How to use LTE to improve your wireless for a better work from home experience

In these kinetic times, where quickly adapting businesses are the survivors, it's clear work-from-home is here to stay. With half the country suddenly working from home, we've all struggled to stay connected.

A quick 1:1 meeting with a coworker now requires a robust internet connection for a Teams or Zoom session. Connecting to the office network via VPN is downright painful if the bandwidth isn't there. A dodgy connection will kill your hopes of winning Friday Happy Hour Zoom trivia.

Even as you’ve become more adept at working-from-home, a poor internet connection is a genuine bottleneck to your productivity. You have probably found yourself relying on your cellular phone to get things done. Maybe you’ve managed to pair your phone to your laptop. But there must be a better way. You find yourself asking “How can I improve my cell phone signal at home?”

Fortunately, Northwest Towers offers a wide variety of LTE based solutions to help you adapt and overcome your work-from-home connection challenges.

What do I need? A signal booster?

Your first impulse might be to search for an “LTE cell signal booster” and you’ll find dozens of products for RVs, boats, and van-dwellers. These products have their place for people on the move, but they tend to fall short when used at home.

To start, signal boosters need a good signal outside your house. If you walk outside right now, and you only have a bar or or two in coverage, a signal booster is not your answer.

A typical signal booster has a simple outdoor rooftop antenna, which is wired to a signal amplifier; the signal amplifier is then wired to an indoor antenna. Signal boosters can only amplify, with added distortion and noise, what is already there. Inside, you end up with a worse version of what you started with outside the house.

Additionally, wood-construction homes don’t tend to block cell signals, so the outside rooftop antenna can actually pick and amplify the boosted retransmitted signal inside the house, creating even more interference and signal distortion.

With more than a decade of field tested experience, Northwest Towers believes there is a superior way to improve the LTE connection at your home.

How can I use an LTE signal for a work from home situation?

The LTE solutions we sell work by using a directional outdoor antenna to pick up distant signals, then feed that signal directly into an LTE router, eliminating any of that booster distortion and noise. These directional antennas can be precisely aimed at the cell tower closest to your home.

LTE Antennas pull in a better, more consistent signal from your nearest cell tower. Use this cell tower mapping website to see the nearest towers to your home.

As a result, the LTE router gets a stronger, more stable and cleaner signal than you would receive off your handheld LTE device like your phone or iPad. What’s more, the LTE router easily connects to any standard indoor WiFi router or access point, so any device in your home can use this internet connection.

Most cell phone carriers now support WiFi calling and WiFi texting, which allows you to use your phone over WiFi just like you would if connected to an LTE tower. You simply have to ensure that you’re within range of the WiFi network inside your home, office, or outdoor area surrounding your home.

You will need a SIM card from your cell carrier that supports the amount of data you plan to use. We carry T-Mobile plans from 2GB up to 22GB of LTE data and unlimited 3G data.

What should I buy to create my home office LTE setup?

Our online store has everything you need to put together a work-from-home ready LTE system. To give you an idea of what’s involved, a full system would include the following:

High-gain 2x2 MIMO LTE Antenna

Mikrotik LTE Kit

Outdoor LTE Router

T-Mobile Data Plans from NW Towers

Last but not least

  • SIM Card activated with LTE data plan from a carrier that has coverage where you plan to use the service. Use this website to check coverage in your area
  • Outdoor rated (UV) shielded CAT5 cable, long enough to run from the LTE modem/router (mounted next to the antenna) to your WiFi router inside your home
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) Injector, which is typically included with the outdoor LTE router. It’s included with the routers we sell.
  • You'll need an Indoor WiFi Router if you don't already have one
  • If you desire good outdoor WiFi connectivity, a few Outdoor WiFi access points can solve that. Each outdoor AP can cover about 200-300ft with good line of sight or 50-100ft in non-line of sight areas.

Our LTE solutions open the door to essential work-from-home tasks like Zoom calls in rural locations that may have previously had poor broadband options. Contact us today to discuss your challenges and find out how we can help you in this changing world.