I have a group of 404X devices in a remote area transmitting every 30 minutes. Despite the less than optimal signal quality/strength, there are little disconnects and I am averaging 0.05MB/day. 2 of my devices however, are suffering from high cloud.connection.disconnects in the ranges of 14 to 70. Data is still posted to the cloud (NO_ACK flag) but the daily cell usages for them sit around 1.20MB. I am attributing this increase to numerous cloud reconnections in a fringe area and am wondering if anybody has recommendations/success stories for an external antenna (that can brave the elements in an agricultural setting).
There is a lot to this topic and it has been brought up many times. The net is that you can get an external antenna which can make a difference in your device's cellular performance. Better signals make everything better - less data, less disconnections, better battery life and easier updates / diagnostics.
That said, it comes with a big price which is in certification. Particle has a certification for the device / antenna combo and if you change the antenna, you invalidate the certifications. So, I am hoping that the on-going improvement of cellular coverage, Particle's improving EtherSIM options and better radios / antenna - and now LoRA for reaching into dead spots will make external cellular antennae unnecessary.
That said, when there is no other choice, I use the Taoglas (Taoglas TLS.01.305111) external antenna below with a proper ground plane and as much elevation as possible. In those cases, it can make a big difference.
Here is a thread where this antenna is discussed:
and here is an example of what elevation can look like:
Hope this helps, Chip
Much appreciated @chipmc! Current infrastructures are compact and nestled within orchards, so introducing a ground plane or increasing elevation may interfere with harvesting machinery. It was one of the reasons I kept with the default antennas, but I've heard good things about the TLS.01.305111 and may have to accommodate it to the impacted sites.
Makes sense. I don't know if this is an option for you but, particularly if you have more than one device in an orchard, you may want to look at our LoRA / Particle - Better Together thread. That way, you can have a Particle / LoRA gateway connecting to LoRA devices in your orchard where they can use small stick antennae.