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What Is a 3G Antenna?

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  • Written By: Victoria Blackburn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A 3G antenna enhances local internet signal strength and permits the use of devices on a local wireless network. 3G refers to the third generation wireless technology that provides high speed access to mobile telephone and data transfer systems. Installation of a 3G antenna should improve data reception, reduce signal noise and increase transfer rates. 3G antennas are used in some cell phones and handsets to allow for quicker access to the Internet, including sending e-mails, taking part in video conferences and streaming videos. Other uses include antennas for laptops and computers to increase the connection strength when using the Internet.

International Mobile Communications 2000 (IMT-2000) started using the pattern of "G" in the 1990’s. IMT-2000 began these designations with 2G technology, which was recognized as the technology responsible for the mobile phone network that is in use today. IMT-2000 then progressed to 2.5G, which provided a faster transfer of data, and now the 3G technology allows for the simultaneous use of voice telephone and data transfers. Compared to 2G and 2.5G, 3G is faster and must maintain a data transfer rate of 200 kilobytes (KB) per second to maintain the 3G rating.

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There are three common types of 3G antenna that are available. The clip antenna is designed to clip directly onto the screen of the user’s laptop and is best suited for users who travel and use their computers in areas with generally adequate coverage. The High Gain antenna is used for areas with low signal to boost the signal so that a faster and better connection is provided to the user. The Outdoor Antenna is meant for those who have a poor signal or live on the edge of a signal area, usually remote areas, and it boosts the signal to allow the user to be able to connect to the Internet.

Some 3G antennas are omni-directional. This means that they can pick up signals from any direction and do not require to be aimed directly at local network tower. Omni antennas are useful for users who want a mobile antenna to boost an existing steady, but weak, signal.

A 3G antenna can also be directional, which requires precise aiming of the antenna toward the tower to get the maximum benefit. By finding the nearest tower, or directing the 3G antenna toward the strongest signal, the antenna can provide a boost to the signal. Some antenna suppliers boast that if a user installs their antenna, they will be provided with a signal where there was none before.

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Discuss this Article

JimmyT
Post 4

Has anyone here ever used a 3G card antenna for a laptop? I travel a lot and I don't always have access to free WIFI when I need it, so I have been thinking about investing in a 3G plan added onto my phone plan.

I know in general a 3G netowrk isn't nearly as fast as WIFI, but is it still usable for most things? Do pages load about as fast as they would with a cell phone or are they usually faster? I never knew if it was the device or network limiting page load times on a phone. What about downloading files, how fast do they go?

I hadn't heard anything about the different types of antennas until this article, either. Are the wireless cards all the same kind, or will I have to make a decision on what kind I will need?

jcraig
Post 3

The article talks about different types of antennas for 3G connection. Is that just talking about computers, or would the same types of ideas apply to cell phones, too?

For a summer, I worked somewhere where we had very limited wireless connection, and I always wondered if there was some way to improve it. We could never talk on a cell phone in the house, and if you went outside there were only a few places where you could get really good reception. The problem was that is was very mountainous.

Could you buy some sort of a special antenna like the high gain one that was mentioned that would connect to your cell phone and give you a better signal?

I have never heard of anyone having to point an antenna toward a 3G tower. Are these very common, or are most antennas multidirectional?

Izzy78
Post 2

@jmc88 - I agree completely. I like to think back to when cell phones could only make calls, and that wasn't even a guarantee! Now they are basically small computers. I didn't know it was possible until a few days ago when someone was showing me their new phone, but now some phones can actually be used like a 3G wireless antenna that will provide an internet connection for you computer.

Most wireless companies can provide you with a special card like the article talks about, but if you have a phone like that, you don't have to worry about it. I would be interested to know what the difference in speed and quality is between using your phone and a dedicated 3G wireless card, though. It seems like the phone might start to get a little bit bogged down if you were trying to do anything besides surf the web with the computer.

jmc88
Post 1

I think it is amazing how fast the wireless networks are developing. It seems like every few years they come out with a faster system. Now they have already developed the 4G network that is even faster. I think it is only a matter of time before the wireless phone networks are just as fast as WIFI.

I know some people don't like the idea of always being connected to the internet. I used to think it was kind of pointless to want an internet connection all the time, but I finally broke down and upgraded to a smart phone that uses a 3G network, and it has been great. I don't play a lot of games or download apps or anything, but now I have the ability to look at maps and download directions if I am driving and get lost somewhere. I can also use the 3G internet to search for information from anywhere.

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