Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
 
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-23-2023, 12:34 AM   #1
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,089
Default MIMO antenna for mobile hotspot router

We have very poor internet choices and home where we live.



We have been using a Centurlink DSL through Velocity Internet that is 8meps rated, more typically about 7MEP. Is not really fast enough to stream much of anything and it expensive for what it is. Also glitches out a lot.


The only other wired choice is Comcast Internet the is cheaper, allegedly, and rated at 75MEP but actual is unknown for our neighborhood. Comcast is also only reliable as being in the bottom 2% of all companies in the US for customer service and has been for many years.



We did decide to try Comcast and see and we never even were able to get an installer out to run the cable from the streetside junction box. We were lied to repeatedly about just about everything. Made an install appointment and got time and date plus appointment CR number to identify it. It never showed in our account so I called the morning of the appointment and they said I never made the reservation. I told them I had a screen print of the chat stream that showed it and they said customers are not allowed to print anything that is in the chats. Then they magically found the appointment and said it would be on time that day. Nobody showed up, nobody called, and when called them the said I never made or confirmed the appointment. Just like the thousands of other problems listed on many websites about them. Cancelled everything with them and decided to get a now available ATT cellular data only plan. They allow all of the data to be hotspotted and you get 100gig for $90 per month which is about what we were paying for the DSL and landline with velocity. We now have Consumer Cellular phone plans that also have shared 50gig of hotspotting and the 150gig total should be plenty for us even at home and we can take the Nighthawk M1 4g lte hotspot router with us when traveling and have it all there also. The CC plan that is on the same ATT towers runs 4G lte hotspotting at about 32 MEPs and is plenty fast for our use.


The question would be what a good portable MIMO antenna would be that we could use at home and on the road to boost quality and signal strength in hard to get coverage areas. The Nighthawk will accept a MIMO 2X2 on T9 connections. It wouldn't be needed in good connection areas as the hotspot should receive signal OK just like the phones do (pixel 4a and pixel 6).


A possible right now based on not much anything as I know nothing about this kind of stuff would be the Waveform flat panel omnidirectional one that appears to be under 2 pounds so should be able to get a magnet to support it Ok, I hope. It is listed as compatible with Nighthawk M1.


Any and all ideas, recommendations, suggestions, explanations would be greatly appreciated.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2023, 01:37 PM   #2
Platinum Member
 
@Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: MN
Posts: 507
Default

I've used the $50 'Netgear 6000450 MIMO Antenna with 2 TS-9 Connectors' with both Verizon and ATT hotspots. In a weak signal area, I suction-cup it to a window on whichever side of the van has the strongest signal.

Sometimes it's better with the antenna, sometimes better without.

Also - an external, roof mounted antenna would be better.
__________________
2019 Coachmen Crossfit
My Campervan Modifications and Travel Blog
@Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2023, 08:17 PM   #3
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,089
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by @Michael View Post
I've used the $50 'Netgear 6000450 MIMO Antenna with 2 TS-9 Connectors' with both Verizon and ATT hotspots. In a weak signal area, I suction-cup it to a window on whichever side of the van has the strongest signal.

Sometimes it's better with the antenna, sometimes better without.

Also - an external, roof mounted antenna would be better.

I actually have one of those antennas coming with hotspot, but reviews were real spotty on it.


I have a couple of two big suction cup glass carrying tools and might just adapt one to be able to stick and outdoor antenna to any window on the van so get best reception. All antenna seem to have very conflicting reviews
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2023, 08:39 PM   #4
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,354
Default

If you are thinking about external antennas at all, you should really consider a roof-mounted antenna. You should also consider an antenna that supports the bands that are new for 5G, as a matter of future-proofing.

Also, don't underestimate the importance of minimizing the number of connectors between the antenna and the radio. Even with high-quality connectors, at modern cellular frequencies you lose a LOT of signal with every connector.

In our new rig, I invested in one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B097P5ZHSC
__________________
Now: 2022 Fully-custom buildout (Ford Transit EcoBoost AWD)
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2023, 09:18 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
@Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: MN
Posts: 507
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
I have a couple of two big suction cup glass carrying tools and might just adapt one to be able to stick and outdoor antenna to any window on the van so get best reception. All antenna seem to have very conflicting reviews
The next one I'll try will be the 'Proxicast Ultra Low Profile MIMO Antenna' magnetic mount. It'll get the antenna outside the steel cage of the van, which might help. Cheap to try.

Otherwise an omni-directional mast antenna or a yagi directional antenna, which theoretically would be the best if you point it directly at the nearest tower.

Either way, your idea of adapting the antenna to mount with suction cups is a good one.

