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Thread: Hotspot Carrier Aggregation

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    Hotspot Carrier Aggregation

    I live in a rural area and use an AT&T hotspot for my primary internet. I have used a few different ones, but am currently using a Nighthawk. I have poor native signal, but have been using a 24 db wifi parabolic grid antenna for awhile. With it, the Nighthawk (and unite explore before) shows an rsrp of 92 and a quality of 55-60 on band 2. I get speeds of 15-25 Mbps. I am not complaining about that at all! I have a couple of questions I need some help with, however:

    1. Shouldn't I be picking up band 30 and or band 66 (yes the tower I'm connected to has it)?
    2. With one antenna connected, are you limited to one band?

    It just seems that I bump up against about a 25 Mbps ceiling no matter how good a signal I get with my parabolic.

  2. #2
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    Unless the antenna supports MIMO, it'll boost one band. Does the antenna have to freq range to capture 2300 MHz (B30)? B66 shouldn't be an issue since it's AWS-3, but it very well may be out of the antenna range, as well.

    That's been my experience so far, hope this helps.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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    Hard to say for sure with little information but if I had to guess I'd say your issue has to do with marginal SNR. If you are far from the cell site a high gain antenna will help with signal level but SNR still may not be so great. Also band 30 is at 2.3 GHz so not exactly ideal for long range. Another receiver may have better performance but if you've tried both the Nightlight and Unite Explore I'm not sure how much improvment you could really expect from anything else. Bottom line, 15-25 Mbps isn't too bad...

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    My tests suggest that the Nighthawk has a primitive modem firmware and doesn't support CA on most towers right now. However, it may support CA on older towers that haven't been upgraded in a few years (2015/2016).

    There are two cell site types I've encountered:

    Primitive Cell - initiates carrier aggregation on-demand for data intensive activities, preferring Band 2/5, 2/12, and 2/30
    Modern Cell - aggressively tries to initiate carrier aggregation at all times

    Most cells now are of the modern type. Because the Nighthawk isn't aggregating with these cells, I would wager if you live in an area with the primitive cells you'd get some action on a speed test. Metro areas with high cell density are going to increase you chance of landing a primitive cell type.

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    Thanks for the replies. 25 in the sticks is awesome compared to what I used to have. It's just curious to me that I have a strong signal on band 2 but never really get a "bump" in speeds from better positioning, or newer equipment. That is what prompted me to post here. Regarding the antenna, it is built for 2400 MHz, and is very good for PCS (1900 MHz). That's why I have always thought I should grab 30 or 66 at least periodically. Of note, whenever I travel nearer to the tower, my S8 will report aggregating them, but 66 is always at 20 db weaker. 30 is always very similar to band 2. Just some extra info. Thanks again!

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    Also: my S8 will connect to 2 and 30 and very weakly 66, if I am standing on the roof holding it up. I'm sure I look ridiculous doing that, but that is what is making me wonder if there is a hardware limit with one antenna.

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    If the S8 has voice and data, you should be able to access the Service Menu, *#2263#. Test Band 2, 66 and 30 and look at the bandwidths.
    Real-world 20 Mhz bandwidth (10x10) will give you 50 mbps max throughput, when you're right by the tower. 40 Mhz is closer to 80 mbps. Most phones don't support Band 66, so you should be all by yourself out there on that band. 25 mbps seems low.
    A parabolic antenna rated at 2.4 GHz is probably not helping your signal gain, unless it has elements specific for a range of frequencies. You would be better served with a wideband yagi specific for 700, 1700, 1900, 2300.

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    My S8 is an at&t version, so RAT selection is not allowed. Nice idea though. You think that individual yagis might be the trick?

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    so how would that work I am about to move rural would you take and hookup 1 yagi on a lower band and then another yagi to a 2nd antenna input on the mifi with the band 30 yagi? that way you are able to aggregate the speeds? I have line of sight right at 3 miles to the att tower where I am moving I get 20-25 megs currently standing outside but when I drive over to the tower I get 60-90 megs
    Verizon LTE in Oklahoma City 2011
    still rockin in 2012

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    Quote Originally Posted by rxrebel30 View Post
    My S8 is an at&t version, so RAT selection is not allowed. Nice idea though. You think that individual yagis might be the trick?
    You can actually lock it to a band, you just have to boot the phone with no Sim and do that code, then insert your sim back in. You'll have to reboot any time you want to change bands until Oreo is out

    Sent from my SM-G955U using HoFo mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by rxrebel30 View Post
    My S8 is an at&t version, so RAT selection is not allowed. Nice idea though. You think that individual yagis might be the trick?
    It depends on the channel sizes and your distance from the connected tower. Almost all wideband yagis will help with Band 2, but if Band 2 is 10 Mhz there's not much you can do.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZacHolley View Post
    so how would that work I am about to move rural would you take and hookup 1 yagi on a lower band and then another yagi to a 2nd antenna input on the mifi with the band 30 yagi? that way you are able to aggregate the speeds? I have line of sight right at 3 miles to the att tower where I am moving I get 20-25 megs currently standing outside but when I drive over to the tower I get 60-90 megs
    Wideband cellular yagis have elements for (almost) all the bands, there's no reason to hang up multiple antennas like in the television days. A passive yagi will have more effect on upload speeds than download, because your phone's radio is weaker than the tower's. You need a booster if you want to bring that 60-90 mbps inside your house.

  12. #12
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    Hotspot Carrier Aggregation

    You need to use wideband antennas on all inputs, not just one, due to MIMO. If you hook up a narrow or single-band antenna to just one input, that input will have a much stronger signal than the other three internal antennas (in the case of the Nighthawk, which supports 4x4 MIMO) and the device will favor that one input and effectively kill 4x4. I actually connected a wideband antenna to both ports of my Nighthawk and saw worse speeds than using no external antenna at all. I believe this was because I was only improving the signal for two of the four antenna paths in the device, so I effectively went from 4x4 MIMO to 2x2. This hurt my speeds. Ideally, the Nighthawk would actually have four external antenna inputs, so we could boost all four antenna paths. Because of this limitation, I would recommend a traditional booster/repeater if you want to use the Nighthawk and have a low signal level indoors.
    I do not represent any company or other entity. Anything I post in these forums or write on this site are my thoughts and opinions only. I make every attempt to be 100% accurate, but I am human and do make mistakes from time to time.

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    That all makes sense, but why wouldn't my 2.4 GHz antenna be more preferential for band 30? Or even the downlink side of band 66 than for band 2? It always goes for band 2, no matter the hotspot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWDude49120 View Post
    Because of this limitation, I would recommend a traditional booster/repeater if you want to use the Nighthawk and have a low signal level indoors.
    Which ones specifically would you recommend?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archegos View Post
    Which ones specifically would you recommend?
    I would like to know this as well ... one that supports all current att bands

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