Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I am going to try the MF275 at a location where I have very spotty cell reception currently. There is a tower only 5km away but I don't think it has LTE (only 850 and 1900MHz) but the posts from some of you on the thread sound encouraging (LTE from 30km away!). There are a couple of LTE towers (2100 and 2600MHz) that are about 20 km away so maybe there's hope. I will be testing this weekend with a Yagi 11 directional antenna which I'll attach to the receive side. If it works I'll obviously get a second one for the transmit side.
My challenge may be that I have to mount the antenna on top of an old TV antenna tower. That would be good for height but it means I would need about 150 feet of cable to get indoors where the hub would be. Obviously that's a massive loss that pretty much eliminates the gain from the antenna. Is anyone aware of a pre-amp that can help overcome long cable runs? I'm familiar with such a device from the OTA world which works well. I'm wondering if the same concept could work for LTE antennas?
Hi, Sterlo. I am the one who has good LTE service 30 km from the tower. I THINK I am served through 700 Mhz but that frequency is not shown on the present cell site map. However, the 2nd-level person who helped me said 700 Mhz is on the tower serving me and recommended I make sure my antenna includes 700 Mhz.
He recommended connecting at 700 MHz because the lower frequencies have greater range and are less susceptible to obstructions such as trees, which are both factors for my location. I think the higher frequencies such as 2100 and 2600 MHz have significantly less range and are more affected by obstructions. Perhaps others know if this is correct.
As for cable loss, LMR400 will lose about 6.6 dB per 100 feet at 2400 MHz (and less at other frequencies). The YagiRef-QLP antennas I used are rated at 24 dBm and the same company has a longer model rated at 28 dBm. The cables and antennas are fairly pricey. Would another option be to locate the hub closer to the antenna (assuming you have power and a weather proof location) and handle the distance with an ethernet cable to a switch?
There is another aspect about LTE antennas. They are MIMO (multi-in, multi-out), not separate transmit and receive. I had the same mistaken idea of separate transmit and receive until I watched the youtube videos mentioned in my posts. Also, the antennas should be mounted at +45 and -45 degrees (90 degrees to each other). The two antennas provide two separate paths, both of which are transmit and receive. Adding the second antenna doubles the speed because it is using two paths instead of one.
Another thing you might try is to see if you can get someone from Rogers 2nd-level support to provide more information. The fellow who helped me was great in helping me find a solution. He was able to see my terrain and tree cover (I suspect using Google Earth) and see the tower, frequency and signal strengths where my hub was connecting.
Good luck with your testing. It would be interesting to see what you find.
Thank you kco. My plan for this weekend is to try the Yagi 11dBm antenna with the hub on a very short cable (3 feet) in numerous different places around the property (antenna tower, roof, etc.). I'm planning to use the Device Information page on the router to determine signal strength and then use something like DSL reports for a speed test. I'm hoping I can find a location that works that would allow me, as you suggest, to keep the antenna to hub distance closer and then do a longer transmission over Cat5 which from my experience is quite tolerant to longer runs.
I'm hoping that there is 700 MHz in my area but that site we all use seems to have older data so I think I'll try your suggestion of getting to a 2nd level support person to confirm. Rogers' coverage map does show that I have "good LTE coverage indoors and outdoors" at my location but in my experience I think that map is more on the optimistic side of things (I bet it also doesn't guarantee it's 700MHz).
Thank you for the clarification on the two antennas. So is it still a valid test to use just one antenna to see if this whole thing is even going to work for me? I assume the second antenna doesn't improve signal strength just the doubling of speeds as you mentioned?
If the Rogers map shows good LTE coverage inside and outside for your location there is a good chance the MF275 will work fine with the supplied rabbit ears. My location showed only "outside" service and I got 10 Mbps download speeds with the rabbit ears, but I think it did not get true MIMO performance. Adding the external antennas fixed that and doubled the speed. Cellphones (S3 and a Note 3) don't work at all inside our outside my house. I can get a 1 to 2 bar signal in one window on the 2nd floor with the Note 3.
The one antenna will work. I ran my MF275 with one old antenna and a rabbit ear on the other connector until I got my new antenna pair.
I believe cat 5 ethernet distance limit is 100m.
