Can't get 3G in advertised area


Can't get 3G in advertised area

I have just purchased an AT&T 881usb air card and my connection at home is pretty consistent on the EDGE network.  The coverage map shows my house just outside the edge of the 3G network, but I thought that maybe with an external antenna I could get connected to 3G.  An AT&T tower (not sure if this is the 3G tower or not) is about a mile down the road (trees and hillside are between my house and the tower).  
Out of curiousity, today I powered up my laptop and drove around the advertised 3G covered area; as expected I had 5 bars and a signal strength of about -60 dBm for most of the area (at home I am at about -79 dBm); unfortunately I still was not connected to the 3G network.  Communication Manger and speed tests ( confirmed that I was running at EDGE speeds of about 200 kbps. 
Are there any other tests/tweaks that I can perform to try to get a 3G connection?  At work in town I do get a 3G connection, so I know the hardware/software is working correctly.  I'm within the 30 day return policy for the air card and will return it if I can't get 3G connectivity in the advertised areas near my home.
Any help would be appreciated.
Message 1 of 5

Re: Can't get 3G in advertised area

I have a similar situation on the edge of a 3G area.  When I started using my 881U I was seeing -97 dBm 3G signal levels and sometimes dropping to the EDGE network.  I ordered a Wilson antenna and adapter.  Now I have 3G signal levels of -87 to -92 dBm and have download rates of 1.5 M or so.  I have the 881U connected to my desktop computer using a 6 ft USB cable.  The 881U is by a window, connected to the antenna which is the style that attaches to the window with suction cups.  If I needed more antenna gain, I would use one of the Wilson yagi antennas.  When I was trying to work this out, I contacted AT&T and I finally got to someone that took my address information and was able to tell me the direction and distance to the closest 3G towers.  I also share the connection through a wireless router to my laptop.


These are the parts I ordered from Prime Cellular:

972293 Connector - FME F - N M      
359924 PC Card Adapter (FME Male Connector)      
301134 Dual-band Window Mount Panel Antenna  



Message 2 of 5

Re: Can't get 3G in advertised area

This was a very instructive post. Thank you for sharing your legwork and making it easier for the rest of us.
Message 3 of 5

Re: Can't get 3G in advertised area

Yes, thank you Richard for the information, it is very helpful.
Unfortunately, I was on the phone with support last night and discovered that the online coverage map is incorrect.  There are no 3G towers anywhere near my house, they're all 2G.  The support person looked on the "internal" coverage map and it had no 3G towers in that area.
Message 4 of 5

Re: Can't get 3G in advertised area

I have been having trouble connecting to 3G for a few months.  Until today, I thought it was a Windows problem; that was the conclusion after spending nearly two hours online with AT&T tech support several weeks ago.  Today, after reinstalling Windows and then nearly another two hours with tech support, I find out that the problem lies with the towers.  I am not on the fringe of the coverage.  I am one block (< .2 mi) from the nearest 3G tower.  That is terrible.  I cannot connect at all using 3G.  I had to turn it off in the tools | diagnostics GSM Info....   I sure hope that AT&T can get their act together pretty soon.  I was told that maybe tomorrow it would be better.  I have had my data line for over two years, but never had these problems until recently.  I cannot tell why.  Wish I knew what was going on out there.

Message Edited by cjthelder on 02-24-2008 05:10:00 PM

Message Edited by cjthelder on 02-24-2008 05:12:16 PM
Message 5 of 5
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