Mobile Service and Modems

What type of mobile service do I require in the home?

Now that you’ve sorted out your antenna using the BIRRR Antenna Installation Guide; what sort of mobile service do you require for your home service?

  1. Do you require a mobile data connection only ie a modem to provide internet?
  2. Would you like both a mobile phone and a mobile data service?

To date, mobile phone services in Australia have worked on 3G and not 4G. The best and fastest data services are available on 4G. Voice services over 4G (or LTE), known as VoLTE, arrived at the end of 2015 ref, however for VoLTE to work, your mobile phone must be VoLTE compatible.

When deciding on the best antenna for your location, your requirement for voice and/or data is important; as you may require an antenna that works with the best 3G and the best 4G frequencies at your location. In ‘the bush’ it is relatively straightforward. For Telstra you will almost certainly be using 3G on 850 Mhz and 4G on 700 Mhz; whilst for Optus you will find 3G is on 900 Mhz and 4G on 700 Mhz. Both Telstra and Optus continue to expand their 700 Mhz 4G networks (as at end 2015).

 A Data (internet) only mobile installation

A data only installation will terminate your antenna system with a wireless hotspot, USB wireless modem (wingle), USB modem or mobile phone. These basic connection systems do not provide LAN cable access (to your home network) and a USB modem option traditionally does not provide WIFI access, although there are some exceptions to this.

For Telstra Netgear Modems adding an ‘AirCard Smart Cradle’ will improve WIFI signal & provide Lan Cable access.

For Telsta Netgear hotspots you may add an ‘AirCard Smart Cradle’ cradle. This improves the WIFI signal and provides LAN cable access.

For Optus modem / routers with LAN access, try the Huawei E5186, ask at your local Optus store however they are a bit difficult to order.

Or you may enhance the service of your modem, wingle, hotspot or mobile phone by adding a router to improve the WIFI signal and provide LAN cable access. Dovado, TP-link, D-link, Netcomm and others, provide routers that interface to data devices. Check that your data device is supported by the router manufacturer. Dovado are unique in that they concentrate and supply only modem compatible routers. See our equipment suppliers and manufacturers document.

NB:  Bigpond plans are ONLY compatible with some modems, please check what plan you are on before changing modems.

Mobile Phone and Data (internet) installation

Cel-Fi – The Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna TMSA or Nextivity Cel-Fi Mobile Boosters, are good all in one solutions. It is important that you purchase the latest 4G compliant (Telstra network only) Smart Antenna/Cel-Fi unit and that it is correctly installed for optimum performance. It is not a cheap option. Smart Antennas/Cel Fi Boosters are provider specific, you need to purchase the correct one for the provider you use. Cel-Fi Boosters and Telstra branded Smart Antennas are similar. BIRRR highly recommend using surge protectors with these devices, you will need two surge protectors , one for each powerpoint. All other boosters using power are ILLEGAL.

Bluetooth Cordless Phone – By using a mobile phone (external antenna port may be required) and a suitable Bluetooth cordless phone you may achieve a quality mobile voice connection without resorting to the Telstra Smart Mobile Antenna or Cel-Fi unit.

As an example that many may be familiar with, Bluetooth in a motor vehicle may be used to provide hands free mobile phone operation.

An appropriate cordless Bluetooth phone can be used to provide the same feature in home. Uniden, Panasonic, Telstra and VTech provide suitable cordless Bluetooth handsets that are compatible for incoming and outgoing mobile network calls for less than $200.

Place the mobile phone at a good reception point or connect an external antenna to the phone. Many Telstra branded mobile phones support the an external antenna. The use of an external antenna is important for locations where no mobile reception is available in the home

Ensure that your Bluetooth cordless handsets have the following features:

  1. Supports both incoming and outgoing calls.
  2. Provides a USB port to maintain the charge on your mobile handset.
  3. Includes an answering machine if that feature is required.

Note: A mobile phone and a data modem cannot share the same external antenna, so two antennas may be necessary if both phone and data are required. It may be a bit of a fiddle using Bluetooth, but once done, it could be a lifesaver.

