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Cham 2017-11-04 10:25 AM

Huawei E397 4G LTE FDD TDD Mobile Internet Stick
Just curious if anyone is using one of these dongles. Since it's LTE and I live more than 4 miles from the nearest tower I wonder if it has enough range, especially from within the house. Thinking of a weather proof radome at the focal point of a small parabolic antenna pointed at the tower might do wonders. :)

Wondering what the actual throughput MB/s up and down would be, and the cost...?

Currently paying over $100/mo for about 400kb/s or worse... Keep in mind I am out in the middle of nowhere, only one a/p other than MTS...

Cham 2017-11-10 02:11 PM

Just an update,
Stopped by the local Bell/MTS store and talked to Debbie for a bit, the device is capable of up to 100MB, and looks like no charge for the device and $85/mo for 10GB/mo (not Gb), which is quite a bit less than I am paying now for much less bandwidth.
Might have to order one and see how it works.

Dr.Dave 2017-11-12 01:12 PM

@Cham there are quite a few things to keep in mind. The device is no cost on a 2-year contract, otherwise it's $299.99.
"If usage is greater than 10GB, $15 per additional GB" - that could get very expensive very quickly. Does your ISP provide stats for your current monthly usage?

A cellphone purchaser can return their phone and get out of their contract if they find out the device is unsuitable. There is a low limit on the voice minutes and data usage to be eligible. You may want to check if that policy applies to an internet stick.

The first step might be to test LTE access from your location with a compatible MTS cellphone - perhaps a friend could help. There are differences between devices, but if a cellphone can't get a signal you would have a hard time with an internet stick. An external antenna might help, but it would be strictly trial-and-error and a question of how much money you want to invest in a system that may not work.

A final point is the theoretical maximum speed of 100 Mbps is largely irrelevant - 25 Mbps is the average for MTS LTE speed in Winnipeg and your results would probably be lower with a weak signal.

Cham 2017-11-12 02:35 PM

Hi Dr.Dave!

Thank you for your thoughts and information.

I believe (if I heard it correctly), the device can go onto an existing data contract where the extra data fees would apply. Looking at my current monthly data total last month I was a bit under 1 GB (about 920MB) on the gateway port of the router. I have contacted my ISP and asked for some of the same numbers to check if they are similar to my router's stats, and if they have any updates planned. Will likely hear from them on Tuesday as it might be a holiday tomorrow.

Cell LTE bandwidth is almost non-existent in the house since we have steel siding and roof so it's basically a Faraday cage. I would have to use a USB extension cable from the router to the outside roof area and run the device inside a radome for weather resistance for permanent use. I have an unused Bell sat dish up there, am thinking of replacing the LNBF with the dongle at the feed point and aim it at the tower for maybe a few dB gain. I don't think there is a way to connect an external antenna to the device without breaking it open (from what I see in the pictures)

We can play video on the Samsung phone when outside in sight of the tower but only the old CDMA phone works in the house. :) I tried a dongle a few years ago from MTS, and one from Rogers, neither worked well enough to use reliably even when we drove to within a mile of the cell tower(s) using a laptop.

Any use of this device (for me) would be on a trial basis only, if I have to purchase a 2 yr contract or buy the device before trying, it won't happen!

Was hoping someone on the forum here might have some experience with it... Guess not.

ExDilbert 2017-11-14 04:46 PM

USB has very limited cable length so putting a USB dongle up on the roof is not likely to be a good option. I would be looking for a better solution such as an LTE internet router that is designed to work with an external antenna (a real LTE one) and will accept a SIM card from the chosen provider.

Another option may be to use a cellular repeater. These work by using an external antenna to pick up the signal and making it available through a cellular repeater placed inside the house. The right model would work with any phone or LTE device.

Cham 2017-11-15 06:25 AM

MTS used to have a router/gateway type device but from what I was told it was not likely worth the trouble. Haven't had the time yet to drop by the Bell/MTS store to see if I can talk them into bringing in one of the dongles to try. Might be next week.

@ExDilbert I was originally looking at one of these but not available though the Bell/MTS store here:
MBR1516 | LTE Gateways | Mobile | Service Providers | NETGEAR
LTE at the towers here use 1700-1900 MHz. Maybe it's not compatible?

Ultimately a network POE device in an outdoor weatherproof housing and integrated LTE radio/antennae would be ideal for my situation but Bell/MTS doesn't seem to carry one here, yet.

