help & advice so far.
 

kommando828

Regular Member
Odd what works, normally the opposite of what should, if you no longer have direct site from your low down position then omni may work better, but may not, its trial and error starting with what should work and then trying what should not work.

I was unsure what my Huawei B525 was doing with CA, I found the best way to ensure it was using CA was to run LTEinspecture on my laptop and force CA using that program and picking band 3 for ul and dl, 20 for dl only .
 
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