CrowdSupport®
Highlighted
Level 2: Rookie

Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

Answered

Web searches regarding locating Telstra cell towers all seem to lead to threads here, with the usual response being that the information is not publicly available but some kind Telstra rep is able to look up an internal database...

 

My Telstra wingle (which I have locked to 4G only) most commonly reports the following cell details:

    Cell ID:136143627

    PCI:159

    TAC:12311

but I have also seen:

    Cell ID:136143617

    PCI:243

    TAC:12311

and:

    Cell ID:136030466

    PCI:55

    TAC:12416

 

These are received without any antenna, but all at an RSRP of -125 dBm or worse. I am hoping that by aiming a decent antenna in the appropriate direction I will be able to pick out any one of these I choose.

 

I have looked up the ACMA site location map and I can see that there are Telstra 4G towers at Yinnar (postcode 3869), Boolarra (postcode 3870) and Churchill (postcode 3842), which are the most likely candidates.

 

Is someone able and willing to tell me which PCI belongs to which tower?

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Highlighted
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity
Accepted Solution

Re: Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

I just did a loop from Morwell, through Churchill and Yinnar and back again.

 

In Yinnar, I picked up Cell 136143627 which is on the 700MHz Band, so is the one you are seeing.

 

In Churchill, I picked up 2 1800MHz Cells and 2 700MHz Cells.

 

But I would say that an antenna for the 700MHz band should do you nicely.

 

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.

View solution in original post

Was this helpful?

  • Yes it was, thank you
  • No, I still need help
7 REPLIES 7
Highlighted
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

Cell ID:136143627 & Cell ID:136143617 are both the Yinnar Tower (1800MHz & 700 MHz signals).

 

Unfortunately, I can't identify Cell ID:136030466, but I suspect it is the Churchill Tower as it has similar numbering to the record that I can find for it.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Highlighted
Level 2: Rookie

Re: Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

Thank you for that. I tried locating cell 136143627 by driving around the area with my phone, but I can't lock my phone to one cell and it kept switching to cell 136143617 at inconvenient moments. If these cells are both on the same tower that would explain my problem!

 

According to the ACMA site there is only supposed to be one cell at Yinnar:

Site:10011625 Telstra Exchange Adjacent 5 Jumbuk Road Yinnar VIC
Precision:Within 100 meters
Position:-38.32301°, 146.32902° (GDA94)  [KML]  [LX5F]
Assignments:
2
Highlighted
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity
Accepted Solution

Re: Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

I just did a loop from Morwell, through Churchill and Yinnar and back again.

 

In Yinnar, I picked up Cell 136143627 which is on the 700MHz Band, so is the one you are seeing.

 

In Churchill, I picked up 2 1800MHz Cells and 2 700MHz Cells.

 

But I would say that an antenna for the 700MHz band should do you nicely.

 

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.

View solution in original post

Highlighted
Level 2: Rookie

Re: Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

Wow, that is service! I hadn't expected anyone local would see this - the best I was hoping for was a desk check from someone in Melbourne!

 

Thanks again for your effort, I now know both what kind of antenna I need and what direction to aim, so I should be good...

 

Highlighted
Level 2: Rookie

Re: Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

I have installed a pair of 12dBi yagi 700Mhz-band antennas aimed at Yinnar, which has improved my situation but not solved all my problems.

Partly due to the antenna gain, and partly due to the antennas being in a better location, my RSRP for cell 136143627 is now in the range -110dBm to -115dBm, and my RSRQ is in the range -10dB to -15dB. Speed tests at most times report around 10-15Mbps down, and 5-7.5Mbps up. This is quite satisfactory given my distance from the tower and the fact that I am surrounded by fairly dense and tall trees.

My problem now is that my modem (Huawei E8372h-608) will not stay locked on my best cell (136143627). What tends to happen is that it stays on cell 136143627 for several hours, and then suddenly, for no reason I can discover, decides that it should switch from a cell with RSRP of -110dBm and RSRQ of -10dB to another cell with RSRP of -124dBm and RSRQ of -13dB. It only holds the new cell for less than a minute, and then tries several other cells in succession (holding each for only a minute or two) and within about 10 minutes cycles back to cell 136143627 and again stays there for several hours.

I have never observed any occasion when changing away from cell 136143627 produced even a momentary improvement in signal or speed. Given that cell 136143627 is on my closest tower in the direction in which my antennas are aimed, and on the frequency for which my antennas are designed, this is not surprising.

Here is the list of the most common cells that have connected since I installed the 700MHz-band antennas (fraction of time connected and mean RSRP shown in parentheses):
    136030466 (2.0%, -126dBm)
    136030476 (2.7%, -115dBm)
    136143627 (90.5%, -111dBm)
    136368129 (4.4%, -116dBm)

Interestingly, one of these (136030466) I know to be an 1800MHz-band cell, being received despite the 700MHz antennas. Unfortunately my modem has never held onto this cell long enough to complete a speed test. I also tried out an 1800MHz antenna to see if I could favour this cell, but without success - it seems the trees do a pretty good job of blocking this cell most of the time. Again, if I could have locked my modem to cell 136030466 then I might have been able to get the 1800MHz antenna aimed better, but even using the 1800MHz antenna the modem still mostly preferred the 700MHz-band cells!

Does anyone happen to know if it is possible to force a Huawei E8372h-608 to lock onto a specific cell, or even just to a specific band?

Failing that, are there any other 4G modems that support cell-locking and also support Telstra's B28?

Highlighted
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

700MHz gives the best range, so that is probably why it is holding that better (It is more stable at distance).

 

You won't be able to force it on to a particular tower. And I'm fairly sure that you can't specify a frequency, only LTE or UMTS.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Level 2: Rookie

Re: Cell tower location from cell ID (for antenna direction)

It turns out the E8372h cannot be locked to a cell or tower (or at least if it can I can't discover how), but it can be locked to a band or list of bands. I now have mine locked to only B28, and while it still cycles between faster and slower B28 cells they do all function.

 

You have to use the API interface to band-lock; it is not made available via the web portal. You can see the available bands by accessing an XML page:

http://192.168.1.1/api/net/net-mode-list

(this assumes your E8372h is still at the default IP address).

 

I used a program described at:

https://mybroadband.co.za/forum/threads/toolbox-for-new-huawei-hilink-devices-e5186-b315s.798330/

and modified my config.xml file to contain B28:

      <band>
        <name>700Mhz / B28</name>
        <lteband>8000000</lteband>
      </band>

Hope this helps someone!

Telstra 24x7®

View and activate your international roaming status, and purchase international Data Packs with the Telstra 24x7® App

Find out more