External Antenna Band 13 MIMO?

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PowerStroke

New member
HoFo Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2005
Messages
5
Carrier(s)
Sprint / Nextel (Blackberry)
Device(s)
Blackberry 8350i
I have a Verizon tower (band 13) 6 miles away, relatively flat land in between. I currently have one external Wideband Directional Antenna 700-2700 MHz and I the best I get is get 3 bars (-99) on my MOFI4500 router. I am wanting to build a better antenna setup so I am trying to understand this MIMO thing. I have read a lot about MIMO, but I am still confused. Not sure if MIMO antennas would be a good choice since this would only be a stationary setup trying to pick up a signal from only one antenna (band 13).
Any advice or input appreciated.
 
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Poynting XPOL-2

Check out the Poynting XPOL-2 which is imported to the U.S. by Frontier Computer Corp (link below if it doesn't get stripped):

https://www.frontiercomputercorp.com/product/xpol-2-5g-poynting-antenna/

Seems that the price has increased, but I own two, where one is for AT&T, and a second for Verizon. It is already MIMO capable, so plug both cables into (MAIN + AUX) to your router. It covers all the LTE frequency bands (not just Band 13) in use by Verizon. And since it is MIMO, you'll also get benefit of carrier aggregation for faster download speeds (doesn't help for uplink).

It is a directional antenna, so you'll want to spend some time aiming it toward the tower. Works great!

The Poynting company also has videos on Youtube that are worth watching.
 
>Not sure if MIMO antennas would be a good choice since this would only be a stationary setup trying to pick up a signal from only one antenna (band 13).

You've already answered your own question. MIMO is multiple-input-multiple-output. If you've only have one source of input (one cell tower), then MIMO won't do you much good.

Cell signal is polarized to be vertically-oriented (TV sig is horiz), but with reflections/atmospheric conditions the signal can become horiz oriented or somewhere in between. If you have a vert- ant and the sig is horiz, you get a weaker reception (IIRC about -3db, or half-strength).

The typical 2x2 MIMO ant you see is cross-polarized, ie the same two antenna set at orthogonal (90-degree) to each other, so you've got both vert and horiz sigs covered. You can simply buy another of the same ant you have and set it horiz, then pass the sig to the router's 2nd input port. That's it.

Odds are it probably won't help, but it can't hurt, so if you want to experiment.
 
Thanks for the replies.

>
The typical 2x2 MIMO ant you see is cross-polarized, ie the same two antenna set at orthogonal (90-degree) to each other, so you've got both vert and horiz sigs covered. You can simply buy another of the same ant you have and set it horiz, then pass the sig to the router's 2nd input port. That's it.

I think I will try that first since it is the least expensive, then go from there. Any links showing the best distance between the two antennas or is that just based on to many factors?
Even with one antenna and speedtest that show my Satellite is faster, Videos load and stream better with LTE. Still have both (Sat / Verizon) until I get 100% comfortable and see that Verizon will stay as reliable. The price difference is, $20 vs $100+ for Sat.

Thanks
 
>Any links showing the best distance between the two antennas

No spatial separation needed because one is V- and the other is H-polarized, thus no mutual interference.

>I think I will try that first since it is the least expensive

Before buying anything, turn your present V- ant 90-degree to horiz, and test to see if your speed is any better, ie whether an H-pol ant will help you. If you have the inclination, you can try it in 30-degree increments.

Instead of MIMO, you probably have to use a higher-gain ant. If you have a typical wideband yagi, it's probably 10db, and covers 700-2100+, ie most common cell spectrums. You can find higher-gain ones, but at the cost of spectrum coverage. Know which band, thus which spectrum you're getting, and you can find higher-gain antenna and just boost those.

Yeah, it can get complicated. Normal people just throw money at it and buy more expensive gear and hope it works. Usually it doesn't.
 
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I have spent hundreds over the years to get a better cell signal. This is a hobby as I have excellent home internet but even after all of this I can never get anything consistent. Yeah I could get signal from say -110 to -90 but the data speeds would not be consistent from day to day.
 
