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Choosing 3G/4G outdoor antenna
Hello Seán,

I am hoping that you can help me in choosing the correct outdoor antenna to improve my internet connection at my single story cottage with a single story extension at the rear (Northside). The provider is Three (unlimited mobile broadband using a Huawei B525s-23a router with the two indoor antenna's that came with the router attached).

[Image: three-broadband-map.jpg]

So I did some testing this afternoon on a sunny day, with the router’s preferred network mode set to ‘4G’ only and with the network search mode set to ‘Auto’.

Test 1: Router placed inside near the top of a south facing window.

TestMy Germany server - Direct connection vs. connected by free Hide Me VPN server in Germany:
[Image: window-test-direct.png] [Image: window-test-germany-vpn.png]

Test 2: Router placed outside.

Placing the router near the top of the Northern gable-end of the extension facing North towards Mast 1, or near the top of the western gable-end of the cottage facing South-West towards Mast 2, or near the top of the eastern gable-end of the cottage facing South-East towards Mast 3, did not improve the connection.

However, with the router placed on top of the cottage roof and facing South, the connection improved significantly:

TestMy Germany server - Direct connection:
[Image: roof-test-direct.png]

Router signals of rooftop test (readings with result only):

<txpower>PPusch:13dBm PPucch:-2dBm PSrs:0dBm Pprach:13dBm</txpower>
<dl_mcs>mcsDownCarrier1Code0:8 mcsDownCarrier1Code1:8 </dl_mcs>
<earfcn>DL:1700 UL:19700</earfcn>

I would be delighted if you could recommend a 3G/4G antenna for my fringe location that allows me to set the router’s preferred network mode to ‘3G’ only when it gets busy in the evenings.

Kind regards.
Based on your tests with the VPN, it looks like the cell you currently connect to is heavily congested or with high interference. That rules out traffic shaping.

With that weak RSRP reading on the roof, I recommend going for the following pair of LOG antennae if you feel comfortable with mounting them: (LOG periodic with 7.5m leads)

These need to be installed about 1m apart, both pointing at the same mast. The easiest way to install them is on a long pole. If the mast is on a hill much higher than your house, then I recommend getting a shelley clamp and a second 1m pole to mount them side-by-side as this will let you tilt them up. Based on my experience of using these, they give about 8-10dB stronger reading than the router alone on band 3.

One flaw with those antennae (same with another bare LOG antennae I tried) is that rain droplets wick between the elements and kill the signal. This is easily fixed by shoving a rigid piece of plastic between the bars. With mine, I got an old plastic pen that no longer writes, removed the ink tube and cut the pen in half. I shoved one half midway between the bars of one antenna the same with the other and rain now barely affects the signal.

If you want an antenna that is more straight forward to install, I suggest getting either of the following panel antennae: (Panel antenna with 5m long leads) (Panel antenna with 10m long leads)

While not as sensitive as the LOGs, it should still provide an improvement over what you had with the router alone in the same spot on the roof. A panel antenna just requires an outdoor TV antenna bracket. It also has a wider opening angle compared to the LOGs, so you can roughly aim it at the desired mast.

If you don't need long leads, the Poynting antenna (first link) has shorter 5m leads, which will give a little additional gain over the second antenna.

Before you start drilling holes, I suggest doing a temporary set-up to start with such as using a camera tripod as a temporary pole. For testing/pointing the LOG antennae, you can start by mounting one antenna and attach it to the SMA port #1 (nearest the signal LEDs). Once you get the least negative RSRP reading (e.g. -100dB is better than -105dB), you can mount and aim the second LOG antenna in the same direction. From here, you can adjust both about 10 degrees at a time to try getting the SINR value as high as possible, ideally >10dB.

These LOG and panel antenna will also work on both 3G bands and potentially give a fair speed boost on it also.
Thanks a million for your advice Seán!

I've just ordered your third suggestion, the panel antenna with 10m long leads (, as it indeed appears to be a bit more straight forward to install. And as it will be mounted on the front of the house, it also has the best visual appeal in my opinion. I'll report back with the results as soon as I have it up and running.
Hi Seán,

Great Forum and blog by the way, I have learned a lot from your posts. Smile

I am in a rural part of limerick with a mast 1.8km away with no line of sight due to a tree line quite close to the house.However ,I am picking up a Band 3 (1800MHz ) signal outside the house and a Band 20 (800MHz) signal inside the house.The best signal in the area is with Vodafone using a Huawei B528 router.

The readings below show the signal from the roof of the house on the phone app where i would install an antenna.Would I be able to improve on the RSRP and RSSNR values with an external antenna even if facing into the trees?
The house is only one story and I wouldn't be able to get the height to go over the trees.


There is congestion on the (800MHz) band at peak time which is almost unusable but i'm thinking if i can connect to the band #3 as well I would get a usable connection  during peak times.There are signals from other masts in the area along with the tree line possibly causing interference as well.

I am unsure which type of outdoor antenna to purchase but I was thinking of going with the XPOL - 2 due to the easier setup with MIMO and to cover a wide band of frequencies for future 5G (700MHz).
Would the XPOL - 2 be sufficient in your opinion or would an omni-directional antenna be any good in this situation?

