DIY 3G / LTE Signal Booster – Part 1


Hi everyone, today I’m going to show you how
you can improve the speed and reliability of your pocket wifi or mifi. Now this could be a 3G version or an LTE version,
it works for both of them. Now you probably already know that the best
way to improve the signal on these is to try and get them as close to a window as possible
and as high up as possible. You probably also know that depending on the
orientation, that can also make a big difference to your signal quality. But there’s another way that you can boost
the signal to your pocket wifi and this can be quite dramatic. The basic idea is to use a reflector like
this. Now this is just made out of cardboard or
plastic, this was made from a folder and some aluminum foil. So very basic, just using stuff from around
the house. And the idea is that when you sit this in
the middle here, it actually collects all of the signals. So instead of before, where the signals might
go past it and then be wasted, or they might hit the wall and then bounce back, it’s going
to hit this and then bounce specifically to the pocket wifi, making it a lot more efficient. It also means that when the pocket wifi sends
signals, instead of those that are getting wasted being sent backwards, hitting the wall
and then going to the tower, it’s going to hit this and it’s going to be sent straight
to the tower. Now this does make it somewhat directional,
meaning you want to try and point this in the general direction of your local cell tower. And you will notice that depending on the
direction that you point it, same with the vertical as well, it will make a difference
to your speed. Now let me start by saying, if you already
have really good signal, this is not going to help. In fact it may actually make things worse. In my testing, if I use this in an area where
I’ve got a really good LTE or 3G signal, this will actually make things worse. But when I use it in an area where I’ve got
basically no signal it really helps. And if I use it in an area where my signal
is just okay, this can make a dramatic improvement as well, especially on the upload. I’ve noticed it’s very good for the upload
which is very good for gamers, for anyone uploading to Youtube and things like that. So yeah, let’s try it out. Now like I mentioned earlier, the orientation
of your pocket wifi can make a huge difference to the signal. So I know that in this specific area, I can
use a piece of tissue to try and angle it like this, and that’s pretty much the best
signal. Now this wire here, you might be wondering
what this is. It’s just connected to my power bank because
where I’ve been doing all my testing, the battery has run low. So all I’m doing is charging this while we
use it. So what I’m going to do is point this in the
perfect direction for this specific Smartbro area. And it’s roughly something like this. So let’s go ahead and run a speed test. I’ll probably speed this up in the final video. So hopefully you can see this on camera, we
got 9.3 Mbps down and 1.8 Mbps up. Let’s test again. So we got 12.7 Mbps down and 1.4 Mbps up. Let’s test again. So we got 10.1 Mbps down and 1.57 Mbps up. Let’s test again. So we got a much better upload that time. We got 11.5 Mbps down and 3.6 Mbps up. So let’s test again. Okay so that time we got 11.4 Mbps down and
2.5 Mbps up. So that’s testing with just the pocket wifi,
no special antenna, no special reflector or anything like that. Now let’s add our reflector. And likewise, I want to try and hit the sweet
spot with directing this towards the tower so that I can get those good speeds. Now what I’m expecting to see is a drop in
download but an increase in upload because that download is already so good, I have a
feeling this is actually going to make it worse, but I’m expecting to see big improvements
on the upload. So let’s try it out. Okay, so like I predicted, it came true. We got 7.9 Mbps down but 5 Mbps on the upload. Now it can be tricky getting this thing positioned
just right and when you get it into the sweet spot, you never want to move it again. Anyway, let’s try and do the test again. You can see I’m just holding it at the moment
which isn’t ideal. What I’d actually recommend if possible is
to put a tripod mount on the bottom of this and then use a really cheap tripod because
that makes it very easy to position it and to make sure it stays where it’s meant to
stay. Anyway, let’s do the test again. So that came in at 8.5 Mbps down and 4.5 Mbps
up. Now I’m just going to try and adjust this
for a better angle because earlier I saw much much higher uploads, anywhere up to 10-15
Mbps. So I’m going to try and get a better angle
on this thing because I don’t think it’s a fair test unless I actually angle this because
the whole point of this reflector is that you actually get it pointed towards the cell
tower. So you can see this is a really weird angle
but it’s actually done much better. It came in at 9.8 Mbps down and 6.2 Mbps upload. So you really have to experiment with various
different angles because it can make such a huge difference. Let’s test again at this angle. So that time we got 8 Mbps down and 4.3 Mbps
up. Let’s take it out of this and just do a quick
test without the reflector. Now I’m going to hold it roughly in the same
position, so that was, yeah so something like this is roughly in the same position. Let me try adjust it for a better speed, no,
it doesn’t look like we’re going to get very good speed at the moment. And look at that upload, we’re back to that
awful awful upload. Let’s put it back in its sweet spot, where’s
the piece of tissue? This is how it really likes to be, just at
that kind of angle. So let’s run the test again. And yeah look, we’re getting those much higher
download speeds again. Or at least I’m expecting it.. oh it’s roughly
the same. So we got 7.3 Mbps down and 0.68 up. Let’s put it back in the reflector. There’s no funny business here, this is, you
know, you’re seeing this as it happens. Let’s click test again. And you can see the download, well it’s pretty
close actually. Let’s see what happens. The download, like I said, if you’ve already
got a really good connection, the download isn’t really going to change much by using
this reflector. If you’ve got a really bad connection, it’s
going to help. But where you’re going to see the big changes
is on the upload. So look at that, back up to the 5 Mbps upload
again. There’s no doubt that this reflector works. Now give me a second to try and find the sweet
spot and see if I can show you a more impressive speed test. Oh, in fact I think I’ve got it, let’s see
how this comes out. Because I remember from earlier, this is roughly
the best angle to hold it at. Well the upload isn’t quite as impressive
as what I saw earlier but overall it’s a clear increase from not having the reflector. So what did we get? We got 11.3 Mbps down and 6.6 Mbps up, just
by using some plastic from a folder and some foil, that’s really all it is. It doesn’t cost anything really because you
have that stuff around the house. So I know what you’re thinking, you’ve showed
at that it works but how do we do it? How do we replicate that? Well this is not my design, this is called
the Windsurfer and this goes back so many years, like donkeys years. People used to make these for their router,
for their wifi router. And the design kind of just got duplicated
for these pocket wifis or even for the little USB modem sticks. Now this is the original size version and
this is the first one that I made. But then I scaled it up and I had much more
success with this larger version. It’s exactly the same design, all I did was
made it larger and then cut it out to be bigger. Let’s try it with the small version. I didn’t have as much luck with this one,
but let’s try. So again, we just slide the pocket wifi into
there, there’s no magic, it’s completely passive, there’s no batteries. And let’s try the test. Oh, it’s pretty respectable, 9.6 Mbps down
and 4.8 Mbps up. But it’s not as impressive as our big version. See, that gave us 11 Mbps down and 7.6 Mbps
up. Okay, so that’s the results when you test
it in a pretty good service area. Let’s try it again in an area that has much
worse service and see how well it works.

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