Using directional cellular antennas to get better internet

in STEMGeeks8 months ago (edited)

Around where I live, there are not many options for internet. But with some recent cell towers installed, I figured it would be worth a try to set up a mobile hotspot. I set up one in the house, but the signal was quite poor. Due to how our land is sloped most cell signals have trouble reaching our house. With many trees in the way, it can make for a one bar signal if any at all. Its so bad sometimes to just check my voicemail I have to walk around the house to find a better signal.

So I needed a solution if I was to get internet through the cell towers. I bought two yagi antennas, these are highly directional meaning you need to know where the cell tower is. Luckily I do, but if you do not you can use websites like the ones below to find it:

My attic was the highest point of the home, so I decided to deploy the dual yagi antennas up there.

I built a stand for these antennas using a camera tripod, an L-bracket and vice grips to hold it together. It was temporary, just for testing.

The angle of the two antennas is quite important, there are arrows on them to tell you their polarization. It is important to form an X pattern using the two antennas to get the cellular waves more readily.

Feels weird sitting up in my attic, running speed tests and slightly moving my antenna until I find the best speeds.

Eventually I found a pretty good spot to point at, the tripod making it very easy to set it exactly where I want it.

These antennas can be bought from amazon, its important to know if you will be picking up 5G or 4G as they are different frequencies and each antenna is tuned to specific megahertz/gigahertz range.

My mobile hotspot is a Yeacomm P21 CPE Router. I am using t-mobile Magenta for my data plan. Costs around $70 a month.

I had to be careful not to step on the antenna cables, they are probably quite fragile and damaging them would make for very poor reception if any at all.

The best speeds I got were around 20 megabits down and 3 megabits up. Testing on a torrent I get around 2.5 megabytes per second and about 100 kilobytes per second upload.

Unfortunately about 12 hours after starting some torrents to test, my connection was severely throttled by t-mobile. At first I thought it was due to some rain that moved in. But after some research I realized if I torrent they will slow you down alot.. So after the throttle I was getting around 10-35 kilobytes per second. I canceled the service shortly after, and may try again on the Verizon network and see how that plays out. I will need to get a different hotspot as this one is not designed for CDMA networks, only GSM.

But in general, if you are not torrenting.. Or by their terms of service "abusing the network". Maybe its a good solution for internet. You dont need to go with the $70 a month plan. I just wanted more data, though it proved pointless since they would not let me download reliably what i wanted in the end.

Posted with STEMGeeks


Run a vpn for torrenting. I make sure to have mine on at all times so I can pull them anytime I want. I haven't had an issue with an ISP since I have been running the vpn.

Ah yeah I normally do, but just did not in this case. From what I have read they can still throttle you even with a VPN. But maybe not.. worth a try.

 8 months ago 

At first I thought it was due to some rain that moved in. But after some research I realized if I torrent they will slow you down alot.. So after the throttle I was getting around 10-35 kilobytes per second.

This is the reason why I hope Internet Computer (ICP) would succeed in the coming years...but their terrible tokenomics really rekt'd their debut.

Oh yeah I have heard of ICP but never looked into them. Will keep an eye on them.

Where I live the situation is also the same as yours, the internet signal is poor and the only thing that is fast and with 4G speeds is the mobile telephony but as I live between hills it does not reach well, I am going to look to see if I can buy an antenna as the speed of the Inter mobile is 8mbs but the internet for residential telephony is 1.5mbs.

Yeah hills and trees can be a major issue when getting a good cell signal. You may need to put the antennas high up.

Hope this works for you, it just sucks the carriers in the US are very strict with data usage.