zebu

      I'm looking for LTE Options in a very rural area with poor signal. The ZTE Falcon does not have external antennas and I'm not crazy about using it in conjunction with a cell repeater. I think the best solution would be a LTE Router with a pair of unidirectional antennas pointed to the tower. Does anyone of a list of compatible equipment that's not crazy expensive? What I'd really like is something similar to verizon's home gateway that is a router+voice.

    Novatel Wireless - Verizon 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice by Novatel Wireless

     

    I found this ZTE with the B2,B4 bands but no B12 and it's us cellular banded so I'm not sure it will work

    ZTE 4G LTE™ Router with Voice - ZTE USA

     

    This MOFI is a little pricier but is has B2,B4,B12 and look carrier agnostic.

    MOFI4500-4GXeLTE-SIM4 [MOFI4500-4GXeLTE-SIM4] - $299.99

     

    Thoughts? Any others I should consider?

     

    Thanks,

     

    -Bill

      All replies

      • zebu

        Re: LTE Router Options

        I've been trying to put together a list of options. I'm visiting my mom next week and my goal is to leave her with a high quality internet connection.

         

        First I'm going to try the Z-917 hotspot. I have little confidence this will fit the bill. Her iPhone 6 only has one bar and a working signal is hit or mis but she is on another carrier so I don't know what T-Mobile will be. It's possible the antennas in the Z-917 are better but I have not been able to find any docs or videos showing if they are using PCB or metal antennas. If the board has U.FL connectors on it and I want to void the warranty an external antenna may be an option. This box is also going to be problematic because there is no signal strength in DB or any other diagnostic information such as CELLID, TAC so I can pinpoint the tower.


        My next option is to combine the Z-917 with Signal booster. As a said in my last post, I'm not crazy about adding another hop in the chain. The box is also pretty small so I don't have great hopes for it's antennas. It's worth a shot.


        Next I'm going with a dedicated LTE Router. I could not find any options on T-Mobiles site. The best option I could find is pretty pricey MOFI4500-4GXeLTE-SIM4 [MOFI4500-4GXeLTE-SIM4] - $299.99

        They have another model that's $50 less but no B12 support. If I'm reading the proposed spectrum bids correctly, T-Mobile will be purchasing the B12 block in her area so I wanted something that supported it.


        My final option is to add a pair of YAGI antennas. I want to know what the signal strength is before I drop a lot of money on a high gain set. I'm been looking at

        Amazon.com: Proxicast 3G/4G/LTE 18 dBi MIMO Yagi Double Bullet Shaped High Gain Fixed Mount Outdoor Directional Antenna:…

        and

        Amazon.com: MIMO Antenna for Verizon 4G LTE Router with Voice YagiRef2-QLP™ High Gain Ultra-Directional Shielded Wide Ba…

         

        Any thoughts?

          • tmo_mike_c

            Re: LTE Router Options

            Hey there zebu and thanks for posting.

             

            I can't speak for the hardware you've posted previously, but I'd like to share some thoughts on what T-Mobile offers. Our Wi-Fi CellSpot Routers and 4G LTE CellSpot are great options to help with indoor coverage. I'm thinking the 4G LTE Cellspot may be a better fit so you can check it out and see if that'll work for you.

             

            Without looking at the exact area, it's hard to say what the status is for Band 12. I do have high hopes that it'll roll out there very soon. The goal is improve the coverage with Band 12 and hopefully eliminate the need for additional coverage equipment.

              • zebu

                Re: LTE Router Options

                I thought I'd give an update.

                 

                The ZTE Falcon would work in windows with a single strength of -110db and achieved about 3Mb/s. Next I installed the LTE CellSpot. The CellSpot only has a crude led display for signal strength so I used the Falcon to locate the area of the house with the strongest signal. The CellSpot only shows one bar but with it, the Falcon achieved about 3.5Mb/s. I did notice significantly longer ping times with the CellSpot.

                 

                This setup appears to meet my mom's needs. Good pings are not needed for streaming and she has enough bandwidth. I really wish the CellSpot had jacks for external antennas or TMO offered an LTE Router option with external antennas I think it would be a better and cheaper option for rural customers.

                 

                I'm going to give it several months and see how it performs for her. If this doesn't workout I'll explore a Yagi antenna with an LTE router. That combination should knock 18db or more off the signal strength. A significant improvement.

                 

                -Bill