Author Topic: 4G Router iGRID  (Read 4997 times)

AlphaChrisJ

4G Router iGRID
« on: March 22, 2023, 11:51:48 am »
So I have been testing a small 4G router, with the traditional aerials it seems to be working to 5-6kft currently, ordering some different aerials for testing. I have the router set to ‘Passthrough’ due to how the PAW is expecting a tether from a phone, currently this only allows one device to be connected to the internet. Do you think you can also add a feature to connect the iGRID via the Lan connection? This means I will be able to connect my other devices to the router and have 4G internet to phone etc at these higher altitudes? I am playing with ways to do it but I guess for others to this might be the easiest way to make it available for everyone.

CliveJ

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2023, 12:14:57 pm »
I'm loving the iGrid, sat on the runway with all the traffic showing around my area (almost all).

The disappointing bit is when I climb away the amount of traffic drops to very little and as I'm still suffering a bit from obscuration I'd like to see as much as possible from the iGrid for as long as possible.

I've always been annoyed with mobile phones not having an internal aerial connection or some way to increase the signal to them. Even a thick case with attenuate a signal to an iPhone. Sitting in my aluminium bath the signal is relatively good but the higher I go the more intermittent it becomes, two different phones come and go differently, same network but different position in the aircraft, at a fuel saving cruising altitude the signal is gone till I descend again. Any mobile phone geeks know how to improve signal strength with something to get outside the metal aircraft with an antenna as described above?

I too was looking at the 4G router after watching the presentation from SafeSky, to use with my PAW, though I do admire the SafeSky effort it drops out more than the iGrid does so I've not used it after a quick play when it first came out.
https://www.safesky.app/en/post/a-4g-router-in-my-aircraft

Admittedly a stand alone sim router is an expensive option but I like a gadget and if I have one that gave me iGrid up to 5K feet I'd be looking to get a 'fixed' installation into my aircraft. So could 'support' have a look at the option mentioned above?

Regards Clive (OK,  ;) Chris's Dad)

PaulSS

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2023, 12:57:11 pm »
Beneath my seats I have a 4G dongle with an £8/month GiffGaff sim card installed. The PilotAware network connects automatically to it and I have the network router turned on. My sim-less iPad Mini connects to the Internet (for SkyDemon 'stuff') through the PAW WIFI connection. iGrid uses the 4G dongle instead of a mobile phone hotspot.

Overall, I find the dongle more consistent at receiving the 4G signal than my iPhone (8 or XR). I do like the fact that I don't sit there trying to get the Hotspot to connect.

AlphaChrisJ

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2023, 01:40:39 pm »
Very nice!
Ive not found a dongle that can use external aerials? We are looking to get 4G signal as high and reliably possible.

Admin

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2023, 01:43:33 pm »
So I have been testing a small 4G router, with the traditional aerials it seems to be working to 5-6kft currently, ordering some different aerials for testing. I have the router set to ‘Passthrough’ due to how the PAW is expecting a tether from a phone, currently this only allows one device to be connected to the internet. Do you think you can also add a feature to connect the iGRID via the Lan connection? This means I will be able to connect my other devices to the router and have 4G internet to phone etc at these higher altitudes? I am playing with ways to do it but I guess for others to this might be the easiest way to make it available for everyone.

If you connect an RJ45 into the PAW ethernet connector, this will work today
This feature has been available since 2019
Thx
Lee

steveu

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2023, 06:42:54 pm »
Any mobile phone geeks know how to improve signal strength with something to get outside the metal aircraft with an antenna as described above?

A lot of the bigger stand alone 4G routers have reverse SMA connector so a lead can be taken to the smaller aerials than can be mounted elsewhere. Most aerials for mobile are huge, though - some research would be needed.

Plenty of ideas here:

https://www.aliexpress.com/w/wholesale-4g-lte-usb-dongle-external-antenna.html

Very nice!
Ive not found a dongle that can use external aerials? We are looking to get 4G signal as high and reliably possible.

I have a 4G small Mifi router that will take an external aerial, and some of the older USB Huawei ones could also take external antennas. The connector is very small and somewhat fragile.