Optus WIFI calling – If you have a mobile phone service with Optus, Optus WIFI Calling is now available. Using an Optus Smart phone App, it allows your Optus mobile phone to connect via WIFI, to any internet service. It does not matter if your internet connection is via a Telstra mobile data connection or ‘nbn anything’ (including satellite), to make voice calls.

Anywhere you can access WIFI, you can use Optus WIFI calling. Your Optus mobile phone will receive voice calls whenever it is WIFI connected.

Call costs are billed against your Optus mobile account.

If you have an Optus mobile phone service and WIFI, your Optus mobile phone will just work; without any other bibs and bobs!

Telstra may at some time in the future provide WIFI calling?

How to extend a mobile data service from a mobile reception location (hill etc) to home

A solar transponder or a mobile data relay may be installed to relay internet from a mobile friendly location on your property back to your home. Here is one DIY example:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/BIRRR/permalink/435443363331023/

The commercial provision of this type of installation is common for remote businesses and households. Contact the BIRRR recommended specialists.

I have Satellite and a Mobile data service

If you have both a mobile data and a satellite service you need a way to easily switch between the two such that you may utilise the satellite connection (low cost, high latency) and your mobile data connection (high cost, low latency) when and as required.

The simplest way is to install two WIFI routers. One router is connected to the satellite service and one router to the mobile service.

Wirelessly connect to the service you wish to use for the internet operation you are undertaking.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider, regarding your own connection issues.

Prepared  for BIRRR by John Kitchener 7/1/2016

 

Cel-Fi Boosters

Active antennas or boosters (that are usually inside the house) boost the 3G / 4G signal.  Boosters such as these that require power to the unit (Telstra Smart Antennas & Nextivity Cel-Fi Repeaters) require licensing.  If they are not licensed they are ILLEGAL boosters.

Illegal boosters carry a large fine as they can interfere with the mobile network.

” It is an offence under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act) to operate an unlicensed radiocommunications device, or possess this device for the purpose of operation. A person found guilty of this offence may be imprisoned for two years for each offence. A body corporate may receive a penalty of up to $270,000 (1,500 penalty units) per offence (sections 46 and 47 of the Act). Other penalties may apply, such as the interference offence provisions at Part 4.2 of the Act.” ( ACMA )

Powertec Telecommunications are the only approved importer of the Nextivity Cel-Fi (outside of Telstra’s branded Smart Antenna).

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 8.34.08 AM

RRP on the Telstra Cel-FI RS2 (3G) is $943.80 + Freight
RRP on the Telstra Cel-FI PRO (3G/4G) is $1,188.00 + Freight

Cel-Fi Boosters and Telstra branded Smart Antennas are similar. BIRRR highly recommend using surge protectors with these devices, you will need two surge protectors , one for each powerpoint.

UPDATE Jan 2017: Powertec have now released 2 new model boosters, the Cel-Fi GO Mobile and Cel-Fi GO Stationary. Cel-Fi GO Mobile is for moving vehicles and Cel-Fi GO Stationary for cabled building applications (ie small spaces like dongas, boats, farm equipment).

The Cel-Fi PRO models are still very relevant for office and home.

The GO is also IP rated so suits industrial applications and professional install is recommended.

More details can be found on the Powertec Website.

In Australia none of the carriers cooperate in the manner allowing a Cel-Fi to work across multiple carriers and only the Cel–Fi Pro and Telstra Smart Antenna are currently approved by Telstra for 4G, there are no other 4G repeaters currently approved. What this means is that each Carrier has their own specific model, at the moment only Telstra has a 4G model, if you want to cover multiple carriers, then you need to use multiple models.  A Telstra Smart Antenna OR a Nexitivity Cel-Fi will work on Telstra 4G network.

Tips on Simplified Cel-Fi Installation – Thanks to Marcus Dowling from Rising Connection

You may like to have two very long power extension leads to help with this while you move the CU & NU around find the best locations.
#1 before powering up the units, walk around your property and look for both the strongest and weakest signal on you mobile. This is important, with the Cel-Fi units, if the CU (Coverage Unit/Smaller box) picks up too much signal, it will automatically back its ability off, so find the areas where you get “BAD” signal (preferably none) as options as to where you will put the CU.

