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Advice on beginner set up?
Hi Folks,

Recently I picked up a Huawei B535 and a Poynting XPOL A0001 antenna to do some experimenting with as my fixed broadband has been very poor with no sign of fibre coming any time soon. My mobile is with Eir and I can get decent 4G reception indoors. From looking at Opensignal, it's picking up the Eir mast that's about 9km away and has an almost perfect line of sight. Three have a mast that's ~2.75km away but the line of sight is poor, they also seem to have one at the Eir location that is 9km away so it may be worth trying this too.

I'm wondering what advice people could give on getting the best from this set up? What should I be looking out for? Did you encounter any issue with something similar? I intend to get a Three sim to run a few tests on also. 

Last night I used the phone sim with the routers internal antenna and ran a few speed tests inside the house in "not ideal" locations. I received 10-12mb download and ~8mb upload which is already better than the fixed line broadband. 

Thanks in advance,
I suggest giving it a test run with the antenna outside on the side of the house that faces the Eir mast. The Poynting XPOL A0001 is not directional, so the antenna itself can face any direction as it picks up the signal equally around it like an FM radio antenna.

If test with a Three SIM, depending which directions the two masts face, it may not be possible to pick up one over the other. This is generally why I recommend going for a directional antenna in rural areas, such as the XPOL A0002 model. However, it's still worth a try.

The best time to test is in the evening around 8-10pm when the networks tend to be at their most congested. For example, in areas where the Three network has high contention, it could be the difference of betting 100+ Mbps during the day down to single digit Mbps after 8pm.

Eir prepay has a 120GB fair usage allowance on its prepay phone SIMs, after which the speed is throttled to around 5Mbps from what I've heard. Three and Vodafone generally don't throttle after a certain usage, although the Vodafone X (non 5G) plan has a fixed 10Mbps speed limit.
Thanks very much for the reply Seán, I'll run a few tests this evening when I get home and see how it's looking. 

I ended up with the A0001 as it was what came with the router (bought second hand online). I'll see how the speed tests go and if I feel there's a gain to be had from going to an A0002, then I can invest again in time. 

Regarding the A0001, will added height make any difference? If I were to set up the router router in the attic and get the antenna out near the apex of the roof, would it yield better results than at ceiling height?
For omni-directional antennas including the A0001, the best height is against the wall just below the roofline or against the gable, on whichever side of the house that faces the mast.

As an omni-directional antenna cannot isolate the signal from interference coming from masts in other directions, the house itself offers some shielding. Any signals coming from behind will be attenuated by the walls before it reaches the antenna. Basically, don't mount the A0001 on a chimney or above the apex of the roof. Smile

Once you're up and running, I suggest monitoring the signal readings to see if it's worth upgrading to the A0002. If the SINR reading is stable above 10dB, upgrading the antenna might not offer much speed improvement.
So I ran a few tests last night around 9pm, at the south side of the house in the general direction of the Eir mast. Using a combination of the router antenna and the external unit, I got the results below. I did notice that the external antenna seemed to make a small improvement but speed test results were not consistent at all.

With the external antenna connected the first test gave me: 

24ms 15.47 down and 12.29 up --- SINR 10, RSRQ -12, RSRP -100, RSSI -72

Second test was much the same in terms of ping and speed but  SINR 3, RSRQ -12, RSRP -95, RSSI -72

Third was 17ms 18.42 down and 9.16 up ---  SINR 11, RSRQ -12, RSRP -100, RSSI -77

The SINR reading seems very sporadic, going from 3 to 13 in the space of a few minutes, it was constantly on the move. 

Would a directional antenna resolve this and get me a better speed?

Any advice would be appreciated.
From those fluctuating SINR readings, it looks like you are picking up interference from another Eir mast.

A directional antenna should improve the SINR and RSRP readings and give better stability. As the SINR reading is already positive, the Poynting A0002 model or a similar directional panel antenna should be adequate. Assuming there is no other Eir mast/sector in that direction, it will likely bring the SINR above 20. If you are on a budget, this one is one of the cheapest I'm aware of (around €70) that performs reasonably well.

With the RSRQ at -12dB with each reading, that mast appears to have a fair traffic load, so the speed may not improve much further during peak time. However, if it helps stablise the speed, 15 to 20Mbps is actually very good for 9pm and adequate for 3-4 simultaneous HD streams.

If there is adequate separation between the two Eir masts (60+ degrees), you should be able to point at the other Eir mast to see how it compares for speed.
Thanks very much for the help.

The other eir mast that its picking up, I'd imagine is to the north of the house. I had thought with the poor line of sight and the house obstructing the signal that it would only get the one that it is facing, to the south side. 

The mast to the north is much closer at 2.75km, compared to the southerly one at 9km. Opensignal tells me that the phone uses the southerly one.

 I'll attempt the directional antenna and see how I get on. 

Thanks again.
Had a look at Opensignal there after Gerard mentioned it. According to it there are masts everywhere!
What is the best way of knowing which mast you are connected to? In Mikrotik I know the different mast numbers, but I use the phone for doing initial survey of a new location. I use Netmonster to give signal readings, but I dont understand the numbers of the left. Is the TA distance (km) reading accurate enough to give mast location if you know the mast distances?
The numbers NetMonster shows in grey are the neighbour cells. Depending on the phone, it may also show the signal readings of these neighbours.

The timing advance is calculated by multiplying the TA figure by either 78 or 144 depending on the phone. So you will need to figure out which value is the correct one to choose in NetMonster (Bottom-left menu -> Monitoring -> LTE TA conversion). The reading should be accurate to about 100 metres.

The best way to check would be to head to an area where there is just one mast in line of sight, at least 1km away. Note the GPS coordinates and TA figure. Then measure the distance between that GPS location and the mast location on Google maps to see whether the TA figure x 78m or 144m gives the closest match to the measured distance. For my Samsung A51 5G phone, it's 144.

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