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Barry

Problematical internet connection on narrowboat resolved

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First experiments with my new mobile wifi dongle set up are pleasing.

 

Primarily I wanted it because I'm very unhappy with my O2 dongle (the way it was sold to me was a swiz). and coverage is not good. In my lady's narrowboat the O2 dongle is a waste of time and a Three phone dongle is not much better

 

Last week all the bits arrived, unlocked Huawei E5332 wifi dongle (bought from e-bay), Three data only SIM card (Amazon), and TS9 aerial (e-bay). I tried out the dongle on its own when I was camping out on Saturday night in a field miles away from anywhere. I was chuffed to bits when I was able to connect to the internet via the dongle, with my lappy and phone at the same time.

 

The next test was going to be on a narrow boat in an area with poor reception for both phone and internet. My lady has to hang her Three dongle in the window to get something approaching a half way decent signal but most of the time that is almost useless because the internet connection breaks whenever a boat goes past.

 

This morning, as an experiment, I tried to connect to the internet with the wifi dongle placed a couple of feet off the floor and mid-way between two opposite windows. Internet reception was successful, though not brilliant, straight away, and has stayed so all morning.

 

I wanted to try the TS9 aerial so I placed it on the roof (magnetic base is excellent) and connected it up. Disappointingly reception was no better.

 

I have been a bit worried about the aerial connection socket on the dongle. It didn't seem to, physically, connect positively and the connection seemed to lean over to the side a bit like it was not connected properly, so I tried another test.

 

Leaving the aerial connected to the dongle I moved the dongle to a place away from a window, under the gunnel. Internet reception was still acceptable. Disconnecting the aerial from the dongle caused a loss of internet connection. Reconnecting the aerial to the dongle, still under the gunnel, brought the internet back so I have proved the aerial works despite the possibly dodgy connector.

 

So I'm pretty happy that I have solved the problem of internet access in a difficult place.

 

I hope this report helps other people who are trying to solve the problem of internet access on a narrowboat.

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Cheers Barry,

 

Yes I find generally the aerial marginally improves the reception and can be the difference between getting internet and not getting internet but one thing an aerial won't do is pull in a non-existent signal, I just think collecting and sending back the signal outside a metal box (in my case) is logically going to be better than inside one, particularly if the aerial has a good ground plane like boat roof.

 

As to the connection thing - mine plugs in pretty securely, though I agree the connection looks pretty fragile and it wouldn't take much abuse.

 

Glad you are sorted.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who is a little doubtful about the aerial connection Martin.

 

The people who sold me mine are only half an hour's drive from me so I have asked them if I can call in and let them have a look it to check the connection.

 

No answer yet

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who is a little doubtful about the aerial connection Martin.

 

The people who sold me mine are only half an hour's drive from me so I have asked them if I can call in and let them have a look it to check the connection.

 

No answer yet

 

Is it a used one?

 

if so it may have been subject to some abuse or if new is possibly faulty, mine certainly plugs in squarely and not at an angle in the way you describe as per this picture (not mine but you get the idea)

 

Although the connector on mine is an angled 90 degrees one not straight like this.

 

IMG_9611-608x405.jpg

 

Also just twigged mine is a CRC9 connector which is different to yours and googling your dongle and re-reading your post I see now yours is one of those types that act as a router too so the connections are indeed different.

Edited by The Dog House

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This is the photo I sent to the supplier

 

DSC00295_zpsb2a243e8.jpg

 

You can clearly see the connector cockled over

 

They suggested squeezing the aerial connector spigot in my fingers a bit. I'm reluctant to do that but I don't mind them trying it on their counter while I watch

Edited by Bazza2

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Hi Bazza

 

I have exactly that set up (different ISP) and yes the aerial connection is very weak.

 

I have the right angled connector like yours and it is still very dubious.

 

Have not found a way to improve it but as mine is 'permanently' hung (piece of string though hole, top left of your picture) in a mushroom vent have not had any problems.