Cham 2017-11-17 10:20 AM

Stopped by the store again yesterday, seems I either have to purchase the device or take the 2 yr contract. Deb was hoping she could get one for me to try but seems that is not possible. Guess we're stuck with our low speed wireless for the forseeable future.

ExDilbert 2017-11-17 05:30 PM

A "802.11n and 10/100 LAN Mobile Broadband Router" is probably not a good buy either. It's probably quite dated in other ways. I would want 802.11AC and 10/100/1000 LAN.

I'm thinking a mobile internet stick combined a cellular repeater as discussed in this thread might be the best option. It won't be cheap but a repeater would work with other devices such as phones.

Cham 2017-11-22 09:20 AM

I am thinking of taking out a DSL account somewhere in a nearby town and using something like these microwave systems to relay the bandwidth to my acreage, maybe 5 miles or so. Just have to figure out where to put the headend side, somewhere I can get DSL and have access to a tall building or tower for line-of-sight to my tower here...

Kind of cool that the antenna and radio are integrated so no line-loss, and relatively inexpensive for a lot of bandwidth! I use a nanostation M2 for around the yard, they are super easy to configure and work 100X better than a regular consumer wireless router. Only issue I can think of is trying to aim two high-gain antennas at each other that far away. Don't have a lot of experience doing that sort of thing. Might be fun! :)

holl_ands 2017-11-22 12:54 PM

NORTON blocked that "Dangerous" website.

ExDilbert 2017-11-22 02:30 PM

I've got to wonder about the legality and fitness for use of the NanoBeam products. If there are any people or services in the path of the high gain signal then they may have cause to file a complaint. I would also be asking how well they would perform at 5 miles. It's been done under ideal conditions but that's the exception. Other signals in the path could cause interference or the signal could be too weak to use at that distance. Stuff like this has been done for many years, about 20 that I am aware of, so it is possible and it can be done with home made equipment. Do a search on 'pringles can antenna' or 'cantenna' for more info. Satellite dishes can also be used to improve results.

Cham 2017-11-24 01:40 PM

Funny... I was using some "cantennas" I built out of coffee cans and "N" connectors a few years ago before I went to the Nanostation ap. They worked really well as long as the probe was properly tuned. Aperture was about 45 deg or so, and would likely illuminate a parabolic quite effectively.

Agreed there would be too much interference on 2.4Ghz, but I am thinking 5.7 would be cleaner and not interfere with the 2.4GHz lan in the yard. Not sure how the interference issue would work if I was causing it. These nanobeams are operating in the public wifi band (unlicensed) at 5.7GHz so I don't think there is a mechanism for mediation here unless the radio(s) were modified or were broadcasting outside of that unlicensed band. I'll have a chat with the spectrum management people (IC or what ever it's called now) before purchasing or installing anything just to make sure.

ExDilbert 2017-11-24 03:22 PM

Effective RF power emissions are strictly set for unlicensed RF bands. That includes antenna gain so using a high gain antenna might violate the rules. Unless you are causing severe interference it's unlikely anyone would complain. Another issue is with approved frequencies and power levels within unlicensed bands. It's different for each country and Canada differs slightly from the US. Interfering with public services or military communications are serious offenses. It's a good idea to check local regulations and device specs before importing anything.

The other issue is signal attenuation due to atmospheric absorption. It's much higher at 5GHz so there is a built in range restriction. Humidity can be a significant factor at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. That's part of the reason these frequencies are chosen. Signals do not travel as far as they do at lower frequencies. At 5GHz, line of site is pretty much mandatory except for very short distances.

Dr.Dave 2017-11-25 11:05 AM

I came across an interesting, but slim possibility on when I was looking for something for something else - LTE Fixed Wireless Internet.

The bad news is Bell only officially supports the Winnipeg and Lac du Bonnet regions in Manitoba, although your area may be supported if you have LTE access.

Download speeds of up to 5 Mbps, upload speeds of up to 1 Mbps and 10 GB of monthly usage, plus a free Wi-Fi home network.
$65/mo. on a 2-year term. 4G LTE Huawei B2268H wireless router (indoor and outdoor units) included. $99 professional installation fee.

I found more detailed pictures through Google:

Cham 2017-11-28 08:22 AM

I was looking at that unit... but told Bell/MTS does not support it at this time...
Not sure why they don't. Maybe no experienced installers? Maybe incompatible with the current network configuration?

Fancy unit though and perfect for consumer installs. I already have a rather complex network set up for security cams, web servers, etc so I don't need the wifi or router capabilities, need only the radio part and network/USB interface to connect to the gateway.

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