Quote:
Also, don't underestimate the importance of minimizing the number of connectors between the antenna and the radio. Even with high-quality connectors, at modern cellular frequencies you lose a LOT of signal with every connector.
Yep - signal loss in connectors and cabling is a big deal.
__________________
2019 Coachmen Crossfit
My Campervan Modifications and Travel Blog
@Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2023, 04:00 PM   #6
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: MA
Posts: 47
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
If you are thinking about external antennas at all, you should really consider a roof-mounted antenna. You should also consider an antenna that supports the bands that are new for 5G, as a matter of future-proofing.

In our new rig, I invested in one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B097P5ZHSC
Totally agree. We've got the same antenna and I've found it makes the difference between no signal and usable in a few places. Tricky part is finding hotspot devices with external antenna connections these days. Using an LTE Verizon MiFi still
joelm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2023, 04:06 PM   #7
Platinum Member
 
engnrsrule's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: VA
Posts: 328
Default

I am getting ready to try Nomad. Their Air model has MIMO connections, as well as what is supposed to be a good internal antenna. Watch for my review...
engnrsrule is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2023, 04:40 PM   #8
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,089
Default

I have received and installed the Nighthawk M1 and works quite well. Setup was kind of confusing through an App that was kind of generic and not for this specific model I think.


It gives about the same internet speeds as our phones on 4g as it is a 4g router, not a 5g. That is in the range of 32mep most days and times on ATT at our home. This is on the internal antenna.


I put on the small, about 6" square, and it didn't show any any more signal strength in lines on it, or the "poor" signal strength internal information in it said, but the speed increased to about 50mep.



Apparently, per a couple articles I found, it is signal clarity and quality and not the signal strength it self that gives most speed increases. I had never heard that before. Our stucco house is a very tough spot for cell phones in general.


Still considering a larger antenna that I could put outside, though. I really don't want to be cutting the roof and trying to put it on a rotator control that would require removing a lot of the stuff inside the van.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2023, 05:12 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,089
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by engnrsrule View Post
I am getting ready to try Nomad. Their Air model has MIMO connections, as well as what is supposed to be a good internal antenna. Watch for my review...
I had looked at Nomad also but the cost was a bit high and you couldn't buy a router, it appears, as they talk about needing to return it if you cancel. The unlimited data is a plus, though but it might get throttled at some use level even if they say it won't. They appear to be a service repacker like many others are but not just focused on pricing. The $399 or $599 upfront is pretty steep but if they really allow unlimited streaming it might be worth it for at home where most people use more data.

Coverage map looks just like the ATT one to me but with a few more 5g spots on it, likely only in cities.

We have been on the ATT system with Consumer Cellular and also now also with an ATT 100gig data only plan that all of it can be streamed at home for a while and it runs at the speeds I mention in my previous post but slows to about 1/3 to 1/2 during busy times, so I would expect the Nomad would also see that happen, as I think they are on the same towers based on the map and I seriously doubt that ATT would give them priority speeds over their own customers. The talk about the router being dual sim capable so they may have packages from other carriers for their non mobile plans or to supplement a few more higher speed areas by using both.

It would be interesting to me to know if the Nighthawk router I have now would work with them as it is an ATT router, although their router is provided and I doubt they would reduce pricing.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2023, 05:25 PM   #10
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,354
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
Apparently, per a couple articles I found, it is signal clarity and quality and not the signal strength it self that gives most speed increases.
This is most certainly correct. "Number of bars" typically is just showing you raw
signal strength. However, signal strength per se is necessary but not sufficient to get decent service. It is the signal-to-noise ratio that matters. (Noise can come from many sources, but most commonly from "multi-path" interference, in which signals bounce off of buildings, etc. causing you to receive multiple copies of the signal, slightly offset in time, which is very bad.) That's why "cell boosters" so often disappoint. The amplify both the signal and the noise. This will help if your problem is absolute signal strength, but if it is a noise problem, it will help not at all, and may even make things worse.

Cell phones have "secret" maintenance modes that will cause them to report various measures of S/N. You can find out to do it with your phone on the Net. There are also many free apps that do the same. This is what you want to do if you are trying do do a systematic test, rather than "I went from 1 bar to 5".
__________________
Now: 2022 Fully-custom buildout (Ford Transit EcoBoost AWD)
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2023, 06:07 PM   #11
Platinum Member
 
@Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: MN
Posts: 507
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
Apparently, per a couple articles I found, it is signal clarity and quality and not the signal strength it self that gives most speed increases. I had never heard that before. Our stucco house is a very tough spot for cell phones in general.

Still considering a larger antenna that I could put outside, though. I really don't want to be cutting the roof and trying to put it on a rotator control that would require removing a lot of the stuff inside the van.
Quote:
Cell phones have "secret" maintenance modes that will cause them to report various measures of S/N.
The M1's web interface has real-time data on signal strength and S/N ratios.