#2 (skip if not using an external antenna) choose two locations where you are not getting good signal, if the NU (Network Unit/Bigger box) can pick up enough signal with its internal antennas, it will by default ignore the external antenna, the NU has several very decent size antennas in it, way better than any normal mobile phone has.

#3 (skip if using an external antenna) put the NU (Network Unit/Bigger box) where you can find your strongest signal as in #1, that could be outside, just make sure the unit is protected from the weather and elements, the NU has several very decent size antennas in it, way better than any normal mobile phone has. Look to see that you are getting as many bars as possible (with the CU switched off) on the NU. The better you get the signal onto the NU, the better the CU will work in the next steps.

#4 Performance wise the NU & CU work best at around twenty (20) meters between them, this will vary depending on your building, some could be over 40 meters, some less then 15 meters, so place the CU now away from NU progressively looking at getting the number for the NU as high as possible, then take it that bit further where it fails (to far from the NU), it is good to know how far you can push the CU. Now the distance you took the CU to where it failed, use that as a guide to bringing the CU back into range, then bring the CU back some more, the CU will be more stable close than further away, when the CU is on the fringe, it can drop out causing your mobile connection to fail intermittently.

Just using these steps often achieves better performance than the performance specifications given for the Cel-Fi.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider, local government and local installer regarding your own connection issues and infrastructure needed. Each state has different laws for antenna installation.

Prepared by BIRRR in conjunction with Powertec, Marcus Dowling (Rising Connection) and Doug Pukallus (Telco Antennas)

Controlling Internet Data Usage with Gargoyle Router

Are you regularly running out of internet “downloads” or data? Kids keep on using it all? Not sure where it’s going?
This document describes the process of setting up a “Gargoyle” Router to enforce data usage quotas for each device on your computer network.
Unfortunately, due to the many variables of different internet connection types and equipment types, it is not simple to give a single step-by-step guide, but this may hopefully help some of you out, even if you have to get a computer tech in to set it up for you.
There is a New Zealand company selling Gargoyle routers (posted to Australia), and will help you set them up if you pay for their time.
http://www.portable.geek.nz/
These Gargoyle routers will allow you to set quotas limiting how much data each device on your network can use over a given time period, so as to ensure you do not use all of your monthly internet allowance. You can see how much data each device is using, and set limits for each device. These limits can reset every hour, every day, every week, or every month, and can be set differently for different devices on your network.
The Gargoyle program is free, and can be downloaded from Gargoyle , however you need a special router to put it on, and this can be a bit tricky for those who are not experienced with computer networking.
IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ: You, and you alone are responsible for what you do with this information. It has the potential to stop your internet from working, and to destroy your new Gargoyle router. BIRRR & I are not responsible for this, and cannot necessarily help you fix any problems occurring as a result of this. This is complicated stuff, and you may need help from an experienced computer tech to get it working.
Due to the large amount of possible modems, routers and network types, I cannot give step-by-step instructions for every router available. However the Gargoyle website provides some instructions for the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND Router, which is fairly cheap (about $70) and can be purchased from many online retailers, and maybe your local computer shop or IT Technician, who may also be able to assist you with the setup. (But they quite likely will not know of Gargoyle, so you would have to show them the website – http://www.gargoyle-router.com)
Types of Modems/Internet connections
Your setup will also vary depending on the type of internet connection you have. BEFORE YOU START, take note of how everything is plugged in and connected together. Draw pictures, write notes, take photos, whatever is needed to help you put it back as is if you run into trouble.
If you have a modem or router that has an Ethernet port (to take a cable that looks like this),

cable

then it is reasonably easy to make work. If you have satellite, ADSL, Next G Wireless Loop or a Telstra/Bigpond Network Gateway, this is what you should have. When you are finished, It will all be plugged in like this:

