How far offshore does 3g/4g internet work?

Discussion in 'General Computing' started by FMS, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. FMS
    Joined: Jul 2011
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    FMS Senior Member

    How far does 3g or 4g Internet work from the cell phone tower on shore?
     
  2. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    masalai masalai

    Roughly if you can see the tower from where your antenna is located - it is mostly a line of sight thing... but if your signal is weakest and there is heavy demand, expect to be "dropped off"...
     
  3. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    FMS,

    Typically You get around 5 miles from the tower, though theoretically a gsm tower can broadcast up to 20 miles. There are also cell repeaters that can extend useful range to around 15 miles or so. I have heard reports of longer range, but 15 seems like a reasonable expectation.
     
  4. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Its unknown. Sometimes I get coverage 20 miles offshore, sometimes I'm right on the coast inside the 20 meter line and no coverage. Sometimes I signal strength is strong and no Internet...sometimes signal strength is weak and good Internet .

    Antenna height on both stations is a factor.
     
  5. Stumble
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    Sadly michael's experience seems typical. On the gulf coast a lot of the oil rigs have cell stations on them, and I have gotten reception up to 60 miles off shore thanks to them. The cell repeaters do work, but only to a limit.
     
  6. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Whats interesting is that with the original mobile phone....20 years ago...my reception range was far greater. New handsets have poor reception and since you are typically using your handset for Internet as well as voice it may be worthwhile to investigate the various phones to determine which is best for reception . The sony ericson that I have is very poor.
     
  7. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I average about 10 miles offshore for regular 3g signal right on a phone. Watch out for 4G though... it's an entirely different thing and much more localized.

    With a masthead antenna and an amplifier, you should be able to increase distances quite a bit - 20 miles?
     
  8. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    There is no reason to think that towers are necessarily on the coast. They are more likely to be in the center of the cities or at least mostly covering the land area.
     
  9. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    A friend of mine who is a telecommunications geek told me that modern mobile phones are used by city people who have access to multiple broadcast towers. Phone manufactures know this , so they put less design and ergonomic detail into reception of signals for max range utility .

    Speak to a phone geek or a friend from Africa and perhaps there is a solution
     
  10. groper
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: australia

    groper Senior Member

    You can buy an external high gain antenna for your boat and mount it high as possible then couple it with an internal passive antenna cradle to your phone. In between you can get an amplifier which boosts the signal - in australia these are illegal to use but not sell for some stupid reason - but they are easy enough to buy and import from china very cheap etc... friends of mine working on commercial fishing trawlers report getting upto 60 miles or so with a system like this. In theory more would be possible, but the curvature of the earth seems to limit any further gains regardless of how much amplification is applied...

    heres an example...
    http://www.marinedirect.com.au/catalogue/c1979/p155634
     
  11. Lister

    Lister Previous Member

    The reception on cell phone are terrible.
    they are not phone anymore.
     

  12. die_dunkelheit
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    die_dunkelheit NA Student

    I've been in the middle of a Nat. Forest with the closest tower about 20 miles away, full 3g on my iPhone 4, played pandora in camp one night. Line of sight issue there is enormous, but then again I was a few thousand meet up a mountain...
     
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