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Old 07-26-2021, 09:16 AM   #1
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Options for Improved Cell Data

I'm looking for some options to see if I can improve cell service when I'm at a site. I'm on ATT with a Netgear Nighthawk hotspot, but it's been a bit spotty in the woods and hills. I've searched the forums and read various threads about antennas, cell boosters, etc. but not quite clear on which option is better. From what I've been able to digest, it sounds like a yagi antenna might be the best option to improve performance (given a signal is available at all), while the cell booster may not necessarily help with the performance if the signal is weak (but I guess that depends on which booster?).

Any thoughts about which way to go? What are others using? I saw a couple of posts where others have put up an antenna on a pole. Has this helped improve the performance and is it worth the trouble? And how do you route cabling into your RV?

Thanks!
Joe
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:33 AM   #2
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I have tried most of the things you have listed here with varying success. The biggest problem was every time i moved the conditions changed and I was messing with settings to get the best coverage. A friend pointed me to what the safety services use in there vehicles (cradlepoint) and once I tried that i had very few issues, if there is any coverage at all it works.
https://cradlepoint.com/product/endp...br600c-series/
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:17 AM   #3
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I've had more luck with the Netgear MIMO antenna with TS-9 connectors than my $500 weBoost cellular booster.

Before you go the route of the Yagi, you might try this:

https://learntorv.com/netgear-hotspot-antenna/
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
I've had more luck with the Netgear MIMO antenna with TS-9 connectors than my $500 weBoost cellular booster.

Before you go the route of the Yagi, you might try this:

https://learntorv.com/netgear-hotspot-antenna/
I’ve had great performance improvements from the Netgear MIMO antenna. Had the Yagi setup that I tried at four locations before sending it all back to Amazon.

Tried the Cradlepoint system and it works fairly good, but no way can I justify spending $500-$1.000+ for something that will be obsolete in just a few years.
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by emm-dee View Post

Tried the Cradlepoint system and it works fairly good, but no way can I justify spending $500-$1.000+ for something that will be obsolete in just a few years.
If the Netgear antenna works great, for me it only helped slightly (and I am a Netgear fan, running it at home). But i wanted to respond on the cradlepoint comment, yes it is in the 500 dollar range, however, you do not need the essential's package, and it will not become obsolete (this is the key), as services change you just change the antenna and down load the current software. These same units have moved from 3G to 4G to LTE, to now 5G just an antenna change and 5G was the first firmware requirement change. And it is all backwards compatible where the MIMO Netgear combo is not.
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Old 07-26-2021, 12:33 PM   #6
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That Cradlepoint device looks nice. I had seen a few units like this but they're a bit out of my price range. And then there's some lower cost "off-brand" stuff that I was just scared of. So I went with the Netgear and kind of invested in it at this point anyway. Beginning to have a little buyer's remorse on it honestly.

I saw that Netgear flat panel antenna but wasn't sure if it would do the trick. Sounds like mixed results with the Yagi so now wondering if that's worth the trouble at all. I guess the challenge with yagi, as I understand it anyway, is that it's very directional so I'm guessing you have to be spot on with the tower location and point it to the right location.
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Old 07-26-2021, 12:54 PM   #7
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I use the Mimo log periodic. Two yagis at 45 degrees and an oval survey pole that I can extend up 20’. It is also a home service at a relative’s house used daily for video webcasting.
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Old 07-26-2021, 01:45 PM   #8
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" (given a signal is available at all)". You've identified the PRIMARY problem. Subscribe to the MIA (Mobile InternetAffectionados). LOT of BASIC information for free. To do a "DEEP DIVE" (in depth testing & reporting of MANY different internet solutions) requires you pay for a subscription (which I believe is worth the ~$100 / year fee).

