In this article we will look at:
- how to check cellular connectivity via Manage Equipment
- acceptable ranges of cellular signal strength
- how to check cellular connectivity on site
- how to check site radio coverage
- steps to improve reception
To check connectivity in Observant Global, go to Manage Equipment from the welcome page.
In Manage Equipment, you will see all Portfolios, Sites, Field Units and Devices that you have access to.
Issues within a Portfolio are quickly identifiable with the Field Unit and Device Health display.
The connectivity of Field units and Devices are indicated via color code:
- Green indicates no issues
- Amber indicates a warning
- Red indicates an error
Example 1: SL-10353 Solo Telemetry Unit at Site "Bore Trough" is online as indicated by the green dot. However, SL-10354 at Site "The Homestead Fire R" has a very weak cellular connection as shown by the message and red dot.
Example 2: The Amber dot and message warn that C3-3342 at site "Soil Moisture" has not been contactable for over two hours. The red dot and the red error message on the device Soil Moisture Probe indicate that there is an issue with the moisture probe.
Clicking on the Field Unit will provide a more detailed description of the Field Unit, along with warnings and errors, and the time at which the Field Unit was last contacted.
Example: We can see that SL-10354 last connected at 3:01pm today.
Communications history charts are available for each Field Unit, allowing issues in site reception to be recognised and tracked. Hovering over the communications chart will display the RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator).
Example: The communications chart below shows relatively consistent cellular signal strength. Hovering over the chart shows that the RSSI at 9:45am Sunday was -81dBm.
Clicking on the arrow (as marked in the above image) will provide more details. You will be able to see the latest RSSI.
Cellular signal strength ranges
Signal strength for a cellular data modem is expected to be in the range of:
- -57dBm for a site close to a tower.
- -97dBm for a site distant from a tower (or if crops or buildings are reducing signal strength).
Signal strength dropping below -97dBm is considered very weak and may indicate:
- There is a problem with the field unit's antenna.
- The location and positioning of the gateway field unit needs to be improved.
- The site is located outside a cellular data coverage area.
In the case that the field unit was located outside cellular data coverage area, communication of the gateway with the internet is unlikely to ever be reliable, and that field unit should be relocated.
This icon identifies the LED which reports a field units radio status, and, thus, the ability of the unit to communicate with Observant Global. You can determine its 3G/Radio state by comparing the radio LED on the front of the field unit to the following table.The color and number of flashes encode the radio's status for either the C3 or the Solo field units.
Check Site Radio Coverage
To check 3G coverage on site
- Ensure you can download a webpage on your phone at the site
- To Test the Field Units, move the unit to a location with known good 3G coverage
Steps to Improve Reception
To improve reception
- Raise the antenna as high as possible, by mounting on a pole.
- Check the antenna installation against the Installation Note
- For C3s, you can upgrade the antenna to a higher gain one (eg. whip antenna).