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Old 01-26-2022, 11:02 AM   #1
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Some help for home internet

We live in a semi rural area with limited internet options. Several years ago we got a wireless service that worked well for our needs but as time goes on it gets less and less reliable and when we ask the provider they always have an excuse why it is on our end but it is obvious that they donít have enough bandwidth because we have better speed during the day and in the evening it drops to 5 mbps or less.
Anyway I checked into both Verizon and T-Mobile and neither has their home internet service in our area. But recently our cell signal strength on our Verizon phones has jumped from 1 bar, 2 if your lucky, up to 3 and mostly 4 bars. So I am hoping someone could suggest a 4g modem to use with my existing router. We have the 999 gig plan so we have plenty of data. Since this would be temporary I was looking for an inexpensive router maybe something to go outside or one that can accept a remote antenna.
We signed up for Starlink but they put us off for another 6 months and we need to do something.
Thanks for any comments.
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Old 01-26-2022, 03:02 PM   #2
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You speak of getting a 4G modem as though that's going to significantly improve your speeds. It might and, then again, it might not.

With all due respect, the number of bars showing on your phones is a relatively poor qualitative measure of signal strength. Furthermore, most 4G phones are quite usable over a range of >50dBm (a factor of 100,000).

IMO the first thing you should do is get an absolute measure of the signal strength at your location. The Android app Network Cell Signal Lite is free and quite popular to use for this purpose.

If you measure the signal strength and find it to be less than ~-120 dBm (larger negative numbers denote weaker signal) then maybe a better phone or hotspot would provide a more advanced modem which might improve things. Or, maybe a cellular amplifier would help, but most amplifiers negate many of the technical performance improvements found in newer modems.

But please bear in mind that with digital signals signal strength and speed are only loosely related. At my home location I have a Verizon signal strength of ~-110 dBm which is really poor, but the speeds I measure are excellent.

All this is a way of saying that there may or may not be anything you can do about the speeds you are measuring. IMO there is no reason to spend money until you get a better idea of what the issue is. It simply may be that that's the best that your tower can provide.
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Old 01-26-2022, 06:02 PM   #3
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Our signal varied between -87 to -95 dbm using an iPhone 13 mini. I suspect that the antennas on the mini are fairly limited but it consistently gets better strength than my iPhone 11.
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Old 01-26-2022, 06:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clhjsh View Post
Our signal varied between -87 to -95 dbm using an iPhone 13 mini. I suspect that the antennas on the mini are fairly limited but it consistently gets better strength than my iPhone 11.
That's a perfectly acceptable signal strength; I wouldn't spend money trying to improve it.
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Old 01-26-2022, 08:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for your input I really appreciate it. The main reason I was planning to use a modem was due to this being a fixed installation, I donít want to use my phone, and that our house has a metal roof and the walls have a foil vapor barrier. I was looking at a Netgear LM1200 and a simple outdoor antenna.
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