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FAQ ID # 138
Last Update : 2013/12/10
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Question / Issue
How can I improve cellular signal strength?

Answer / Solution

Many issues affect cellular signal strength including:

  • Distance to the nearest cell tower
  • Interference from nearby sources
  • Frequency of your cellular carrier's signal
  • Antenna placement
  • Antenna gain & directionality
  • Antenna cable length, number of connectors and other RF loss factors
  • Sensitivity of your modem's radio

Some simple changes you can make to improve reception include:

  • Remove any nearby sources of interference such as other radio equipment, CRT's, lights, motors, microwaves, TV's, etc.
  • If you are not using an external antenna, make sure the 3G card's internal antenna is not enclosed in metal (e.g. the Card-Guard, an equipment cabinet, etc).
  • Use an external antenna and place it outside or near a window.  Try the antenna in different locations - small differences in position can dramatically affect signal strength, esp. indoors where multipath signal reflections and other sources of attenuation and interference are common.
  • Place the antenna as high as possible, but use the shortest possible coax length.
  • Use a higher gain antenna.  Most "desktop" cellular/PCS/GSM/UMTS antennas under 6 inches provide from unity to 2 dBi gain.  Larger antennas can increase this to 5 - 10 dBi.
  • Determine if your antenna requires an external metal ground plane.  Many magnetic antennas were designed to for optimal performance when attached to a flat metal surface.
  • Install a cellular signal amplifier between the LAN-Cell and your antenna.

For more in-depth information on antennas, placement and amplifiers, please see our TechNote: Cellular Antenna below

Related Information
Learn more about the 

Proxicast LAN-Cell 3G/4G Ethernet VPN Router
See Proxicast's External Cellular Antennas

Related Links
LCTN0001 Cellular Antennas.pdf
TechNote: Cellular Antenna Issues

Related FAQs
How can I find the location of the nearest cell tower?
What external antennas or amplifiers can I use?
Tech Note: Antennas
What is an antenna ground plane?

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