Cellular Network Analyser - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Cellular Network Analyser

Author: mumra82

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

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?: The only other products I have seen like this have been older models.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: The way it saves data does not allow for renaming. A separate note has to be taken of when and where it is used.

Detailed Review:

Introduction

 

Background:

I took on the responsibility of testing out the SNYPER-LTE as it could prove to be a very useful piece of kit for my current job. I am a technician with the Northern Lighthouse Board and my role involves travelling around Scotland for maintenance and repairs on a number of Aids to Navigation (AtoN).

All AtoN’s are monitored and a lot of these are on remote sites. Getting a reliable mobile signal isn’t always easy or plain impossible. The idea that this device could be taken to these sites for surveying whether a signal is available along with its strength could prove to be a huge benefit for setting up or changing out the communication system.

There are also a number of live on sites where mobile phones have not been able to get any signal. As more and better transmitters go in, these sites may start picking up signals. As these sites are remote there is always a need for two methods of communication. To be able to use a phone or even send email if 4G is available would also make the job safer.

 

Item description (from the manufacturers website):

"The SNYPER-LTE Graphyte (EU) is a high performance, multi-language network signal analyser and cellular signal logger, dedicated to surveying and logging the 4G/LTE (EU), 3G/UMTS & 2G/GSM European networks."

 

  • Enhanced cellular surveying & sequential logging of new and existing installations on 4G, 3G and 2G networks
  • User selectable survey logging options to determine most suitable & reliable mobile operator
  • Evaluate “preferred” MNO’s performance over time
  • Determines “hotspots” & assist with antenna alignment, through Siretta’s liveSCAN feature
  • Results are reported in CSV & graphical HTML format
  • Save over 100 logged surveys with multiple liveSCAN logs

 

Features

The main feature of the SNYPER-LTE is to be able to take a reading of available mobile signals and their strength at a site.

The benefit of this model is that it can also be set up to take multiple readings over a set time. What this leads to is seeing how reliable a signal is in an area. A strong signal on a single measurement is useless if the signal drops out all the time.

Another good feature is the ability to select one of the signals that the SNYPER-LTE has found and do a scan. This scan can be used in two ways. The first is with the normal aerial and allows for a small site to be moved around to find the best spot for setting up any equipment. The second is to use the SNYPER-LTE directional aerial to find the strongest direction for a piece of equipment that has a directional aerial.

The SNYPER-LTE unit has two options to view signals while on site. The first is the Show Results which gives a breakdown of each signal that it has picked up. The second is Show Summary which gives multiple pages breaking down how many signals fall within a certain strength, these being >85%, >70%, >55%, >40%, >25%, >10% and it breaks these down into the number of signals for each carrier for GSM, UMTS, and LTE.

This model also allows for the SNYPER-LTE to be connected to a PC and the files to be downloaded. These come in two forms. A .csv file and a .html file.

 

Contents

 

In the box:

SNYPER-LTE Graphyte

Multi region power supply

General purpose direct connect antenna (Black)

2600MHz (LTE Band 7) direct connect antenna (Light Grey)

liveSCAN directional antenna

USB Cable

USB car charger

Tripod and cradle

Hard carry case

Quick start guide

 

Not in the box:

Manual - available here https://www.siretta.com/products/cellular-network-analysers/4g-lte-analyser-network/snyper-lte-graphyte-eu/

 

   

Test Method

The testing of the unit was going to be very simple. It would be taken to lighthouse and some readings would be taken. A test would also be done in a city where the signal choice and strength should be greater. This would allow a comparison.

The various features would be tried out to assess their usefulness and see how they would improve getting the best results.

It would also be noted how user friendly the device was.

 

Results

The following results were taken from a test done in Inverness where expectation was for a large number of strong signals, and at Duncansby Lighthouse next to John O'Groats where getting a signal was expected to be difficult. The Inverness scan was done in a residential home in Culduthel. The Duncansby scan was done within the top of the Duncansby Lighthouse tower.

The following screen grabs are from a single test done and has the results for the 2G, 3G and 4G signals.

 

Inverness GSM(2G)

 

Inverness UMTS(3G)

 

Inverness LTE(4G)

 

Duncansby GSM(2G)

 

Duncansby UMTS(3G)

 

Duncansby LTE(4G)

 

The results from the tests show a surprising result. The remote area in this instance gets a better number of signals and a better number of strong signals.

