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Discussion Starter #1
I installed my hub yesterday. My location is near Belwood Lake. Good high speed internet is my goal. We are beyond the reach of DSL and cable.

First impression? I really like this service and suspect that it's the way of the future for rural folk. My problem is a weak signal; two, sometimes three bars as shown by the unit's software. But I am getting roughly 2 to 6 mbps per speedtest. And I have not had the signal drop off.

Tech support (he was overseas but very bright and seemed well informed), said that the HSPA network would continue tobe developed so as to fill in missing or weak spots. One day, he said, you will get a good signal in your basement. He tested my signal and confirmed that it was weak.

So - do I keep the service or not? I am inclined to do so. For one thing it is rather better than what I have now. For another, if I believe that support guy, the signal should improve over time.

He also said, and this contradicts what I have read in other forums and what Ericsson's distributor claims, that an antenna would not work, but would be a waste of money.

Your comments would be much appreciated.
 

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Ok I have the Roger's Rocket Hub and I purchased and antenna, an amplifier and put it on a 60ft tower. (Roger's Rocket Hub = Bell Turbo Hub - Ericsson W35)

My experience:

1. Indoors stand alone HUB

2-3 bars maximum
Pings were real intermittent (tested to Google)
Drops
2-3MB down
0.3MB up

2. Bought recommended Yagi antenna and LMR-400 cable and installed on my tower

Full Signal all the time
Pings were less intermittent (tested to Google)
Less drops
2-3MB down
0.3 MB up

Overall more solid but still crap

3. Figured maybe its the strength of my signal to tower so got Cell amplifier (extra 3 Watts)

Same as above - not needed

4. Figured maybe my aiming not accurate - so installed a TV rotor so I can aim my Yagi to 4 different towers

Made me feel better - but basically my decision to point to a certain tower was correct and if it was accurate the rotor not needed.


So overall an antenna will strengthen the signal greatly but that does not translate to speeds. I actually went back to my old internet provider because Rogers internet was crap for ME. What I discovered was that Rogers cell towers were overloaded (confirmed by Rogers after 2 months of support calls) by the time evening came around and dial-up would have been more reliable and FASTER.

You are on Bell and different towers so your experience will differ.. What I discovered if the internet is bad now, the extras cost but don't solve problems that may be because of congestion, distance and topography. An antenna will solidify your signal and make better quality but what you are getting in speeds where you are is what you will be solidifying.

My friend who also got Turbo Hub at same time is happy as hell and no antenna and no amplifier. 3-4MB down and 1 MB up but different Rogers tower 12 km from me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Your experience fits with what I have been reading and what the Bell tech told me. If the hub works with a weak signal, the speed will not improve much (or at all?) with the installation of an antenna which brings in a stronger signal.

I have no drops and 2 - 2 mbps in the evenings with Bell. I consider that things are pretty good for me right now.

These HSPA nets are new. With the growing number of iPhones and Android devices the carriers will have to improve the networks. That's my guess and my hope.

Sorry about your experience.
 

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If it works for you great, the extra money is probably not justified.

I spent the money because its my business to be on the internet 12 hours a day. So spending to improve to best signal is something I can justify. If it was for personal use it would have been different story.

I feel that 3G/4G is going to be the future but as I discovered its only if the cell provider is on the ball and loading their towers properly. Its too early for them to start upgrading. In addition Rogers is playing catchup all over the place to Telus and Bell in upgrading their network to HSPA+, so I suspect they are putting their upgrade dollars there at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have now bought and installed an antenna: an omnidirectional intended for outdoor use. $100.

I discovered that it works well enough indoors, and for too many reasons to discuss, left it there.

Results
Steady three bars, sometimes four
Can locate hub away from window

So now I have good, steady, fairly fast (2+ - 4+ mbps) service, with the hub located out of the way, and two computers networked thru the hub. This was my hope when I bought the unit.

Next -- Monthly usage?
 

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I got a Bell Turbo Hub for the cottage. I want it to work to save me several thousands to bring a phone cable in from the main road. I am just beyond the edge of the Bell coverage map - closest tower is about 25 minute drive away. The area is hilly and forested.

My cell phone can't get reception without aid. I use a booster kit in my car which works well - I get reception all around the cottage, and up to 200 ft from the end of the driveway, then I drop over a rise and lose signal.

The Turbo Hub is excellent in the city - multi Mbps up and down (over 3 Mbps up link in Ottawa - blew me away). At the cottage, no signal (no surpise). So I bought a Yagi antenna+booster package targeted for the Ericsson W35. Put the antenna on a pole next to the cottage, and it worked. Barely. The hub shows a signal lock with the "3G", "+", and "internet" symbols all lit, but zero bars of signal strength. So it's a weak signal, but it holds. I get 0.9 to 1.3 Mbps down and 0.2 to 0.3 Mbps up - not great but acceptable given the conditions. The data rates are quite variable - likely due to the weak signal. Voice quality is good - near normal cell quality.

So I am positive on using an external antenna and booster if you don't get a good signal. I'm going to try changing the antenna position and upgrading the cable to CMT-400 from LMR-195.

One odd thing - the yagi gets best signal pointing away from the tower. I can't get signal pointing at the tower (ENE), but gets a lock pointing W to WSW. I think the metal roof (faces north and is behind the antenna relative to the tower) is acting like a big relector. But I'm going to post separately on that.
 
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