4G Internet for the Home – Tutorial
If you are looking for faster broadband then you have come to the right place. In this blog, you will learn how to install a simple solution to increase your internet download rate. So read this article and you will get all the outline information to help you to plan a solution tailored for you.
Fast Broadband in Rural Locations
Fast internet is rarely an issue in suburban or town locations. But in Rural positions where you soon realise that there are creatures other than overpopulated human settlements still, have some serious connectivity issues. Using this simple setup will help satisfy your yearnings for fast broadband.
My Home Based 4G line of sight INTERNET connection is Good for Offgrid
4G Internet for the Home doesn’t have to be hard. This easy internet system is good for off-grid cabins so read on if you have a need for high-speed internet your remote location. Mother earth sadly has not included an organic high-speed connection like what is seen in the Movie ‘Avatar’. So we must create our own system when there is no landline or cost-effective satellite service.
Why Choose a 4G Mobile Broadband System over a Landline or Cable?
I do not advocate that you should choose a Mobile internet service as your main connection but it is a potential solution. When you have no other good options available to you. Where there is a problem there has to be a solution. I believe my 4G internet solution is worthy of a mention.
First, we had 2G then 3G and Currently 4G but 5G is Now on the Horizon!
Can you remember the time when we had super slow internet that was only good for sending the odd low-resolution image? 3G is still mainstream for many. if you want good reliable Broadband when traditional landline systems are not available or snail slow then 4G or LTE to many is a sensible option.
What is the 5G Internet?
5G internet as I see it won’t be rolled out to rural or remote locations. Obviously financing a rural solution isn’t viable yet. Technically the concept of relaying via microwaves between parabolic aerials seem impractical for long distance installations. I believe the 5G system will be utilized for high consumption areas such as town and industrial complexes. Most of us will have a long wait for 5G to become the next norm.
We Chose this Solution because we were Let Down by Orange our old ADSL Provider!
After too many promises by Orange and 7 years of waiting! my frustration of Orange’s lack of concern over my poor quality fixed line connection was peaking beyond belief. I am a heavy user of the net and need a connection of reliability and capacity capable of carrying large video files for my Youtube channels.
Cell Towers now Carry LTE 4G Mobile Internet
You can imagine my joy when I hear that many of the mobile service providers have flicked the switch to the marvellous 4G otherwise known as LTE.
Similar to the USA military switching on the improved GPS accuracy for all to benefit. This now widely used mobile Internet service has made smooth and progressive content uploading a thing to appreciate. The days of broken connections and slow speeds are now a thing of the past. I am a happy bunny!
Next: I will Explain How You too can Have My 4G System.
So How Do I Get High-Speed Mobile internet into my Home?
It is great that the local cell towers are carrying LTE. You can now easily install LTE internet into your home router setup which similar to a landline ADSL or Cable type Internet package.
You Need to do Your Location and Cell Tower Research
Some education is needed to be sure you will get the clean connection we all strive for. This may sound almost impossible but it is achievable if you have a Cell tower within range.
Is Your Smartphone Receiving LTE 4G?
You are on a winner if you are already receiving LTE, 4G or even 3G. Your chances of success and potential high speeds are a foregone conclusion.
All sounds good would you say? but there is some work and investigation you need to do:
- do you have a cell tower nearby that carries 4G LTE?
- what is the maximum MBPS for your chosen cell tower?
- which cell tower is the closest?
- where can I install my antenna?
- how high does my antenna need to be?
- which provider is best for me?
- what equipment do I need?
- how much will it cost?
Do you have a cell tower nearby?
This may seem obvious but depending on where you are based and your provider’s government commitments will dictate to how many and how up to date the equipment is. Everybody’s circumstances will be different but I can only advise with my own findings. I devised a simple process of educating myself as to where the towers are using the Cellmapper site online which gives information on cell tower positions and what carriers use that tower.
These Providers are Based on Our France Location but the Principles are the Same for People Living in the US or anywhere!
We found Orange tends to have it’s own but the French providers Bouygues, SFR and Free use 3rd party masts. We decided to use Free.fr as the service was of good value at 19.99e per month at the time of writing for 100GB of monthly download bandwidth. 100GB is ok for most who also stream a few movies. You can also monitor your usage online.
French 4G providers who will also provide 5G when available
- 4G box bouygues
- 4G box orange
- SFR box 4G
- Free 4G
How to Find Your LTE Cell Tower?
My approach to collect data using the Cellmapper app was to locate all my local antennas up to 20km away. Cellmapper is a very useful online tool to find mobile tower locations including the available technology. This app also has an extensive database for each tower listing each mobile network company using the tower. The data includes the Frequencies and the compass position in degrees for each company.
Making my 4G Cell Tower Position Map
Once I found all the local towers on the map I jumped in the car and located each tower. I set out to get download rates for the said towers using the #Speedtest.net app and then noted the speed of each tower on the map. 4g internet speed will influence your decision to what service provider or mast you choose. I took the readings by simply standing in close proximity of the tower. So now I have a map covered in speed tested tower locations. I selected the four fastest and closest towers and drew lines intersecting my home location. While ensuring North is North I then used a protractor or a compass rose to extract the angles of the line. This process extracted the direction in degrees of each mast from my home location.
