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Mobile Data Signal Quality


The vast majority of problems reported with mobile data end up being related to signal quality in some way. This makes it vital for users of mobile data services to understand how determine the signal quality and what steps they can take to improve it.

If you're on the move and you experience poor signal quality at a particular location, it probably isn't worth pursuing an extensive troubleshooting process. If you're at a location that you plan on visiting regularly though, or you're using Mobile Data for your primary connection at home it's probably best that you follow this guide:


First off it's important to know what type of signal you are getting:



If you have a 3G and upward signal you're doing great. GPRS and EDGE can be ok, if you're just sending a few texts, but will be quite painful if you're trying to browse sites, or anything of that nature. Here are some methods for checking signal quality and finding the best spot.


  • Try positioning yourself upstairs if you're in a double-story building,
  • Try being near to windows on opposite sides of the building.
  • Test outdoors to see which direction the signal is coming from.
  • Try turning off, or moving away from other electronics that might interfere with the signal.


These are some other DYI solutions when dealing with poor signal quality :


  • Get a USB extension cable to elevate the modem for better coverage. Especially if your USB port is at the back of your PC under a desk.
  • If you have a weak 3G signal and find that your modem keeps switching between Edge and 3G you can set you modem in the software to 3G only. This will set the modem to hold onto the signal even if the signal is weak.


  If none of this works for you then check the coverage map for your chosen provider (remember MWEB Mobile Data uses the CellC network). If you absolutely have to have Mobile Data at the location you're at and the signal is poor, due to environmental issues, or poor coverage you can also try purchasing an antenna to boost the signal. These antennas can be obtained from most cellular providers and range from small indoor antennas that you can mount near windows, to larger external antennas you can mount on the roof of your residence.

It is also possible to report poor coverage in an area to the cellular provider, however bear in mind that they may not necessarily be willing, or able to address the problem immediately, depending on the severity and location.

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