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115 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 114696 27-Feb-2013 22:41 Send private message

Back in the old days (I've used mobile phones since they were brick size) we could always see relative signal strengths when looking at new phones. But now that most of my time is spent in a home office, it's very important to me. We're only 2-3 km from the centre of the city - but live in a hilly suburb. Since we moved home we've discovered just how weak the signal is here. We can get a message saying we missed a call and to check the answer phone. And we were sitting in the same place when the message came through as we were when we "missed" the phone call.

We looked at the Vodafone signal booster - but they've made a poor marketing decision to tie it to the vodafone network - it's clearly not a technical decision because it doesn't apply overseas. We're not going to Vodafone network for various reasons - but also have good reasons for staying on Vodafone for mobiles.

So when we're looking at new phones, we want to know the strength of signal reception. The only other criteria that really matters is battery life - although we also like flip top phones if possible. The only use of the phones is phone calls and messages. Even our current Nokias (probably five years old or more) have more features than we ever use. Our problem is not even Consumer provides information on the relative signal strength of phones.

I doubt we're the only people in NZ who want this information. But we haven't found it anywhere obvious. Does anyone have any sources for this info - or failing that, and suggestions for how to evaluate it for ourselves.

Thanks

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  Reply # 771386 27-Feb-2013 23:22 Send private message

What suburb? All phones I know of have a signal strength indicator

What handset are you using? You should really be trying a handset that supports 3G on 900Mhz or what we call 3G extended

If you live in low coverage chances are no matter what handset you use the coverage will still be low, No handset unless it's got a 2 meter aerial will really help much, Low coverage is low coverage

Now over to Sure signal, lets say Sure Signal stops working and we advise not on the Vodafone side you need to contact your ISP, Your ISP comes back and says contact Vodafone not our issue! So you contact Vodafone again and we say contact your ISP, Next any Vodafone handset handset can connect to Sure signal if it supports 3G on 2100Mhz so it's open season on your fixed line data cap, Vodafone also control the QoS for Sure Signal end to end

John




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  Reply # 771401 28-Feb-2013 06:19 Send private message

Most overseas femto deployments are locked down to a whitelist, meaning you have to keep updating a ahitelist of IMEI numbers that are allowed to connect to it.

VF decided this was too complex for many people so opened the device up so anybody could connect to it. Becuase of the data usage they also decided to zero rate it, something they can't do with other ISP's.

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  Reply # 771427 28-Feb-2013 08:25 Send private message

johnr:
If you live in low coverage chances are no matter what handset you use the coverage will still be low, No handset unless it's got a 2 meter aerial will really help much, Low coverage is low coverage 

John


Speaking of 2m aerials... do VF have, or recommend any in-car signal boosters (like the Wilson Sleek)?
One of our honchos regularly drives over the Mamakus. VF is the only one with any towers at all in the area, but reception fades in & out on his (car-mounted) handset.

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  Reply # 771430 28-Feb-2013 08:31 Send private message

Link is broken




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  Reply # 771431 28-Feb-2013 08:32 Send private message

johnr: Link is broken

Weird - it looks fine in the edit screen, but is munted on the real page. Anywho, its: http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/store/display/236/43/sleek-4g 

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  Reply # 771432 28-Feb-2013 08:36 Send private message

Is it active or passive?




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  Reply # 771436 28-Feb-2013 08:48 Send private message

johnr: Is it active or passive?

Its powered, but I'm not sure if that's just to charge the phone in the cradle.

From the Website: The Sleek 4G also amplifies preexisting signals, which includes all major carriers and their legacy 2G & 3G voice and data services. This provides the user a strong, reliable signal even where 4G services are unavailable.

This powerful signal booster and device cradle helps you stay connected by providing a strong reliable signal in weak-signal areas on five frequency bands, reducing lost connections and speeding data transfer rates. It boosts both voice and data communication – making it perfect for phones, data devices and cellular Wi-Fi hotspots.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 771529 28-Feb-2013 10:13 Send private message

Hi John

We're in Harbour View, Lower Hutt.

"All phones I know of have a signal strength indicator" but a problem with that is when we're in a shop trying them out, it doesn't really help show how they will receive the signal at our place.

"What handset are you using?" Nokia 3710. Back when we bought them they were nearly $500 each. They're still ideal - but quite old and one is more flaky than the other.

"You should really be trying a handset that supports 3G on 900Mhz" I'm pretty sure these are - we just don't use most of the features most of the new phones have - we don't even use the current phones except for basic calling / texting.

I understand what you are saying about Sure Signal - but it seems to work in every other area except NZ (I'm sure there are probably other small territories like us - but they don't feature in anything I've seen. Most of the world survives without this limit.

Thanks for the info.

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  Reply # 771530 28-Feb-2013 10:15 Send private message

3G / UMTS 900Mhz not 2G /GSM 900Mhz




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  Reply # 771958 28-Feb-2013 21:46 Send private message

I used to have a girlfriend who lived in Maungaraki, on top of a hill overlooking over the Hutt Valley. Her reception (and mine too) was patchy at the best of times. The geography is working against you there, unfortunately.

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  Reply # 772549 2-Mar-2013 08:13 Send private message

I don't think Wellington has much in the way of 3G 900Mhz coverage, so a phone with this feature might not help (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

We live in the hill suburbs in Wellington in an area that has terrible coverage from all three networks, so bought a Sure Signal. It's a good device, but not without its problems. It did also mean that we had to switch to Vodafone fixed line broadband, but can't really complain as its been very fast and reliable since we switched. Hopefully once the Vodafone Telstraclear merger has progressed far enough we can switch our ADSL to cable broadband and use the Sure Signal on that.

One downside of the Sure Signal is that the neighbours kids have picked up on it, and now they loiter on the street outside our house calling and txting...

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  Reply # 773619 2-Mar-2013 12:53 Send private message

froob: One downside of the Sure Signal is that the neighbours kids have picked up on it, and now they loiter on the street outside our house calling and txting...

Yea that is one disadvantage with the way Vodafone have implemented suresignal, even if the data is zero rated, you still may not want others eating into your DSL bandwidth, or overloading it so you can't actually make calls yourself.




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  Reply # 773621 2-Mar-2013 13:18 Send private message

quickymart: I used to have a girlfriend who lived in Maungaraki, on top of a hill overlooking over the Hutt Valley. Her reception (and mine too) was patchy at the best of times. The geography is working against you there, unfortunately.


The entire Hutt Western hills are pretty much one big deadspot for all networks in many areas. The one exception is Maungaraki which now has a 2d site which helps in some parts of Maungaraki.

Unfortunately putting sites on the top of a hill suburb puts lots of noise back into the rest of the network over a massive area so the reasons are more technical rather than anything else. Maungaraki hasn't been helped though by the local anti-cellsite people.

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  Reply # 773644 2-Mar-2013 15:48 Send private message

PhilANZ:  … when we're looking at new phones, we want to know the strength of signal reception ... not even Consumer provides information on the relative signal strength of phones. ...


Consumer Dec 2012 p24 does rate "Reception".

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  Reply # 773650 2-Mar-2013 16:01 Send private message

lapimate:
PhilANZ:  … when we're looking at new phones, we want to know the strength of signal reception ... not even Consumer provides information on the relative signal strength of phones. ...


Consumer Dec 2012 p24 does rate "Reception".


How did they measure it?

Unlike the good old says with GSM or AMPS/DAMPS the signal strength indicator on a phone is relatively meaningless in many ways.

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