To the right, you can see the results from our 4g connection. Where you see the lows is where I have reached my monthly download limit. The download limit will depend on your provider.
I now know the location, orientation, and speed of the available towers. So let’s go to the next step:
Which 4G Mobile Phone Company Should I Choose?
This could be purely a personal preference based on your experience or third-party reviews. In France, we found that each tower usually had three providers installed at different angles and heights. To understand which provider had the best speed and capacity. You will need a service with each even if you have to borrow a friends phone for the test.
Our decision was Free.fr as it was the only choice for a decent monthly download limit. Some of the other companies did not meet our requirements. So our choice was obvious but you may have more options.
What Frequency does your Provider use?
Each provider uses its preferred radio frequency for transmitting and receiving the 4G LTE service. You need to know what frequency your provider is using so you can choose an antenna combination that satisfies the requirements. As a ‘Rule of Thumb,’ you may find your provider may select a lower frequency such as 800mhz for use in town as that frequency band can carry more data but the range is reduced.
The higher frequencies like the 1800mhz used by Free.fr is better suited to rural areas due to it’s improved range. The new 5G rollout will not be for many years and is not likely to be available in rural areas! The reason for this is that the micro antenna system has a very low range and a weak signal that cannot penetrate walls or even rain. Now for 5G to be using a network of these small repeater antennas will need to be installed at short range of each other so for rural use I just don’t see that the cost of installing rurally is economically viable.
Most providers of 4g internet use two 4g bands usually 900 MHz or 2100mhz or not too far from that. 900 MHz is capable of more range but less capacity than the other. Generally, high MHZ is better for town use due to ‘Towns have more people’.
Check The Small Print before Signing
Learning the Equipment?
You will need to purchase some equipment. The equipment required is not too expensive or technical but you will require:
- LTE / 4G Internet Router with WIFI
You may ask yourself: why do I need to install these high gain antennas as we already get 4G in the house? the answer is “Power and Reliability”. Your home is already full of electrical radiation which will severely degrade your 4G signal. Just having full bars on your smartphone is not enough for a decent house setup especially If you consider that we benefit from up to 80 Mbps on our 4G system after having NO signal in the house I can just imagine the benefits you could receive by installing thus mentioned: ‘#4G LTE internet system’ with dedicated directional antennas.
Make Savings on Your Mobile Connections
This is a no-brainer and can be completed for under 300e which can be recouped as the monthly subscription to Free.fr is only 19.99e per month including free calls and we were paying with Orange 45e per month so that’s a 25e saving. Orange also has a policy of charging 50e cancellation if you decide to move away from their platform and I certainly will never return as a result! I am not suggesting you should move away from an already good connection in favour of a 4G internet system but this suggested approach is a viable solution when like us your available land-line based internet is extremely poor and does not meet your needs.
Don’t Settle for Mediocre Broadband Services
Well, it is great that we now have the service data from my chosen provider free.fr. Your provider will be different depending on your country. But now I have to select suitable antennas that are capable of receiving a strong signal from our weak 4G mobile phone coverage that is currently available at our home. Using my LGG4 currently.
We only benefit from 2MBPS download on 3G via our smartphones but we are in a non listed coverage area. It is clear that the 4G is weak and non-existent at ground level so we must use powerful aerials.
The power of the aerials is measured in decibels (DB) and basically the higher the decibel gain is the best chance you have in getting a good result.
Warning! Not all Yagi Antennas are Born Equal!
You may see lot’s of aerials/antennas advertised with high DB gain but many are a hoax and these companies are lying to you with their ridiculous claims.
Highest Gain and High Mast will Increase Reliability
18 dB Yagi directional antenna is available on Amazon but be aware you will require two antennas on the same mast.
Follow this link: https://amzn.to/2HjpVBd for the UK
Follow this link: https://amzn.to/2HggzlD for France
You Could Use a Flat Panel Antenna but I Wouldn’t!
Flat panel antennas are also available but I do not recommend the flat panel over the directional YAGI type of antenna. The Yagi will give you a far more focused connection but also you will need to accurately point two YAGI antennas to the cell tower in alternating angles so the signal does not conflict.
The YAGI antenna design commonly looks like a Television aerial but it is also available in a neat plastic housing.
You Could Make Your Own LTE YAGI
#Homemade #YAGI Antenna construction is a possibility and there are many videos and designs available but an oscilloscope is a good idea to ensure that you have reached the correct frequency to match the cell tower antennas of your chosen service provider.
LTE Antennas are more than a piece of wire stretched between two trees?
4G or otherwise known as LTE requires two directional antennas or a combination panel antenna. For my situation which is a location of practically no signal whatsoever with my phone.
I decided for twin directional #antennas boasting 28db each. A strong signal is possible with these boosting antennas but there is a ‘But’ and that is we have to consider the terrain and the ‘Line of Sight’ of the chosen cell tower.
