Optus tower locations ?

HSPA setup and configuration (for wireless networking, please use the 'Networking issue' forum)
petemoss
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:22 pm

Optus tower locations ?

Post by petemoss » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:43 pm

Does anyone know where I can obtain the locations of the Optus towers please. I have read in a number of threads that line of sight is needed for good reception. But how can one get line of sight, if one does not know where the towers are ? Also, one needs to know which towers are working, pointing to the towers which are currently 'down' or not operating at full functionality.

Dazzled
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Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by Dazzled » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:58 pm

Pete, try http://cellsite.nudge.id.au/ (it defaults to Melbourne, so drag the map to your spot). The official site is http://web.acma.gov.au/pls/radcom/regis ... dispatcher, but there's a bit of fiddling with links to get the full details.



PS:
To find the USB name of your modem when plugged into the computer:
dmesg | grep -e "modem" -e "tty"

To interrogate a mounted and modeswitched modem for signal strength(assuming you want a finer reading than bars), you need two terminal windows, both connected to the USB port. One will send your requests, the other will receive the response. Check that the modem is mounted as USB2 (dmesg). In the 1st terminal, enter:
tr -s "\n" </dev/ttyUSB2
Then in the second:
echo -e "ATZ\r" >/dev/ttyUSB2
echo -e "AT+CGDCONT?\r" > /dev/ttyUSB2
echo -e "AT+COPS?\r" > /dev/ttyUSB2
echo -e "AT+CSQ\r" > /dev/ttyUSB2

Kill the terminals to get the port back. The response lists Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI), & Bit Error rate (where 99=not known)

To convert RSSI returned by the modem to graphical bars:
26-31 5 bars
20-25 4 bars
14-19 3 bars (average)
8-13 2 bars
2-7 1 bar
dBM = (RSSI * 2) - 113, where 0 dBm equals a received signal of 1 milliWatt. Negative values fall logarithmically from that, so weak signals are weak indeed.

To see (graphically) the download rate second by second, install the netspeed applet (Synaptic). For a simple terminal speed monitor of the ports (use Synaptic to install ifstat):
ifstat -t -b -a

Edit: CLI command was omitted! AT+COPS? gives network details; AT+CSQ returns signal strength.

petemoss
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:22 pm

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by petemoss » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:43 pm

Dazzled, thanks for those links. The first one had a map of this area, but only showed one tower at a major regional center, and I see the db hasn't been updated since 2008. The second link was very informative, hard to narrow down towers nearby here, so I have emailed them and asked where the towers are.

Those commands under Ubuntu look great, will have to plug the modem in direct and try them out. Thanks for posting them. I installed netspeed and can now view it in the panel when downloading or accessing pages and email, etc. Nice little utility that one.

Dazzled
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Location: Sydney

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by Dazzled » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:58 pm

Pete, on the ACMA search site, look for "Site" matches "Woop Woop", and in the list that follows, click on the site ID number. It is a link to more details.

petemoss
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:22 pm

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by petemoss » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:04 pm

Dazzled, yes I did that. There was only the CFA, Telstra and some broadcast site. Possibly Optus use the Telstra tower. If that is the closest to us, it would be 8 km minimum.

Dazzled
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Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by Dazzled » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:14 pm

Use Google maps to find out your lat/long coords. Then in the ACMA site, click for a a search by lat/long. If you aren't happy with the result, there's a link "List Nearby Sites" at the top of the page.

If Optus is on the Telstra tower it will show up in the details

petemoss
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:22 pm

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by petemoss » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:33 pm

Thanks very much. That pinpointed our location. The map didn't work (must need SVG content), but I used nearby sites, and then used the ID to see details of each one, but no Optus tower/s at all. On la larger scale search, there were a few 30 kms away . LOL

Lawrie
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Location: Unanderra

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by Lawrie » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:30 pm

Does Exetel have any way of requesting Optus to look at installing extra towers in a particular area?
Currently the coverage in the Wollongong suburbs of Figtree, especially in the shopping precinct, and Corrimal are very poor, especially in the evenings.

petemoss
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:22 pm

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by petemoss » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:40 pm

Lawrie, good luck with obtaining an answer on that one.

An ACMA reply about the towers supplied a link to the Radio Frequency National Site Archive (RFNSA) site. I don't know if that information is as current as the site that Dazzled informed me of though. Where I thought there was an Optus tower, there isn't though, and the closest 2 towers are 17 km and 15 km away it seems. The one further away is higher up than our elevation though, so possibly better to point towards that one.

Dazzled, I tried those commands in the terminal window. It didn't work, but one time I did see a value of 6, so that is one bar.

A friend informed me that the recent strong winds may have pushed on the Yagi and now it needs re-positioning again, but it was always in line with the TV aerial, and so that hasn't changed.

Why the reception has dropped so low I have no idea. Could it be the actual modem, an E169 ?? There seem to be no firmware updates for that modem, so how old is it ? Do Exetel offer a replacement if the modem is found to be faulty ?

Pete

petemoss
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:22 pm

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by petemoss » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:43 pm

Wow, the maps at the Australian Geographical RadioFrequency Map site seem to give lots of info. I was able to filer on 'optus vic' and see a better picture.

Dazzled
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Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by Dazzled » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:16 pm

Fascinating map; thanks for the link. I did notice that it omits some sites around the Hawkesbury area.

Re the terminal commands - they only work if the modem has been mounted and modeswitched in your computer; they don't read the router. /dev/ttyUSB2 is a guess, and you'll need the dmesg output to see where the device really is mounted. I left off the important one (sorry) - echo -e "AT+CSQ\r" > /dev/ttyUSB2. I've found that the reading doesn't change quickly, so if you try different directions give it time to record the strength. 6 is pretty poor if that's the result. These commands are also used by the network manager.

Perhaps instead try the screen method:
screen /dev/ttyUSB2
AT
AT+CSQ

You will hang the port after doing this. Kill screen using the system monitor.

petemoss
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:22 pm

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by petemoss » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:19 pm

Re the terminal commands - they only work if the modem has been mounted and modeswitched in your computer;
Yes, the modem was definitely mounted. I don't know about 'modeswitched' though. It was connected to net by Network manager, not the router. Yes, it was /dev/ttyUSB2

No worries about the commands, you are very helpful. I can't really try different directions, as the Yagi is up on the roof, quite an effort to re-position it to another direction.

Is it okay to kill by just closing the terminal window ? That was the only way I could get it to stop. lol

Thanks,

Pete

Dazzled
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Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by Dazzled » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:05 pm

The device gets modeswitched automatically by the network manager, otherwise it looks like a USB memory stick with unwanted Windows stuff on it. Killing the terminal windows is the simplest way to stop the hold on the port file - that dies with the terminal. You can use only one terminal and omit the echo commands if you install screen, but then you need to kill screen.

petemoss
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:22 pm

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by petemoss » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:29 pm

Okay, thanks for explaining that, Dazzled.

samarium
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:17 am

Re: Optus tower locations ?

Post by samarium » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:50 pm

If you have an android phone, then you could try the "Antennas" app.

First bring it up in 3G, and download the map data, and then switch to 2G for better tower info.

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