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It's hard to tell Barry but this one on eBay looks similar to me, the connector doesn't look 'square' to side of the mi-fi and looks similar to yours.....if not at as much of an angle....unsure.png

 

IMG_6010.jpg

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Has anyone does a broadband speed test without the aerial, then with the aerial, if so what are the figures and improvement in connection speed (if any)?

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I doubt doing that test would be of any use, speed is dependant on a few things and those are out side your control.

 

Mine varies from minute to minute whether connected to aerial or not.

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We have the same E5332 unit and the aerial connection is a bit weak but I did squeeze the two spigots closer together which improved things. Ours is permanently mounted so the connection has remained good. We also have a good 3G aerial from Connex Technologies which is mounted up a 2 metre pole. Reception has always been good on '3'.

Although I haven't done a speed test, without the external aerial the signal could be red or possibly orange in the boats window but connecting the aerial the signal improves to green.

We have never failed to get a good, useable signal wherever we have travelled.

 

Ken

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I use a dongle and external antenna (crc9) and agree with the fragility of the connector. The outer part of the plug tends to splay out with bending stress, you can easily squeeze them back in with fingers/needle pliers. I now use an elastic band wrapped around the cable and dongle body to hold the cable in, it is way more effective than it is elegant!

 

For heavy users "3" now have a monthly contract (30 day notice) tariff that has some minutes & texts but most importantly unlimited data for just under £13/m

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I use a dongle and external antenna (crc9) and agree with the fragility of the connector. The outer part of the plug tends to splay out with bending stress, you can easily squeeze them back in with fingers/needle pliers. I now use an elastic band wrapped around the cable and dongle body to hold the cable in, it is way more effective than it is elegant!

 

For heavy users "3" now have a monthly contract (30 day notice) tariff that has some minutes & texts but most importantly unlimited data for just under £13/m

That sounds like a SIM intended for use in a phone rather than a dongle.

 

If so be aware that they have systems to detect if such a SIM is being used in a dongle.

 

They don't have any SIM's intended for prime use in a dongle. You will likely find as I did it will work for a while and then 3 will block it's use in a dongle.

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I wanted to try the TS9 aerial so I placed it on the roof (magnetic base is excellent) and connected it up. Disappointingly reception was no better.

 

I have been a bit worried about the aerial connection socket on the dongle. It didn't seem to, physically, connect positively and the connection seemed to lean over to the side a bit like it was not connected properly, so I tried another test.

 

Leaving the aerial connected to the dongle I moved the dongle to a place away from a window, under the gunnel. Internet reception was still acceptable. Disconnecting the aerial from the dongle caused a loss of internet connection. Reconnecting the aerial to the dongle, still under the gunnel, brought the internet back so I have proved the aerial works despite the possibly dodgy connector.

 

What sort of aerial is it? A high gain whip is still kind of omnidirectional and will pick up reflections from surrounding structures. A panel antenna up a pole will be less susceptible.

 

Also the aerial cable is important, generally thicker cable printed with a recognised cable type like RG58U has lower losses and is better than thinner cable.

 

There are loads of CRC9 'pigtails' and adapters on Ebay:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=crc9+pigtail&LH_PrefLoc=2&_sop=15

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=crc9+adapter&LH_PrefLoc=2&_sop=15

 

They make it easier to try out a cheap but decent outdoor panel antenna that might not have a CRC9 on the end.

 

There's plenty of panel antennas on Ebay, the cheaper Wifi ones won't be optimal for GSM/3G but might do OK as they're probably fairly wideband:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_nkw=panel+antenna+%28outdoor%2C+external%29&LH_PrefLoc=2&_sop=15

 

cheers, Pete.

~smpt~

Edited by smileypete

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That sounds like a SIM intended for use in a phone rather than a dongle.

If so be aware that they have systems to detect if such a SIM is being used in a dongle.

They don't have any SIM's intended for prime use in a dongle. You will likely find as I did it will work for a while and then 3 will block it's use in a dongle.

Preaid 3mobile data SIMs can be bought on ebay with 3Gb / 3 months usage for around £ 11.00. Cheaper than a monthly subscription.

 

Paul

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Preaid 3mobile data SIMs can be bought on ebay with 3Gb / 3 months usage for around £ 11.00. Cheaper than a monthly subscription.