gargoyle 1
If not, you will likely need the assistance of someone experienced with computer networking, so I will attempt to provide some examples of how to set it up for them to follow.
If you have a 3G/4G USB Dongle, you will need to get a router to connect the USB dongle to. This will be another separate piece of equipment to purchase. Check out http://ofmodemsandmen.com/ If you do this, you would then end up with the scenario in the drawing above, and can continue setting up Gargoyle. Alternatively, and preferably, if your Gargoyle router has a USB port, you may be able to connect the USB dongle directly to the Gargoyle Router, and use it as the internet source. I have done this once, and it worked quite well. However, Some routers will not supply enough power to the USB dongle for this to work reliably.
You may also have a wifi only device, like the Telstra 4G Wifi modems. I have never tried this, but you should be able to set it up like this:

gargoyle2

Getting Gargoyle installed onto a router

You cannot just use any router, and this page has some links to different options: Gargoyle Router

But, for the sake of this document, let’s go with the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND – it can be purchased from many Australian retailers, look here for places to order it from: Static Ice

There are currently three versions of the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND router, V1.x (old), V2.1 (current) and 3.0 (current). Version 2.1 and V3.0 are identical in appearance.

Version 1 is the oldest. Version 2 is newer and is well proven. Version 3 (latest), may be problematic, as it is not yet directly supported by Gargoyle (at Jan 2016). When buying the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND, check with your supplier to determine which version they can supply.

Note: Here is a link to other routers which run Gargoyle:
https://www.gargoyle-router.com/wiki/doku.php?id=supported_routers_-_tested_routers
It is recommended to select one of the newest routers with a fast CPU and larger RAM / Flash Memory. Atheros AR71XX based Routers have a proven track record with Gargoyle.

You must download and install the specific Gargoyle file for the router you have / bought.
https://www.gargoyle-router.com/download.php
Select the file which ends in … squashfs-factory.bin. This is the correct .bin file to flash your factory firmware router.

For a V1, get this file: V1 FILE   – clicking on file will automatically download it

For a V2, get this file: V2 FILE – clicking on file will automatically download it

Each of these files are about 8mb in size, and should only take, at most, about 5-20 minutes to download, unless your internet is really, really slow.

  1. Save this file onto your computer.
  2. Physically unplug your computer from the internet, or disconnect the wireless.
  3. Connect the router to the power, and to your computer with the supplied network cable:cable
  4. Open up the webpage that controls the router, which should be at either of these addresses: Address 1  or Address 2 – try each of them.
  5. Next, on the menu on the left side of the screen, click System Tools, then Firmware Upgrade. Then click browse, and choose the file you downloaded earlier. Then click Upgrade. (If you get the error message “please choose a file to upgrade”, then rename the firmware file to something shorter (i.e. “gargoyle.bin”) and upload it again)
  6. Wait about 5 minutes then you should be able to open the website http://192.168.1.1/
    If after 5 minutes 192.168.1.1 won’t open, restart both the Gargoyle router and your computer and try again. To restart Gargoyle, just pull the power cable out, then plug it back in. If this doesn’t work, you are going to need to get help from someone experienced with computer networking. Or you can try repeating everything you did earlier.
  7. The Gargoyle website provides a detailed procedure for the initial configuration of your new Gargoyle router. See http://www.gargoyle-router.com/wiki/doku.php?id=getting_started.
    The following steps take you briefly through this procedure.
    1. Log into 192.168.1.1 via your browser. It will ask for a password. The password is password, so type it in and login.
    2. Once logged in, you should see a screen that looks similar to this:
      GargoyleRouterHomePageScreenshot
    3. Click the Connection button on the left side menu.
    4. In the Internet/WAN section, you need to choose DHCP (wired) if Gargoyle is to be connected to your modem via a network cable. This is the default setting and will work with all nbn™ NTU or modem connections scenarios. Choose DHCP (wireless) if it is to be connected by WIFI.
    5. You must turn on and secure the WIFI. Use WPA2 PSK security, set the Access Point SSID (the WIFI name) and the Wireless Channel. Default is Ch 11 is fine. The remainder of the default settings should not need attention at this time.

