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Thread: Antenna installation and alignment

  1. #1

    Default Antenna installation and alignment


    Image credit to: poynting-europe.com

    Right, so this is my first attempt at joining the big boys with serious mobile broadband. This was all because I wanted the best possible LTE signal so that I could finally shrug off the oppressive yoke of high-attenuation low-SNR ADSL.

    Area: Helderkruin
    Mobile broadband of choice: Telkom Mobile
    Distance from tower: 1622m (updated 30/07/2014)
    Cell ID: 174 (Helderkruin Laerskool)
    Antennas used: 2 * Poynting all-band LPDA-0092's in horizontal/vertical diversity (MIMO)
    Bracket: medium wall bracket from Poynting
    Mast: 3m mast from Poynting
    Router: Huawei B593-u91 LTE CPE (2300MHz only)
    Before antennas: -106dBm, 2 bars
    After antennas: -69dBm, 5 bars
    Antenna cable length: 7m
    Extension cable: +5m additional, dropping signal to -73dBm
    Speeds:
    Telkom Mobile LTE Speedtest Results
    Installation cost: approximately R3.5k (updated 30/01/2014)
    Contract or prepaid: prepaid (Telkom Mobile 60+60GB)

    I originally stated R8k for the install but this included Ubiquiti network equipment as well, which should be accounted for separately.

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    Resources:

    The B593 discussion thread

    The Poynting antenna discussion thread

    External antenna discussions

    How to improve your wireless experience

    External antenna positioning for best results

    More on SA cell towers




    Terminology:

    LTE = Long Term Evolution, an upgrade path from 3G/HSPA for cell networks
    CPE = Customer Premises Equipment, a "black box" for internet and/or networking
    MIMO = Multiple-in and Multiple-out, multi antenna technology a transmitter and receiver ends
    SNR = Signal to Noise Ratio, more prevalent in ADSL discussions and not important for this thread
    LPDA = Log Periodic Dipola Antenna, a multi-element, directional, narrow-beam antenna that operates over a broad band of frequencies
    LOS = Line of Sight
    NLOS = No Line of Sight
    Last edited by Azimuth; 04-03-2015 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Maintenance the thread for future relevance
    Ubiquiti Custom Network | RocketNet Apollo 100 Home Uncapped Fibre

  2. #2

    Default

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    Ubiquiti Custom Network | RocketNet Apollo 100 Home Uncapped Fibre

  3. #3

    Default

    Nice. That thing is going to catch some serious lightening strikes though...
    Quote Originally Posted by Rouxenator View Post
    I microwaved the socks for a bit and they are fine now.

  4. #4

    Default

    What antenna is that?
    Maybe give more details of setup?
    "If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government." Nelson Mandela

  5. #5

    Default Share your home equipment setup

    Sorry, been editing my post so more detail has already been added.
    Last edited by Azimuth; 14-07-2014 at 08:55 AM.
    Ubiquiti Custom Network | RocketNet Apollo 100 Home Uncapped Fibre

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks, just the type of thread I was looking for.
    Can't seem to make up my mind on what type of setup to get myself.
    "If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government." Nelson Mandela

  7. #7

    Default Antenna installation and alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by HavocXphere View Post
    Nice. That thing is going to catch some serious lightening strikes though...
    The whole installation was a proof-of-concept. Now that it's been grafting for a week, I'll make everything more permanent. This includes:

    - "Teeing" off the top of the mast to help with lightning strikes
    - Earthing the mast
    - Cable management

    Note that the antennas have a DC-short on them to prevent static build up. There are lots of much higher trees around so I *hope* to never have a strike. Historically we've never had direct strikes, only hectic surges through the Telkom lines that fry the ADSL equipment and burn the RJ11 boxes!
    Last edited by Azimuth; 23-07-2014 at 07:11 AM.
    Ubiquiti Custom Network | RocketNet Apollo 100 Home Uncapped Fibre

  8. #8

    Default Antenna installation and alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirelesswarrior View Post
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    For the first 3 days I was pointing at the Vodacom tower. (Edit: wasn't even a cell tower)

    Edit: Telkom mobile sectors are on the MTN tower, so I was only pointing at Vodacom in error, not Vodacom *and* MTN as previously stated. Point at MTN and you're guaranteed to be pointing at Telkom Mobile.

    To date I've not had a reply from Telkom Mobile re: antenna direction but I guess I finally found that elusive tower. Your eye kinda gets trained on these things.

    Next I'm going to build a drone to map the whole area!
    Last edited by Azimuth; 23-07-2014 at 07:12 AM.
    Ubiquiti Custom Network | RocketNet Apollo 100 Home Uncapped Fibre

  9. #9

    Default Antenna installation and alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by IceQB View Post
    Can't seem to make up my mind on what type of setup to get myself.
    I was lucky because I just mimicked this setup:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BAaAWdwUjJo

    Poynting were pretty awesome in all emails and telecoms and I even met with them at their Samrand office for a demo and discussion.