 

Paul

 

Sorry yes - I should and meant to write - the bold bit being the bit I missed. I've bought those before.

 

They don't have any SIM's intended for prime use in a dongle with an unlimited allowance. You will likely find as I did it will work for a while and then 3 will block it's use in a dongle.

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Sorry yes - I should and meant to write - the bold bit being the bit I missed. I've bought those before.

 

They don't have any SIM's intended for prime use in a dongle with an unlimited allowance. You will likely find as I did it will work for a while and then 3 will block it's use in a dongle.

Yes I stand corrected, I only discovered this fact when I visited a '3' shop. The 3GB eBay/Amazon sims seem the best bet

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3 have always puzzled me with their pricing and charges.Initialy my monthly contract cost me £7-80 a month for 1gb, decided to try Wifi, asked for an upgrade and got it FREE still cost £7-80,then decided to go up to 5gb a month and got an extra 4gb for £3-20,total cost £12-00 per month and never had to pay for a Dongle or a Wifi.

Phil

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I use a dongle and external antenna (crc9) and agree with the fragility of the connector. The outer part of the plug tends to splay out with bending stress, you can easily squeeze them back in with fingers/needle pliers. I now use an elastic band wrapped around the cable and dongle body to hold the cable in, it is way more effective than it is elegant!

 

For heavy users "3" now have a monthly contract (30 day notice) tariff that has some minutes & texts but most importantly unlimited data for just under £13/m

Although mine is T-Mobile it looks much the same. I glued my antenna connection in with some Araldite in the end as it kept coming off.

 

Regards

Pete

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I recently bought e 5332 from eBay, and the aerial connector is definitely not angled or bent like yours. The connector is a good, tight fit - but then it hasn't been properly abused yet. Just give it a while ...

 

Incidentally does anyone know if you can get TS9 extender cables?

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Incidentally does anyone know if you can get TS9 extender cables?

 

Aren't they considered a bad idea due to signal loss??? meaning what you gain by having an external aerial is (can be?) lost as it makes it's way to the device......

Edited by The Dog House

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I to have the same mifi E5332

 

have to work from the boat and had the same problem with right hand connector and got the same advice

 

Found these which are a straight through ts 9 connector

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290968176904?lpid=54&device=c&adtype=pla&crdt=0&ff3=1&ff11=ICEP3.0.0&ff12=67&ff13=80&ff14=54

 

The connector fits perfectly

 

If you get the correct connector on the other end of the pigtail you can connect to one of these

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271227086207?lpid=54&device=c&adtype=pla&crdt=0&ff3=1&ff11=ICEP3.0.0&ff12=67&ff13=80&ff14=54

 

Works perfect on three mobile broadband - 3G continously

 

Even gets vodafone broadband up to 3G which in sunny shardlow is a mighty feat

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I recently bought e 5332 from eBay, and the aerial connector is definitely not angled or bent like yours. The connector is a good, tight fit - but then it hasn't been properly abused yet. Just give it a while ...

 

Incidentally does anyone know if you can get TS9 extender cables?

 

Problem with a TS9 extender is that AFAIK TS9 can only take thinner cable which generally are more lossy.

 

Much better instead to use an adapter to convert to a connector like SMA which can take better cable like RG58U and use that. If you haven't bought the aerial yet it might be better to get an aerial with such a cable and connector then buy a TS9 'pigtail' to suit.

 

Makes things a bit easier if you change to a dongle with a different connection on it, just buy another pigtail with the appropriate connector.

 

cheers, Pete.

~smpt~

Edited by smileypete

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Thanks, I'll not bother looking for a TS9 extender.

 

Actually I bought the 5332 and the aerial as a package from eBay, which meant they came at a very good price.

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I was starting to find that the 3 reception was becoming increasingly hit and miss and that I had to move the dongle (connected to a router) around depending on various factors (weather, number of people on board, time of day or any other random factor).

 

I've now got it stuck on a pole, inside a cola bottle (using a 2m USB extesion cable) on the roof and everything seems far more stable than it has done in the past year.

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