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dave mackie

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7 minutes ago, Tony1 said:

 

Thanks Ian, its very interesting how steep the rural curve is, with big gains derived from increased heights between 1m and 5m. With very few buildings around compared to the urban areas, I guess that might be expected.

This work seems to have been done in Australia, and its not clear whether it was a more UK-like region, or a more open and/or desert-type area, with much less foliage than would be seen in the UK. 

But either way the principle seems clear- bigger is better, in terms of signal performance. 

However, we cant afford to be size queens, or indeed kings.

A 10 metre antenna, as lovely as it might be for watching netflix, does present one or two very minor issues on a narrowboat roof. 

So its all about where you draw the line between mast height and performance, right? 

What height do we actually need, in the more tricky rural areas with more dead spots and patchy coverage?

 

If I had arms like Geoff Capes and a 70ft boat with a clear roof, I might be tempted by a 10 metre monster. But sadly none of those things are the case, so I must compromise.

 

Rob's 1ft pole is clearly enough for the generally less hilly Norfolk area, but would it be good enough in the patchy areas of the Llangollen, say? 

 

How big is big enough?

 

The point is that going from 1m to 2m gains about 6dB, but to gain another 6dB you have to go to 4m, then 8m for another 6dB and so on -- every extra dB gets increasingly expensive as the pole gets taller.

 

I think the key is that if you have mobile reception problems, install whatever you can cope with (fit in and be able to erect -- ooh err, missus).

 

Another way to look at it is that a better receiver (higher gain aerials, MIMO) is worth quite a lot in terms of mast height. Having a dual-SIM setup is probably more valuable still in areas where coverage is patchy.

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5 minutes ago, IanD said:

The point is that going from 1m to 2m gains about 6dB, but to gain another 6dB you have to go to 4m, then 8m for another 6dB and so on -- every extra dB gets increasingly expensive as the pole gets taller.

 

I think the key is that if you have mobile reception problems, install whatever you can cope with (fit in and be able to erect -- ooh err, missus).

 

Another way to look at it is that a better receiver (higher gain aerials, MIMO) is worth quite a lot in terms of mast height. Having a dual-SIM setup is probably more valuable still in areas where coverage is patchy.

 

In the terms of what is a decent but affordable receiver, you mentioned this model a while back:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08F4S4DMN/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1

 

Am I right in thinking that since it is omni-directional, it doesnt matter which way you poynt it? 

 

(Thanks folks. I'll be here all week.)

 

 

Edited by Tony1
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7 minutes ago, Tony1 said:

 

In the terms of what is a decent but affordable receiver, you mentioned this model a while back:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08F4S4DMN/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1

 

Am I right in thinking that since it is omni-directional, it doesnt matter which way you poynt it? 

 

(Thanks folks. I'll be here all week.)

 

 

Yes, so you can just poynt the pole up and that's the job done.

 

They also make directional ones which have higher gain, but with these every time you stop you'd need to rotate the aerial while monitoring the signal strength. If you're using a dual-SIM router it's also likely that the optimum direction for the two networks would be different, so you'd need to do this twice, once for each SIM, and then pick the best SIM/direction. A *lot* of bother -- and if you don't do it, the results will be often no better and sometimes a lot worse than an omni aerial.

 

P.S. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_Poynting -- his theorem is well-known to anybody who studied electromagnetism... 😉

Edited by IanD
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Pole Height - in Lower Heyford (on 3) I was able to stream SD iplayer video with a 4m pole.  Previously, with the receiver on the roof, the network was pretty unusable.  (This is with a Huawei E3772 dongle and a pair of £10 chinese magnetic stick aerials).  I've previous!y called this area 'the valley of the 19th century' due to the lack of useful mobile signal round there.

 

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1 hour ago, DaveP said:

Pole Height - in Lower Heyford (on 3) I was able to stream SD iplayer video with a 4m pole.  Previously, with the receiver on the roof, the network was pretty unusable.  (This is with a Huawei E3772 dongle and a pair of £10 chinese magnetic stick aerials).  I've previous!y called this area 'the valley of the 19th century' due to the lack of useful mobile signal round there.

 

 

 

Thanks Dave- so the ideal all-round pole height lies somewhere between Rob's 12 inches, and your 13ft behemoth.... 

 

I'm compelled to point out that I think you might have the biggest pole of any gentleman currently afloat (on the canals at least). 