    If memory serves they had 2 bars signal and -93dBm gain. They started off with ~ 3Mbps and ended up with 50Mbps after perfect alignment. I'm at a loss how to boost my own speeds like that. (Edit: note not all cell towers are 100Mbps towers nor will they all be upgraded; some towers are still stuck on 30Mbps)
    Last edited by Azimuth; 23-07-2014 at 07:14 AM.
    Ubiquiti Custom Network | RocketNet Apollo 100 Home Uncapped Fibre

  10. #10

    Default but why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirelesswarrior View Post
    For the first 3 days I was pointing at the MTN and Vodacom towers.

    To date I've not had a reply from Telkom Mobile re: antenna direction but I guess I finally found that elusive tower. Your eye kinda gets trained on these things.

    Next I'm going to build a drone to map the whole area!
    So I have to ask, why?

    I got 10mbps Telkom ADSL, 1MB/sec peak download speed, I can drop 1080p video content into my house in less than 40 minutes for a 50 minute episode ( granted real time streaming is still a challenge from overseas ) cost is not to bad, I can live with it, so why stick a huge lightning pole on your roof and take internet from the poor cellphone users living in your area?

  11. #11

    Default

    I just see lightning risk!

  12. #12

    Default Antenna installation and alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by toxicehc View Post
    So I have to ask, why?

    I got 10mbps Telkom ADSL, 1MB/sec peak download speed, I can drop 1080p video content into my house in less than 40 minutes for a 50 minute episode ( granted real time streaming is still a challenge from overseas ) cost is not to bad, I can live with it, so why stick a huge lightning pole on your roof and take internet from the poor cellphone users living in your area?
    Quote Originally Posted by Wirelesswarrior View Post
    This was all because I wanted the best possible LTE signal so that I could finally shrug off the oppressive yoke of high-attenuation low-SNR ADSL.
    I'm not using 3G, I'm using LTE which is data-only last I checked.

    I was forced to go this route after 6 years of 4Mbps -> 6Mbps -> 2Mbps ADSL. Right now my SNR is 13dB at 2Mbps. It becomes 6dB at 4Mbps. Attenuation has always been 55dB. ADSL is *always* gonna suck for me.

    With LTE now available, it has become a light at the end of the tunnel.

    - Two users (maybe more, untested) on my network can stream 1080p from YouTube
    - I watched the iTunes Festival live
    - Peak downloads are 1.5MB/s
    - Internet browsing and Tapatalk are liquid smooth
    Last edited by Azimuth; 23-07-2014 at 07:17 AM.
    Ubiquiti Custom Network | RocketNet Apollo 100 Home Uncapped Fibre

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirelesswarrior View Post
    I'm not using 3G, I'm using LTE which is data-only last I checked.

    I was forced to go this route after 6 years of 4Mbps - 6Mbps - 2Mbps ADSL. Right now my SNR is 13dB at 2Mbps. It becomes 6dB at 4Mbps. Attenuation has always been 55dB. ADSL is *always* gonna suck for me.

    With LTE now available, it has become a light at the end if the tunnel.

    - Two users on my network can stream 1080p from YouTube.
    - I watched the iTunes Festival live.
    - Peak downloads are 1.5MB/s.
    - Internet browsing and Tapatalk are liquid smooth.
    I'm guessing you're using Neotel, as I would think caps would defeat the object of having such decent speeds

  14. #14

    Default

    Nope.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirelesswarrior View Post
    Contract or prepaid: prepaid (Telkom Mobile 60+60GB)
    Neotel is R2899pm for a 10Mbps DL and 3.3Mbps UL service. Yes it's uncapped but I don't need uncapped data. 20GB 8ta and 10GB MTN covers the 25GB pm I always had with ADSL.
    Last edited by Azimuth; 04-10-2013 at 10:05 PM.
    Ubiquiti Custom Network | RocketNet Apollo 100 Home Uncapped Fibre

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirelesswarrior View Post
    Nope.



    Neotel is R2899pm for a 10Mbps DL and 3.3Mbps UL service. Yes it's uncapped but I don't need uncapped data. 20GB 8ta and 10GB MTN covers the 25GB pm I always had with ADSL.
    Granted.

    I am fortunate to have moved into a 4mbps area, only to find out I am less than 2km from one of the biggest Telkom exchanges in the West Rand and can actually get 10mbps. ( which I now have )
    Yes, I can't get 20 or 40 MBPS but at least I can get a solid 10MBPS and trust me I am not greedy and I cannot sometimes find anything for the poor line to do, she is idle most of the time.

    Anyhow, I did the Antenna on the roof thing with Neotel back in the day which was great until they cancelled my contract and gave my money back when my 3mbps connection could only sustain a 128kbps connection ( similar to your setup -> pointed direct line of sight at their tower.

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