https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:02 PM   #9
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We have been using Weboost drive sleek for 3 years now and have not been anywhere we could not get service. We were told to not expect cell service at Arches NP but my Samsung phone on the drive sleek was showing 4 bars of 4g. We just use my Samsung phone as a hot spot. If we had to rely on her iphone we would probably not had service in some of those places.
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:38 PM   #10
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Cheapest way to go is an exterior antenna. I run cable through slide.
Pepwave is a great device but pricey.
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:14 PM   #11
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My antenna mounted to top of a 8 foot painters pole that extends to 24 feet. I typically get at least a one bar improvement and true mimo connection.
Toughest part have to face the antenna towards the nearest cell tower. There's an app for that.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081QCWTZX...ing=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:58 PM   #12
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Interesting topic. We are on Verizon and the last 5 years have slept in all but 2 states and 90000 miles RV parks, boondocking, Walmart etc. We use hot spot on my phone and watch movies through Roku, facetime with family, read the paper on our computers and all the other computer stuff. I can not count on one hand the number of times we couldn't get a signal that's good enough for what we do. We have been off the beaten path and occasionally no signal. Maybe this is not what you guys are talking about but havent had to have a booster
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Old 07-27-2021, 12:24 AM   #13
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Interesting topic. We are on Verizon and the last 5 years have slept in all but 2 states and 90000 miles RV parks, boondocking, Walmart etc. We use hot spot on my phone and watch movies through Roku, facetime with family, read the paper on our computers and all the other computer stuff. I can not count on one hand the number of times we couldn't get a signal that's good enough for what we do. We have been off the beaten path and occasionally no signal. Maybe this is not what you guys are talking about but havent had to have a booster
You certainly haven’t been where I live near Yosemite because Verizon will not load a page and with 30’ roof top yagi and a Wilson booster will just make a very short call then it drops out.
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Old 07-27-2021, 06:17 AM   #14
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That's true I havent been there and I did state there where places with no signals or weak signals but it's been few and far between. Not perfect but also not a huge problem for us.
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by camper_Lucy View Post
If the Netgear antenna works great, for me it only helped slightly (and I am a Netgear fan, running it at home). But i wanted to respond on the cradlepoint comment, yes it is in the 500 dollar range, however, you do not need the essential's package, and it will not become obsolete (this is the key), as services change you just change the antenna and down load the current software. These same units have moved from 3G to 4G to LTE, to now 5G just an antenna change and 5G was the first firmware requirement change. And it is all backwards compatible where the MIMO Netgear combo is not.
Already is dated. 2.4ghz WiFi.
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:22 PM   #16
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Why is that considered dated when so many home products sold today are 2.4 only? Plus 5g has a poor range.
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:32 PM   #17
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Why is that considered dated when so many home products sold today are 2.4 only? Plus 5g has a poor range.
Few home devices are 2.4 these days unless you're shopping the bottom of the barrel price point. More are 2.4/5 dual. And most are WiFi 5, or WiFi 6 which has been ratified since last year., where this is WiFi 4. Old tech.

And we're not talking 5g range, we're talking antiquated WiFi. :
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:07 AM   #18
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Few home devices are 2.4 these days unless you're shopping the bottom of the barrel price point. More are 2.4/5 dual. And most are WiFi 5, or WiFi 6 which has been ratified since last year., where this is WiFi 4. Old tech.

And we're not talking 5g range, we're talking antiquated WiFi. :
Lots of wireless cameras and weather stations are 2.4 only. I use Wifi outside all the time, I don’t stay cooped all the time. My house has a steel roof and an aluminum clad floor so wall penetration is important. My workshop which is 200’ from my house has double steel walls so I have three routers and cellular boosters in there. I have an outdoor access point 45’ up on my chimney for RV guests.
When I am in my rv I use the Wifi outside more than inside.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:40 AM   #19
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Few home devices are 2.4 these days unless you're shopping the bottom of the barrel price point. More are 2.4/5 dual. And most are WiFi 5, or WiFi 6 which has been ratified since last year., where this is WiFi 4. Old tech.

And we're not talking 5g range, we're talking antiquated WiFi. :
I'd worry more about the LAN radio.
It has Ethernet ports on WAN side so can always add another AP.

Key to these is to get them mounted right next to the external antenna.
Cable lengths to the antenna should be kept to six inches.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:34 PM   #20
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Interesting topic. We are on Verizon and the last 5 years have slept in all but 2 states and 90000 miles RV parks, boondocking, Walmart etc. We use hot spot on my phone and watch movies through Roku, facetime with family, read the paper on our computers and all the other computer stuff. I can not count on one hand the number of times we couldn't get a signal that's good enough for what we do. We have been off the beaten path and occasionally no signal. Maybe this is not what you guys are talking about but havent had to have a booster
Come out West where the real mountains are and you'll find lots and lots of dead zones. Some of the best Boondocking spots are right in those dead zones too.

Wyoming is one of those places. In many places I've camped the ONLY way to communicate is Sat Phone as Cell Network Providers aren't putting up towers where the population density won't support the cost.

With no signal there's not a single product on the market that can improve it.
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