How to Boost your Mobile Broadband 3G Signal

Tuesday 18th May 2010 by Andy Simpson in How to Guides, Mobile Accessories, Mobile Broadband, Mobile Technology.

This is part of a series of posts on How to improve your mobile broadband signal. Here’s what we’ve covered:

High Gain 3G AntennaOne of the great things about Mobile Broadband is that you can go online anywhere you like – but you can almost guarantee that the place you need it the most is the place where signal is at its weakest.

While 3G coverage is getting stronger with all networks, there will still be blackspots where it drops out, or you can only pick up a 2G signal. Thankfully, a couple of solutions are now available to try and get round these signal issues. If you don’t have a dongle yet and are looking for the network with the strongest 3G signal, then the OFCOM website has just published updated coverage maps (as of 31/12/08) that allow you to view the 3G coverage by network.

UPDATED: There are now three different types of antenna available:

  • Clip Antenna: This Antenna is designed to be a portable solution that clips onto the screen on your laptop or sits on your desk. It is omni-directional, which means that it will pick up signals from all directions.
  • High Gain 3G Directional Antenna: This is a much more powerful signal booster than the clip antenna and is ideal for people who have problems with 3G reception or use their dongle in a fixed location. They are directional, which means that you will need to point this towards your network’s transmitter in order for it to improve the signal. The High Gain antenna when positioned correctly will make a significant difference to the signal you receive and can be wall mounted as a permanent fixture.
  • Mobile Broadband Outdoor Panel Antenna:This is also a more powerful signal booster than the clip antenna and is ideal for people who have real problems with 3G reception. They are also directional, which means that you will need to point this towards your network’s transmitter in order for it to improve the signal. The Outdoor Panel antenna when positioned correctly will make a significant difference to the signal you receive and is designed to be wall/pole mounted outside.

Each of the antenna’s can make a big difference to the signal you receive. Some will have an ariel connection that will plug straight into the dongle, and others will use a Universal “strap on” connection. Antennas are available for Dongles and Data Cards made by:

View all Three 3G Dongles View all T-Mobile 3G Dongles View all Vodafone 3G Dongles View all Orange 3G Dongles View all O2 3G Dongles View all Virgin 3G Dongles View all BT Mobile 3G DonglesView all Huawei 3G Dongles View all Option 3G Dongles View all Sierra Wireless 3G Dongles View all Novatel Wireless 3G Dongles View all ZTE 3G Dongles

Make sure you get the right Antenna! Click Here

To help you find the right antenna for your dongle, you can now check the 3G Antenna Compatibility chart or, to view all available antennas, head over to the Mobile Broadband section of the site, and then choose your device – either a USB Dongle or a Data Card. You’ll need to know the model number of your dongle, but this should be printed on a label on the underneath of your Dongle or Data Card.

Identifying your Dongle

Your model number is printed on the base of your dongle and is not the CE number

Setting up your Antenna

Clip 3G Antenna to screen

Clip 3G Antenna to screen

Set up is quick and simple. The Clip Antenna easily clips onto the screen of your laptop or can be mounted in the desk stand (if included).
The High Gain Directional Antenna needs to be mounted on the deskstand, or fixed to the wall (bracket included)

3G Antenna Installation

3G Antenna Installation

Next you’ll need to connect the antenna to the adapter cable. If your dongle has an antenna connection, carefully connect the end of the cable to your dongle.

The Clip Antenna includes a 50cm cable, the High Gain Directional Antenna comes with a 1.2m cable. Longer 3m cables and 5m cables are available for the High Gain and Outdoor Panel Antenna.


Clip 3G Antenna to screen

Universal 3G Antenna Installation

If your dongle doesn’t have an antenna connection, wrap the universal adapter round your dongle and make sure that it doesn’t stop it from going in to your pc/laptop.

The High Gain 3G Directional Antenna and Outdoor Panel Antenna will need to be positioned so that they are facing your nearest mobile phone transmitter.

Our post on Finding your Nearest Transmitter should help you to work out which way your antenna should be facing.


That’s it! All done. Use your Dongle or Data card as normal and you should see an increase in signal strength straight away.

Related posts:

  • http://www.celcomplan.com SarahZigler

    Thanks for this article great sharing. This week Im buying a 4g booster in my home the information real helpful!

  • Josephine

    Hi
    Received the WiFi repeater yesterday in the post, plugged it in upstairs and could not believe it, full signal everywhere. Magic. Thank you so much, amazing how 1 little item can make such a difference.

  • http://williamjudd.com/ William Judd
  • Josephine

    I have 3 broadband wifi. I need to boost the signal throughout the house as its only here and there. What would I need to do this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jr.madelo.7 Jr Madelo

    I HAVE A DONGLE E357. THERES NO E357 MODEL ON YOUR LIST..

  • http://www.facebook.com/jr.madelo.7 Jr Madelo

    HOW ABOUT MY HUAWEI DONGLE E357. THERES NO E357 MODEL IN YOUR LIST..

  • Santoo

    Hi,
    i have visiontek 3g dongle could you please tell me which antenna suite for my device,i have very very weak signal strength,how can i find which panel antenna suite for my dongle tnx….

  • Graham Hendry

    I’m looking for a booster to boost the signal I have before it goes into my P.C.
    Graham (gandkhend@gmail.com)

  • Freddy

    Most of the USB sticks do have an antenna plug built in but often blanked out by the case. If you are handy with jewellers screwdrivers and don’t mind voiding the warranty then you can usually open the case and plug an antenna straight in.

    The only real solution is to buy a proper signal booster with a proper externan roof antenna. This will set you back approx £400 but will give you a decent signal..SO LONG AS YOU HAVE A SIGNAL TO WORK WITH FIRST..no signal means the booster won’t work..its not magic.

  • Andy

    Sorry Jim, Missed your comment, Yes, if you’re not happy you can return it within 30 days for a refund

    Andy

  • Andy

    there is no set answer to this – it depends entirely on where you are in relation to the transmitter, the load on the network, maximum speed provided by network etc..

  • carl

    does anyone have any idea of the speed boosts that you get with the high gain directional antenna, and also if it lowers your ping?

  • jim

    andy

    If i buy one and is does not work.

    does your return policy allow me to return it with a full refund.

    Regards
    Jim

  • Andy

    They should do, but if there is something causing interference and blocking the signal then they may not work.

    Andy

  • Jim

    I have no signal for 3g in the building i live in.

    Though i know in the building 50 meters away i can get 2-3 bars.

    Will these antennas enable me to get 3g in my building?

    Regards
    Jim

  • Andy

    It might help. It’ll give you a stronger connection (ie 3/4 bars instead of 2) but if you lose connection because of a fault on the network, it won’t help with that.

    As it’s not been a problem for 9 months, I’d say it’s more likely to be a network problem.