Here are some results and observations with my testing of the MF275 and a Wilson Yagi 11db gain antenna. With just the rabbit ears on the MF275 inside the building I could get LTE about 50% of the time. Signal strength was inconsistent but generally around -110 dBm. Download speeds were around 2Mbps. Surprisingly when I plugged in the Wilson Yagi antenna which was up high on a TV tower and using 175' of LMR400 I got a fairly reliable connection at -105 to -108 and 5 to 7Mbps download speeds. This is surprising because the cable is so long.
I also tried moving around the property to various locations pointing towards different towers that I'm aware of. Unfortunately I could never really get consistent results. The best signal I ever got was -100dBm but download speeds were never above 3 or 4. I guess it's possible that was congestion on the network but from my results I would conclude that better signal strength doesn't necessarily guarantee better download speeds. Not sure if this observation really makes sense.
For now I've gone back to having the antenna on the antenna tower pointing toward a tower that's about 5km away over lots of trees and small hills. Again signal strength is only -105 to -108 but it seems stable and download speeds are about 6-8Mbps. Uploads are only about 1Mbps so not sure if that's because it's only 1 antenna or if it's related to the signal strength. When I do the true installation I can likely save 25' off the cables so 150' total which will help a little. Now the decision is whether to go the cheaper option (a second Wilson Yagi for about $60) or go with the YagiRef2-QLP which is close to $500 by time you factor in shipping, the exchange rate, and customs. Obviously it would be a good choice to help overcome the loss from the long cables but I'll have to decide if the diffence in price is really worth it. I'm actually most interested in consistent and reliable service more so than top speeds. Right now I'm used to a terrible Satellite service so even my temporary solution is way better!
Sterlo, there might be additional steps to determine if you can improve your speed with a more powerful and/or a second antenna:
1. Further testing
You can use the MF275's battery backup to do a few more tests to determine whether tower congestion or signal levels are affecting your speed.
You could take the MF275 to a location with a known strong signal (perhaps use your cell phone to detect that) and use that location to check download speeds a few different times of the day. With a good signal and both rabbit ears, it should give a fair indication of the best speed you can expect.
Compare those speeds with tests taken at your home location through similar times of the day. Or, still using the rabbit ears, move to a location that has a signal levels similar to those at home.
Also, you could try the MF275 at more marginal locations until the download speed drops off, presumably due to a poorer signal. Then move to where you again get full speed with a bit better signal. Then disconnect one rabbit ear and see if the speed drops to about one half due to being unable to establish the second path.
2. Get help from SECOND LEVEL support
I recommend this--I would never have been able to solve my problem without their help.
Contact first-level support and fully document your situation including:
1. your street address or longitude/latitude
2. signal levels you mention in your post
3. include the make and model for your antenna
4. your Rogers account number (which they will request anyway)
5. the phone number associated with your MF275 hub
6. state that you need help to determine the best way to stabilize your marginal connection including:
a. the best direction to aim an antenna
b. frequencies that your antenna should cover (including future frequencies)
c. the present tower, frequency and signal quality of your present MF275 connection (leave it connected in your normal location. 2nd-level can easily find it with the phone number)
7. ask for a conversation with someone from 2nd-level to discuss your situation and possible methods to improve your signal.
Ask the 1st-level support person to forward the call to 2nd-level with all the details. First-level support do not have the security access and tools to provide the help you need. Offer to send details in written form if that will help. Get a commitment that they will forward your request to 2nd-level, and that 2nd-level will call you. Get the helpdesk call reference number and the name of the 1st-level person to whom you are speaking(they will give you their first name).
Try to keep it as brief and clear as possible with a view to helping a 2nd-level support person easily check your situation.
I find all Rogers personnel very helpful in their area of responsibility, authority, and expertise. That said, the handoff between support groups can be difficult. If you don't get a 2nd-level callback, keep trying. Be persistent and polite. Each time record the call reference number, the time, and 1st-level person's name.
If you cannot get 2nd-level help after two or three tries, escalate the issue through "Share a Concern" including the call reference numbers for your attempts so far. But that likely will not be necessary if your original request and data are clear.
Great discussion here. I’m from USA but we have a place on an island near Alban on the French River. The island is located about 20KM from two different Rogers LTE towers. One tower has 850 signal and the other one has 850/1900/2100. We are about to upgrade to the new rocket hub and I’m pretty sure we will need an antenna as well. With our old rocket hub, we used to use a wilson signal booster with the generic white plastic cone shaped yagi antenna(not sure the specs or model number). From what I’ve read on here, it seems like just having two yagi antennas that are mounted out of phase with each other is more important than how much the antennas cost. I’m just wondering if I buy an identical antenna to the one I already have, mount them both out of phase, will that be good enough? Or should I just go ahead and buy two new ones?
