Stella Doradus have a neat new product, the SmartAntenna, which is legal to use in the UK for amplifying your 3G laptop stick dongle in your house. The kit consists of a high gain antenna with an amplifier built in. It has a 5 meter cable and a sleeve which slips over your 3G dongle.
|Smart Antenna||Example in office|
In very weak signal areas, you can get a great signal. We tried it in an room where only 2G was available and got full signal on 3G. We tested it using www.speedtest.net just as it shows in the video below.
We found that the real beauty of this product is that there is no installation required. There was no need to climb on roofs and drill holes in the house for cables. It also has signal strength LED’s which show you where the sweet spot is in the room for getting maximum signal. Surprisingly, we found that putting the antenna next to the window did not give a good result. We think this is because of the double glazing. The signal was actually coming into the room via the plastic frame around the window.
Traditionally, the problem with amplifiers is that they are not legal to use as they could cause an interference to the operators network. To put it simply here’s what happens. Cheap repeaters on the market output too much power and create “ noise “ on the operators network. The result of this is that the person with the repeater gets great signal but everyone else in the area gets no signal. This is because the operators base station on the hill is being blasted by the repeater and is focusing all it’s attention to the repeater. This causes the operators huge problems. This issue cannot arise with the Smart antenna, as it is directly connected to the 3G modem via a rubber sleeve.
|Attaching the sleeve to the USB modem|
The modem controls the amplifier and only outputs the amount of power required to give you great signal. This direct connect feature is what makes the product legal to use in the UK. Edwina Browne Emerging Technology Writer