Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

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giastop
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Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

Post by giastop » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:16 am

I live in a rural area, I want to use LTE as internet source.

This is my place represented as a 5 years old kid drawing:
https://i.postimg.cc/vBQJ4kPK/home-towers-cereal.png

Distance between home and each tower is between 2 and 3 km.

I've tested on my roof with a smartphone and I can get 20-30 Mbps download and 10-15 Mbps upload with ~50 ms ping, it would be plenty enough for me.

There are 2 4G towers "near" me, they're obstructed but as reported the results are good enough with the 3 dBi (I suppose) antenna of phone.
I want to put an LTE modem under roof with 2 external antennas for Carrier Aggregation.

Here are the questions:
  1. Can I do Carrier Aggregation on both two towers at the same time? Or is it possible only for different bands on the same tower?
  2. Do I need 2x2 or 4x4 MIMO? For what I've understood with 2x2 MIMO I can hook both the two towers at the same time, but contemporary transmission/reception wouldn't be optimal unless I'll use 4X4 MIMO. Bullshit?
  3. Which setup should I go with? (I know you'll probably laugh at "high gain 20 dBi")
    1. 2 high gain highly directional antennas (~20 dBi/25°)
    2. 2 medium gain medium directional antennas (~10 dBi/60°)
    3. a mix high/medium gain highly/medium directional antennas (~20 dBi/25° + ~10 dBi/60°)
  4. How can I investigate without special equipment how I should point my antenna/antennas?
    So far I've investigated using my smartphone with Network Cell Info Lite: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... lite&hl=en
    Is there some special trick to investigate signal direction, like putting my smartphone in a metal tube/pipe and turn it around on a tripod to find the best signal directions?
  5. Is MIMO only possible with LTE Cat 6? Can I MIMO on LTE Cat 4?
  6. Is it possible to build manually LTE antennas to save money?

Viper67857
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Re: Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

Post by Viper67857 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:23 pm

The best bang for your buck would probably be a WG3526 router with a cat12 Sierra card inside (the pci-e one, so you don't need the M.2 adapter), the ltefix flat panel mimo antenna (15dbi), and enough lmr240 with proper connectors to hook it all up. That should come up to somewhere around $500 total.

4x4 mimo is generally AT LEAST 1.6x faster than 2x2 on the same spectrum, but then you're looking at double the antennas, double the coax, a more expensive modem to support it, and a more expensive wg1608 to handle all the antenna connections (or drilling more holes in a 3526 to install more bulkhead connectors). You'd be looking at closer to $800 for this setup.

Another option, if you can get decent signal on your phones while inside your home (not on the roof), is a netgear Nighthawk m1 hotspot... Those have cat16 modems and internal 4x4 mimo antennas for $250 right from best buy. The downside is the crappy ts9 connectors aren't great for connecting external antennas (and there are only 2, so forget about 4x4 if externals are a must).

1) one tower at a time is all you can connect to, period
2) mimo gives you more speed on the same spectrum, still only one tower, though
3) I wouldn't mix antennas.. Either use 1 2x2 flat panel or parabolic grid or use 2 2x2s if you go with a 4x4 modem
4) you can drive around and physically locate the towers, then plot an azimuth using Google maps... Or just get your antennas and spin em around slowly until you find the best signal.
5) I think even cat4 modems offer 2x2 mimo and 2x Carrier Aggregation.. I like cat12s for 3xCA with more bands, and with the cost of all the other hardware, the price difference between a cat6 and a cat12 isn't all that much.
6) I've seen a few different designs posted... Idk what kind of signal to noise ratio you'd get with a homemade antenna, but it's doable..

giastop
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Re: Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

Post by giastop » Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:23 pm

Viper67857 wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:23 pm
The best bang for your buck would probably be a WG3526 router with a cat12 Sierra card inside (the pci-e one, so you don't need the M.2 adapter), the ltefix flat panel mimo antenna (15dbi), and enough lmr240 with proper connectors to hook it all up. That should come up to somewhere around $500 total.

4x4 mimo is generally AT LEAST 1.6x faster than 2x2 on the same spectrum, but then you're looking at double the antennas, double the coax, a more expensive modem to support it, and a more expensive wg1608 to handle all the antenna connections (or drilling more holes in a 3526 to install more bulkhead connectors). You'd be looking at closer to $800 for this setup.

Another option, if you can get decent signal on your phones while inside your home (not on the roof), is a netgear Nighthawk m1 hotspot... Those have cat16 modems and internal 4x4 mimo antennas for $250 right from best buy. The downside is the crappy ts9 connectors aren't great for connecting external antennas (and there are only 2, so forget about 4x4 if externals are a must).

1) one tower at a time is all you can connect to, period
2) mimo gives you more speed on the same spectrum, still only one tower, though
3) I wouldn't mix antennas.. Either use 1 2x2 flat panel or parabolic grid or use 2 2x2s if you go with a 4x4 modem
4) you can drive around and physically locate the towers, then plot an azimuth using Google maps... Or just get your antennas and spin em around slowly until you find the best signal.
5) I think even cat4 modems offer 2x2 mimo and 2x Carrier Aggregation.. I like cat12s for 3xCA with more bands, and with the cost of all the other hardware, the price difference between a cat6 and a cat12 isn't all that much.
6) I've seen a few different designs posted... Idk what kind of signal to noise ratio you'd get with a homemade antenna, but it's doable..
Thank you for the reply.
I'm going with some second hand FRITZ!Box cat4 (6840?), only 2x2 MIMO I think, but it's fine because I can't go over 30/30 Mbps.