I think that should work providing you can connect to an LTE service. I have no expertise in this area so am just going from the videos, reading, conversations I had with others and the results of my installation.
Perhaps others can comment on this:
The Canadian Cell tower map does not appear to list all the frequencies. I say this because from my conversation with Rogers support I connect to LTE at 700 MHz, and that frequency is not shown for the tower serving me on the Canadian Cell towers map.
There is another government site which you can search for frequencies licenses. It is likely more current and it contains many options which I don't understand.
I wonder if there is a way to put in a request to Rogers to ask for 2nd level assistance to determine the tower and frequencies most likely to be successful at your location.
As a start you could try the MF275R with the rabbit ear antenna to see if it gets LTE service and then record the signal level and download speed.. Then try your single Wilson antenna in place of one of the rabbit ear antennas and see if the signal level significantly improves and check the download speed. For comparison, you may want to check the download speed at a location with a very good signal, and closer to the tower. That will give you an idea as to the best speed that can be expected. The MF275's battery backup is quite good so it is not a lot of trouble to try it in other locations.
If you have a weak signal that improves with a single external antenna, adding a second antenna may double your speed when you add a second antenna.
Your old Wilson antenna may be a model 304411 which was rated for 800-2500 Mhz. It has been superceded with model 314411 which covers 700-2700 MHz. I don't know how significant that change is if one wants to receive a 700 MHz signal.
The 700MHz frequency is more capable than higher frequencies for handling distance and obstructions such as hills and trees. So Rogers may be planning to deploy it in wooded, remote locations.
Your best bet may be to do a few tests with the MF275 and your existing antenna, and go from there.
If testing shows you need to improve the signal the best bet is to try to get recommendations from Rogers technical people. I find the Rogers support people helpful and sincere but the coordination between different resource groups could be improved. What has worked for me twice when all-else failed was to send a specific request to Rogers Share a Concern. In your case I think you would want to include your account number, the exact location for your service with a request as to which tower and frequencies Rogers support personnel recommend to improve service. The person who helped me knew the terrain and tree cover for my area. His help was the key for my getting reliable service. Before he helped I was assuming my signal came from a visible tower that does not even serve my area.
Perhaps a Rogers person monitoring this thread could get some information as to which tower and frequency is most likely to give the best service.
But the first step is likely to do some testing to determine if an external antenna is even necessary and, if so, a rough idea of the improvement your old Wilson antenna gives. If you do need to buy an additional antenna it would be nice to get some help from Rogers technical people.
Was wondering if I could get some advice, from anyone, but I'v read through alot of the posts here(not all of them yet but alot them) and KCO you seem like you might be able to give me some good advice.
My situation is, I have the rogers rocket hub, up untill today I just had the old netcomm 3g model, but today I upgraded to the MF 275R. Wow what a difference! I did a test on my old modem and then tested new modem a minute later and old modem was Ping:80ms DL: 2.62mbps UL: 1.04mbps, which is about average, i could get up to 4.5 on a good day. New modem was Ping:30ms DL: 23.09mbps UL:1.74mbps.
So download is almost like 9x better and about 75% better upload, ping is very important to as i play video games.
My signal strength 96db
Anyways, while this is all good I want to make sure I am getting the best possible signal/download. The antenna I am using is somewhat old now, and while I think its still in good condition I'm wondering if there is better, aswell as from what I'v been reading in this thread, I'm wondering if I should be adding another antenna.
This is the antenna I'm using: http://www.alternativewireless.com/wilson-wide-band-log-per-dir-antenna-50ohm-n-f.html
The external antenna I am seeing on amazon for the mf275: https://www.amazon.ca/MF275R-external-Periodic-antenna-highest/dp/B0182IV13G/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronic...
Looks similiar but they are somewhat different, not sure if they are much different but, if the new one was better I would consider buying it, aswell as buying a second one to point at + - 45 degree angle if it would improve my download rate.
Other information is, I'm 2.2km from the tower I'm using. There is another tower closer, but I am about 700' higher then it and it is blocked by both tree's aswell as the horizon ground level. Basically the closer one has alot in between it and me. The 2.2km one is about 150-200feet higher then me, the ground level between me and there is fairly level and the tree's arn't to high along the path except for some tree's on my propert about 100' from my house, that I might cut down(they arn't to thick, although they are about 60' tall, I can see the sky through them).