Much of it is knowing what to buy, because there's a lot of stuff out there wanting to take your money, most of which have nebulous claims.

https://www.frontiercomputercorp.com/product/xpol-2-5g-poynting-antenna

This is a prime example of what not to buy--big claims (really wide band at 11dBi) with nothing to back it up, and a big price to match. It's got nothing except a brand name to go on, which you don't know about. That's what most folks buy, the brand, because they're overwhelmed by the tech aspect of it.

Go to eBay and browse through the surplus antennas used by cell providers, or CPE (customer premise equipment). You'll notice three things: radiation pattern diagrams, detailed breakdown of gain of each spectrum range covered, and mechanical specs. Most will have a tech sheet. That, and you won't have to pay retail prices like the above.
 
...snip...

https://www.frontiercomputercorp.com/product/xpol-2-5g-poynting-antenna

This is a prime example of what not to buy--big claims (really wide band at 11dBi) with nothing to back it up, and a big price to match. It's got nothing except a brand name to go on, which you don't know about. That's what most folks buy, the brand, because they're overwhelmed by the tech aspect of it.

...snip

Here is a link to the technical specifications, which includes the radiation patterns:

https://poynting.tech/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/A-XPOL-0002-V3-Rev1-1.pdf

And here is the main product page:

https://poynting.tech/product/xpol-2-5g-3/

What do you find to be deficient?

I have the V2 version of the product above, and it has worked great with both VZ and AT&T for 4G, for being in such a small form factor. I have a parabolic grid that is Band 4 specific with better gain, but it is 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall.
 
>What do you find to be deficient?

The specs are BS. No wideband antenna will have the same gain across the various spectrum ranges. The "11dBi" IMO is just a marketing number, as it's slightly better than the standard 10dBi of the most common wideband ant (from Wilson, or whatever its new brand now).

The "ultra-wide" ranges are mostly superfluous, as no US carrier uses 3.4-3.8GHz. For inclusiveness, an ant at this point should cover the 600MHz range, which will be T-Mo's heavy-lift band starting this year going forward. T-Mo paid $8bil for 600MHz (B71) last year, and their licenses cover most of the US. It will be an option for those currently stuck with VZW and/or A&T.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_frequencies_in_the_US

Secondly, your bundled cable is likely to be the cheap RG-11 variety. That should be fine for short runs, but for longer runs you'd want low-loss LMR-400 or equiv. It's more expensive, and harder to install (it's much stiffer). Also, carrier-grade equipment regularly use N-connector for more robust connection, while consumer-grade normally use SMA or RP-SMA connectors, which is more convenient and easier to handle.

Lastly, the price. I try not to pay retail when I can, especially when it's close to $200. With surplus ants I pick up from eBay, there's an additional assurance that it's used by the pros, and not just imported stuff geared to consumers.

This is not to say that it's garbage. Some of this stuff is fine, as I'm sure yours are. It's just hard to tell the wheat from the chaff, and there are lots of chaff out there.


>I have a parabolic grid that is Band 4 specific with better gain, but it is 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall.

Yes, that would be what I'd suggest for the OP, a parabolic dish for higher gain.
 
Yes, the 11dBi is marketing and clearly noted as "max" or "peak". They specify what to expect for the different frequency bands, including a graph, in their tech spec.

PeakGain @ different bands:
9dBi @ 690-960MHz
10dBi @ 1710-2700MHz
11dBi @3400-3800MHz


I don't do eBay, and don't remember what I paid for my parabolic grid, but these folks want $250 for theirs:

https://excel-wireless.com/product/600-6500-mhz-grid-parabolic-antenna-15-dbi-to-26-dbi/

Even if the OP goes with Wilson, they're probably going to spend anywhere from $150 to $200 if they go with at least two antennas.
 
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For comparison purposes, here is the spec sheet for the common Wilson wideband yagi 314411:

https://assets.wilsonelectronics.com/m/6c6412171aba9bfd/original/Log-Periodic-Antenna-Spec-Sheet.pdf

Poynting's 11dBi claim is just polite fiction, as it pertains to the 3.x GHz range which isn't yet allocated in the US, let alone built out. As you point out, the rest is 9 or 10dBi, which also are "marketing" as peak gain isn't as relevant as average gain. Then again, we can also say the same with the Wilson's 10dBi number. I find the avg gain on the Wilson, 5.2 for the low-band (which is what we're talking about for long-haul reception), more relevant.

