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Old 02-01-2019, 05:06 PM   #43
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As long as the material conducts, then it is a suitable ground plane. The more conductive the material is, the better. Same goes for coverage area, the more the better.

Iron would be best, but then you have to deal with rust.
Copper would be nice, and would get a nice look over time, but I am not sure what that would do to your roof and sides of the coach as it aged.

I would stick with aluminum personally.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:50 PM   #44
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oach in storage is in a remote area so this will be interesting to test as well.

Anyone want to debunk my design please do, I'm open to suggestions. If aluminum is not ideal for a ground plane let me know. I sized this based off of a 700 mhz band, realizing higher frequencies require much smaller ground planes. Hey, we have room, why not.

I'll still put one antenna on each side of the coach, one antenna per mount. I'd rather each antenna be picking up off the sides.
Look forward to the results of your tests. I still can't get my head around the concept that ground plane or MIMO antenna separation could have much to do with performance when you hold the little iPhone in your hand with simple built in antennas and performs better than my fancy PepWave when standing outside outside the coach.

While this sounds discouraging my PepWave is always much faster than the iPhone when I am inside the coach.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:21 AM   #45
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If the antenna doesn't need a ground plane then adding one probably won't help. Ground planes act like a mirror so that a monopole antenna acts like a proper dipole. If it's already a dipole or has a properly engineered internal ground plane you're probably wasting you time with an external one.

Mimo separation is important if the antenna is not designed for MIMO and they are polarized the same as the video shows. An iPhone or a quality prebuilt MIMO is going to have significant design work into element shape and isolation to maximize MIMO performance. As the number of elements keep going up the future is very specifically designed massive MIMO arrays in small packages. If you look at the Panorama data sheets you can see the elements separation graphs and 3d radiation plots from their testing.

Of course the obvious thing why the iPhone is its a newer more capable modem, most likely the speed difference is it from being able to do 3 carrier aggregation rather than just 2 of the Pepwave and perhaps the use of QAM256 instead of QAM64.

Modern cell radios doing amazing things with so little, many times raw signal strength in db is not the biggest factor, really SNR is more important which is why booster/amplifiers can actually hurt things even though your raw signal is so much better due to there noise factor.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:01 AM   #46
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Mimo separation is important if the antenna is not designed for MIMO and they are polarized the same as the video shows. An iPhone or a quality prebuilt MIMO is going to have significant design work into element shape and isolation to maximize MIMO performance. As the number of elements keep going up the future is very specifically designed massive MIMO arrays in small packages. If you look at the Panorama data sheets you can see the elements separation graphs and 3d radiation plots from their testing.
Good explanation. When I get the next modem/router it will be a 4X4 MIMO. I may try the Panorama cutting the leads back to the minimum length needed.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:37 AM   #47
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In a perfect world that all makes sense. However, we are sitting antennas on boxes with massive radiation and unshielded wiring within. If a ground plane can serve as a shield to the radiation below then maybe in a non standard unconventional application such as ours it may do something we don't expect. Tests will tell. I have a variation of tests I intend to perform over the coming weeks.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:49 AM   #48
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In a perfect world that all makes sense. However, we are sitting antennas on boxes with massive radiation and unshielded wiring within. If a ground plane can serve as a shield to the radiation below then maybe in a non standard unconventional application such as ours it may do something we don't expect. Tests will tell. I have a variation of tests I intend to perform over the coming weeks.
The first test would be to base line the installation by just placing the PepWave with rabbit ears only on the roof and look at signal levels. The reason I put the SureCall antennas on top of the box was to get antennas high enough to be above the roof fences and awning structure on the NA. Best to have no metal in the line of sight between PepWave antennas and cell tower.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:53 AM   #49
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In a perfect world that all makes sense. However, we are sitting antennas on boxes with massive radiation and unshielded wiring within. If a ground plane can serve as a shield to the radiation below then maybe in a non standard unconventional application such as ours it may do something we don't expect. Tests will tell. I have a variation of tests I intend to perform over the coming weeks.
I agree the real world is very different than just the data sheet specs, that why RVMobileinternet.com is so valuable because they actually real world test various antennas and devices. However I wouldn't be to concerned about unshielded internal wiring, the the frequencies involved are very different and the ground plane doesn't really serve that purpose, it has a very specific use, this image gives a good representation, it all about virtually mirroring a monopole to become a dipole:


Name:   220px-Monopole_and_image_antenna.svg.png
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If you have a fiberglass motorhome with a monopole and no integral ground plane you need to provide one, otherwise its not necessary. Interesting thing is though a fiberglass motorhome is very transparent to radio waves. My 5Ghz Wifi works well inside and out. But getting your cell antennas as high as possible with minimum obstructions to tower is always good while balancing that with cable losses and antenna quality/design.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:59 AM   #50
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If you have a fiberglass motorhome with a monopole and no integral ground plane you need to provide one, otherwise its not necessary. Interesting thing is though a fiberglass motorhome is very transparent to radio waves. My 5Ghz Wifi works well inside and out. But getting your cell antennas as high as possible with minimum obstructions to tower is always good while balancing that with cable losses and antenna quality/design.
Newmar DP's have metal clad sidewalls. I don't think there is any metal in the roof. So both WiFi and cellular signals are degraded significantly for devices inside a Newmar coach utilizing signals outside the coach.
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:05 AM   #51
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Newmar DP's have metal clad sidewalls. I don't think there is any metal in the roof. So both WiFi and cellular signals are degraded significantly for devices inside a Newmar coach utilizing signals outside the coach.
Didn't realize it was metal clad, thought they where metal framing/studs like my Winnebago except thicker with more insulation. Obviously if there is continuous metal sheet it will reflect and block radio waves , this is a big issue for bus conversions.

The metal framing can interfere but MIMO can actually be taking advantage of reflections so long as the signal is still reaching the antennas.
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:11 AM   #52
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Newmar DP's have metal clad sidewalls. I don't think there is any metal in the roof. So both WiFi and cellular signals are degraded significantly for devices inside a Newmar coach utilizing signals outside the coach.
What part of the sidewall is metal clad? It has the aluminum studs.
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:28 AM   #53
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Didn't realize it was metal clad, thought they where metal framing/studs like my Winnebago except thicker with more insulation. Obviously if there is continuous metal sheet it will reflect and block radio waves , this is a big issue for bus conversions.

The metal framing can interfere but MIMO can actually be taking advantage of reflections so long as the signal is still reaching the antennas.


Correct. Roof and sides are metal framing. Insulation and then fiberglass. Roof has a wood layer with very thin fiberglass laminate.
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:11 AM   #54
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There is the same amount of aluminum on the roof as the sidewalls. The entire box is framed with aluminum.
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Old 02-02-2019, 11:27 AM   #55
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There is the same amount of aluminum on the roof as the sidewalls. The entire box is framed with aluminum.
That being the case we just need to make sure the aluminum in the roof is grounded to the chassis and we should not have to worry about a ground plane for roof mounted antennas.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:00 PM   #56
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That being the case we just need to make sure the aluminum in the roof is grounded to the chassis and we should not have to worry about a ground plane for roof mounted antennas.
I recall that the aluminum walls are secured to a wood floor, thus losing the ground plane connection to the chassis. The walls and roof are all physically connected, and should be one large ground plane, covered by wood and fiberglass.
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