Jan 31, 2011, 11:40 AM
Post #4 of 6
I am a little puzzled as to why you are having problems with a cell tower 3 miles from the house, line of sight. It should work fine. If it was not line of sight you might have problems.
Re: [RobinT] Advice needed for cellular internet in Baja Norte
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I am not sure about the effect of concrete walls on cell phone signals. Generally, I would expect that the walls would reduce signal significantly, while the glass windows would pass signal pretty well. There would be enough "leakage" through the windows for the cell phone to work, most of the time. That probably explains the fact that it works better outside.
A simple test would be to go to a place very near the tower and see if things work better. There could be other things going on than a weak signal. In other words, if it does not work well near the cell tower you have other problems.
You did not say what the phone/modem was reporting in terms of signal strength. Although each phone is different, two bars of signal strength should be more than adequate, and I don't think that the system would work a lot better at four bars than two bars.
A much lower cost alternative would be to buy a high gain Yagi antenna and connect it to the phone/modem. You could then tweak the antenna location and direction to optimize your connection. Note, however, that many phones and modems do not have provision for an antenna jack. Note that at those frequencies, the loss in the coax can be large, so you want to use the highest quality (probably physically large) coax, and keep the coax cable as short as possible.
I am mostly talking theoretically, but I do have some practical experience with radio and cell phones in remote areas. When we are in a remote area with our RV, we use a small whip antenna magnetically mounted to a pie pan for a ground plane, works very well, usually one or two bar increase in signal strength. Even better, you can walk around without affecting the signal strength, as the antenna is not moving.
Good luck. Hard to diagnose problems by telephone or internet.
(This post was edited by raferguson on Jan 31, 2011, 11:48 AM)