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  • WIXFBR117 modem

    Hi,

    I am currently moving to a new home -less than 2 miles away- and believe or not, where I had FIOS and DSL available (I was a FIOS customer) now none of FIOS and DSL are available: FIOS has not been deployed there, and according to Verizon, there is no open Port for me with DSL.

    Anyway I didn't want to go back to charter with who I had a pretty bad experience so here I am looking for a decent speed internet that will work there.


    So I ordered a 4G package from Clear. I haven't tried anything yet but I did receive the modem, their wifi modem: SKU # WIXFDR117.

    I am moving to a small condo community and I anticipate not getting the best signal I could. According to Clear I should be getting a pretty good signal, however being on the first floor will probably kill the signal quite a bit.


    Here is what I am planing to do:

    I would like to add an external antenna to this modem. I know there is no port for one but I purchased the modem and familiar with electronic mods and more importantly I am willing to go ahead and to do a mod.

    I would like to install the antenna on the roof from which there is a direct sight at the antenna that is on top of the hill.


    Here is where I need your help:

    - I don't think I want to have a long antenna coax extension (30 ft from the roof) that will kill the signal.
    - should I install the modem in a waterproof box that I could install on the roof next to the antenna? for which I would need to find a way to supply power.
    - what type of antenna would be best for this case (direct sight at the clear 4G antenna)?
    - does anyone know the type of connector I will need to solder onto the modem's board?
    - I don't plan on using the wifi but since I don't know what signal I was gonna get I ordered a wifi modem. If I end up using the modem on my roof (and if I need wifi) I will just get a Wifi access point that I will add to my wired network.


    That's it for now. Any help is appreciated =D

  • #2
    Gemtek WIXBR-117 (Clear Modem with WiFi) Outdoor Antenna Setup

    - I don't think I want to have a long antenna coax extension (30 ft from the roof) that will kill the signal.
    Not necessarily. Depends on how strong your rooftop signal is. Would be more concerned with the cost of longer cables since a good low loss LMR400 cable is not cheap. At the upper end of the WiMax band (2700MHz) LMR400 has an attenuation of about 7dB/100ft. So a 30ft run would lose about 2dB. So if you were contemplating a 16dBi antenna you could go with an 18dBi antenna to make up for the loss as an example.

    - should I install the modem in a waterproof box that I could install on the roof next to the antenna? for which I would need to find a way to supply power.
    You should not need to do this and in fact these modems are designed for indoor conditions. Temperature swings outdoors would almost likely go outside the spec'd limits (especially during the summer). Now you could get a heated/cooled enclosure but the cost and inconvenience of this including supplying A/C power to it outweighs the cost of a longer cable.

    - what type of antenna would be best for this case (direct sight at the clear 4G antenna)?
    Most popular is the panel antennas such as: http://www.rfwel.com/shop/2.5-2.7GHz...l-Antenna.html

    - does anyone know the type of connector I will need to solder onto the modem's board?
    This has an U.FL internal connector like the other modems. You can purchase the pigtail here: http://www.rfwel.com/shop/8-N-Female...e-Pigtail.html. You do not need to solder anything you just need to disconnect the internal printed antennas and connect this pigtail. Then connect the pigtail to a low loss cable (LMR400 or LMR600 for very long runs) and that to an antenna.

    You can order everything you need from this kit: http://www.rfwel.com/shop/4G-USB-Mod...tenna-Kit.html. Just select the option for Gemtek WIXBR-117 (Clear Modem with WiFi). Here is a generic diagram of how this could hook up: http://www.rfwel.com/support/tech-dr...ENERIC_USB.pdf

    Note though that this U.FL connector is NOT designed for frequent removal-reinsertion. Also strongly recommend lightning protection and you can include that in the kit above.

    - I don't plan on using the wifi but since I don't know what signal I was gonna get I ordered a wifi modem. If I end up using the modem on my roof (and if I need wifi) I will just get a Wifi access point that I will add to my wired network.
    In fact this is a another reason why putting modem in the roof doesn't make sense since you would still need to run a CAT5/6 cable to hook up to your LAN.
    KF7RCQ

    Comment


    • #3
      couple of comments.

      1. My experience with these modems is that, for whatever reason, they benefit from being rebooted sometimes. So, if you mount it on the roof rebooting would be very inconvenient.
      2. I have a covered deck where I sometimes put my main house version of the modem ( not the USB in other words )
      I make no claims to understand what exposure to Seattle area humidity or temperature has been doing to the modem, but so far, I haven't noticed any adverse affects to it. But I don't do this all the time, just for a weekend sort of thing once in a while. I was forced to do this since I could not connect with it indoors.

      Maybe just go with one antenna to save funds. That will probably be a lot simpler than building a weather proof box.

      Hmmm... maybe somebody could make and sell Clear weather proof boxes

      Neil

      Comment


      • #4
        thank you sir for your response! It does help me!

        I do however have a couple more questions:

        I just moved in and installed the modem. I was actually surprised at the 5 bars I am getting from my window on the first floor on the courtyard side (which also is "facing" the 4G antenna - there are a couple buildings/balconys kind of blocking sight at the 4G antenna).

        I haven't looked into the modem's status too much, but there is a CINR of 25 dB.


        here comes my questions:
        - I am guessing the better the signal is without antenna, the less I am going to gain from adding a good antenna with good signal exposition. Is this correct?
        - if yes, then my first question becomes: CINR of 25 dB: is this good? is it worth trying to improve it even more?
        - I am kinda satisfied with download speed, I will do some more testing at peak hours, but I am not too concerned. However, I get a ping of 53 ms. Is there a latency gain when improving signal exposition/antenna? if there is, what's a typial latency gain when adding an antenna?

        Thanks again!

        Comment


        • #5
          - I am guessing the better the signal is without antenna, the less I am going to gain from adding a good antenna with good signal exposition. Is this correct?
          - if yes, then my first question becomes: CINR of 25 dB: is this good? is it worth trying to improve it even more?
          Yes this is correct. If you already have 5 bars and CINR of 25dB you do not need to add an antenna. In fact if your signal is already good enough adding a high gain antenna could actually hurt rather than help. For one it could hurt other users but could also cause problems for you. Here is an article that talks more about this.

          Is there a latency gain when improving signal exposition/antenna?
          No you cannot affect any network related stuff like latency. I'm assuming this is a RTT latency you quoted? If your signal were very weak adding an antenna could perhaps give you access to different WiMax BTS's which might have different network latencies but since your signal is very strong it is unlikely you would change much by adding an antenna.
          KF7RCQ

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