Plugging it into your computer network

Once that is done, you can connect Gargoyle to your internet modem (either by LAN cable or wirelessly), and connect your computers and other devices, either by cable or WIFI, to Gargoyle, instead of the original modem.

If it is all done right, you should be able to connect to the internet; in which case you are almost done.

NOTE: No devices should be connected directly to your old modem, as they will be bypassing Gargoyle’s quotas. You may need to turn the WIFI off on your old modem, or change the password, to keep kids (and big kids) from bypassing Gargoyle. If there is no connection, re-check everything you have done. Maybe get someone else to have a look, as it is easy to get frustrated and confused, and overlook simple things. Failing that, you may have to get a computer tech to look at it. But, in the meantime, you should be able to go back to your old setup.

Setting up quotasGargoyleSideMenu

But before you do that, you may wish to use Gargoyles bandwidth monitoring feature to determine just which computers on your network are using data and when. See https://www.gargoyle-router.com/wiki/doku.php?id=bandwidth_usage

Now you just need to setup your quotas.

Open the gargoyle router page at http://192.168.1.1 and login. Then, click Firewall in the left side menu, then click Quotas.

Once again there is a good Gargoyle website explanation for setting quotas. See http://www.gargoyle-router.com/wiki/doku.php?id=quotas

The Quota page has a variety of options. Have a play around and set it up as you want. Then click Save Changes. Sometimes you may have to restart the Gargoyle for it to take effect. To do this, navigate to System then Reboot or pull out the power cord, count to 10, then plug it back in.

To monitor the quotas, click Status on the left side menu and then click Quota Usage. This page will show you in real time, how much each device has used.

That’s about it. I hope this helps out some of you.

I am sorry I can’t give more specific instructions. Dependant on your equipment and users there are many variations for how it could be configured.

Here is an interesting read on a similar project using Gargoyle on a satellite service in the USA: http://raisedbyturtles.org/limiting-daily-bandwidth-on-home-router

Prepared by Nick Marlow from Mitiamo IT for BIRRR 4/11/2015 – Updated 6/06/2016.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your own IT consultant regarding this and other latest programs and equipment.

Telstra Yagi and Smart Antennas

If you can get some Telstra mobile coverage at your location a Yagi and/or Telstra branded smart antenna may assist you in boosting your signal. Check to see your closest tower here:

FIND YOUR CLOSEST TOWER ~     MOBILE SITE SAFETY    OR    OZ TOWERS

The following information has been provided by discussions with Telstra, other service providers also offer solutions for boosting signal strength, please be aware that these must be registered devices.  It is best to contact your service provider directly.  Illegal boosters carry a large fine as they can interfere with the mobile network.

” It is an offence under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act) to operate an unlicensed radiocommunications device, or possess this device for the purpose of operation. A person found guilty of this offence may be imprisoned for two years for each offence. A body corporate may receive a penalty of up to $270,000 (1,500 penalty units) per offence (sections 46 and 47 of the Act). Other penalties may apply, such as the interference offence provisions at Part 4.2 of the Act.” ( ACMA )

In Australia none of the carriers cooperate in the manner allowing a Cel-Fi to work across multiple carriers and only the Cel–Fi Pro & Telstra Smart Antenna is currently approved by Telstra for 4G, there are no other 4G repeaters currently approved. What this means is that each Carrier has their own specific model, at the moment only Telstra has a 4G model, if you want to cover multiple carriers, then you need to use multiple models.  A Telstra Smart Antenna OR a Nexitivity Cel-Fi will work on Telstra 4G network.

Older style yagi and smart antennas may be 3G only, if you are purchasing new ones please ensure they are 4G.  The 3G antennas will work on the 4G network (as they use the 3G network which has not been switched when towers are upgraded) however optimal performance will not be achieved.  It is worth remembering that all Telstra towers will be upgraded to 4G over the next few years.

