Siretta Cellular Signal Strength Data Logger - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Siretta Cellular Signal Strength Data Logger

Author: plumbum4711

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Test Equipment

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Siretta SNYPER LTE SPECTRUM

What were the biggest problems encountered?: I couldn´t figure out what is the differnce with a SIM inserted or not - device behaves different to the "old model"

Detailed Review:

Foreword

This is my first review on element14, and I want to thank the team again, for choosing me. But I would also like to encourage all readers that your feedback is welcome, as I can also extend the article and the test. And maybe it's not the last test and I can improve my writing for you.

As stated in my application for the test, we already have Siretta SNYPER LTE SPECTRUM live case in our company.

Therefore, during the review I also pay attention to the differences between the two device generations and my experiences with the new features.

Unboxing

 

The case (slightly larger than the Siretta SPECTRUM case) contains the following components:

  • 1x Siretta SNYPER GRAPHYTE hand unit
  • 1x Siretta hand unit holder (new for old SPECTRUM customers)
  • 1x black omni wide band antenna for normal measurements (SPECTRUM antenna was blue)
  • 1x grey omni antenna optimized for 2.6 GHz LTE measurements only
  • 1x small tripod for the hand unit holder (about 12cm, also new for me as a SPECTRUM user)
  • 1x car charger
  • 1x long USB cable (also new for me as a SPECTRUM user)
  • 1x short USB cable
  • 1x Antenna cable for adding the directional antenna (SMA male to SMA male)
  • 1x directional antenna
  • 1x wall charger with multiple adapters ( I only used the EU one)

 

So the case is filled with everything you need to get started, except power.

As already mentioned in his review, the unit takes quite long for the first charge to operate normal, so this should be kept in mind, when you stored the device and need it... charge it for >1h!

Otherwise you will only see the boot splash and then device powers down again.

 

Test-Setup

After the device had been loaded to some extent, on the first day I made comparison measurements directly between the SNYPER SPECTRUM and GRAPHYTE in the office.

I noticed that the new firmware (co-developed by a German company Unitronic - near me) seems to handle the measurement differently. In other words, I did not manage to create identical measurements on both handheld devices. For example, one device found "only" Vodafone and Telekom, while another found only Telekom and o2/Telefonica...

At another location then another picture, but usually different. Since both devices are on the latest firmware version, this can only be due to further development. In principle, a comparison with various smartphones was then also based on the data of the GRAPHYTE.

 

As you can see on the picture above there is not much difference on the housing between the SPECTRUM and GRAPHYTE network analyzer, but the possibilities to scan all network types or only a single one is a very good implementation in the new model!

Starting a scan also looks quite similar...

...but the old SPECTRUM gave a better short information display about what is going on. So you had a quick overview about the networks available. I real miss this display/feature on the GRAPHYTE.

Results may vary...

The newer modem and firmware are much more reliable, but also here there was some variation in the results. Nevertheless the GRAPHYTE is clearly ahead and gets 90% reliability certified by me. The old device in comparison would get 70% reliability.

 

Fieldtesting

 

I had already stated in my application that the cellular tests are particularly important for me when setting up LoRaWAN IoT networks, as I am partly dependent on mobile radio as a back haul both for business and private purposes.

Ideally, we can build on existing network infrastructure as shown in the first picture and use copper or fiber Internet. But even then we usually use mobile networks as backup.

 

In order to evaluate a site from a cell radio technical point of view, we normally run several tests, if possible, to check how stable the levels are and whether there are any networks in the border area that we should avoid. Based on this we decide which provider we can use, because even with multi-network-M2M-SIMs there are huge differences in the reliability under some circumstances.

Therefore the multi test run feature is very welcome to check a location in more detail. For example the "Signal Log" where you can see how the signal changes over time for a single base station.

 

Also a big support is, that the survey results are saved automatically after completion. On the SPECTRUM you had to save each survey manually and if you forgot to do so, the results were lost. Especially for multiple cycles this is a huge improvement (SPECTRUM didn´t has this feature) the automatically power saving would else discard all measurements

 

Analyzing data / PC connect

One of the biggest improvements is the PC connect feature. Not because of the connection itself, but the timestamps. The old SPECTRUM model didn´t had any time and date set, so the device was stateless and only saved raw data onto the flash drive with incremental filenames.

