Working from home challenges–Poor mobile phone reception

4G signal - one bar

Which made Skype, Zoom and Teams conference calls impossible, due to the latency suffered.  Latency is what really kills these audio conferencing options.  Video conferencing was impossible.

So we looked at building our own Yagi antenna rig to improve coverage.


(or even buy one from the folks at Telco Antenna)

Then rig it up to a 4G modem to provide a Wifi access point…


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AirCard Watcher is unable to authorize the use of this device. Please check your Internet and Firewall settings.

sierra_320u_4g_lte_stick_testra_optus_4g_usb_aircard_320u_1__1 The Sierra AirCard Watcher software is bundled with the Telstra TurboCard series of devices.   When the Sierra Watcher software starts up, the software goes out to a Sierra licensing server and checks whether you’re authorised to use the software.

Netgear purchased the Sierra Aircard assets in April 2013.
And guess what
Netgear did just before Christmas 2013 break?  

They took the Sierra licensing server offline in order to migrate it to a Netgear server.  Thus breaking the Telstra Sierra Aircards we use.

The supplied workaround?  Download the latest Aircard software from Netgear.

A tale of three SIMs (iPad, iPhone 4 & “Normal”)

iPad IPhone4 Normal Sim
The iPhone 4 SIM card is the not the same as the others.  It’s missing the AUX1 & AUX2 pin-outs.  Which are the contacts for use with USB devices.  Such as connecting your mobile phone to your car, via USB.
(AUX1 is the USB D+ pin, and AUX2 is the USB D- pin).

The pictured SIMs are from Telstra.  And no, I don’t know why Telstra decided to use a different SIM for the iPhone 4.