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Archive for the ‘Mobile Broadband’ Category

How to Measure & Improve Mobile Broadband Reception

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

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

The Problem with Mobile Broadband

Mobile Broadband has really taken off in the past 12 months – and USB Mobile Broadband dongles are now aggressively promoted by all UK mobile networks (3, Vodafone, t-mobile, Orange & O2) as a viable alternative to traditional fixed-line broadband.

However, we’ve heard from our customers that some of them are far from happy with the quality, reception and signal strength of their Mobile Broadband dongles.  But the mobile networks continue to promote Mobile Broadband as if coverage is not an issue.  Last year, the ASA even went as far as reprimanding a mobile network for some misleading advertising claims.

At Mobile Fun, we’re not entirely convinced that the quality issues surrounding mobile broadband have been fully addressed.  Okay, so UK mobile networks are investing heavily in network infrastructure, but we don’t believe that customers are getting adequate coverage, signal strength, or reliability with their Mobile Broadband dongles.

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How to fit your Mobile Broadband Aerial

Monday, June 15th, 2009

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

You’ve probably already seen on our previous post, that the best way to improve the signal to your 3G Mobile Broadband Dongle is to attach an external aerial.

Although this may sound like a complicated procedure, it really isn’t!

There are two main types of aerial, one with a dongle specific connector, and a universal one. The steps below will show you how to connect the Clip Aerial and High Gain Aerials to your dongle.

Universal Aerials

Clip Aerial:

Installing the Universal Ariel

The Clip Aerial clips on to the top of your laptop screen and is attached to the antenna pad by joining the two cables together. It’s a simple screw connection so shouldn’t cause you any hassle.

To connect the aerial to your dongle, you just need to sit the antenna pad on top of your dongle, and then securing by wrapping the velcro strap around it.

That’s it – just plug the dongle into your laptop and you should see a difference in signal straight away.

High Gain Aerial:

Installing the High Gain Universal Ariel

The High Gain is Aerial designed to be a more permanent solution, and as a result. installation for this aerial is slightly different as the aerial needs to point in the direction of your nearest transmitter.

The 1.2 metre cable that is included will need to be connected to both the aerial and the antenna pad. As with the clip aerial, its a simple screw connection to attach them, and it’s not possible to connect them the wrong way round. If you need a longer cable, 3 metre and 5 metre extension cables are available (High Gain Aerial only).

To connect the aerial to your dongle, you just need to sit the antenna pad on top of your dongle, and then securing by wrapping the velcro strap around it.

You can now plug your dongle in and launch the broadband control panel. You just need to position the aerial so that it now points towards your nearest network transmitter. If you don’t know where it is, then just rotate the aerial until the signal strength increases.

Dongle Specific Aerials

Clip Aerial:

Installing Dongle Specific Ariel

The Clip Aerial clips on to the top of your laptop screen and is attached to the antenna pad by joining the two cables together. It’s a simple screw connection so shouldn’t cause you any hassle.

To connect the aerial to your dongle, you need to locate the antenna connection – this is normally hidden under a dust flap. Once you’ve found it, gently push the aerial connector in as far as you can.

That’s it – just plug the dongle into your laptop and you should see a difference in signal straight away.

High Gain Aerial:

Installing Dongle Specific High Gain Ariel

The High Gain Aerial is designed to be a more permanent solution, and as a result. installation for this aerial is slightly different as the aerial needs to point in the direction of your nearest transmitter.

The 1.2 metre cable that is included will need to be connected to both the aerial and the antenna pad. As with the clip aerial, its a simple screw connection to attach them, and it’s not possible to connect them the wrong way round. If you need a longer cable,3 metre and 5 metre extension cables are available (High Gain Aerial only).

To connect the aerial to your dongle, you need to locate the antenna connection – this is normally hidden under a dust flap. Once you’ve found it, gently push the aerial connector in as far as you can.

You can now plug your dongle in and launch the broadband control panel. You just need to position the aerial so that it now points towards your nearest network transmitter. If you don’t know where it is, then just rotate the aerial until the signal strength increases.

If you want help finding your nearest network transmitter, the OFCOM sitefinder website has maps showing the locations of all transmitters.

Which 3G Antenna do I need?

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

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

UPDATE 23/03/2010: We’ve just updated the compatibility chart to include all of the latest dongles that are currently available from all UK networks. For the latest dongles, please visit the 3G dongle antenna compatibility page.

The table below shows the current 3G Broadband Dongles and the Antennas that are available. If you aren’t sure which dongle you have, our post on how to boost your 3G signal will show you where to find this information.

There are now three two different types of antenna available. The standard Clip 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. The High Gain 3G Directional Antenna is a more powerful signal booster. It is directional, which means that you will need to point this towards your networks 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. The latest dongle is the Panel Antenna. This is similar in many ways to the High Gain Antenna, but is slightly stronger and is weatherproof – making it perfect for outdoor installations.

Mobile Broadband Signal Boosters

Clip Antenna - High Gain Antenna - Panel Antenna

More information on the different antennas can be found on our blog post “Mobile Broadband Antenna Range extended

To find your dongle quickly, press “ctrl” and “f” on your keyboard, and then type in the model number of your dongle (eg: E160G) to search this page. If your dongle is not listed here, don’t worry, this is only a snapshot of the most popular dongles.

We’ve now made it easier for you to find the right antenna for your dongle. You can now use the smart filter in the mobile broadband section of the main site. Go to the USB Dongle Antennas and select your dongle from the drop down box at the top of the page to see the antennas that are compatible with your 3G Broadband Modem.

If you still can’t find your dongle, please add a comment with the network, dongle make and model number and I’ll find out which antenna you need and add it to the list. If you have any questions about using the dongle or aren’t sure which one you need, please ask us on the Mobile Fun Forums
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