Antenna and Cellular wireless Signal Strength

July 14, 2014 at 13:18:58
Specs: Win 7
Connecting to a 4G cellular system in the 2.6 GHz band
from a fixed indoor location with a square or rectangular
omnidirectional antenna about 5" square. The signal goes
through glass windows with aluminum frames, a wood wall
supported at intervals by thick reinforced concrete posts,
trees, more trees, and possibly more trees. Sometimes
the signal is strong: 5 bars. When it rains, and afterwards,
for a long time, days it seems, the signal goes down to
three or just two bars, at which point it becomes useless.
Recently it has been mostly at three bars, or only two, rain
or no rain. I suspect that it is because the trees have grown
a lot from all the rain.

Question: Would a highly directional yagi antenna designed
specifically for the 2.6 GHz band be likely to give significant
improvement over the omnidirectional antenna if the signal
still has to go through all that stuff?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
July 14, 2014 at 14:04:57
The gain from a yagi would be much better than that from an omnidirectional so it ought to work better. The interference would be the same since it varies with frequency and not antenna type but the yagi signal would be stronger. You'd just need to point it at the cell tower. There's line-of-sight considerations too so the higher you can mount the antenna the better.

A signal booster is also an option.

(This isn't really a networking question. I don't know why they moved it here.)


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#2
July 14, 2014 at 16:00:50
Yeah the gain from a yagi is way better then an omnidirectional loop. There is free yagi design software around if you need it.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#3
July 14, 2014 at 16:32:47
The best I can do, I think, is to mount the antenna to the
ceiling so that it is about a foot below the top of the window
frame and pointing slightly upwards. I haven't figured out the
angle in the vertical plane yet. Since I can't see the distant
antenna through the wall and trees, I'm not sure how I will
figure it out.

I can't find it now, but somewhere I read that the antenna
should be three feet away from walls and whatnot. I think it
would be best as close as I can get it to the window without
touching the drape when it is closed. So barely more than
a foot away from the top and sides of the aluminum window
frame. Does that sound like a poor solution?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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Related Solutions

#4
July 15, 2014 at 08:20:37
Sounds good but sometimes reflections often come into play so a little further tweaking might be necessary to get the best results.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#5
July 15, 2014 at 09:40:59
I was wondering how much of the signal I receive with the
omnidirectional antenna is direct and how much is from
reflections. Is there any way to determine that even roughly
without expensive equipment?

I set up the modem in late May. The foliage on the trees has
become much more lush since then! I have to look over at the
modem to see if enough lights are lit before I click on anything.
Two lights is not enough. Four is good. Three lights is 50-50.
It hardly ever gets to four now, and never gets to five anymore.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#6
July 15, 2014 at 10:34:55
I don't know an easy way to determine that but loop antenna receive equally front and back - each side of the square. With the yagi the directors and reflector change all that.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#7
December 16, 2014 at 20:52:56
Additional interesting info ...

I haven't mounted the yagi antenna yet. I did put a hole in a ceiling joist
for the screw ...

But in the meanwhile, all the leaves fell off the trees, and I was getting
four bars much of the time, and almost always at least three.

Then it snowed. What do you think happened? The signal jumped up
to five bars. When the snow melted, the signal fell down to three. New
snowfall, and the signal immediately jumps back up to five and stays
there. We've been through three cycles of snow / no snow in the last
six weeks. It snowed last night and the signal is steady at five bars.

I can only guess that the signal is reflecting off of snow on the ground.
But I'd think a reflected signal would be the mirror image of the direct
signal, and the two would cancel out... Huh.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#8
December 16, 2014 at 23:22:25
Even if they were being reflected they're not necessarily canceling out one another. My guess would be the snow is preventing the waves from being absorbed by the ground and whatever else it is covering and giving a stronger signal.

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#9
December 17, 2014 at 21:02:49
Moisture in the leaves are blocking, absorbing, and reflecting/scattering signal.
Bare ground is absorbing signal but snow or ice is reducing absorption and increasing reflection of the signal so the boost effect. Directional antenna should help since this is a fixed location to a fixed tower, just take the time to aim it carefully. A military or charter's compass has degree markings and may help translate the line of sight from the outside to the actual aim inside.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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