What's better (for my use case) between a parabolic and a yagi-uda antenna?
I've picked up a couple of example, which one would be better for me and why?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mobile-Broad ... 2841970600

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LTE-Antenne- ... 4359279330

R1250GSA
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Re: Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

Post by R1250GSA » Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:21 pm

You should explore cellmapper.net
If have an android or windows phone, use the app and map some data points.

A 4g lte signal has physical limits per your unique situation, setting the bar of Mbps.
Who knows if your 30/30 is via a simple 4G path.
With that, the only way to increase bandwidth is multiply by 2 or 4.
It is no guarantee, but a CAT-16 4x4 MIMO 5-CA or better modem will basically give you your best shot.
The cell tower chops up its bandwidth into CC’s, component carriers.
A 5xCA rated modem can combine up to 5 CC assigned by the tower.
The 4 separate antenna maximize the spatial diversity of the signal paths.

You are in the UK, yes?
The available bands available by your carriers and their frequency ranges will be unique.
If you are looking at used kit, make sure they supports your bands you require.

Good luck.
In search of the Wireless Unicorn...
Gigabit speed 4G LTE Advanced Pro
CAT-20, 4x4 MIMO, Ubuntu Open Source

giastop
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Re: Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

Post by giastop » Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:27 am

R1250GSA wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:21 pm
You should explore cellmapper.net
If have an android or windows phone, use the app and map some data points.

A 4g lte signal has physical limits per your unique situation, setting the bar of Mbps.
Who knows if your 30/30 is via a simple 4G path.
With that, the only way to increase bandwidth is multiply by 2 or 4.
It is no guarantee, but a CAT-16 4x4 MIMO 5-CA or better modem will basically give you your best shot.
The cell tower chops up its bandwidth into CC’s, component carriers.
A 5xCA rated modem can combine up to 5 CC assigned by the tower.
The 4 separate antenna maximize the spatial diversity of the signal paths.

You are in the UK, yes?
The available bands available by your carriers and their frequency ranges will be unique.
If you are looking at used kit, make sure they supports your bands you require.

Good luck.
I've already used cellmapper.net and other apps, I've already located the two towers, they're both 4G, no 4.5G.
With multiple phones I've reached a maximum of ~23 Mbps download and ~18 Mbps upload (I think, not sure). My ISP caps at 60 Mbps, so it pointless using CAT12/16.

I'm in Italy, I've used the UK eBay because it was in English. Available bands to me are 800, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz.

Can I use one of those two sets of antennas paired with a CAT4 modem (I've a friend giving me that for cheap)?

I want to stay as cheap as possible for the time being, because in 2022 I may have optic fiber, so I'm not wasting hundreds of euro on something I won't use anymore in 18-24 months.

R1250GSA
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Re: Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

Post by R1250GSA » Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:32 am

There is a lot of variability in the quality of antennas out there.
Next to no quality reviews and comparisons.
If you purchased a name brand antenna, you would hopefully be able to resell it if you do go fiber in the future.
Also, if you want to sell your kit in a few years, it should be 5G compliant.
I would suggest looking at Poynting
You will pay more but it should retain some value.
The XPOL-2 5G is their hot product.
They have many videos on Youtube.
In search of the Wireless Unicorn...
Gigabit speed 4G LTE Advanced Pro
CAT-20, 4x4 MIMO, Ubuntu Open Source

giastop
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Re: Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

Post by giastop » Sun Oct 25, 2020 3:16 pm

R1250GSA wrote:
Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:32 am
There is a lot of variability in the quality of antennas out there.
Next to no quality reviews and comparisons.
If you purchased a name brand antenna, you would hopefully be able to resell it if you do go fiber in the future.
Also, if you want to sell your kit in a few years, it should be 5G compliant.
I would suggest looking at Poynting
You will pay more but it should retain some value.
The XPOL-2 5G is their hot product.
They have many videos on Youtube.
It costs around 200€ and it's pointless to go with 5G, I live in a rural area, there's no 5G here. The closest 5G tower to my home is like 300km far away.

Given different antennas with same frequency, gain and aperture, I can't tell which shape is better: parabolic, yagi-uda, LPDA, etc.

EDIT: I've just discovered that I already knew about Poynting from their videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7_VaEMr2Os
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BehX-6ZyD4s

R1250GSA
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Re: Need advice designing LTE setup for internet in a rural area

Post by R1250GSA » Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:27 pm

5G can do 4G
The point was to buy a quality, name brand, and future proofed antenna that would maximize your chances of success, and you could sell it a few years later since it was 5G rated.
As for antenna style, you will need to figure that out.
Yagi is not appropriate and confused with LPDA.
LPDA and parabolic are laser focus line of site.
Flat panels are directional but a bit more tolerant of aiming.
Omni direction are 360 degree and easy to aim but don’t have the gain most are looking for.

Good luck.
In search of the Wireless Unicorn...
Gigabit speed 4G LTE Advanced Pro
CAT-20, 4x4 MIMO, Ubuntu Open Source

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