For external antenna, one limiting factor is that the M1 only has two external ports, whereas the M1 has four built-in antenna, so any external antenna will drop you from four MIMO antennas to two. Whether that helps or hurts is very location & antenna specific.
__________________
2019 Coachmen Crossfit
My Campervan Modifications and Travel Blog
@Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2023, 02:48 AM   #12
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 4
Default

I recommend Starlink. It is available almost everywhere. At $110 / month with a $600 equipment cost, it is a little pricely at first. But, there is no hard data cap and a 30 day trial. It is not much more than you pay now for medicore access, and I am very pleased with the service. The pain from the equipment fee goes away after a few weeks of nonstop great internet and streaming TV. Also, Starlink has plans available for mobile access.
Many cell phones can use internet/wifi to suppliment cell system access, so if your cellular phone service is poor at home, you will likely get extra benefit from solid internet access.
Cactus_tom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2023, 07:00 AM   #13
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 45
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cactus_tom View Post
I recommend Starlink. It is available almost everywhere. At $110 / month with a $600 equipment cost, it is a little pricely at first. But, there is no hard data cap and a 30 day trial. It is not much more than you pay now for medicore access, and I am very pleased with the service. The pain from the equipment fee goes away after a few weeks of nonstop great internet and streaming TV. Also, Starlink has plans available for mobile access.
Many cell phones can use internet/wifi to suppliment cell system access, so if your cellular phone service is poor at home, you will likely get extra benefit from solid internet access.
From what I've read, not personal experience, is that Starlink has issues during typical busy times where internet performance is poor. If you're downloading files like ones you could get for streaming on your phone from Amazon or on the Windows 11 embedded app kind of like the Amazon prime it's best to download those during times where people typically aren't home during business hours. Plus it doesn't have covered all over like wireless. Correct if I'm wrong please. More data means I'll be better informed.

All of the items I have read, watched, or heard firsthand have been that people use a mix of all the above, cell providers (multiple), WiFi ranger, a few hr here and there at coffee shops or near places with wifi, and Starlink. I can't imagine the end of month bills for all that but given connectivity is a must for all WFH persons, you have to do what you have to do to make $$$.

For me, just getting into it, I'm willing to spend a few grand to get a solid lte router, antenna, and accessories to avoid the multiple devices. Something like a mofi, peplink, or other provider w ability to do multisims for diff providers and bonding to aggregate the ports for extra bandwidth as well as active failover for connections.

In this instance, I am putting the cart before the horse since I rely heavily on the internet for work since I already WFH. Once I have that nailed down, then I'm looking at class b options. (I used to have a 2010 roadtrek 210 but sold it before COVID, fwiw.)

How has anyone's experience with peplink or mofi been? Here are options I'm looking at. Only question would be so o get a dual sim or use a higher end modem with bonding.

Peplink MAX BR1 Pro 5G | All-In-One 5G Solution | Wi-Fi 6 | 2x2 MU-MIMO | MAX-BR1-PRO-5GH-T-PRM

Peplink Mobility 42G, 7-in-1 5G Ready Cellular and Wi-Fi Antenna System with GPS receiver, IP68, SMA, 6.5ft/2m, Black | ANT-MB-42G-S-B-6

MOFI5500-5XeLTE-EM7411-DUAL[

MOFI MOFI4500 Cellular 4G LTE Router mofi 4500 External Wide Band Log Periodic Yagi Antenna
stevanpierce@gmail.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2023, 01:13 PM   #14
Platinum Member
 
@Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: MN
Posts: 507
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevanpierce@gmail.com View Post
How has anyone's experience with peplink or mofi been? Here are options I'm looking at. Only question would be so o get a dual sim or use a higher end modem with bonding.
Very important is that the router's modem covers the 600 & 700mhz bands (12, 13, 14, 71 ... ), as those are the ones that travel the farthest in weak signal areas. In the case of the Mofi 4500's, there are models that don't and models that do. Not sure about Peplink.
__________________
2019 Coachmen Crossfit
My Campervan Modifications and Travel Blog
@Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2023, 01:24 PM   #15
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,354
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevanpierce@gmail.com View Post
How has anyone's experience with peplink or mofi been? Here are options I'm looking at. Only question would be so o get a dual sim or use a higher end modem with bonding.

Peplink MAX BR1 Pro 5G | All-In-One 5G Solution | Wi-Fi 6 | 2x2 MU-MIMO | MAX-BR1-PRO-5GH-T-PRM

Peplink Mobility 42G, 7-in-1 5G Ready Cellular and Wi-Fi Antenna System with GPS receiver, IP68, SMA, 6.5ft/2m, Black | ANT-MB-42G-S-B-6

MOFI5500-5XeLTE-EM7411-DUAL[

MOFI MOFI4500 Cellular 4G LTE Router mofi 4500 External Wide Band Log Periodic Yagi Antenna

I am a big Peplink fan, having used their routers for years. I put a Mobility 42G antenna on my new van -- pretty future-proof.

