Recommendations for 4G Modem/Router

balanga

Son of Beastie

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What would anyone recommend for a 4G Modem/Router?

I'd prefer something to which I could attach an external 4G antenna. Recommendations for such an antenna would also be welcomed.
 
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balanga

Son of Beastie

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I was looking at PC Engines website and see that two boards are marked as optimized for 3G/LTE modems.

In what way are they optimised for 3G/LTE modems? And will I be able to use such a board when 5G becomes widely available? I'm guessing that FreeBSD will be able to support 5G....
 

SirDice

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I'm guessing that FreeBSD will be able to support 5G....
It's not FreeBSD that needs to support it, it's the GSM (mobile phone) module that does. All FreeBSD sees in this respect is either an ethernet or a serial (UART) connection (depending on the type of phone module).
 

SirDice

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Why not a all-in-one-box? Just an appliance with an ethernet port. Let the appliance figure out how to connect. I think there are plenty of those available. It's the same with a wireless access point for example, of course you can implement it on FreeBSD but it's much easier to just plugin a self-contained device on your network.
 

6502

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Many Asus ethernet routers have multi function USB port(s). One of options is to insert 3G/4G dongle for alternative connection if WAN port is disconnected.
 

diizzy

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Get a decent modem, put it in bridge mode and then use whatever your prefer as firewall.
 

gpw928

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Recommendations for such an antenna would also be welcome

The antenna needs to be "fit for purpose".

Until that purpose is defined, it's difficult to be too specific.

The easiest way to test is to see if a phone, on the same frequency (and from the same service provider) as your modem, will work. Try tethering it, if you can. This will let you speed test the service. Beware, a lot of phones (and modems) may fall back to 3G if 4G is not working well. You can generally program modem behaviour to allow or prevent this.

Most modems vendors will recommend some specific small antenna. That's usually the best place to start when your signal is present, but marginal.

You can use the "AT CSQ" command to detect signal strength:
Code:
Mar 23 18:17:20 pi4 chat[824]: send (AT+CSQ^M)
Mar 23 18:17:20 pi4 chat[824]: expect (OK)
Mar 23 18:17:20 pi4 chat[824]: ^M
Mar 23 18:17:20 pi4 chat[824]: AT+CSQ^M^M
Mar 23 18:17:20 pi4 chat[824]: +CSQ: 17,99^M
Mar 23 18:17:20 pi4 chat[824]: ^M
Mar 23 18:17:20 pi4 chat[824]: OK
Mar 23 18:17:20 pi4 chat[824]:  -- got it
Adding this to the chat script can assist in antenna placement. The signal strength of "17" above is "good".

I have a 3g+ modem and live in a rural location in Australia. A small antenna won't work.

In my geographical context, 3G+ from my service provider operates at 900 MHz.

So I have an directional external antenna, tuned for 900 MHz, on top of a 6 m mast pointed at the service provider's tower in a town 10 km away.

The mast is just a galvanised steel pipe, sitting on a concrete tile, secured vertical with metal brackets attached to the floor joist and fascia board.

I oriented the antenna at night where the glow of lights in the town was discernible. I also had the option of using a compass, as all broadcast towers have their GPS coordinates and frequencies publicly documented (but pointing at the lights was much easier).

Not everyone will need a 6 m mast. But there are options you can try if a small antenna won't do what you need.

It may help to know that DAB (digital radio) uses the same coaxial cable standards (SMA) as modems. The final pigtail connection to the modem is generally either a CRC9 or TS9 adaptor. Beware that these look similar, but different sizes, and are not interchangeable.
 

aragats

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I'm using OC69271-FNM omnidirectional antenna attached to a plastic plumbing vent on the roof. Regular small antenna doesn't work well although the tower is in ~1km (@1900MHz).
 
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balanga

Son of Beastie

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I'm using OC69271-FNM omnidirectional antenna attached to a plastic plumbing vent on the roof. Regular small antenna doesn't work well although the tower is in ~1km (@1900MHz).
Any opinions on COMBO MIMO Mobile ROOF SMA Antennae?
 
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