This is not USB, but takes external aerials:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Huawei-E5577-4G-Low-Cost-Super-Fast-Portable/dp/B011YM0QC4/

This is USB:

https://www.wispmax.com/bundle-4g-lte-usb-mobile-broadband-modem-magnetic-antenna-5dbi-pigtail-crc9-sma-f.html





exfirepro

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2023, 04:42:03 pm »
@AlphaChrisJ et Al,

Just a word of warning….

Our testing indicates that the best performance is usually achieved when the mobile device coverage is limited - as this reduces hunting between mobile mast cells (at altitude there can be literally hundreds within line of sight range). So while it is important to minimise obscuration between the device and the ground (caused by aircraft metal bodywork for example) in general terms, the use of external antennas may in fact have exactly the opposite effect to that you are trying to achieve.

By all means experiment - and let us know what you find, - but keep this in mind and don’t be surprised if they don’t in fact improve the situation.

Best Regards

Peter

AlphaChrisJ

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2023, 02:27:51 pm »
If you connect an RJ45 into the PAW ethernet connector, this will work today
This feature has been available since 2019
Thx
Lee

So it looks like the weather from the internet and the Paw.Local go down the RJ45 but iGRID and SkyDemon’s connection doesn’t. Is this the case or am I doing something wrong?

The main reason for this is to have the internet for my devices from the 4G network while SkyDemon can connect to PAW.

PAW connected to router via wlan1=192.168.2.1
Lan has been connected with and without Wi-Fi for test (eth0=192.168.2.2)
Router ip address out the way on random number 192.168.2.*

Currently I have two iPads. One connected to the PAW Wi-Fi (wlan0=192.168.1.1) which SkyD works with no internet. The other is connected to the 4G Lan and that has the PAW radar screen/menu etc. WITH the internet for other notifications etc.

This is fine but just wondering if either the internet can be passed through to the PAW Wi-Fi connections or the SkyD information could be passed back to the 4G Router? I guess the latter is a bit easier, maybe ‘if no clients on wlan0 then plumb info down eth0’ ?

Admin

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2023, 09:40:23 pm »
Under configure you can enable the router function
This will give you what you require
Thx
Lee

AlphaChrisJ

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2023, 11:31:38 am »
Thought you must of been all over this in the past, sorry my ignorance not seeing this option.

Appreciate your help  :D

Chris

CliveJ

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2023, 01:14:56 pm »
Update on the use of a 4G dongle with external antennas.

Flew 10 days ago, 120 nm trip up to 4000' with no drop out.

Dongle was Huawe £24, antenna was £4.50 (any old chinese), Labara simcard £5 a month (£2.50 for first three months). 30 day contract (pay monthly).

Didn't see any negative issues that Peter warned about below but it was only one day out and it wasn't really a flying day, well there wasn't much traffic to look at. Everything that came up looked legit and tracked nicely. Nothing near me apart from when I was near Derby and they have a ground station so I was getting the traffic from that (I suspect) That was cool as Derby said 'you seem to be just a mile or so north of our downwind for runway X' which was neat.

Regards, Clive

Admin

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2023, 03:31:32 pm »
Hi Clive
Can you post a link the the 4g router you used
Thx
Lee
« Last Edit: May 01, 2023, 07:03:52 am by Admin »

CliveJ

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2023, 11:59:09 am »
Sorry Lee, missed your request:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002475520106.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.17.21ef1802rRyOh5

Wasn't £24 but £32, ordered a different one than I first looked at. Chris is trying to find a Wifi connectable one. This is plugged into the PAW.

With one of these:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000549399571.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.5.21ef1802rRyOh5

Still seems to be working OK

Regards, Clive


Admin

Re: 4G Router iGRID
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2023, 01:43:17 pm »
Hi Clive

Quote
This is plugged into the PAW.

Hmm this worries me a little, I analyzed the power draw on this device - and it is not small
Are you getting any voltage errors on your PAW - this will be adding a considerable draw on the overall load

thx
Lee