Mobile broadband is such a useful resource in the 21st century. Whenever we take our tablets or laptops out and about, and we go somewhere with no access to an existing WiFi Internet connection, we can use a mobile broadband connection to get us online easily and quickly.
This handy technology is also especially useful for people that live in a house that has no fixed landline for standard ADSL or fibre-optic broadband, for example.
Photo Credit: James Morris (obtained via Flickr)
But the only downside to mobile broadband is that your connection speed can vary, and this is usually down to how much signal strength your USB dongle can attain; indeed, sometimes the problem might even be down to the device itself that you use!
I guess that you are reading this blog post because you have come across such issues, so if this is the case, here is how you can boost your signal so that you can enjoy a more-reliable and speedy mobile internet connection!
Use an antenna
Photo Credit: Wapster (obtained via Flickr)
One of the great things about all modern mobile broadband USB dongles is that you can connect an external antenna to them for the purposes of boosting your signal! Generally USB dongles only work at their best if you and your laptop (or tablet) happen to be sitting right next to a window, with no other wireless equipment interfering or in your path.
But if you have to sit down somewhere inside a building and aren’t that near to the window, an antenna can be used to boost the signal. The way they work is simple; you connect your USB dongle to your device as usual, and you simply screw a 3G antenna to it using the dedicated antenna connection on your USB dongle.
Types of antenna
There are basically three types of antenna that you can utilise for the purpose:
Standard antenna – these ones are about 50 centimetres long and look a bit like the old indoor TV antennas that you used to put on top of your set, and are designed for people that are near to a window;
High gain antenna – they are similar in operation to standard antenna, except that they are aimed at those with poor indoor 3G or 4G signals. Unlike standard antennas, high gain antennas are directional, which means you have to aim them towards a particular direction. One of the great things about high gain antennas is that they can be wall-mounted;
Outdoors antenna – if you live or work somewhere that has an abysmal 3G or 4G signal indoors, but you have no problems outdoors, you will need to invest in an outdoors antenna. They work in exactly the same way as high gain antennas, but they additionally have a powerful signal booster so that you can get the best signal possible.
If you are indoors and you only need to use a standard antenna, but you don’t want to go to the expense of buying one, you could always use alternative methods of boosting your signal, such as connecting your USB dongle to a USB extension lead, or use a MiFi device (which is basically a small wireless router for mobile broadband).