The difference is that the Wilson is pretty much an industry standard, and is sold on B&H for $50. Used on eBay it's around ~$30. It's a V-pol ant and not X-pol, but for long-distance use with a single input source, X-pol won't be any better. X-pol is good for indoors or in dense urban env with lots of things around that can reflect signals.

To sum, there isn't much difference between the two antennas, but there's a big difference in retail prices, $50 vs $183, more if you go the eBay route. This is if you believe the specs are real. I find the Wilson's more credible, because they're widely used and have been around a long time. I find Poynting's marketing glossies with its claim of "advanced meta-material" as just BS.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...lifiers_314411_yagi_dir_antenna_wb.html/specs
 
As mentioned, I'm not high on OP's MIMO (2x2 X-pol) idea.

The notion of MIMO itself is at cross-purpose with the notion of a directional antenna, which is focused in a highly directional arc. Only the signal in that arc will be received, so reflected sigs are minimal when pointing at a single (V-pol) source.

I watched the Poynting video at says MIMO (directional) ants are de rigeur, which per above is untrue. It's another data point in my mind that Poynting claims are BS. Its goal is to upsell to higher-priced equipment even when such equipment don't add functionality.

MIMO would be best for omnis.

BTW, there are cheaper & more compact high-gain options than a dish. Higher-gain surplus panel/sector antennas for specific low-bands (B12/13 700, B5 850) sometimes show up on eBay. B4 is 1700/2100, B2 1900, and B30 2300. OP can find which band he's connected to, then get a frequency-specific high-gain ant for the job. It doesn't have to be a dish.

A wideband antenna benefits mainly the vendor, as it only need to stock one part. Less inventory to worry about, and it gets economy of scale. But it's a jack-of-all-trade that doesn't do any one job well.
 
FWIW.... I have two lines with VZ, where one is connected to the Poynting antenna, and the other is connected to the Band 4 parabolic, where they point to different towers. I get up to 3 times faster downlink speeds with the Poynting MIMO with carrier aggregation (using Band 13 + Band 4 / 66) compared to the single parabolic fixed on Band 4.
 
Comparing your B13 to your B4 won't tell you much.

If you have the inclination, you can find out whether your Poynting ant is worth the money. Buy the Wilson at the above link (free shipping) as a drop-in replacement for the Poynting, and do head-to-head tests. At the end, you can return the Wilson for the cost of return shipping. Then you will definitively know.
 
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Maybe next summer... it's too cold right now to mess with that stuff. :)
 
After reading a bit more about Poynting, my earlier skepticism of it is ameliorated somewhat. Apparently it is an established brand out of South Africa (.za), with presence in EU and North America. Frontier Comm is the US distributor. An ongoing forum "thread" with official Poynting presence is at

https://mybroadband.co.za/forum/threads/the-poynting-antenna-discussion-thread.630443

which has been around since 2014. As per the address, it is based in South Africa, so differences (to the US) apply.

Googling on the "Poynting vs Wilson" theme, I found one blog piece here,

https://seabits.com/poynting-omni-antenna-testing

The piece isn't that informative, but my (revised) takeaways based on the post,

Good build quality. Expensive, as to be expected when you buy imported stuff. Not much in the way of web/customer reviews, at least from the usual US-based sources. My earlier low opinion of its over-the-top marketing stands.

As for Poynting vs Wilson, my impression, based on the single review, is that they're about the same quality-wise, with Wilson having the obvious edge in price, and in user-experience, at least for US use.

As to a wideband antenna, I wouldn't buy one at this point without 600MHz coverage. I've yet to see one from Wilson or Poynting, which hopefully will be updated to include that. For long-haul reception, it's probably best to get a band-specific high-gain ant anyway.

Per the blog post itself, which found that the Poynting $400 X-pol omni performed worse than the equiv Poynting V-pol omni in most cases, my takeaway is that more isn't always better, and in this instance, worse. The author's environment--an everchanging env with many hard, reflective surfaces--would make X-pol the preferred choice for an omni, which costs 2x as much as the V-pol. Yet the V-pol is better.

This reinforces the consumer adage: Beware of marketing buzzwords. MIMO isn't all that. Sometimes, the tried-and-true is still best.
 
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