Another thing is my antenna tower that I installed attached to the house, goes about 50' up, and has an extension that can go another 10'. My antenna is basically just using the cable it came with, which I think is 30'... so basically all things together I think the antenna is about 35-37' up, and it could go another 15'-20'. Raising it higher is obviously the lowest hanging fruit at the moment, I am looking at ordering a longer cable but want to figure out if I should be ordering 2 cables instead, and another(or two) antenna's.
Thanks for your time.
I don't have expertise or any real knowledge about cell/radio coverage. My posts reflect the videos I referenced in this thread, advice from Rogers 2nd-level support, and the results of following his recommendations. Other than descriptions of my installation and observations of the signal improvement my comments are just opinions that my be incorrect.
I think 96 db is a good signal for LTE and your upload/download speeds are about what I get with a -92 dBm signal. My downloads are usually 20 to 25 Mbps. The odd time it goes to 28 or even 30 Mbps and at other times it goes to 15 Mbps. My signal is always -92 or -91, so I think (just musing again) the speed variance is due to the varying activity on the Rogers system. I notice the download speed is consistently 15 to 20 Mbps range in the early morning (04:00-05:30) when one would expect this system to be very quiet. So I wonder if it is large backups or system maintenance activities, etc. Perhaps once you have a good signal, the main limiting factor for speed is the system loading and configuration (again I don't know). I imagine (again don't know) that the MF275R's antennas are using the LTE dual-path capability at -96 dBm.
The MF275R's battery backup is quite good, so perhaps you could use it to see if a stronger signal improves speed for your area. You could try it at home and then go to an area where you have a fantastic signal from the same tower and see if there is much difference.
You could try to get an opinion from 2nd-level support, but I suspect it may be tough to get through seeing as you already have good service. I was able to get through (with a good amount of determination) because my service was marginal.
Is your 96 dBm signal with an external antenna, or is it with the hub's rabbit ears? If it is with the external antenna and the rabbit ears have a very poor signal, I imagine adding a second external antenna and cable would improve service. But if the rabbit ears get a good signal you may be getting full LTE anyway(again--just a thought with no expertise).
Sorry I can't help. Perhaps someone with technical knowledge can.
I wanted to follow-up with some results from my research and previous posts from a number of weeks ago.
Thanks to the help and info provided by people in this thread I have successfully implemented an internet solution that is working very well for my situation. Speeds vary throughout the day but range anywhere from 7Mbps to 40Mbps (that was at 2:00am one time so it's rare). Usually speeds are in the 'teens' such as 12 to 15 Mbps.
I essentially followed what others have done which is using the MF275 but with 2 simple Yagi external antennas angled perpendicular to each other as others have suggested (thanks kco!).
I needed to implement a VERY long cable run at 175 feet so I used LMR400 cable with the antennas up high on an old TV antenna tower. There is a cell tower only 5 km away but through Rogers support I was able to confirm that that tower is pointing in the wrong direction (away from me). I generally got about 6 or 7Mbps from this tower and decent signal strength at just under -100dBm. Surprisingly, when I point at a cell tower that is 11km away with terrible signal strength (-118dBm) I generally get those higher speeds I mentioned above.
I would say a couple key observations or lesson's learned for those wondering if they should try this are:
1) Just because you rarely or never get an LTE signal on your phone, doesn't mean you won't get one with the MF275 and external antennas and then get great internet speeds
2) You can still get really good speeds even if your signal strength isn't great. I think the external antennas must make this possible
3) It will still work with a really long cable run (which is likely contributing to my low signal strength) as long as you use good cables
4) You can still get good speeds with cheap Wilson Yagi style antennas ($60 to $75) even if the tower is a decent number of km's away. The really expensive antenna that kco bought may be necessary for really long distances but likely it's better to try the cheaper ones first if you can
Thanks again for all of you who have contributed to this thread!
Thanks for a great thread & everyone who contributed.
I'm in a similar situation as most of you; rural area with weak LTE signal. Recently got the ZTE MF275 from rogers. From inside the house I couldn't get the LTE signal, was stuck with the 4G signal (yellow light on the D indicator of the modem).
Got this antenna from Proxicast which I expected to help me achieve typical LTE Ping, Dl & Ul speeds.
I installed the antenna 10 feet over the roof of the house & pointed it towards the closest Rogers Tower (based on the Canadian Cellular Towers Map: http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/cancellsites.html).
