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Topic # 244998 13-Jan-2019 16:15
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Hi,

 

I help out with the webcam setup at a local club ski field near Fairlie (Fox Peak). We have an old 3G router (WRT54G3G with Merlin U630 card) that connects to the Vodafone cell tower on Mt Michael.

 

It's clear line-of-sight to the tower, and the distance is about 20-22km. Yes, I realise that is a long way. We can get a "Good" GPRS signal, and can connect reliably, but over GPRS out transmit speed is only 1-2KBps. (kilobytes per second as measured by the FTP webcam image transfer speeds), and we have issues with transmission failures.

 

The card is a 3G card, but it won't establish a 3G connection. On the router, if I set the connection to "HSDPA/3G/UMTS only", it reports that it gets a "HSDPA/3G/UMTS" carrier, with "Good" signal strength, but it just won't establish a connection. It seems to be trying, but it doesn't succeed. 

 

We have just added an external antenna (see photo), but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

 

Is it maybe something to do with frequencies? Is the Mt Michael tower only 900MHz, and the card maybe only does 2100MHz (for UMTS/3G)? (according to a manual I found, but I'm not sure if that applies to the NZ version of the card).

 

Is it a protocol thing? I would think not, as it's a "NZ Vodafone" version of the card.

 

Does anyone have insight as to what might be preventing the connection on 3G?  An iPhone 4 in the same location as the router can get a good 3G signal (3/4 bars), sufficient for a Whatsapp call and remote access at the same time.

 

Cheers,

 

Mike.

 

Click to see full size

 

Click to see full size

 

 


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  Reply # 2160361 13-Jan-2019 16:44
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What do you mean by won't establish a connection? Does it connect and then not transfer data or not connect?

 

The device is so old it predates the 900Mhz 3G standard so doesn't support this. This would be the best band to be connecting on.

 

 


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  Reply # 2160367 13-Jan-2019 16:50
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Device probably needs upgrading/replacing.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 2160369 13-Jan-2019 16:52
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you might want to try a more directional yagi antenna like  https://www.gowifi.co.nz/700-directional/ant-55.html

 

that might make all the difference, another option is use the yagi and get a cheap 4g box from trade me like the b315, the last one i got cost me 10.00 and i use it at work alot for setting up bits and pieces and it works well.

 

 




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  Reply # 2160370 13-Jan-2019 16:52
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sbiddle:

 

What do you mean by won't establish a connection? Does it connect and then not transfer data or not connect?

 

The device is so old it predates the 900Mhz 3G standard so doesn't support this. This would be the best band to be connecting on.

 

 

:-D yeah, I know it's super old.

 

When I say "won't connect", I mean at the 3G level. The "Mobile Connection" status on the "3G/UMTS" page goes from "Disconnected" to "Connecting...", but never gets to "Connected".

 

Would the Mt Michael tower only support 900MHz, or would it also support 2100MHz?




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  Reply # 2160371 13-Jan-2019 16:55
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sparkz25:

 

you might want to try a more directional yagi antenna like  https://www.gowifi.co.nz/700-directional/ant-55.html

 

that might make all the difference, another option is use the yagi and get a cheap 4g box from trade me like the b315, the last one i got cost me 10.00 and i use it at work alot for setting up bits and pieces and it works well.

 

 

That is another idea; I need to determine the right frequency first.  If 2100MHz is the only thing supported by the card, but the tower isn't 2100MHz, it won't help. 


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  Reply # 2160387 13-Jan-2019 17:33
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I don't think 2100 would reach that distance anyway, from memory it's designed for infill coverage, not rural.

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  Reply # 2160398 13-Jan-2019 17:47
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upgrade your gear, get a B315 and use that with a proper yagi like mentioned above


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  Reply # 2160404 13-Jan-2019 17:59
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  Reply # 2160405 13-Jan-2019 18:01
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quickymart: I don't think 2100 would reach that distance anyway, from memory it's designed for infill coverage, not rural.

 

OK.  But why does the iPhone 4 work so well on 3G at the same distance?


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  Reply # 2160413 13-Jan-2019 18:23
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iPhone will be connecting to 900 MHz.


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  Reply # 2160418 13-Jan-2019 18:30
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mkeeley:

 

quickymart: I don't think 2100 would reach that distance anyway, from memory it's designed for infill coverage, not rural.

 

OK.  But why does the iPhone 4 work so well on 3G at the same distance?

 

 

As above, the iPhone will probably have 900 Mhz, which this device lacks.







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  Reply # 2160436 13-Jan-2019 18:47
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Of course, that's a bit obvious really!!  So I guess the only question is: does the tower itself support 2100MHz (and therefore I can get a 2100MHz yagi); or does it only support 900MHz (in which case I need a new device). Does anyone know that about the Mt Michael cell tower?


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  Reply # 2160438 13-Jan-2019 18:49
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Check https://gis.geek.nz/celltowers

 

Click on the Filters button.


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  Reply # 2160442 13-Jan-2019 18:55
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Expecting 2100mhz to reach, even rurally is your issue.

 

 

 

Given you have line of sight, i'd certainly opt with a yagi (directional) rather than a Ommi antenna 

 

Given those towers all have L700 installed too, i'd probably switch to a B28 4G option.





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Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.




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  Reply # 2160445 13-Jan-2019 18:57
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Spyware:

 

Check https://gis.geek.nz/celltowers

 

Click on the Filters button.

 

 

Awesome link, thank you!  This answers the question:  the Vodafone tower there only has 700, 900 and 1800. So my 2100 device will never connect on 3G to Vodafone. Spark has 700+850, and 2degrees has 900+2100.

 

Perhaps I'll try a 2degrees sim and see how it goes.


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