 

I'd struggle to store a 13 foot pole on the roof at the moment, but if I was basically forced to stay in a really poor signal area, I've no doubt I would have a 13ft pole erected within 48 hours, rather than lose the precious internet. 

 

I'm reminding myself of this old sketch:

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

I was proud of my 12 inches, but it seems lacking now....... :(

 

I was feeling the same way about my puny 3ft pole, but fear not- our pole envy problems can be solved for just a tenner  😀

 

https://www.toolstation.com/tv-aerial-satellite-dish-pole/p64731?store=PA&utm_source=googleshopping&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=googleshoppingfeed&mkwid=_dc&pcrid=565612566369&pkw=&pmt=&gclid=Cj0KCQiA5OuNBhCRARIsACgaiqUSGTl8O9FQXLzccgUDweBI1OXCmzizsv5aT6BESgE0QTzfXqAny5waAhdhEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

Joking aside Rob, I think you should count yourself lucky you live in a place where a 1ft pole will do the job! 

 

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Don't forget that an aerial on a short pole on the boat roof is already at least 5 feet above "ground level", so each extra foot makes less difference than you might think... 😉

 

If you want to go mad, you can get telescopic mountings meant for spotlights or ham radio, these not only go up pretty high (26' for the one below) but some can even be wound up using a winch...

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/184844052428?hash=item2b099067cc:g:sNYAAOSwp2Ngo5ho

Edited by IanD
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I'll admit up front I am basically IT illiterate - as long as it works when I switch on, that's fine, but if I have to 'do' anything to my computer / ipad / phone, I call one of the kids (or one of their kids, and the next generation of their kids are both up and running - literally!).

So, planning a boat buy plus moving into temporary accomodation soon for a year or so, I've been following this thread closely. The other day, as prices seemed reasonable, I bit the bullet and bought a Huawei 535 and one of the newer square omni Poynting things, all suggested in this thread. They arrived an hour ago.

Since then I've unpacked everything and put it all together -

results.....................(all taken from the same spot in the house)

Three sim in my phone 1.5mbps

same sim in the router 10mbps

plug in the aerial (not even unwinding the cable, just plug into the router and laid on the desk next to it 32mbps

If I can go from 1.5 mbps to 32 mbps, I call that a result. Many thanks to all concerned.

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26 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

I'll admit up front I am basically IT illiterate - as long as it works when I switch on, that's fine, but if I have to 'do' anything to my computer / ipad / phone, I call one of the kids (or one of their kids, and the next generation of their kids are both up and running - literally!).

So, planning a boat buy plus moving into temporary accomodation soon for a year or so, I've been following this thread closely. The other day, as prices seemed reasonable, I bit the bullet and bought a Huawei 535 and one of the newer square omni Poynting things, all suggested in this thread. They arrived an hour ago.

Since then I've unpacked everything and put it all together -

results.....................(all taken from the same spot in the house)

Three sim in my phone 1.5mbps

same sim in the router 10mbps

plug in the aerial (not even unwinding the cable, just plug into the router and laid on the desk next to it 32mbps

If I can go from 1.5 mbps to 32 mbps, I call that a result. Many thanks to all concerned.

You're welcome 🙂

 

If the Poynting is laid flat, you should get even better results with it upright like shown in all the pictures, the pickup pattern is optimised for this orientation.

 

P.S. Don't forget to connect both aerial cables...

Edited by IanD
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14 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

Three sim in my phone 1.5mbps

same sim in the router 10mbps

plug in the aerial (not even unwinding the cable, just plug into the router and laid on the desk next to it 32mbps

If I can go from 1.5 mbps to 32 mbps, I call that a result. Many thanks to all concerned.

Now you just need a SIM for the router.

If you use this link you get a Smarty SIM which part of "3" a free second month and a £15 credit bonus 😉

 

http://referme.to/blHJxgp

 

 

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1 hour ago, Loddon said:

Now you just need a SIM for the router.

If you use this link you get a Smarty SIM which part of "3" a free second month and a £15 credit bonus 😉

 

http://referme.to/blHJxgp

 

 

thanks for that - don't need to use it yet so have bookmarked your link for when i do. at least trying my phone sim has given me the confidence that when i do need it, everything will work OK

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Thanks @IanD for some really helpful advice. I read through this and your other post and it was very enlightening, but I wonder if you could help me with some specific questions about my situation?

