I live in a town that just recently activated Verizon's 4G/LTE service (yay!). However, with one tower in the middle of town and Verizon still expanding service, I've seen some of my customers right on the border of 4G coverage have some signal issues. There are two simple issues that can fix it:
The first one requires a Novatel-branded Mifi or Jetpack model 4510L or 4620L. It's a simple fix, but one that does cost around $50. A Wilson antenna can help bring in signal. You'll need two components: the Wilson antenna and an adapter jack. Get the tallest antenna you can, and adapter jack #359939 (different product numbers fit different devices). The antenna should be magnetically attached to a piece of metal about one foot square, as high up as possible, and placed where you get the best reception. But since the mifi/jetpack crecates a wireless signal, experiment and find that sweet spot where it gets the best reception and still has enough wifi range for your devices. Keep in mind that this is a passive antenna, and it's not as powerful (or expensive) as a booster, but it DOES work on 4G/LTE.
You can also toggle your devices out of 4G/LTE mode and into EVDO/1x-only mode (meaning you kill the 4G radio and force the device to use only its 3G/2G radios). This can be done on a few devices, but since we've been working with the Novatel units, let's keep that going. Here are detailed steps to make that happen:
1. Connect your mifi/jetpack to your computer like you normally would.
2. Open a web browser. In the address field, type "192.168.1.1" (minus the quotes) and hit Enter.
3. In the login field in the upper right corner, enter the password. It is typically the same password you use to access the mifi, otherwise it is "admin," the full ESN of the device, or "passowrd." If none of those work, contact tech support for assistance resetting it.
4. Click the "WWAN" tab on the red row of icons.
5. Click the blue "More" link at the bottom.
6. From the WWAN Preferred Mode menu, select CDMA Auto to turn off the 4G/LTE radio, and CDMA/LTE to turn 4G back on.
OK, last one. If you are using your phone or tablet as a hotspot, follow these instructions:
1. Go to the Settings menu. 2. From Settings, select Wireless & Networks
3. Scroll to the bottom and select Mobile Netowrks. 4. Select Netowrk Mode
5. CDMA/LTE will switch between 3G and 4G, CDMA only is, you guessed it, 3G only.
The screen shots might look a bit different on a tablet, but the steps will be similar. It's not a perfect solution, but it will help you if y ou're in one of those odd spots that gets some 4G/LTE service but better 3G coverage.