Field Testing Lab Report
Test # 1: MIMO Antenna Head to Head Testing
This testing compared a collection of MIMO antenna configurations - some purpose-built, some 'mock MIMO' (two single antennas).
- 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.
- 'Double Stubby' - Mock MIMO - A long time favorite affordable roof mounted option. Not true MIMO, but two 4" Mag Mount antennas on a ground plane.
- Double OTR - Mock MIMO - We're also continuing to test using 2 weBoost 4G OTR antennas in a MIMO like configuration.
- Panorama Wideband MIMO - Provided by Panorama, we are continuing to test this directional MIMO antenna, as it arrived late in our last round
- Mikrotik mANT LTE MIMO - Continuing to test, as it arrived late in our last round
- Poynting MIMO-3-V2 - Just arrived courtesy of LivinLite.net, this low profile roof mounted antenna is the same one being installed by Airstream.
The devices & the carriers we are testing them with include:
Test #2: 4x4 Internal MIMO versus 2x2 External MIMO
With more cellular devices coming with internal 4x4 MIMO antennas (but only dual antenna ports), we are testing to see if using an external 2x2 MIMO antenna still makes sense.
For guides to boosters & antennas:
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 a high-level view of anticipated service at each location.
- Signal strength db reading
- 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 the device.
- Jitter - Stability of Ping Times
- Calculated scores, for use as a quick reference. Any score over 2.00 shows some improvement over the baseline reading.
For speed and ping readings, we are using the Ookla Speedtest app. When testing mobile hotspots we test on a device while connected via WiFi to the hotspot. We keep the distance between device 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.
Test 1 is complete, with 7 locations tested between Florida and Nevada.
Test 2 is completed, with 11 locations tested along the St Johns River in Florida.
Our testing results are an exclusive member benefit and are shared below, including a grid of collected data and testing summaries.
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