MTN tower location

webyep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
78
I'm trying to locate the tower I'm connected to.

My RSRP, RSRQ, and RSSI are great, but SINR fluctuates like crazy.
SINR goes from -5 to +8, to -1, to +15, etc

I've positioned my antenna to point in the direction that gives the best RSRP and RSRQ.

How can I determine the location of the tower, based on CELL_ID?
 
Last edited:

cavedog

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
17,440
I'm trying to locate the tower I'm connected to.

My RSRP, RSRQ, and RSSI are great, but SINR fluctuates like crazy.
SINR goes from -5 to +8, to -1, to +15, etc

I've positioned my antenna to point in the direction that gives the best RSRP and RSRQ.

How can I determine the location of the tower, based on CELL_ID?
Using this Guide and changing the info


MNC to 10 which is MTN because MTNSA is 65510

That should give you and estimated location
 

webyep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
78
Using this Guide and changing the info


MNC to 10 which is MTN because MTNSA is 65510

That should give you and estimated location
Thank you very much. I've located the tower!
 

webyep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
78
Nice were you pointing it in the correct direction?

If I may ask what service are you using? Fixed LTE and what Router?
Funny enough, the antenna is on the wrong side of the house, pointing in the wrong direction. I used the Huawei Band Tool to try to locate the best direction for the best RSRP and RSRQ. The signal I'm getting is likely reflected off one of the bluegum trees...

Apr-07-2020 09-19-50.gif

I've got a B618, with an XPOL-2. I'm currently with Axxess - MTN Fixed LTE until the end of this month, and I've ordered Afrihost - MTN Fixed LTE.
 

cavedog

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
17,440
Funny enough, the antenna is on the wrong side of the house, pointing in the wrong direction. I used the Huawei Band Tool to try to locate the best direction for the best RSRP and RSRQ. The signal I'm getting is likely reflected off one of the bluegum trees...

View attachment 813953

I've got a B618, with an XPOL-2. I'm currently with Axxess - MTN Fixed LTE until the end of this month, and I've ordered Afrihost - MTN Fixed LTE.
That signal stats are not bad at all though. You get 4G+ in the router right? What is the speeds like
 

cavedog

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
17,440
What numbers should we be aiming for?

View attachment 813961
You would want SINR as high as possible with 30dB being the max there and RSRP for get the minus in front so you want that as low as possible with the lowest being -54dB.

That usually means line of sight and a 100m from the tower or so.
 

webyep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
78
That signal stats are not bad at all though. You get 4G+ in the router right? What is the speeds like
Speeds are good. I do get 4G+, speed varies. I usually get 60-80 Mbps. I've got a lot of trees around me, with no LOS to the tower.



What's gotten me tinkering is the fluctuating SINR, and some latency (which may not be signal related).

Example, simple ping:
Code:
--- 1.1.1.1 ping statistics ---
100 packets transmitted, 100 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 20.712/34.719/162.441/14.380 ms
The ping managed to hit 162.441ms, but then back down. I don't know if its ISP/signal related, so the easiest place to look is signal. I could run the test, and it could hum between 25-40ms, without the spike. The issue is sporadic, and I've noticed a lot of "Your connection is unstable" at night on Zoom video calls. Although, I think Zoom is bursting at the seams at the moment with everyone shifting to work at home.
 

Daruk

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Messages
44,781
Using this Guide and changing the info


MNC to 10 which is MTN because MTNSA is 65510

That should give you and estimated location
Hmm.... very much "estimated". It's a very broad circle with the center right in a residential block - definitely no sign of towers there... was I expecting too much for it to be accurate?
Anyone know what MTN towers look like? This one is a few blocks away:

1586247548515.png
 
Last edited:

webyep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
78
I forced the router to connect to 900 Mhz. SINR doesn't fluctuate much now - only the cost of speed.
1586286452744.png



I'll leave it like this until I get time to tinker with the antenna placement.
 

cavedog

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
17,440
I forced the router to connect to 900 Mhz. SINR doesn't fluctuate much now - only the cost of speed.
View attachment 814379



I'll leave it like this until I get time to tinker with the antenna placement.
Yeah it's refarmed 2G spectrum. Very limited bandwidth on that band as you can see 5MHz dual channel. Not a lot of phones use this band unless they are new devices that uses 3 carrier aggregation or is very far from the ower in which case the 900MHz travels much further than the rest.

Also take note that once you connect an antenna to the B618 or other routers the mimo mode drops to 2x2 mimo compared to internal antennas that might be 4x4 mimo if the tower supports.

