Rocket HUB external antenna

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I'm Here A Lot
Posts: 5

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

Signal strength 111dB

LTE 2 bars

3km to cell tower through a few trees

Wilson signal booster....

 

Is there a newer firmware for this router....MF275R  ??

Mine has the 1.0.7

 

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I'm Here A Lot
Posts: 5

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

My wilson says dB pro

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 76

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

My MF275R is at the same version, opticalmike(2.0.7).  You can check it under Settings-->Device Settings-->Update Management.  Mine is set to check every 15 days but I have run it manually a few times and it has always been up todate.  I don't know what my original version was so I don't know if it has ever updated.

 

That signal seems week for being so close to the tower.  My signal with the MF275 rabbit ears indoors was about -110 dBm--through trees and 30 km from the tower. However, my path is clear line of sight (other than a line of trees about 150 meters from the house) over a deep valley.  I am 700' or 800' higher than the tower.  Using my old single Wilson 304411 antenna on one antenna input improved the signal to -100 dBm.  My YagiRef2-QLP antenna has it at -92 to -94.   My speed immediately doubled with the dual antennas.  I think the improvement was mainly due to the dual antennas properly aligned at + and - 45 degrees.

 

I just have antennas with no booster.  

 

Is there a way you can make sure your booster is working properly?

 

Have you checked to see if the Rogers tower has an antenna in your direction?

 

 Some other thoughts on your booster... 

 

It look as if it just uses one antenna input. For true LTE it is my understanding you need two antennas at +/- 45 degrees.  See the videos mentioned in message 47 of this thread.  Being just 3km from the tower I am surprised you need a booster.

 

Also, it looks like the db Pro covers only 824-894 and 1850-1990 MHz. It looks like it may not support the frequencies needed for Rogers LTE.  Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me(i.e. almost anyone 🙂 ) will give more advice.

 

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 9

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

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? 

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 76

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

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.

 

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 9

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

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? 

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 76

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

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.

 

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 9

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

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!  

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I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 76

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

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.

 

Good luck

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I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 3

Re: Rocket HUB external antenna

Hi Guys,

 

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? 

 

Thanks,