I want to get a 4x4 MIMO 4G/5G modem that supports the higher LTE categories (EE has Cat 6, 9, 11, and 19 apparently)

I specifically want a modem, i.e. not a modem/router combo,

a) I can mount it outside on top of my mast minimising the cable between antenna and modem and
b) I can install a separate firewall device between the modem and my LAN, perhaps even with 2x WAN inputs going to independent masts/modems/antennae/networks!

 

It's my bread and butter, so I'm willing to spend a grand or even two to get the best possible connection. My download is mostly fine, but when on Zoom people say I cut out often, so I think my upload is not up to scratch.

 

The closest I can find is Netgear LB2120 - 70 quid here - but this is only LTE Cat 4, doesn't support 5G and is only 2x2. A lot of "industrial" 4G modems are only Cat 1 or Cat 4 LTE. And 5G modems don't seem to be available yet. It's also really hard to search for 5G modems because Google thinks I'm talking about 5GHz WiFi and keeps showing me modem/routers!

 

The Poynting antenna you recommend seems good but is only 2x2 MIMO (I currently have the 1st gen one of those and a Teltonika RUT955). There's a really amazing looking Poynting antenna "coming soon": OMNI-904 which is 4x4 MIMO with 2 medium gain (3dB) and 2 high gain antennae (8dB). But is an integrated 4x4 antenna actually the way to go? I have a hunch that it would get better performance to have 4 separate (SISO?) antennae and put them on 4 separate masts at different locations.

 

A lot of "industrial" 4G modems are only Cat 1 or Cat 4 LTE, I think to support IoT applications. And 5G modems don't seem to be available yet! I'd really appreciate any recommendations, or even just what I should be searching for!

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19 minutes ago, jetzi said:

Thanks @IanD for some really helpful advice. I read through this and your other post and it was very enlightening, but I wonder if you could help me with some specific questions about my situation?

I want to get a 4x4 MIMO 4G/5G modem that supports the higher LTE categories (EE has Cat 6, 9, 11, and 19 apparently)

I specifically want a modem, i.e. not a modem/router combo,

a) I can mount it outside on top of my mast minimising the cable between antenna and modem and
b) I can install a separate firewall device between the modem and my LAN, perhaps even with 2x WAN inputs going to independent masts/modems/antennae/networks!

 

It's my bread and butter, so I'm willing to spend a grand or even two to get the best possible connection. My download is mostly fine, but when on Zoom people say I cut out often, so I think my upload is not up to scratch.

 

The closest I can find is Netgear LB2120 - 70 quid here - but this is only LTE Cat 4, doesn't support 5G and is only 2x2. A lot of "industrial" 4G modems are only Cat 1 or Cat 4 LTE. And 5G modems don't seem to be available yet. It's also really hard to search for 5G modems because Google thinks I'm talking about 5GHz WiFi and keeps showing me modem/routers!

 

The Poynting antenna you recommend seems good but is only 2x2 MIMO (I currently have the 1st gen one of those and a Teltonika RUT955). There's a really amazing looking Poynting antenna "coming soon": OMNI-904 which is 4x4 MIMO with 2 medium gain (3dB) and 2 high gain antennae (8dB). But is an integrated 4x4 antenna actually the way to go? I have a hunch that it would get better performance to have 4 separate (SISO?) antennae and put them on 4 separate masts at different locations.

 

A lot of "industrial" 4G modems are only Cat 1 or Cat 4 LTE, I think to support IoT applications. And 5G modems don't seem to be available yet! I'd really appreciate any recommendations, or even just what I should be searching for!

There are some 5G 4x4 MIMO "industrial" routers, I don't think anyone makes modems only -- have a look here (the mini one is the cheapest at £420, has 2 Ethernet ports so intended as a "modem")

 

https://www.comms365.com/product-category/5g-routers/

https://www.comms365.com/product/2-port-5g-router/

 

You can always have a separate firewall between the 5G router and another router attached to your network with a hardware firewall in between.

 

Poynting now do some 5G 4x4 MIMO antennas (earlier request was only for 2x2), but you want one with 4 omni antennas which tend to have about 3dB of gain -- anything with 8dB will be directional which you don't want.

 

https://www.netxl.com/5g-ready-antennas/poynting-xpol-1-5g-4-omni-lte-mimo-antenna/

 

You probably want a 4x4 MIMO antenna not separate ones, because part of what 5G can do (in theory...) to increase capacity is beamforming and this doesn't work if they're too far apart.

