Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dongle frustration - why 3G dongles and modems need antenna connectors!

The vendors of 3G dongles are consistently missing the point. What's the use in bringing out a 3G dongle that doesn't have a connector for an external antenna i.e. so a high gain antenna can be reliably connected to the dongle?

Given that many 3G dongle/modem users are using cellular networks to access the internet because the leased line infrastructure can't support broadband, this often coincides with being on the fringes of the 3G network as well. In these cases, high gain 3G antennas provide the answer to overcoming weak signal enabling a stable and functional 3G connection for many users. The frustration comes when dongle vendors decide that they don't need to build-in an antenna connector - this makes connecting external antennas quite tricky.

An antenna coupler is often offered as a solution for dongles without antenna connectors, but while this type of solution can work, it can be unreliable and the coupler in itself will introduce losses and attenuation that can be ill-afforded by the dongle user.

It makes sense for users to insist on dongles/modems with 3G antenna connectors - the leading dongle suppliers do have models that use them, for example Huawei typically uses CRC9, Sierra Wireless TS9 and Option use MC connectors. If everybody starts insisting on models with antenna connectors, then it hopefully would make a lasting impression on the vendors.

We can only hope that when it comes to 4G/LTE modems and dongles, the vendors take a more enlightened approach moving forward especially for those customers in locations where network signal strength issues might pose a problem.

For high gain antennas for 3G dongles, visit www.connextech.co.uk

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