Internet Access Using the 3G/4G Mobile Network

If you do not have access to ADSL or a fixed wireless connection such as WiMax, then 4G Mobile Broadband offers a faster service and larger monthly data allowances than a satellite broadband service.

To use 4G Mobile Broadband you will need at least 1bar of signal to begin with, which can be improved through the use of an external antenna to your 4G mobile broadband modem.

Since Telstra offer the greatest coverage option in Australia, this information is specific for the Telstra 4G network and devices.

The performance of a 4G Mobile Broadband system is affected by weather conditions, distance from the nearest transmission tower and the number of other users on the network at the time of use.

The device operates off a battery, and 2 external antenna connections to maximise the signal quality and speed of your Mobile broadband service using this device.

Cradle/Docking Station

Netgear also offer a docking station for the 782S, which provides a charging option for the battery operated portable 4G modem as well as offering 2 external antenna connection points into the docking station which transfer through to the device.

The 782s Netgear Advanced Ethernet Telstra Cradle 4G also has an ethernet port on the rear of the cradle, which allows you to connect your 4G modem to a router to add additional Wifi connections or wired Cat5 connections. Keep in mind that the more devices and users connected via your 4G mobile broadband connection, the slower the service for each device.

Router and Sharing your 3G/4G Connection

When purchasing a router select one with Wifi capability, and look for 802.11AC as this is the latest, high speed dual band Wifi available.

Routers can be purchased from all major electronics retailers or online. Costs start from around $120.00

External Antenna

At the moment, Telstra 4G uses the LTE Band @ 1800Mhz for data and the 3G band @ 850Mhz for voice. Earlier this year, Telstra purchased additional frequencies in the 900, 700 and 2500Mhz for their 4G service so it is likely that future models of smartphones and 4G Mobile broadband modems will have hardware and firmware changes to enable users to use these additional frequencies, which is likely to reduce congestion across the 4G network.

For the moment, 1800Mhz is the frequency to concentrate on when selecting your external antenna for you 4G mobile broadband modem. It is important to use an antenna with the correct frequency, as using one designed for 850Mhz (voice) such as car antennas will result in very low levels of gain in incoming signal into your 4G modem.

There are 2 different types of external antennas suitable for 4G data, yagis and parabolic antennas. These antennas range in price from $50 - $200 per antenna. Please see note below if you only receive 3G not 4G.

Use of an external antenna will improve the quality and strength of the signal that your 4G modem receives. For best results, use 2 external antennas for your 4G modem as this will increase the rate that data is sent and received at.

If you are in a 3G area and not able to receive 4G, then the 4G modem will still work but will operate in the 3G band @ 2100MHz for data. This is very important when selecting your antenna since some 4G antennas are very narrow band and would not give good results for 3G. To cover both bases, and allow for 4G upgrade I would recommend selecting an antenna that covers 1800 - 2100Mhz frequencies.

The use of an external antenna is useful in homes and offices that have steel construction or stone walls, as well as in areas of general poor mobile phone reception.

The external antennas are directional, so they need to point in the direction of the closest mobile phone tower for your network. Smartphones include a basic field test metre which will allow you to walk around and determine where you receive the strongest signal, which will help you to decide where to mount the antenna.

It is likely you will also need a patch cable to convert from traditional F connector fittings for either RG6 or RG9 antenna cable to the smaller fittings used on both the modem device or the cradle antenna connections.

Where Can I Buy a 3G or 4G Modem?

Telstra 4G Mobile Broadband modems and their docking stations can be purchased from Telstra stores, various retailers and online sellers.