Connection/External Antenna

HSPA setup and configuration (for wireless networking, please use the 'Networking issue' forum)
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braykr
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:16 pm
Location: Central Coast

Connection/External Antenna

Post by braykr » Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:40 pm

Since the beginning of February I have been trying to sort out my internet reception issues through the Exetel Residential Support Team. They have finally told me that the Gosford 3G area has a congestion issue and that the area has been identified for an upgrade but there is no ETA. Great that means my reception will continue to be poor but of course I still have to pay for an unsatisfactory service. My computer continually drops out, many times the internet doesn't connect and my wife has heaps of problems with the voip phone dropping out and not even connecting.
I have purchased an antenna from Comnet Solutions which is supposed to have a 24dbi gain. If it works it should be good. I cannot get ADSL at my place only wireless.

No body will tell me where the Optus towers are so I can point the antenna in that direction to get the best reception. I do not have a mobile phone to see the bars on it for the best reception. I have been told to use my laptop to find the best signal. I do not know how to do that.
I would appreciate it if some of you learned people could advise on the installation of the antenna and how to find out where to point it and how to do the testing.
Thanks in anticipation.

Equipment : External grid antenna, cable and patch lead
Netcomm N3G002 router
Huawei E169 HSDPA modem
Laptop with Vista operating system.

Kevin

peterh_oz
Posts: 522
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:13 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia
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Re: Connection/External Antenna

Post by peterh_oz » Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:55 pm

Sorry to hear that :( Been a bit of a nightmare for you unfortunately. Which is why we need the NBN and wireless just doesn't cut it.

http://web.acma.gov.au/pls/radcom/regis ... .main_page

See if that works. Change "find" to "sites", leave the remainder and put in Gosford or similar. Each tower will then be shown, click the 1st column (tower I) to see who is using it.

Hope that helps.

jubadub
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:00 pm
Location: Perth

Re: Connection/External Antenna

Post by jubadub » Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:05 pm

... I have been told to use my laptop to find the best signal. I do not know how to do that. ...
If you plug the E169 directly into a USB port of your laptop, and then run the little Optus application that self installs from your E169 modem when you plug it in (called "Optus Wireless Broadband"), it has a set of signal strength "bars" in the bottom left corner of the window. Maybe your signal is so weak that you don't have any bars and so haven't noticed it!

Anyway if you hover your mouse over this area, it then it should give you the signal strength in a little popup window as a percentage which has much more resolution for pointing your antenna than say 2 or 3 bars!

One thing about microwave signals is that you should try to keep the coax lead from the antenna to your E169 relatively short as microwave leads tend to be rather lossy and all the gain you get from the directional antenna can be lost again in the cable to the modem. On the other hand, once you have got the signal into the digital domain - ie once it has become a USB or ethernet type of signal, then you can run it as far as that type of signal will run with no loss whatsoever. So my solution to getting a stronger signal was to put the little USB stick itself actually up on the roof in a weather-proof plastic tube and run a 5m USB cable down, between a couple of tiles, through the ceiling and into a high cupboard where I have a laptop which does the router job using Microsoft's "internet connection sharing" facility. But the best possible solution would be to put an antenna and the USB modem up where the signal is strongest - ie the antenna connected to the USB modem with a very short lead, and a long USB lead (or very long ethernet converted USB lead) to bring it down into the house.

When I had the USB stick plugged into the laptop inside the house the signal was very weak indeed - even though I sticky-taped it as high up on the wall as the USB lead it came with allowed me to! As I remember it was very poor indeed maybe varying between 0 and 1 bar (I hadn't found out about hovering the mouse over it in those days) and seemed to pick up GPRS rather than WCDMA rather often. But now with it outside up on the roof I never get less than 90% and usually above 95%.

To mount it on the roof, I got a large old plastic plant pot, turned it upside down, and cut a couple of large arches out of the rim to match the ridge capping at the top of my tile roof. This pot pretty much "clips on" to the ridge cap and I cut a round hole in its base (now at the top) which was a tight fit to a piece of 40 or 50mm plastic irrigation tube. I glued the tube into the hole with hot glue and found the cap of a spray can that just snugly fitted over the upper end of the tube. I wedged a piece of plastic rod across the inside of the cap going through the loop in the end of the E169. This suspends it beautifully up at the top end of the tube, and in a manner in which it is extremely easy to unclip and take out again!

However even with a strong signal and reliable and fast internet browsing, VOIP doesn't seem to work! I have been trying to use an EasyChat210 VOIP phone and using an Exetel VOIP account, but something is wrong with the system. It lights up to say it has VOIP registration, makes and accepts calls, but I am lucky if I can even talk for a few seconds before it drops out. I don't know what the problem is with it as I haven't found time to mess around yet. But I would really be interested to hear if you can get VOIP working through your Netcomm router and over HSPA!

braykr
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:16 pm
Location: Central Coast

Re: Connection/External Antenna

Post by braykr » Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:42 am

"Anyway if you hover your mouse over this area, it then it should give you the signal strength in a little popup window as a percentage which has much more resolution for pointing your antenna than say 2 or 3 bars!"

I have been doing the tests as recommended but in the wireless broadband page in the bottom left section the signal strength is always above 91% and above but it changes from HSPA to WCDMA continually. It is normally always WCDMA not HSPA is this correct as Exetel always refer to HSPA. What is the difference and is that a factor when using the voip phone.

Kevin

jokiin
Volunteer Site Admin
Posts: 2970
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Connection/External Antenna

Post by jokiin » Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:09 am

braykr wrote: but it changes from HSPA to WCDMA continually. It is normally always WCDMA not HSPA is this correct as Exetel always refer to HSPA. What is the difference and is that a factor when using the voip phone.

Kevin
entirely normal, it will idle in WCDMA mode and only switch to HSPA mode when required

braykr
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:16 pm
Location: Central Coast

Re: Connection/External Antenna

Post by braykr » Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:19 am

Thanks Jokiin I will continue testing

Kevin

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