It's a pity MTN Fixed LTE does not support a router that does 3 carrier aggregation like the Huawei H112.

BTW what tool are you using to check the stats?
 

cavedog

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
17,440
Hmm.... very much "estimated". It's a very broad circle with the center right in a residential block - definitely no sign of towers there... was I expecting too much for it to be accurate?
Anyone know what MTN towers look like? This one is a few blocks away:

View attachment 813985
That is definitely an MTN and Vodacom tower. Each network has it's own cabinet at the bottom means at least 2 networks on that tower maybe 3 because Rain and Vodacom IF Vodacom rolled out Rain on that tower share the same cabinet. If it's a in Gauteng or CPT then it's likely that Rain hosts their own equipment in their own cabinet.
 

webyep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
78
Yeah it's refarmed 2G spectrum. Very limited bandwidth on that band as you can see 5MHz dual channel. Not a lot of phones use this band unless they are new devices that uses 3 carrier aggregation or is very far from the ower in which case the 900MHz travels much further than the rest.

Also take note that once you connect an antenna to the B618 or other routers the mimo mode drops to 2x2 mimo compared to internal antennas that might be 4x4 mimo if the tower supports.

It's a pity MTN Fixed LTE does not support a router that does 3 carrier aggregation like the Huawei H112.

BTW what tool are you using to check the stats?
Thanks for the info, very interesting. It makes sense, I've noticed slightly higher speeds without an antenna, but at the cost of a weaker signal.

The tool I'm using is the Huawei Band Tool - found here. I quite like the responsiveness of this tool. After doing antenna adjustments, I run this signal strength indicator within a tmux session on my home server. I can then check-in after some time and see how any of the values(avg, min, max) behaved throughout the day/night.

Here's what the signal strength indicator looks like:
1586319843084.png

The AT TCP signal strength indicator is quite nice too:
1586320016755.png
 

Daruk

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Messages
44,781
Thanks for the info, very interesting. It makes sense, I've noticed slightly higher speeds without an antenna, but at the cost of a weaker signal.

The tool I'm using is the Huawei Band Tool - found here. I quite like the responsiveness of this tool. After doing antenna adjustments, I run this signal strength indicator within a tmux session on my home server. I can then check-in after some time and see how any of the values(avg, min, max) behaved throughout the day/night.

Here's what the signal strength indicator looks like:
View attachment 814539

The AT TCP signal strength indicator is quite nice too:
View attachment 814541
Had no idea the band tool included that utility, thanks!
 

Daruk

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Messages
44,781
That is definitely an MTN and Vodacom tower. Each network has it's own cabinet at the bottom means at least 2 networks on that tower maybe 3 because Rain and Vodacom IF Vodacom rolled out Rain on that tower share the same cabinet. If it's a in Gauteng or CPT then it's likely that Rain hosts their own equipment in their own cabinet.
I think I'm just literally going to take my router and laptop and go for a drive to see where this thing is... Turn left or right based in the signal numbers LOL.
 

webyep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
78
So, I moved the antenna after doing some basic tests. Signal looked good, I drilled some holes, crawled in the ceiling... etc all the good stuff. Eventually, the antenna was mounted and ready for tweaking.

The signal seemed better, but then it degraded suddenly, then it got better. I've got a fail-over to Telkom 3G on my Mikrotik, and when I did a speed test I found that it was showing Telkom, then Airmobile, then Telkom again.

I then discovered, my WAN IP kept changing... The router was in a tower hopping loop and my Mikrotik kept failing over... I ended up undoing everything and moving the antenna back to pointing in the wrong direction, on the whole side of the house. I actually got slightly more consistent SINR after tweaking further, so I guess it wasn't a total write-off.
 

cavedog

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
17,440
So, I moved the antenna after doing some basic tests. Signal looked good, I drilled some holes, crawled in the ceiling... etc all the good stuff. Eventually, the antenna was mounted and ready for tweaking.

The signal seemed better, but then it degraded suddenly, then it got better. I've got a fail-over to Telkom 3G on my Mikrotik, and when I did a speed test I found that it was showing Telkom, then Airmobile, then Telkom again.

I then discovered, my WAN IP kept changing... The router was in a tower hopping loop and my Mikrotik kept failing over... I ended up undoing everything and moving the antenna back to pointing in the wrong direction, on the whole side of the house. I actually got slightly more consistent SINR after tweaking further, so I guess it wasn't a total write-off.
Ohh no. Well tower hopping would not generate a new ip unless the connection got killed for some reason.
 
Top