Howto get better internet

Howto get better internet

Better internet in the wilderness

Ok, so you want to boost your internet connection when you are on the edge of civilization. It's not so hard if you know what to look for.

Mobile router

First of all you need a mobile router. You would think there is plenty of routers on the market, but that's not the case. Most of the routers out there does not have external antenna connection which is crucial.

ZTE MF93d 4G routerZTE MF93d 4G router

I picked up the ZTE MF93d 4G router from dustin.no.

ZTE MF93d 4G routerZTE MF93d 4G router

It has two TS9 external antenna connections.

Available networks

After picking up the mobile router it was time to do some research on the available network at the cabin. I found the cabin to be just outside the reach of Netcom 3G (HSDPA). Telenor had no alternative option at this location. Then I did some research on the frequencies at this location, and found the 3G (HSDPA) to use the 2100 Mhz band.

Best place to start looking for available networks are:

Some quick reference mobile data standards are listed below.

Antennas

When I had the frequencies it was time to order the antennas. Deal Extreme was a natural place to start the search. A complete shopping list is found below.

EDUP EP-AY003 16dBi N Female 3G Directional AntennaEDUP EP-AY003 16dBi N Female 3G Directional Antenna

First you need the antenna. A relativly large yagi antenna is great for improving your upload and download speeds. The connection fitted to the antenna is a N Female connector.

N Male to SMA maleN Male to SMA male

Then you need an adapter to be able to connect the antenna's N Female connector to the extension cable's SMA connectors. Ideally there should be a better solution for this, but I haven't found any. Please drop me an email if you find a better solution.

RP-SMA Male to Female Adapter CableRP-SMA Male to Female Adapter Cable

The extension cabel is needed to be able to place the antenna on the roof or on the wall. Any how, you should always try to keep the extension cable as short as possible. As a rule of thumb, you loose 1 db on every meeter of cable. The extension cable's connectors are SMA, and does not fit into the modem.

RP-SMA to TS9 AdaptersRP-SMA to TS9 Adapters

Finally to be able to connect the extension cabel to the modem you need a SMA to TS9 adapter.

Adjustment

When you have mounted the antenna it's time to adjust the direction and tilt. To start with you should try to aim it directly at the base station you located in your research. A map and a compass are great tools to achive the best result.

When you have done the base adjustments you should try to measure your signal db, ping times, download and upload speed. If you can't see the base station from the antenna position it can be worth experimenting with the antenna direction. Sometimes reflection signals can be stronger than the direct signals.

Shopping list

Mobile data standards

Type Teoretical Speed Practical speed Frequency
2G GSM 38.4 kbps 1800 Mhz
2G GPRS 170 kbps <= 40kbps "
2G Edgde 236 kbps "
3G (UMTS) 384 kbps 2100 Mhz
3G (HSDPA) 14 000 kbps 4 000 kbps "
4G (LTE) 100 Mbps 1800/2600 Mhz