Managed to achieve some great performances, but these were far from consistent. I often lose the LTE "Green Light" on the modem, and it's associated performance.
Question: What tool, application or method do you guys use to measure dbm & adequately point the antenna? I've used the Ookla speed test, but it was labor intensive. I'm sure there's a better way to do it.
Thaks in advance.
I used my phone connected to the MF275 via wifi to check the antenna alignment. You can see the signal quality by logging into the MF275. The signal is more important and indicative of what to expect for speed, etc. The upload/download speeds and pings have many variables such as tower loading and loading at the destinations, etc.
The cell tower map shows details if you click on the the Rogers name for the tower. It shows the frequencies, power, and direction of the antennas for each frequency. However, there can be quite a delay before upgrades are shown on the tower map.
The closest tower may not provide the best signal for your location. The lower frequencies are better for long distances and obstuctions such as trees and terrain.
You may want to request 2nd level help to determine where you should aim your antenna. Give them the address for your service. They will also want the phone number assigned to your MF275. They can quickly find where, and the frequency for your connection. It took some effort for me to contact 2nd-level, but well worth it.
Here is a link to an article discussing LTE signal strength:
which indicates -116 dBm is marginal.
Do you know the signal strength without the external antenna--i.e. with the MF275's rabbit ears? That would give an idea of your external antenna's effectiveness. What is the length of cable to the external antenna, and what type of cable are you using? If it is long consider using a low loss cable such as LMR400. There are online charts showing the loss per unit length for various cables. I have no expertise in communications technology. But from what I have read, what seems like small dBm improvements are significant. Signals are on a log scale, so a 3 dB improvement (e.g. -116 dBm to -113 dBm) indicates a doubling of signal strength.
It likely is a good idea to try for help from 2nd-level support. There may be towers which could provide a better signal. That was my situation. I thought I could see the tower serving me but I was mistaken.
I likely would not have solved my marginal service without 2nd-level support's help. You can likely get 2nd-level help if you make a clear request through the regular Help line. Provide details in your request to make it easy for 2nd-level support:
1. Location--give your exact street address and/or latitude/longitdue from Google Earth
2. phone # attached to your MF275 hub
3. make/model of your antenna. Provide a URL link to the antenna
4. signal with and without your external antenna
With your MF275's phone number they can easily determine the tower to which you are connecting and the frequency and quality of your connection.
Your request should be that you want advice that may help improve your signal quality. That is, you are not requesting they change anything or solve it for you.
The 2nd-level support was great when he helped me. He was able to see my exact location, trees, and profile of the terrain to the tower. He told me I should try to connect over 700 MHz with a true MIMO antenna. That's all I needed to significantly improve my service's reliability.
Help with the ZTE MF275R Hub and the Wilson Pro 70 booster
I just installed a Wilson Pro 70 booster and it helped my phone go from -116 db to -65 db on the Rogers LTE band. But it did not have any effect on my ZTE MF275R Hub - stuck at -121 db signal strength.
Anyone know why my booster would not have any effect on my hub when my phone and hub are connecting to the same network and band?
So ive been using the rocket hub and have a average ping of 30-60 ms which is great but my signal isnt that great, had 115db with 2 bars of lte. I bought a outdoor antenna and now am getting 70-100ms ping yet have better signal with only 82db and full bars of 4g. can anyone explain the problem? do i need 2 out door antennas to work together or whats the deal? Right now im using 1 outdoor and one stock antenna or is my outdoor one not lte compatiable or whats the deal? please help 🙂
Welcome to our Community Forums!
I understand that this issue may be a bit confounding so please allow me to shed some light on it.
Adding in an extra antenna will improve your signal strength, but will create extra latency in doing so when it repeats the signal. Unfortunately, there is no way around this. With technology as it is currently, data based Internet connections tend to have higher latency than cable or fibre based Internet.
There are some links to helpful videos in this post:
of this thread that give good explanations for LTE dual antennas. It looks like your signal strength improved significantly and you should have good 4G service. I may be wrong, but it may not be using an LTE band since 4G refers to other frequencies and protocols.
What type of antenna did you add? If it is just and external antenna and not a booster I think it should not add any latency, since an external antenna simply passes the signal to the router over a short piece of cable.
At least you have a good signal so you should have reliable service. I had good luck when I was finally able to get help from a Rogers 2nd-level support person. Using the phone number associated with my Rocket Hub he easily found the tower and frequency serving me and suggested a solution (dual antennas for 700MHz) which worked.