The speed and quality of mobile Internet is improving very fast, and the fact that you don’t need to lay down any cables to connect your home or office makes this type of Internet connections much more attractive and less costly in the future. However, the use of mobile Internet also requires a basic understanding of the essential factors for getting a good Internet connection, so here are a few tips that will help you improve your experience using the mobile networks instead of digging down cables to connect to your service provider.
First, mobile networks send the data over the air, so you need to make sure that your devices can use the air between them and the operator’s antenna tower. What does this mean? The best is if your device and the operator tower can visually see each other. This is because the frequency of the signal used by the mobile networks is so high that it behaves a bit like light and are not very good at bending around corners or penetrating dense forests. Therefore, the general rule is “the higher the better”.
One of the very fundamental conditions for having a good mobile Internet connection is to receive a strong mobile signal at the antenna of your 4G router. If you have placed your router on the table in your living room, you have not chosen the best place for it and getting it out and up in the free air will improve your Internet connection. Not all routers are made for outdoor operation in all sorts of weather, and we will come back to that.
In this article we will go more into the details on how to understand and measure the condition for achieving a good reception of the mobile signal under different conditions.
If you live in the city or somewhere close to the mobile operator tower that serves your house, you most probably already have a good and strong mobile signal within your house. If you want to connect your in-house WiFi via a 4G router you will get a good Internet connection in most places even inside your house, but as you move further away from the tower and into the countryside, the signal that you receive is weaker and you must think more about where you place your mobile router.
The signal strength is displayed in dBm, which is a unit of measurement for signal strength for signal transmission over the air. The greater the negative value is, the worse the reception conditions. This means that -80 dBm is worse than -75 dBm. In the table hereunder you can see the expected quality of data connection depending on the strength of the signal where your antenna is placed.
A typical good outdoor reception is -75dBm, but if you move inside, a wall will attenuate the signal depending on the material and the transmission frequency with between 10 to 20 dBm, so one wall might bring your signal from excellent to good with -95dBm and another wall might bring your signal to -115dBm, and you be on the edge of receiving a poor mobile signal. Even rain and leaves on the trees will increase the signal loss.
What can I do if the signal inside my house is bad?
If your home or office is placed further away from the operator antenna your signal will be weaker, and the loss that happens when the signal has to penetrate the walls on your house it will most likely be so bad that that the connection speed drops and loading a web page takes forever.
Here are three things you can do to improve the signal and therefore the quality of your Internet connection:
Depending on the type of building, material, and the transmission frequency the signal loss from the walls will reduce the signal with 10-20 dBm. By eliminating as many internal obstacles as possible inside your house you will improve you signal reception. This could in theory be done by placing the 4G router in your window, but it only makes sense if your window is facing the best possible operator antenna, otherwise the radio signal has to pass through your house anyway.
In practice we see a signal level improvement of 5-10 dB when we move the antenna from 1 m above ground level to 8 meters into the open air. At MiWire we did a few test measurements, which you can see below where we placed the antenna in three different positions: Inside a house, 1 meter above ground outside and 8 meters above ground outside. When we compare the measurement made inside the house with one made outside 1 meter above ground, we get a 21 dBm improvement from 103dBm to -82dBm. When we then measure the further improvement from 1 meter to 8 meters above ground, we get another improvement in the signal strength of 6 dBm to -76 dBm. So, if you originally had just a few megabits per second on your indoor 4G router or mobile phone, this improved placement should give a good Internet connection with 100 megabit per second if the operator network has the capacity.
If you are interested in understanding more about the details about signal reception under different conditions and locations you can check out this “4G LTE link budget calculator” on https://5g-tools.com/4g-lte-link-budget-calculator/:
Where the two first sections concentrated on where you place your transmission equipment the third section is about the equipment you deploy to connect to the mobile Internet. Most 4G routers and mobile phones use omnidirectional antennas which can receive the signal equally well from all directions. A directional antenna, however, will be much more sensitive to radio signals coming from a specific direction, and if you point your directional antenna towards the operator antenna you will get an even better signal than the omnidirectional type. This could improve your signal reception with another 4-10 dBm, which should be added to the gain we obtained in section 1 and 2.
All in all, if you pick the right location and the right antenna you will be able to improve your 4G signal reception with about 35 dBm, which in most cases will give and excellent Internet connection, even in cases where you experience a bad and slow 4G connection inside your home or office.
Get mobile Internet plug ‘n’ play
At MiWire we have developed the RouDem, a solution which will help you achieve all the above improvements in a very easy plug ‘n’ play manner. Our 4G router with build-in automatic turning directional antenna is designed to sit on the top of your roof in all kinds of weather and guarantee a good Internet connection in places where getting Internet for video streaming and professional use is a tough task.
The directional antenna will automatically point toward the best operator antenna and will automatically scan for the best new direction when conditions change. Operators frequently chance the use of the antennas during a normal day, so turning a directional antenna is essential. Furthermore, the 4G receiver is built into the directional antenna so there is not loss in signal due to the antenna cable. Below you can see the flat and very efficient Vivaldi type of antenna with is embedded into the RouDem.
If there are no dealers in your area, please contact us.