YAGI ANTENNA

A Yagi Antenna is a directionally aerial made of several short rods mounted on a support that transmits or receives a narrow band of frequencies. Some people find an extended mast with a yagi attached can increase signal strength to their property.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 9.21.25 pm

Telstra Statement “A range of external antennas are available that can provide improved coverage for certain mobile devices in areas where coverage is marginal. Even when you’re in an area where handheld coverage is possible, an external antenna solution may also improve the performance of your handset or broadband device.

Yagi or external antennas are most effective when mounted in the ‘line of sight’ of a mobile phone base station, or where the best signal is received. Depending on location and type of antenna used, this can be near a window, building rooftop, pole or other elevated structure. As with all antennas, the general rule when mounting is the higher the better. After the antenna has been fitted, it is connected directly to a mobile device, such as a broadband modem.

Please note: Depending on device capability and available coverage, external antennas can improve 3G and 4G coverage on the Telstra Mobile Network. Not all external antennas allow direct connection to the handset or broadband device. Antenna accessories are only available for selected handset and broadband models. Please refer to the device manufacturer for specifications or visit a Telstra shop for assistance.”

SMART ANTENNA (Cel-Fi Booster)

The Smart Antenna (sometimes called a Cel-Fi Booster) is a device that is installed inside your home to boost the mobile signal indoors.

Telstra Statement “The Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna 4G is now available. This exciting new device is designed to extend indoor coverage for Telstra 3G and 4G/4GX mobile or mobile broadband services in Telstra Mobile network coverage areas. All you need is one spot within your home or office where you can make calls and connect your Smart Antenna 4G device.

More details about these boosters can be found on this page.

Increased coverage can help you to:

  • Make voice calls and access mobile broadband in more areas of your home or office
  • Enjoy more reliable voice calling
  • Experience more consistent mobile broadband data speeds (3G 850 MHz and 4G 700 & 1800 MHz)

This device is suitable for indoor use, for a family residence or small office.

Please note that the performance of 4G devices in 4GX areas will not be improved by using a Smart Antenna 4G device unless a compatible 4GX device is used.

Benefits include:

  • Easy installation: simply plug and play the Network and Coverage unit into a standard 240V power supply.
  • The LCD screen shows you how the Smart Antenna 4G device is working, helping you get the best possible coverage.
  • Seamless coverage as you move between your extended 4G and nearby 3G/4G/4GX network coverage areas.
  • Unlike similar devices, the Smart Antenna 4G device doesn’t need a fixed broadband connection.
  • The Smart Antenna 4G device can help improve your battery life by reducing the need to search for coverage.
  • BIRRR highly recommend using surge protectors with this device, you will need 2 for each power point.

Some smartphones and mobile broadband devices are 4GX-ready. Your compatible device will automatically use 4GX when using the Smart Antenna 4G whenever it’s available. “

14325382214241432779411974

Images Supplied by Telstra

Telstra Antenna & Aerial Contact & Costings:

For antenna installation and technical support call 1800 305 307 (select option 4). They can do desktop studies to see if mobile broadband will work in your area.

ICPA (Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association) Members receive a discount on both the Yagi ($10) and the smart Antenna ($50) to get the discount Consumer customers can ring 132200, Business customers can ring 132000 .

Telstra Smart Antenna device price – $960 (outright) or $40 / month over 24 months using a Hardware Repayment Option (HRO). For Business – MICA monthly payment option.

Telstra Yagi Aerial – Outright purchase $290

Telstra Smart Antenna & Yagi PLUS professional installation – $1830 ($960 + $290 + install $580*)

* Note: customer may be charged extra for excess travel or non-standard installation types. This will be determined by the O2A team who will advise the customer before installation.

Refunds: The customer may be entitled to a refund. If they are getting a refund, they must contact the O2A team on: 1800 305 307 option 4 to organise return of the device and applicable credit.

Footnote: All information compiled from BIRRR discussions with Telstra and Telstra website and is current as at 14th October 2015. 

TELSTRA YAGI & Smart Antenna DOCUMENT prepared by Kristy Sparrow for BIRRR updated 14/10/2015