 

A further test was done at Duncansby to highlight some of the features of the SNYPER-LTE. A 5 scan test was set up and the following screen grab shows the output graph for the 2G signal. From this it can be seen why this type of test should be the one done for a proper survey. There are a number of signals which can be seen to not be available through the whole test. If there had only been a number of signals available, the preferred one in my opinion would be the most reliable signal, not necessarily the strongest signal.

 

Duncansby 5 scans GSM

 

All the results are showing Duncansby to have a great signal and to be better than in a city. However, I know this is not the case. Within the lighthouse building itself and the surrounding area it is almost impossible to make a phone call, let alone use data to access the internet. As I mentioned the test was done at the top of the tower which should be no surprise that it produces the best signal. Another simple test done within the lighthouse building which resulted in the following data for a 2G and 3G signal. As can be seen the number of carriers reduced and the signal strength was nothing like what the other test results showed.

 

Duncansby GSM and UMTS within the building

 

Taking each of these tests was straight forward, along with any of the extra features. Getting the information that may be needed out while using the SNYPER-LTE screen on site isn't as simple. The best way to review the information is to get it uploaded on to a laptop. How easy that is will all depend on where you are and what type of site you are on. I was lucky in that I was only using this for testing methods. I can see this being used in the future on a remote site where there is no cover, during bad weather and trying to set up a communications system. The SNYPER-LTE looks to be fairly robust and the buttons are all sealed behind a plastic cover, but I think a full protective cover would have been a benefit, or a way to seal the bottom where the power in socket and sim socket sit. I

 

Evaluation

Having tested out the SNYPER-LTE in various locations I have no doubt in saying that this is a great piece of kit in doing what it does. However, this is very much a specialist piece of kit, I can only see this being used by professionals and companies that need to collect this type of data. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to find the best possible signal you can’t go wrong with this.

I like the ease of use that it has and the extra features that can make things easier for finding the best possible signal, however you definitely need to read through the manual and get a familiarity with this to get the best out of it. I don't think I could ask another technician to simply take this with them and get the best results without coaching them through how to do it.

If you are taking multiple readings in different locations you will have to keep a note of these. The SNYPER-LTE saves files as month/day/time, as in 10201235.html. I could not find a way of changing this, and to me being able to name the files after a test would be so much easier.

My final words on the SNYPER-LTE is that I would definitely recommend it. The few problems I had did not hold it back. I think the best recommendation that I can give it is that this unit is going in my tool kit and I am 100% certain it will be used for what it was designed to do. It was just unfortunate I didn't get the chance to get to one of the really remote lights before this write-up.

Score 8/10

Anonymous
  • Super review Barry. This provides a very good insight to the Graphyte's powerful features and it's ability to help in decision making. Your application stories show the difference that the Graphyte can make in improving "day to day" operating efficiency and working conditions within an organisation. Thank you for all of the feedback and we look forward to hearing more from the Northern Lighthouse Board.

  • Great review . I especially enjoyed your map post of the remote location.

     

    Growing up on an island I have an affinity for water all around me:)

  • So out of curiosity, how far is North Rona from mainland Scotland?

  • I would just like to add in a little update on this item. I wasn't able to give the SNYPER-LTE as much of a test as I would have liked. I was planning to take it to some more remote locations for trying out how well it picked up a signal. Unfortunately I picked up an injury on the way to one of these locations while travelling by RIB and it put me out of action for a while.

    What I did do was pass it on to another technician who was going to the remotest stay on lighthouse in Scotland, which is North Rona. Mobile signal has never been picked up there and the only communication was always a satellite phone.

    The below map shows where North Rona is located to the northwest of mainland Scotland.

     

     

    I gave the technician a quick demonstration before he left of how the SNYPER-LTE worked and how to get the data back out of it. The following information is what he came back with:

     

     

    What this meant was the technicians who were out on site for 7 days were able to connect up a mobile router that they could connect their phones to and allow them to make reliable WiFi calls and send/receive emails.

    On top of that this information will also be fed back to the engineers at HQ and they may be able to now design a system that uses 4G communications for monitoring the lighthouse.