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MikroTik LHG 4G vs Chateau + XPOL-2-5G vs Phone on band 20
#1
When Eir's 4G mast went live in Kilcar, I was surprised that I was unable to connect to it from my house.  Instead my phone and routers kept connecting to Eir's mast over 50km away across Donegal bay!  Three's 4G mast in roughly the same location in Kilcar is not visible in the area, yet I have a 4G router connected to it for our VoIP landline.  In an attempt to pick up Eir's mast, I tried walking down to a nearby field where the Donegal coast is less visible and my phone finally picked up cell ID 225 while set to LTE-only mode, but with a very weak signal.

With such a weak signal, this made an ideal test spot to see how the MikroTik LHG R11e-LTE dish antenna compares with a Chateau LTE12 with a Poynting XPOL-2-5G antenna. 

Samsung A51 5G phone signal and speed test

To start with, this the band 20 (800MHz) signal reading and a speed test from my phone:

       

MikroTik LHG R11e-LTE signal and speed test

I swapped the Eir SIM to the LHG R11e-LTE, mounted it on a camera tripod and aimed it the direction of the mast.  Despite at least 10 minutes of tweaking the antenna direction and rerunning speed tests, the following were the best signal readings and speed I got during that time:

   

Due to the longer wave length of <1GHz frequencies, the dish is unable to concentrate the signal from a specific direction.  So while the signal strength is several dB stronger, the SINR and RSRQ readings were poor to the point that it only delivered about 1/5th the speed of the phone.

Chateau LTE12 + Poynting XPOL-2-5G signal and speed test

I then swapped the Eir SIM to the Chateau LTE12, mounted the Poynting antenna on the camera tripod in the same location.  As with the LHG antenna, I spent about 10 minutes tweaking the direction until I got the best signal and speed test readings.  Due to changing weather, I ran the tests from my phone:

       

Unlike the LHG, the XPOL-2-5G was able to get roughly 12dB additional RSRP over what the phone picked up in the same spot, reasonable SINR and three times the speed in the same location.  While I no longer have the 700-900MHz narrow band LOG antennae, these likely would have provided a few dB additional gain and higher throughput due to their very tight beam.

MikroTik LHG vs Poynting XPOL-2-5G on band 1 & 3

Where the MikroTik LHG really performs is on the high frequency bands above 1700MHz.  Unfortunately, I am outside the maximum distance limit that devices can connect to the distant Eir mast I pick up across Donegal bay on bands 1 & 3 as the primary band, so am only able to provide signal readings from the LHG.  As with most LTE modems without an active LTE connection, the cell readings are from random cells it scans at the time.  As a result, the readings are spread across two screenshots from when it happened to scan the corresponding Eir cells.

To start with, these are the best signal readings I managed to get with the Chateau LTE12 connected to the Poynting antenna:

   

The arrows indicate the primary cell (Band 20 PCI# 179) and cells it aggregates with (Band 1 PCI 320 + Band 3 PCI 320).  With this set up, the Chateau LTE12 just aggregated band 3 with 20 as band 1 was below the -103dBm minimum RSRP threshold Eir appears to allow for carrier aggregation.  

Now for the MikroTik LHG readings:

   

Compared to the Poynting antenna, the LHG was about -6dB weaker on band 20 and much worse RSRQ just like the earlier test.  However, on bands 1 & 3, the LHG was 4dB stronger with the RSRQ steadily within -8dB.  Had the LHG been capable of 3CA (like the new MikroTik LHG LTE18), it would have aggregated all three bands as all are within -103dBm RSRP.  

To summarise, MikroTik's LHG LTE dish routers are super sensitive on bands with frequencies above 1700MHz, in fact about 2dB stronger than what I pick up with the pair of Iskra P-58's I have from past testing. However, for bands under 1GHz (e.g. bands 8, 20 & 28), I suggest choosing another option.  In fact, neither the LHG LTE4 / 6 models support 4G band 28.  So where high frequency bands such as 1 and 3 are unavailable, the best option here is with a 4G router and a directional 4G antenna that covers the lower 4G band frequencies.
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#2
On follow-up testing at the above test site, the following are readings I picked up on band 28 on my phone.  As fewer devices support band 28, it tends to have less traffic than band 20 and likely to deliver higher speeds.  These tests were conducted around the same time as above.