Edited by IanD
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Good to know that I can just use a router as a modem only, but it's such a pity that you can't get 5G modems (or at least 4x4 LTE ones). I don't really want to pay for all those features that I don't need and leaving 420 quid waving around outside on the top of a pole seems a little risky. When you look at the netgear 4G modem-only I linked above, it's only 70 quid, so that kind of makes me think that the modem by itself can't be very expensive. They market this is as a failover second WAN for broadband connections, so I was hoping there would be something similar, just with higher performance.

 

 

 

24 minutes ago, IanD said:

I don't think anyone makes modems only -- have a look here (the mini one is the cheapest at £420, has 2 Ethernet ports so intended as a "modem")

 

https://www.comms365.com/product-category/5g-routers/

https://www.comms365.com/product/2-port-5g-router/

It says with the cheap one "You would need two 2×2 MIMO Antenna with this router" - is two 2x2 antennae the same as a 4x4?

 

It doesn't say what LTE category it is, and since I'll be on 4G most of the time that's probably more important than 5G. Or does 5G automatically mean it supports the highest LTE category?

 

 

 

24 minutes ago, IanD said:

anything with 8dB will be directional which you don't want.

Are you sure about that, the Poynting Omni 904 (available March 2022 they say) says it is 3dB and 8dB omni-directional. It looks like quite a beast, being 1654mm tall it's pretty much a mast by itself. Also no idea how much it costs, might be ridiculous.

Edited by jetzi
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32 minutes ago, jetzi said:

Good to know that I can just use a router as a modem only, but it's such a pity that you can't get 5G modems (or at least 4x4 LTE ones). I don't really want to pay for all those features that I don't need and leaving 420 quid waving around outside on the top of a pole seems a little risky. When you look at the netgear 4G modem-only I linked above, it's only 70 quid, so that kind of makes me think that the modem by itself can't be very expensive. They market this is as a failover second WAN for broadband connections, so I was hoping there would be something similar, just with higher performance.

 

 

 

It says with the cheap one "You would need two 2×2 MIMO Antenna with this router" - is two 2x2 antennae the same as a 4x4?

 

It doesn't say what LTE category it is, and since I'll be on 4G most of the time that's probably more important than 5G. Or does 5G automatically mean it supports the highest LTE category?

 

 

 

Are you sure about that, the Poynting Omni 904 (available March 2022 they say) says it is 3dB and 8dB omni-directional. It looks like quite a beast, being 1654mm tall it's pretty much a mast by itself. Also no idea how much it costs, might be ridiculous.

You don't put it at the top of a pole, you put it inside the boat with the antenna at the top of a pole. External 5G routers do exist and avoid cable losses but are as common as rocking horse sh*t, this is the only one I can find (and good luck finding one in the UK)

 

https://consumer.huawei.com/en/routers/5g-cpe-win/

 

4G modems/routers are cheap because there are lots of them about and the cost has dropped massively since they were introduced -- and a full router costs hardly more than a modem because they're made in much bigger volumes.

 

5G modems/routers are expensive right now because they're new and there are few suppliers, who are concentrating on the top end of the market (meaning, expensive) because there's no big volume low-cost market yet.

 

You could get 2 2x2 MIMO antennae but a single 4x4 MIMO one is cheaper and easier to mount, and will probably have higher performance -- Poynting do what I'd call "professional-quality" design and give details of things like gain curves and radiation patterns which are lacking from many other suppliers who just mage grand-sounding claims.

 

Anything 5G will use new electronics and is bound to support the highest throughput 4G, there's no point designing anything else.

 

You're right about the Omni 904, it's got 2 high-gain antennae because it's *massive* (1.65m tall, 145mm diameter base) and intended for fixed roof mounting on yachts -- I don't see how you could easily mount this on a canal boat if you wanted to cruise anywhere. Also note that that high gain is in one direction (download the data sheet), it's not truly omnidirectional and the 180 degree gain is about 6dB lower...

Edited by IanD
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46 minutes ago, IanD said:

You don't put it at the top of a pole, you put it inside the boat with the antenna at the top of a pole. External 5G routers do exist and avoid cable losses but are as common as rocking horse sh*t

Yeah, currently that's what I have, with my Poynting antenna with 5m cables, on top of a 2.5m pole such that the cables are fully used, connected to the Teltonika RUT955 Cat 4 router inside the boat. My uplink isn't really adequate for Zoom so I am trying to improve this situation in any ways I can - a taller pole, with shorter cables, is one thing I want to try. I don't specifically want an "external" router, the plan would be to mount it in a waterproof box at the base of the antenna, so I have the minimum cable length.

