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Improving Mobile Coverage

Improving Mobile Coverage
July 30, 2020 Mike Watson

Background

We installed a 4G repeater system in a rural home with very poor mobile coverage with the aim of improving its mobile coverage. In this article we review the system that was installed and consider how well it performs in practice.

System

The system boosts 4G signals from mobile operator EE. It consists of an external aerial, a repeater box and an internal aerial.  

Installation and Testing

Performance of various configurations was tested by:

  • Functional tests to see if calls could be made and data could be accessed
  • Measuring signal strength using indicator on mobiles, indicator on the repeater box and a mobile phone app
  • Measuring the rate of data upload and download
  • Checking indicators on the repeater box

In practice it was found that the best performance occurred with the external aerial pointing in a north-easterly direction.

improving mobile coverage

Figure 1 External directional Antenna mounted at north end of house

improving mobile coverage

Figure 2 4G Repeater installed in Airing Cupboard

Performance

Mobile coverage is not perfect but has improved significantly. The system works best when mobiles are indoors and within a few metres of the internal antenna – it works upstairs and downstairs.

The fastest download speeds achieved are around 12 Mbit/second but speeds are often much slower away from the antenna and when the system is being used by more than one mobile. Calls are fairly good but suffer some disruption for the first few seconds of a call.

improving mobile coverage

Figure 3 Internal Antenna mounted on downstairs ceiling

Would you recommend it?

If you miss calls and simply cannot get through to people then this solution resolves that problem. If you want perfect calls and guaranteed massive data rates then this solution doesn’t deliver. In this case the house also has a land-line and a good broadband connection so the solution bolsters the systems that are already there.

More Information

Installing mobile repeater systems is not our core business however resolving potential technical interference issues is. If you have a development project and are experiencing technical difficulties please get in touch.

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