Faster Than Fast: Speeding Up a 4G LTE Connection with an Antenna
One of the greatest advantages of EVDO 4G wireless Internet is its portability. Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops are now the norm when it comes to browsing the internet. In rural areas where Wi-Fi is hard to come by, a portable internet service allows you to check your phone, tablet, or computer wherever you are.
So why invest in stationary hardware like a MIMO antenna for your home?
Typically, EVDO users access the internet outside of their homes for tasks like using maps, browsing Facebook, or checking email
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. Inside their homes users are more likely to access the internet for video streaming or online gaming, tasks that require a stronger connection. Installing an antenna in your home can improve your connection where you need it most.
Before you invest in what can be expensive hardware, do a site survey of your home. An antenna will improve your connection only if, first, there is a better signal available nearby and, second, your connection is currently functioning below optimal speed.
To perform a site survey, first determine the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) inside your house. Where the RSSI is highest (be sure to check your attic too), run a speed test and record the results. Now take your device outside. Is there anywhere on your property that has a higher RSSI? Run a speed test in that location. Compare the speed test results from inside your house with the results from outside.
If the connection is significantly faster outside your house than it is inside, an external antenna will improve your connection. You can expect the improvement to be equal to, approximately, the difference between the best signal and your current signal.
Take note, if you identify a place on your property with a better signal than your current one, if there are trees blocking that signal from your house or a significant elevation/distance disparity between that point and your house. Before purchasing an antenna, relay this information to the seller. He or she can recommend a product based on the obstacles.
If the connection is fastest at a point inside your house rather than outside, an internal antenna will improve your connection. As with an external antenna, you can expect the improvement to be equal to, approximately, the difference between the best signal and your current signal.
Many modems have two antenna ports, which means you can install both an external and internal antenna. Doubling the antennas only makes sense if both the best signal inside your house and the best signal outside are significantly higher than your current signal. Two antennas is the ideal set-up. This user, on an EVDO forum, claims that using two antennas allows him to literally max-out his tower sector: http://www.evdoforums.com/thread16321.html.
What if you want a better connection everywhere?
The other hardware option for 4G wireless internet services is a portable MIMO antenna. While portable antennas lack the careful positioning that makes stationary antennas so effective, they are devilishly convenient. Portable MIMOs are perfect for cars (many are actually designed to attach to a car window). Unlike stationary antennas, portable antennas require minimal installation and are adjustable, so they can be easily adapted to changes in the network due to new towers, etc.
Hannah Fillmore is a 2012 graduate of Colby College’s English department and a lifelong Macintosh user who, as a kid, wrote her first pretend news articles on her black and white SE/30. The SE/30, though out of use for a decade, is miraculously still in working condition.