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New Member

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71 Messages

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024 11:38 PM

Can I use a cell signal booster with my Internet Air?

I live in a rural area and don't have many internet options.  I currently have Internet Air.  Many times I get 50 Mbps download speeds, other times I get 3 Mbps (especially in the evenings).  

On average my signal data is as follows (these numbers are pretty steady):

Band (ARFCN): 2(800)

RSRP: -113

RSRQ: -13

SINR: 26

The problem is the box isn't weatherproof and can't be mounted outdoors to get a better signal.  The windows that most directly face the tower also face a bank (I'm on a hillside).  The next best windows don't allow optimal positioning of the unit and face a lot of trees.  There are relatively inexpensive cell phone signal boosters on Amazon where you can mount a directional antenna outside (I have an old satellite mast that I can repurpose) and rebroadcast the cell signal on the inside of your house.  They seem to work good for cell phones, will they work with an Internet Air box?  

Am I understanding the band data correctly as 800 MHz?  That seems to be a non-standard frequency.  

Community Support

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232.3K Messages

1 month ago

Hi @RKCRLR,

 

We understand the importance of stable internet connection. We'd be glad to help you fix the AT&T Internet Air to have reliable internet services.

 

Usually, basic troubleshooting resolves issues like this one. Here are some steps to troubleshoot internet air:

  1. Unplug the power cord from the back of your All-Fi Hub.
  2. Wait 20 seconds.
  3. Put the internal battery back in, if applicable.
  4. Plug the power cord back in.
  5. Delete and reinstall Smart Home Manager.

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, you can reset Air router by holding down the red button on the back for 10 seconds.

Note: Resetting your All-Fi Hub will also reset your Wi-Fi network name and password. After reset, use the Smart Home Manager app to update your Wi-Fi settings.

 

You can find all the details via our main AT&T Internet Air homepage, and find all the FAQ's at the bottom of the page.  In addition, if you've already signed up and need assistance with setup, you can view our AT&T Internet Air support page.

 

If the issue still persist, we recommend that you contact our dedicated AT&T Internet Air customer service team at 800.288.2020. They are available from 10am – 7pm Central Time, 7 days a week. 

 

Let us know how it turned out. If you still need assistance, we'll be happy to assist.

 

Thank you for contacting us on AT&T Community Forums. 

 

Jennifer, AT&T Community Specialist.

New Member

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71 Messages

1 month ago

I have called AT&T many times about my internet slowing down in the evenings and have done all sorts of troubleshooting per customer service directions.  I've been told it is due to cell tower congestion and there is nothing AT&T can do about it.  That is why I'm asking about using a signal booster since my current signal strength is sub-optimal and the requirement to keep the unit inside prevents me from improving signal strength through ordinary methods.  I understand increasing signal strength won't fix congestion but my understanding is it may allow me to get faster download speeds.  I.e., people with stronger signals get faster download speeds and if I can double my download speeds during non-congested periods perhaps I can double my download speeds during congested periods.  

My limited research on signal boosters suggests that it can help increase download speeds when signal strength is sub-optimal even during congested periods.  It suggests that as more people are on the cell the available power is distributed between them.  However, I haven't really noticed a decrease in signal strength during times of slowdowns.  In fact my signal strength is suspiciously stable, it hardly varies at all.  

It also suggests that increased signal strength may allow the modem to connect to a different (less congested) cell on the tower.  I've been told that none of the cells on the tower are pointed directly at my house so any of the cell connections is suboptimal from the start.  

If my understanding of how signal boosters might help is incorrect or someone knows why it wouldn't help I'd like to hear about it.  And if someone has already done it I'd like to hear about it.  

Community Support

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232.3K Messages

1 month ago

Hi @RKCRLR,

 

We recognize the importance of reliable service in the modern world. Since you've tried the basic troubleshooting steps and continue to experience problems, we recommend contacting our dedicated AT&T Internet Air customer service team at 800.288.2020. They are available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time, seven days a week. 

Thank you for contacting AT&T Community Forums,
Maria, AT&T Community Specialist.

ACE - Expert

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35.6K Messages

1 month ago

Increasing the signal strength might increase the maximum bandwidth, but you're okay with your maximum bandwidth, so the booster isn't needed for that.

Your device will likely connect to the cell with the strongest signal, regardless of the relative congestion, so increasing the signal

strength would not affect that.