However, I would not recommend spending the big bucks for a wireless hotspot at this time. Everything available is built on a last-generation chipset and so has inferior 5G support.

What you want is a unit whose radio is based on the Snapdragon X65 chipset. But, you can't yet get a MAX BR1-class device that uses the X65 from any manufacturer. Such units are expected to be announced "any time now". I plan to make do with Peplink Surf-SoHo router tethered to my iPhone until I can get a radio with a modern 5G chipset.
__________________
Now: 2022 Fully-custom buildout (Ford Transit EcoBoost AWD)
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2023, 05:50 PM   #16
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,089
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by engnrsrule View Post
I am getting ready to try Nomad. Their Air model has MIMO connections, as well as what is supposed to be a good internal antenna. Watch for my review...

I was just in contact with Nomad on chat and they said all of their modems only have ethernet only but can connect to antennas though the ethernet? Of course I understand basically none of this and I can find no information about connecting an antenna to a modem by ethernet.


How would one do that?
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2023, 06:31 PM   #17
Platinum Member
 
@Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: MN
Posts: 507
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
I was just in contact with Nomad on chat and they said all of their modems only have ethernet only but can connect to antennas though the ethernet? Of course I understand basically none of this and I can find no information about connecting an antenna to a modem by ethernet.


How would one do that?
Sounds like an incoherent answer.

A quick look at their forum and FAQ indicates that there are limitations on external antenna support on the Nomad Air (Inseego FX2000e).

https://community.nomadinternet.com/...-antenna/622/2

AFAIK Nomad uses Verizon as their carrier.

I have a Nighthawk M1 and ATT prepaid data-only service and found it to be just as good as Verizon prepaid. Because you already have the M1, I don't see a strong case for Nomad unless you need more than 100GB of data or are in an area where Verizon has better service.
__________________
2019 Coachmen Crossfit
My Campervan Modifications and Travel Blog
@Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2023, 06:46 PM   #18
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,089
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by @Michael View Post
Sounds like an incoherent answer.

A quick look at their forum and FAQ indicates that there are limitations on external antenna support on the Nomad Air (Inseego FX2000e).

https://community.nomadinternet.com/...-antenna/622/2

AFAIK Nomad uses Verizon as their carrier.

I have a Nighthawk M1 and ATT prepaid data-only service and found it to be just as good as Verizon prepaid. Because you already have the M1, I don't see a strong case for Nomad unless you need more than 100GB of data or are in an area where Verizon has better service.

We have had Verizon in the past on the phone hotspots and ATT now on the Nighthawk. Both had similar reception areas and signal strength and both have times when the speed gets very, very low. Either or for me. The ATT is the 100gig plan but that is not enough if we want to use it for home internet and on the road internet because at home there is some, not a lot, of streaming that puts us over and can't be eliminated. The unilimited of Nomad is the key to all this for us and improved on the road reception next in line of selection information.


Since the Air is just a modem, which would be fine on the road but not so good at home where we would like to be able a wireless printer though it. Would the ethernet from the Air be able to be sent to the Nighthawk to be used as a router only? That would solve the the home network issue without extra equipment needed.


The reviews are so widely varied for Nomad and based on the verbage and also the very crazy amounts of differences in them I definitely think there are both positive and negative bought and paid for reviews in the majority both ways so I choose to ignore them all at this point.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2023, 12:31 AM   #19
Platinum Member
 
@Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: MN
Posts: 507
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
The reviews are so widely varied for Nomad and based on the verbage and also the very crazy amounts of differences in them I definitely think there are both positive and negative bought and paid for reviews in the majority both ways so I choose to ignore them all at this point
Relevant:
__________________
2019 Coachmen Crossfit
My Campervan Modifications and Travel Blog
@Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2023, 02:01 AM   #20
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 12,089
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by @Michael View Post

What I saw in looking closely at them pretty much lines up with lower end of the third party seller video you show. Nomad just had too many red flags popping up all over the place for me.


What they don't mention, except in passing, are what I think are the legit third party sellers. I think the Consumer Cellular would be one of them. In business like 25 years and always very highly rated for service and customer service. We switched to them a few months ago and so far been pretty impressed with them. Decent, but not crazy low pricing and plans.


We get our home, painfully slow but should be reliable, DSL unlimited plan installed tomorrow and will cancel the ATT 100gig hotspot data only plan. We will probably use the Nighthawk M1 as the only device on a new single unlimited plan with Consumer Cellular so we have 50gig of hotspotting on it. That will give us 100gig total for when we travel as we also have 50 gig on the phone plan to hotspot, which should be plenty, but not enough for at home.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.