I have not been able to find any basic technical information, either in this forum or elsewhere, that explains why this should be the case or what is the best strategy for dealing with it.
The problem exists at an address that I visit regularly in the Upper Yarra Valley in Victoria.
This is becoming increasingly important to me because I am wanting to spend more time there and need to have a reliable internet connection for my work. ADSL is not available and, according to NBN Co, neither is subsidised satellite because wireless broadband is meant to be available.
I have line of sight to the Woori Yallock tower and an external Exetel yagi aerial connected to my modem. While the signal was strong two years ago, now signal levels fluctuate wildly and are mostly low or non-existent. The service has now declined to the point where even phone calls and text messages are problematic. Any signal that does exist appears to come mainly from towers that are much further afield, including Emerald, Macclesfield and Monbulk, and not Woori Yallock.
For example, last week I was unable to get a reliable connection at all. The modem struggled to establish a connection and jumped between GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA. Even a GPRS signal could not be established reliably. An exception to this was on the Sunday, when I was able to get a good strong WCDMA connection with acceptably fast speeds for about four hours.
I got in touch with Exetel support and was given the following explanation:
I would have thought that, if a transmitter was transmitting constantly, it's monitored signal strength would be constant, even if I couldn't establish a connection. I wouldn't have thought it would fluctuate or appear to be non-existent, because of an "increased number of users" interacting with it.Please note that optus has confirmed that there are no current issues on the site that you are servicing off.
However according to them they believe the issue that you are having may be due to a network limitation issue at that location and the serving site is no longer providing strong signal at that address most likely due to the increased number of users on that site.
The only way to improve the signal at the your address in that case is by placing new sites in that area but there aren't any immediate plans of of placing new sites in this area.
HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS:
How can apparent signal strength decrease when more users are connected to a particular transmitter?
What does the signal strength indicator on a modem or a phone actually show?
How does the phone interact with the tower/s to determine signal strength and to establish a connection (data or otherwise)?
Elsewhere in this forum, the assertion is made that 3G connections use more than one tower at once. Is this really the case?
I have apps in my phones that show me that my phone is connected to one tower at a time. What are these apps actually showing (eg CellTrack for Nokia, CellMapper and NetMonitor for Android)?
Why do people recommend directional yagi aerials (and Exetel supply them) if the technology relies on the use of multiple towers?
Wouldn't non-directional ground-plane whip aerials be more appropriate?
Once a data connection is established and the signal appears to be strong, with a good ping and download/upload speeds, why would it drop out in a line of sight transmission?
Does Optus or Exetel cut data connections in an attempt to provide more opportunities for others to access the data service?
What are my best strategies for maximising the likelihood of connection?
Is there anyone on this forum who lives in the area and knows local conditions and can make a suggestion?
Should I just give up trying to use Exetel at this location (as suggested by the Support response)?
All the best
Woy Woy NSW