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Question Help with LTE router with poor signal and stability

Jul 4, 2020
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I moved to a house with no real internet options. Dish or ATT Fixed wireless are my only real standard options. I didnt like the data cap for the Fixed Wireless, my last month with cable internet was sitting around750gigs, so I went for a Mofi4500 with an ATT Grandfathered unlimited plan. As far as I know ATT is the only carrier with signal out here and its not very good. I sit around -110dB to -120dB most of the time according to Network Cell Info on my android. I have my Mofi wifi turned off and an ethernet cord running to my Nighthawks WAN port and run all my devices off that. With that said I get anywhere from 5 to 10 Mbps. Im in a pretty heavily wooded flat area and apparently have an ATT cell tower 2.2 miles to the north.

Now I have a couple issues 1 I would like a better cellular signal for my phone. It drops into Emergency Calls Only sometimes and drops calls other times. 2 I would like better speeds on my data.
3 and this is the big one is stability. I always seem to have issues with stable internet, granted the last few years with the nighthawk and cable internet I have had no issue, but I have found I have to hard reset my routers 1 or 2 times a day. The internet will stop working and will not come back until I restart them.

Now Im getting into stuff I have no idea about and need help.
I bought a WeBoost Home Multi room on amazon hoping I could get a stronger signal and help with the problems I am having. I got a couple apps on my phone to help find the best direction to aim the antenna. Network Cell Info is all over the place. The band changes between 2, 5, 17,66, and maybe some others every few seconds. The app doesnt show a tower most of the time and when it does, its not to the tower to my north but a tower that is supposedly in the woods to my southeast, and another atleast 10 miles away to my west. ATT left their Fixed Wireless antenna here from the last family and that is pointed in another direction.

I set up the WeBoost antenna in a couple obvious directions, the same direction as the ATT antenna, to the north to the tower I know of, and the tower to my west, and just couldnt get a consistent boost. I would hit -90 or so dBs on my phone but then it would switch bands and go back to -110. At one point I got a speed test into the 20s but couldnt get it to stick. Im at a loss as to what to do, and getting frustrated because whether my fault or inability or not it seems like nothing is working the way it should.

Starlink cant come soon enough.
 
Not sure about that booster but most booster are worthless. Anything that would actually work is illegal....or more technically must be approved by the cell vendor and none will approve them.

From what it appears that device has 2 cell antenna and 2 wifi ?

What a lot of people do and technically it is not allowed is to put outdoor antenna on it. If you know the frequiency the provider is using you can get tuned yaggi antenna. If you don't something called a log periodic covers a large range of cell frequencies. For most LTE you need 2 antenna mounted 90 degrees one horizontal one vertical so you can get mimo to work. You will also need to buy the best microwave cables you can afford so you do not lose all the gain from the antenna in the cables.

You would put these up as high as you can get them and point them at the cell tower.

How much this helps is hard to say. It will be better than in the house but all kinds of stuff in the path absorbs signals.

This should help your data rates. Poor cell reception is much harder mostly because of the antenna in the phone itself. Your best option even though it almost sounds crazy is if you can get good data with the external antenna put in a micro cell. Att might give you the device but they are not that expensive. It in effect is a mini cell tower that runs a vpn over your internet. The scam is they use your internet connection that you pay for to then charge minutes against your cell plan.

In general micro cell work very well but using it over a cell network is kinda strange to think about. We did it one time when the only provider we could get in a building was sprint but had att cell phones. It was only for a short time so we didn't care about the data and unlike you we could not get unlimited data.
 
Jul 4, 2020
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Yeah I was starting to think a booster isnt the best idea. The micro cell may work well. Any tips for aiming the antennas if I go that route? Like I said in the OP Im having trouble tracking down where the towers are.
 
The best option when you can't actually just see them is to try to look them up in the one of the sites that extract location data from the FCC database. It would be nice if cell antenna had signal strength meters like wifi bridges do. Those have led and you can tell which direction to point it.

Many routers will show you the db level but it changes kinda slow. You would point it some direction and then check. If it is like my experience doing this the time it takes to climb down and go inside to check the level is more than enough for it to have updated.

All depends on how you do this. We had a 20ft heavy gauge aluminum pole on a stand on the roof and could turn the base of the pole. You might need a small tower if you can't easily get above the tree line. The trees eat a lot of the signal in the common frequencies used by LTE.
 
Jul 4, 2020
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So how should I pick which tower to point towards? The connection seems to hop between several towers as far as I can tell and a couple different bands.
 
Sometimes but not always you can guess by the coverage maps provided by the telco. You can sometimes tell which tower is being used for certain areas.

I suspect you are just going to have to pick a tower and see what works best. In general with directional antenna the ISP should not see the signals from the other towers and not switch.
 

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