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Band 20 Antenna advice
#1
Hi all,

Some time ago Sean assisted me with setting up our broadband at home, long story short I ended up trying out a pair of Co-linear tube antennas with the hopes of latching onto a relatively weak Band 3 signal from Vodafone but it didn't go to plan, we reverted to a router placed on an part open window in the workshop and a WiFi repeater which to a degree has worked OK we were able to get around 10mb down and 2-3mb up which was OK for what we were using it for at the time.

Roll forward a few months and both of us are now faced with working from home and need a better connection, the contention on Vodafone spiked with the arrival of Covid and made it almost unusable during peak hours so I purchased an Eir sim card as there is a mast next to the Vodafone one we had been connecting to before in the hopes it was less congested or maybe even swapping between the 2.

I set this up this morning and below are the figures and speed-test from both inside and outside, one note on the outside figure is that I had a number of 20+ mb download tests earlier on but the test I did that is below was done immediately after the indoor one so as to try and be somewhat accurate.

We are not far (3.5km) from mast but are surrounded by forestry in all directions unfortunately.  Testing with Vodafone produces similar results although being on Vodafone X our speed is capped around 10-12mb down but can get up to 25mb on my phone stood in field on Vodafone.

I am connecting to Band 20 on both Vodafone and Eir and my question being which antenna would suit us best given the readings below?  I am sure Sean recommended a pair of LAT 22 (I think) antennas previously and wondered if this advise still stood firm.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


Location of property in relation to both the Vodafone and Eir masts which are situated together.

[Image: comreg-view.jpg]

Router signal readings with router placed indoors facing direction of mast (Eir)

[Image: EIR-Router-inside.jpg]

Testmy results for above.

[Image: 50H~uiD4B.Y_miLrzBn.png]

Router signal readings with router placed outside on a chair (no elevation)

[Image: EIR-Router-Outside.jpg]


Testmy results for above.

[Image: zH3sCe4VG.adeKO03-7.png]
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#2
Your outdoor signal reading on Eir is quite good despite being surrounded in forestry.  If that RSRQ was stable around -6dB, it also means that the mast you are picking up has low traffic load.   

With that outdoor reading, I suggest going for a directional panel antenna, such as one of the following:
https://www.irishwireless.net/lte-diy/xpol-a0002 (with 5m leads)
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01E7CWNSI/ (with 10m leads)

You can mount either one with a typical TV antenna wall mount.  I don't think you will get much benefit with the high gain LAT22 as you you don't seem to be picking up much interference based on the SINR.  Both suggestions above also cover band 3.  The exception would be if the SINR is often dipping to negative values, where the LAT22 would help isolate the mast from the interference.

Unfortunately, I don't have high hopes of it or any other antennae improving the download speed higher than what you got outside.  -3dB to -6dB RSRQ is typical of an idle cell, so I would have expected a much higher download speed, such as 30Mbps+ with those readings you got outside.  It is quite likely the Eir mast you are picking up is microwave fed off another congested mast as many rural masts are wirelessly linked by microwave backhaul.
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#3
Hi Sean

The RSRQ when monitored in LTE H-Monitor (I had been using LTEinspector but wouldn't login to this router for some reason) it dips to -8 and -9 on occasion and the SINR goes no lower than 1 when outside.

That makes sense with regard to the cell not being overloaded I hadn't totally understood what all the readings actually meant and thanks for explanation.

If we could get a steady 15mb we could certainly operate on that, we have two routers of which one would be for work and the other for home use etc as Eir prepay is capped at 80gb.

If this panel works and we were to get another for the second router I assume this would be fine or would there be any issue with interference?  Does height make any difference with a panel antenna?

Thanks again for your help.

[Image: Eir-outside-screenshot.jpg]
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#4
That's great with the RSRP reading. An RSRP of -12dB indicates a fully loaded cell and any further (e.g. -13dB to -19dB) indicates interference from neighbour cells in addition to traffic. You can watch the RSRP drop from your own traffic when downloading or running a speed test.

If you get a second antenna for the second router, I recommend spacing it 1m or more from any other antenna. This way when one router transmits, its transmissions picked up by the nearby second antenna don't overwhelm the modem of the second router. The antenna has two leads, so you will need to drill a second pair of holes for the second antenna.

Although there are coaxial splitters available, for the same reason as keeping the antennae reasonably far apart, don't try splitting the leads of single antenna across two routers. Smile
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#5
That's good news then, to be fair where we are is reasonably remote so don't imagine there being a huge amount of people putting too much pressure on these masts but have been surprised by the congestion during the evenings on Vodafone.  Time will tell if there is similar demand on the Eir network.

I'll order that Panel Antenna over the weekend and will report back with updated readings and speeds, advice noted on second antenna.

Thanks again.
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#6
The panel arrived yesterday, I actually ended up order the one with the 5m cable from Amazon (Link below)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00C...UTF8&psc=1

Mounted on an extension pole so around 4 metres from ground level and some quick adjustments saw the following figures.

EIR

SINR: 13
RSRQ: -6
RSRP: -89
RSSI: -63

These seem a decent improvement over those taken originally with the router inside.  Download is now around 20mb and upload very similar so 100% usable now for us both.

VODAFONE

SINR: 9
RSRQ: -11
RSRP: -91
RSSI: -71

Download figures between 15-24mb and upload constantly around 24mb.

I guess Vodafone mast is more congested and testing at this hour of the day is probably not ideal will test again during the evening and see how it fairs.

Thanks again for the advice though, will sell on the original Colinear Tube Antennas online so will recoup a large part of the cost of these anyway so very happy!
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