       

Unlike the Chateau LTE12, the Chateau 5G is capable of aggregating bands 20 & 28.  In turn it delivered about double the speed by combining both bands:

   

As Ookla's speed test tries to measure the capacity, I reran the test with TestMy to measure what the connection can sustain:

   

So while there is no 5G coverage in my area, the Chateau 5G is able to near double the speed by aggregating 4G band 20 with 28 that most 4G routers are incapable of.  In fact, I'm not aware of any 4G-only router capable of aggregating bands 20 with 28 at this time of posting.
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#3
Thanks for that info Sean, very interesting.
Is it fair to say that most rural areas where external aerials are required that bands 1 + 3 are generally not available?
What price is the Chateau 5G now and were you connecting the XPOL-2 to it?
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#4
I would not rule out bands 1 and 3 in rural areas, especially with the Three network. For example, Three has a mast in Barnesmore, a rural area between Donegal and Ballybofey that operates 5G on the high capacity 3.6GHz band n78 as well as 4G on bands 1, 3, 20 and 28.

Even with Vodafone and Eir, if the user has line of sight with a distant built-up area where operators use bands 1 or 3, there is a good chance the MikroTik LHG will work. In this case, there probably would be no benefit in picking up band 20 as the modem would connect to the nearby band 20 mast.

In post #2, I had the Poynting XPOL-2-5G connected to the Chateau 5G in the same spot in the field as when I tested with the Chateau LTE12 in post #1.

The Chateau 5G is currently about €504 on Getic (formerly EuroDK) and requires internal rewiring to attach an antenna for 4G use.
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#5
(23/05/2022, 10:27 AM)Seán Wrote: Even with Vodafone and Eir, if the user has line of sight with a distant built-up area where operators use bands 1 or 3
This is true for me.
I live in a rural area and the nearest town is 14km from here. Luckily enough I have near enough line of sight to the EIR mast in that town. Bands 1 and 3 are picked up easily with the MikroTik LHG unit. Previously I had tried the B818-263 router with an external antenna, but the signal would fade regularly. The Mikrotik LHG is rock solid with 60 to 70Mb/s most of the time.
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#6
Photo 
Hi
Newbie here.
Thanks for the super info on the forum, Sean and friends.
Inspired by this, I picked up a Mikrotik LHG-6 from Latvia for not much north of €110. It's currently locked on Band 1 with a Three sim, using a mast exactly 4km away. It's (almost) line of sight, give or take a 15m bump on the route.

Speed is a very reliable 50Mb/s to 100Mb/s, generally around 70Mb/s download. Upload speed is very steady at around 30 to 40Mb/s.

Happy with that!

(24/05/2022, 05:36 PM)waveguide Wrote: This is true for me.
I live in a rural area and the nearest town is 14km from here.  Luckily enough I have near enough line of sight to the EIR mast in that town.  Bands 1 and 3 are picked up easily with the MikroTik LHG unit. Previously I had tried the B818-263 router with an external antenna, but the signal would fade regularly. The Mikrotik LHG is rock solid with 60 to 70Mb/s most of the time.
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#7
UPDATE: Three months along, and the LHGG has been solid as a rock. Speeds reliably 70 to 95 Mb/s. Three, Band 1.

(24/05/2022, 05:36 PM)waveguide Wrote: This is true for me.
I live in a rural area and the nearest town is 14km from here.  Luckily enough I have near enough line of sight to the EIR mast in that town.  Bands 1 and 3 are picked up easily with the MikroTik LHG unit. Previously I had tried the B818-263 router with an external antenna, but the signal would fade regularly. The Mikrotik LHG is rock solid with 60 to 70Mb/s most of the time.
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