Mount your Antennas High for Best Possible Reception
Luckily we are on a similar level and I only need to consider the obstruction by trees etc. Thankfully this is easily overcome by increasing the height of the antennas by mounting them on a mast several meters high.
The mast is made from 40mm diameter TV mast tubing. My mast is mounted to the house with my DIY welded wall bracket. The bracket was made with adjustment in mind so with the mast fully extended the antenna can be rotated for seeking the best signal.
Once you have the mast installed and antennas mounted pointing in the direction in degrees of the cell-tower you previously selected, you now need to connect the two cables to the antennas and fathom a route to your preferred 4G modem location.
4G Internet Modem is also a WIFI router
The 4G internet router? Well, there are a few brands but they can be separated into groups but I will discuss here two main versions. Firstly, ask yourself if you will require portability for instance:
Will you be installing the system in your motorhome? If the answer is yes then a portable 4G modem may be your best option as it has its own power source in the form of a lithium battery which can be charged via a 12 volt lighter socket or wired to a 12-volt breaker.
Huawei B593 WIFI 4G Internet Router Modem is a Good Choice!
If you are looking for a system purely for the home (a fixed ‘non-portable’ system) then I can easily recommend 4G units made by the Chinese brand ‘Huawei’ because this is what we use and have done since December 2017 without any major issues.
These ‘Huawei’ are affordable but there are other brands that we have no experience of, anyway this article is not a product review but an overview of our experience of installing a 4g home based internet system!
The #Huawei modem model we use is the Huawei LTE CPE B593 which came with two on board aerials but they were of no use as our signal was nonexistent. The only option we had was the two directional antennas.
The ‘Huawei LTE CPE B593’ is no longer available but a newer version ‘Huawei B315’ is available on Amazon if you click the link below. Remember your router must not be tied to a Network so must be unlocked unless you are using a sim for the provider your device is locked too.
https://amzn.to/2qNix69 for the UK
https://amzn.to/2HPRrDk for France
These routers provide home WIFI, LAN and Telephone solutions in an all-around package.
4G LTE Internet Dongle
You can use a portable device which has a battery installed as long as it has two antenna connections. 4G internet dongle such as the Huawei E5577 4G
Once you have all the hardware installed then you just need to set up the #modem which is very easy. I assume you already have chosen your 4G provider and received the SIM card? This sim just needs installing into the modem.My Mobile 4G Setup
Obviously, your chosen modem may be different so I won’t describe in detail but you are likely to need to login into the modem via its WIFI or LAN connection and then add the sim unlock code just like the code you put into your mobile phone when you first turn it on. There may be some parameters you will need to add such as your providers ‘APN’ settings such as the Free.fr example below:
MMSC :Non défini (ne rien renseigner)
Type d’APN :default
This is all that should be required for your new installation and you should be able to enjoy the benefits of fast and reliable internet and phone connections.
My Conclusion on Home-based 4G connections
You may ask yourself: why do I need to install these high gain antennas as we already get 4G in the house? the answer is “Power and Reliability”. Your home is already full of electrical radiation which will severely degrade your 4G signal.
Just having full bars on your smartphone is not enough for a decent house setup especially If you consider that we benefit from up to 80 Mbps on our 4G system after having NO signal in the house I can just imagine the benefits you could receive by installing thus mentioned: ‘#4G LTE internet system’ with dedicated directional antennas.
Be Aware of any Cancellation Policies!
This low-cost system is a no-brainer and can be completed for under 300e which can be recouped as the monthly subscription to Free.fr is only 19.99e per month including free calls and we were paying with Orange 45e per month so that’s a 25e saving. Orange also has a policy of charging 50e cancellation if you decide to move away from their platform and I certainly will never return as a result!
I am not suggesting you should move away from an already good connection in favor of a 4G system but this suggested approach is a viable solution when like us your available land-line based internet is extremely poor and does not meet your needs.
Home-based 4G Internet is Fast with my Yagi Aerials
I have had this system for 12 months now and it has been a good experience. Connections have been reliable and constant. There has been some variation in speed but not problematic. Speed is more than sufficient for most internet use including Netflix and maintaining my Youtube channel with new content.
I hope you have found this article interesting if not entirely relevant for your current situation but I do wish that it may of give you some insight and some direction to what solution is right for your location.
Please feel free to share but I do ask that you reference it ‘Marcus Kett’
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Why Do I Write these?
We write these articles for fun and hope you find them of interest. The topic of rural internet is a large one so I will be updating this topic on a regular basis so please return to keep a check on things.
I am happy to inform you that we have included some links to related products. If you decide to purchase any product we receive a modest commission and thank you for your support.
About Us, I Suppose You Might Be Interested?
We have lived and worked here in the Limousin Nouvelle Aquitaine since 2010, building window shutters and external doors. Our Volet manufacturing business is based at our home property as a ‘Cottage Industry’. We are a small business operating partly off the grid and try our best to practice our woodworking ethically.
If you have any corrections or topics you think that we should add please leave a comment. If you think we deserve it a Share would be nice.