Congestion occurs when there are not enough time slices to on the cell to transfer all the data that is being attempted.  Increasing your signal strength will not increase the number of time slices available unless you are requiring a significant number of retries and boosting your signal strength reduces the retries and frees up time slices to carry original traffic.  If you have a reasonably strong signal, that's probably not the case, and you can likely not get to any counters in the All-Fi Hub to tell you what your retries look like.  If you are okay with performance outside of peak times, retries are likely not a big issue for you.

Note that FWA is prioritized lower than data for cell phone plans which means they get more time slices than you when they are present and want to pass traffic.  This is why you suffer greatly during periods of congestion.  FWA was always about selling "unused" air time.  If it's used, it's not available for FWA.

I would think that the latency introduced by a booster would be worse than any issues you have now. 

ACE - Expert

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24.5K Messages

1 month ago

@RKCRLR  For a primer on cellular signal boosters, read my Cellular Booster Guide. The link is the second link in my sig line. It is a little outdated by now but the basics are still solid. However, the best ones require you to place an antenna on your roof and one inside of your home. I don't believe that you can connect them to AT&T's Internet Air.

Cellular 5G still has issues and one of them is tower congestion. A lot of folks feel the "need" to have 5G now which results in the towers being saturated, especially in the evenings when folks are home and hitting the internet.

Your issue seems to be partially related to location of your Internet Air device. That is something that AT&T can't help you with. LOS is critical for any type of cellular booster, be it AT&T's Cell Booster (which is actually a femtocell), a real cellular booster, or Internet Air.

New Member

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71 Messages

1 month ago

@JefferMC , Is there a place in the CGW450 modem where I can see the number of retries?  I do see:

RACH Failure since reboot 0
RLFs since reboot 0

And:

IPv4 Statistics

Receive Packets 185093094
Transmit Packets 85540708
Receive Bytes 221500143541
Transmit Bytes 15054821719
Receive Unicast 185093094
Transmit Unicast 0
Receive Multicast 0
Transmit Multicast 0
Receive Drops 50
Transmit Drops 17422
Receive Errors 0
Transmit Errors 0

IPv6 Statistics

Transmit Packets 5792009
Transmit Errors 0
Transmit Discards 22240

Are the values below considered a "reasonably" strong signal?  I thought they would be considered a poor signal strength although the SINR is suspiciously good.  

RSRP: -113

RSRQ: -13

SINR: 26

Also I've noticed that there are often cells with stronger signals (i.e., RSRP = -106 and RSRQ = -11) but my All-Fi Hub never connects to them.  They have a frequency of 5330.  

Thanks

(edited)

ACE - Expert

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35.6K Messages

1 month ago

I am not an expert, but my reading of this is that your RSRQ is barely okay.  Your RSRP is pretty decent.  Your SINR says you're passing a good bit of data over time, i.e. you're effectively using your time slices.  I can't tell you whether to believe those numbers or not.

New Member

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71 Messages

1 month ago

@OttoPylot , I believe part, if not most, of the problem is that I can't place the All-Fi Hub in a window that directly faces the cell tower.  If I could place the unit outside or if it had an external antenna jack I could face it directly towards the tower.  I guess there are internal ports to attach an external antenna but they require disassembly of the Hub and I don't think AT&T would be very happy about that.  If I purchased a booster I'd get one with a yagi antenna that I could mount on a mast on my roof and point it directly at the tower and has a antenna that is placed inside the house.  I'd then face the All-Fi Hub at the inside booster antenna instead of out the window.  

Does the All-Fi Hub use the same frequencies and conventions as a cell phone (like a mobile hotspot) or is there something special about it?  

(edited)

ACE - Expert

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24.5K Messages

1 month ago

@RKCRLR  I believe that AT&T uses the slower 800MHz-850Mhz band for their 5G Internet Air with speeds around 40Mbps-140Mbps. However, as I have said, and apparently you agree, is that the location of the All-Fi hub needs to be optimized.

New Member

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71 Messages

1 month ago

I agree that the location of the All-Fi Hub needs to be optimized but what else can I do?  I currently have it located in my house where it gets the strongest reception (I tried every window in the house and reception gets worse when it isn't facing a window).  That is why I'm considering a signal booster, to make up for the placement constraints of the All-Fi Hub.  I'd prefer to mount it outside or attach an external antenna but those aren't allowed.  

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