This was a huge pain if you did a test drive to multiple locations and did a lot of measurements, because you had to note down, where and when you save for example "5-LTE" or "5-UMTS". Expecially when you didn´t always scanned both 2G/3G and 4G as this was separated on this device, this could be real annoying...

          SNYPER LTE SPECTRUM                                                                                                                        SNYPER LTE GRAPHYTE folder structure 

     SNYPER LTE GRAPHYTE files with timestamp

 

The details in the files saved are more or less identical between the SPECTRUM and GRAPHYTE, but the GRAPHYTE has a new web-link embedded that allows you to upload the data to sirettas webportal (after you signed up) and shows you the cell-tower locations you recorded during a measurement.

 

I real like this, because it enables you to get a felling, where you could try to position a device or antenna, without trying to locate a position just by using the directional antenna for every network you could use! This is a big advantage.

 

But the downside is that it is imperative that you can check the data live on your laptop, or that you subsequently know exactly from which position the measurement was taken.

A wish here would be that additionally a GPS receiver would be installed in future device versions in order to record the location (usually we measure outside) or to save the last known location.

I imagine that the last known location is noted with SAT = 0, Status = not fixed and you know that it was no live position data.

Especially for measurements from a vehicle (I cannot recommend a car, because of the damping and the Doppler effect at higher speeds, but eScooters and bicycles are optimal) the position would help enormously during the cycle tests.

 

What is different in the saved html-files as stated above is the "Signal Log" for cycle tests.

The signal log is saved per network typ as it is related to the base station and therefore can´t be mixed up.

 

To get a better feeling what you could do with the saved data, I uploaded some real world samples as attachments. Feel free to brows them, as they are raw from the device and not touched.

 

Conclusion

All in all, I have to say that the Siretta SNYPER LTE GRAPHYTE is a worthy successor of the SNYPER LTE SPECTRUM. In particular, the three points, automatic storage, multiple test cycles, but also the new portal allow to test/monitor mobile networks even more efficiently.

The test results have become even more reliable, because obviously the sensitivity of the chip and the capabilities of the firmware have been increased considerably.

 

In this context, I can warmly recommend owners of a SPECTRUM test sets to consider upgrading to the GRAPHYTE model. The only con is the price of about 1000 Euro per unit ;-)

 

If I could wish for something, it would be the addition of a GNSS module (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo) for automatic time synchronization and position detection, already mentioned in the report. On the other hand, it would be desirable if the data connection could also be checked in addition to the pure recording of the level.

For this it would be necessary, of course, that APN data can be configured on the device and there is a defined destination to the PING. This could be a system from Siretta, but preferably an own system would be stored.

The background is that mobile networks are usually no longer used for voice but for data. In this respect, a successor to the GRAPHYTE would ideally be prepared for data.

Anonymous
  • it is great read and new knowledge to the me and i believe the community   though i deal with T&M but haven't used such device

  • Good roadtest review, nice to see a comparison to the previous meter and that improvements have been made. Hopefully, it should give you confidence to apply for some more.

     

    Kind regards.

  • Hi Sean,

    the EU version operates just normal. Im located in Germany, Aachen so living next to 2 borders (Netherlands and Belgium) made it important for us to have a good mobile connectivity. With EU roaming this is not the case anymore. So I can say, that the device works well in the European Union (at least Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium).

    I guess what makes the road tests so Interesting is, that the different experiences and backgrounds allow a different point of view. This enables the other users to get more than just one perspective!

    And for Siretta it is important to get to know, that the NA-unit does not work well in Canada! So your experience helped a lot, I guess.

     

    All the best,

    Robert

     

    P.S. there is a 2nd roadtest for the device (2x EU, 2xNA) for anyone who is also interested in testing ;-)

  • Great review! Thanks for the mention. Envy your ability to do comparison against similar test equipment. I confess, my lack of experience created a steep learning curve for this RoadTest.

     

    Can you confirm your geographic location? Your testing appears to have gone much smoother than mine.

     

    I got a review completion extension just recently. I am waiting for a code load that is compatible in Canada. A working unit would enable me to complete my RoadTest Review.  The unit gives the impression it is doing tests but produces no test results when it finishes. Rather frustrating if you have been waiting a few hours for it to complete the test or driven 50K to get signal strength readings and get no data files.

     

    The experience has exposed me to Siretta's engineering team. There is a few times I feel I have bricked the unit but the next code load resolves the issues and gets it back again. There is some code dependent shite in the unit.

     

    Sean