 

 

51 minutes ago, IanD said:

5G modems/routers are expensive right now because they're new and there are few suppliers, who are concentrating on the top end of the market (meaning, expensive) because there's no big volume low-cost market yet. ... Anything 5G will use new electronics and is bound to support the highest throughput 4G, there's no point designing anything else.

What you say makes much sense, I think I should probably drop the 5G requirement and just look at the higher LTE categories. I'll rarely have 5G anyway and as long as the 4G is fast enough 5G is probably just overkill.

 

 

57 minutes ago, IanD said:

You're right about the Omni 904, it's got 2 high-gain antennae because it's *massive* (1.65m tall, 145mm diameter base) and intended for fixed roof mounting on yachts -- I don't see how you could easily mount this on a canal boat if you wanted to cruise anywhere. Also note that that high gain is in one direction (download the data sheet), it's not truly omnidirectional and the 180 degree gain is about 6dB lower...

Yeah it would have to fold down to enable cruising, like my current mast does. But I didn't see the directionality mentioned, that's probably a deal breaker.

 

 

24 minutes ago, Loddon said:

For 4x4 mimo cat 19 you could do worse than a Huawei B818. It can be modified to accept 4 antennas for 4x4mimo external, but is already 4x4 when on internal antennas.

 

 https://router-mods.co.uk/shop/ols/products/huawei-b818-260-router-modification-service-for-external-antenna-inputs-hw-b81-260-rtr

Thanks! That's very interesting, obviously just goes to show how rare 4x4 modems and routers are that they can make a business out of adding external antenna ports to them!

 



Side question, when they talk about LTE categories, is that a capability of the network's masts as well as the consumer hardware? That is, is there such a thing as a Cat 4 cell tower and having a 4x4 Cat 19 router won't provide any boost in this case?

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22 minutes ago, jetzi said:

Side question, when they talk about LTE categories, is that a capability of the network's masts as well as the consumer hardware? That is, is there such a thing as a Cat 4 cell tower and having a 4x4 Cat 19 router won't provide any boost in this case?

There is very little difference between my Huawei 818 (cat 19 4x4 mimo) and a Huawei B535 (cat 7 2x2 mimo) on my local mast, same position in the house both on their internal antennas. Once you get down to cat 4 the difference is very noticable.

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1 hour ago, jetzi said:

Yeah, currently that's what I have, with my Poynting antenna with 5m cables, on top of a 2.5m pole such that the cables are fully used, connected to the Teltonika RUT955 Cat 4 router inside the boat. My uplink isn't really adequate for Zoom so I am trying to improve this situation in any ways I can - a taller pole, with shorter cables, is one thing I want to try. I don't specifically want an "external" router, the plan would be to mount it in a waterproof box at the base of the antenna, so I have the minimum cable length.

 

 

What you say makes much sense, I think I should probably drop the 5G requirement and just look at the higher LTE categories. I'll rarely have 5G anyway and as long as the 4G is fast enough 5G is probably just overkill.

 

 

Yeah it would have to fold down to enable cruising, like my current mast does. But I didn't see the directionality mentioned, that's probably a deal breaker.

 

 

Thanks! That's very interesting, obviously just goes to show how rare 4x4 modems and routers are that they can make a business out of adding external antenna ports to them!

 



Side question, when they talk about LTE categories, is that a capability of the network's masts as well as the consumer hardware? That is, is there such a thing as a Cat 4 cell tower and having a 4x4 Cat 19 router won't provide any boost in this case?

If you're bothered about getting the highest data rate in future then I'd suggest a 5G router, and it might also give you better performance in marginal conditions today than a 4G one -- or buy a 4G one now, and swap to a 5G one later when costs come down and choice goes up.

 

Cell site capability depends on how old the installation is; most 4G ones are quite new and will support pretty much anything, but some older ones might not.

37 minutes ago, Loddon said:

There is very little difference between my Huawei 818 (cat 19 4x4 mimo) and a Huawei B535 (cat 7 2x2 mimo) on my local mast, same position in the house both on their internal antennas. Once you get down to cat 4 the difference is very noticable.

 

Performance depends on how strong the signal is; 4x4 MIMO can hang on to a signal longer in poor conditions (or give higher data rates) especially if there are bad multipath reflections, but with a decent signal there will be little difference.

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