I presume that carrier aggregation would work fine since I can get a Band 3 signal outside?

Appreciate any help.

The XPOL-2 should work well in your situation, especially as your screenshot shows a 16dB RSSNR with the very weak reading. This antenna will likely improve the signal to around -100dBm and the RSSNR a littler further (shown as SINR on the B528). Your upload speed will likely improve to around 20Mbps and your download speed may go higher also. If this reading is recent with the trees in full leaf, the signal shouldn't get much worse than this apart from during heavy rain where the wet leaves attenuate the signal.

The one thing to watch out for is that its leads are only 5m long. The panel Antenna above on the Amazon link has 10m of good quality LMR200 cable, would be a good alternative if you need to run the leads further. The reading will likely be about 3dB lower compared to the XPOL-2. In the worst case scenario that you need to place the router in the loft, you can use a Wi-Fi mesh kit such as a pair of Tenda Nova MW6's to bring coverage to the ground floor.

I would definitely avoid an omni-directional antenna. Basically, an omni-directional antenna performs the equivalent of having the modem in the same spot, which would be fine in an urban environment where one has a heavily insulated house and looking to get an outdoor signal. However, with your very weak signal reading outdoors, the signal will be 2-3dB weaker over the 5m cable run.

You will get carrier aggregation, i.e. 3 + 20. If the reading is -105dBm or better (which I reckon it will be with the XPOL-2), your router will switch to band 3 as the primary band, which will also help overcome the contention.
Thanks for the info Seán ,

I think I will go with the XPOL - 2 with the 5m cable and put the router in the loft as you mentioned. The Tenda mesh system looks good but does the signal loss with the antenna cable apply to cat 5E cable that could be attached to the router?

I'm on the Vodafone 150GB €45 a month plan for another few months and you mentioned in a different post that the new Vodafone 300GB €40 a month plan caps at 10Mbs.Do you think  (1) this is just to cover themselves for bad speeds due to congestion or (2) if the bandwidth is available would they still enforce it? Basically, I'm wondering if it's worth staying on the same plan with an improved signal and keep current speeds or go with the bigger plan but take a chance they might throttle the bandwidth?

The signal attenuation only affects the signal path leading up to the modem in the router. Anything beyond the router will not affect the signal the router's modem picks up from the antennae. So whether you attach a 1m or 50m cat 5E cable to the router, the speed will still be the same. However, if you were to add 5m SMA extension leads to the antenna cables, that would reduce the signal.

From the reviews I've seen of various Wi-Fi mesh systems, these generally handle 100-200Mbps at the second node a room apart from the main node, as long as they have Gigabit LAN ports. If you get 80Mbps at the router, the Wi-Fi mesh should still deliver the same 80Mbps on the ground floor, much like having the same main router there. Just beware that some of the cheaper mesh systems only have 100Mbps LAN ports, which would be a problem whenever Fibre comes your way.

So far I have heard mixed reports of Vodafone enforcing a speed limit on its 300GB plan. For example, going by posts I've seen on the Boards forum, a few were capped such as this one at 20Mbps and others mention getting the full speed as before such as [url=]this recent example.

With Vodafone's new unlimited Vodafone X prepay phone plan, they clearly state it is capped at 10Mbps on their website, T&C's, in their text offers, etc., yet I haven't heard of anyone mentioning they are capped, but seen plenty of posts mentioning about getting full speed.

I reckon Vodafone is basically covering themselves so that if people do go crazy downloading (e.g. tethering their mobile to download massive video games), they can start capping the speed of those to ease network load.
Cool Thanks again.
Once I get everything setup I'll post an update on how results went.
(29/05/2020, 05:44 PM)Classius Wrote: Thanks a million for your advice Seán!

I've just ordered your third suggestion, the panel antenna with 10m long leads (, as it indeed appears to be a bit more straight forward to install. And as it will be mounted on the front of the house, it also has the best visual appeal in my opinion. I'll report back with the results as soon as I have it up and running.

Hello Seán,

I received the antenna last Monday and have installed it on top of a steel pole that I attached to the western gable end of the house.

[Image: DSC-0186-min.jpg]

So today I did a 360 degree test using LTE Inspecteur with the router's preferred network mode set to 4G only.

I fastened the antenna at the most optimised position, pointing towards mast 3 (see map in first post).

On the 800 Mhz band (B20) I received an RSRP average of -95dBm and a SINR average of -8dB with the following speedtest result:

[Image: 4G-B20.png]

On the 1800 Mhz band (B3) I received an RSRP average of -100dBm and a SINR average of 6dB with the following speedtest result:

[Image: 4G-B3.png]

Then I switched the router's preferred network mode to 3G only and got the following speedtest result:

[Image: 3G.png]

Getting these 3G results on a Sunday evening is a massive improvement from what I got before.

Thanks for all your help Seán!
That's a great improvement in the readings. Those 4G masts sure are congested, especially band 3. Luckily most people in the area are unaware of the quiet 3G mast. Smile

Going by your antenna mounting photo, it looks like the antenna is slightly tilted down. I suggest tiling it up such that it is either plumb vertical or pointing up slightly (if the mast is on a hill) as this may improve the SINR and potentially your 3G speed a little further.

Thanks for reporting your results.

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