We have completed another round of testing, this time testing out some alternative MIMO portable TS-9 antennas, new SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0, a range of weBoost products and the new HiBoost OTR antenna combo.
The cellular boosters tested:
- SureCall Fusion2GO 3.0 RV - Newly released in March 2018, SureCall has made this claim this booster should outperform the tried and true weBoost Drive 4G-X. We'll be putting it to the test.
- weBoost Drive 4G-X RV & OTR - our tried and true standard, based on many previous rounds of signal testing. We'll be using both the RV and OTR antennas in various testing.
- weBoost Drive 4G-M OTR - We'll also be bringing back an old favorite - the less powerful and more affordable 4G-M. This has been a solidly performing booster for those who don't necessarily need increased upload speeds that the transmit power of the 4G-X provides.
- weBoost Connect RV 65 - Released on April 30, we've had a pre-release evaluation unit in our lab for a few weeks and are integrating it into testing against weBoost's mobile booster line-up.
- HiBoost Travel 4G LTE with new OTR Antenna - HiBoost was anticipating releasing a new booster kit with an OTR Antenna in May 2018 (same antenna design from Antenna World as from weBoost, just with a different plastic case). However they ended up not releasing this as a new kit, and instead are selling the antenna separately. We've had this pairing in testing since April.
MIMO Antennas Being Tested
Netgear MIMO Suction Cup - We pretty much have a love affair going on with this directional suction cup mounted antenna that plugs directly into LTE hotspots with dual antenna ports. The results were amazing - often outperforming roof mounted antennas and boosters. In August this antenna disappeared from the market (soon to return), but seems to now be reliably back in stock.
We'll be taking some numbers with some potential alternative MIMO antennas just incase the Netgear disappears again:
- Panorama MIMO
- Urant MIMO
The devices & the carriers we are testing them with include:
- Verizon - Novatel 7730L
- AT&T - Unite Explore & Unite Pro
For guides to boosters & antennas:
Understanding & Optimizing your Cellular Data Performance
Understanding MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) – LTE Speed & Cell Booster Implications
Our testing procedures:
During our testing, we will attempt to visit a variety of testing locations.
We start by taking 3 baseline readings with each of our cellular devices with no booster or antenna.
Each device is tested independently, with all other nearby devices in airplane mode to prevent any potential interference.
Next, for each device we test each booster and/or antenna combination. We take readings with the mobile hotspot device directly on the interior antenna for boosters, and for those claiming extended interior range we also test at 6' away.
The readings taken are:
Coverage? Map snapshot, showing high level view of anticipated service at each location.
- Signal strength db reading, on devices that support it using Field Test mode.
- Signal bars/dots present & service type - HSPA, LTE (and specifically which band, when possible), 3G, 1XRT, Edge, etc.
- DL = Download speed.
- UL = Upload speed.
- Ping time.
- SNR or Quality - Signal to Noise Ratio, if reported by device.
- Jitter - Stability of Ping Times
- Calculated scores.
For speed and ping readings, we are using the Ookla Speedtest app. When testing mobile hotspots we test on one of our iPads while connected via WiFi to the hotspot. We keep the distance between iPad and mobile hotspot consistent over the same WiFi band to rule out WiFi variables.
All of the individual field testing results and observations shared below are for our members. Not only will the results show the performance of each booster/antenna, but also what to expect in different types of signal situations.
Our goal in our cellular and Wi-Fi gear testing isn’t to attempt to create perfectly “fair” lab conditions, which are impossible in the real world. Instead, we try to strike a balance between real-world scenarios and the need to be able to test multiple setups head-to-head while being able to rapidly switch between them.
By testing in a range of locations and situations patterns tend to emerge - and we always try to sanity-check our conclusions by mixing things up to make sure that the overall results make sense and are representative.
Testing Status: Testing has been completed and reviews of all products in this round updated to reflect our testing.
We will be starting a new round of testing in late 2018 to continue some additional configuration experimentation.
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