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Author Topic: Dongle and 3G performance  (Read 490 times)

Weaver

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Dongle and 3G performance
« on: November 23, 2018, 02:08:33 AM »

I now have a 3G USB dongle (Huawei) NIC which speaks PPPoE and plugs into my `Firebrick router for use as a failover backup internet connection.

It doesnít speak 4G unfortunately. That would require a different model and the ones Iíve read about on Andrews and Arnoldís web page devoted to the topic that do speak 4G seem to use a different type of (logical) interface compared to thus 3G one. That web page is possibly a year or so old and could maybe do with some updating. The 4G ones mentioned seem to be a pain to set up and seem to suffer from a problem where the use of NAT is forced on you, unless you use some kind of tunnel to get round the whole thing with attendant reduced MTU and performance loss too. Since I would be wanting to get my existing IPv4 address block routed straight, through the dongle with no nonsense and nothing getting in the way, then I would have no idea how to go about it and going the tunnelling route is not good.

So 4G dongles seem unattractive currently, unless someone can find a reliable model that does not have an evil NIC software interface associated with it.

I am not that bothered about speed anyway, as it would only be for emergency usage. I have a stand-alone 4G wireless (ie 4G-to-wireless LAN) router as well for emergency purposes, a Solwise unit, which has optional large upgrade antennae too which are to plug into it in the end if some coax. (Unfortunately theyíre buried in all the boxes in the office so I need to persuade my beloved to do some digging, lest it turn into the closing scene of a Raiders of the Lost Ark) and that is to travel with us too should the situation ever arise.

I donít know why, but I only seem to get about 2 Mbps downstream, about the same upstream very roughly, iirc, from the dongle when plugged into the Firebrick in the office. I thought this compared poorly to my iPadís internal 4G NIC which reports 8Mbps downstream. The iPad says this is 3G, not 4G presumably due to current the bad positioning, with me in bed at the far end if a room with thick stone walls. The windows of the bedroom are east facing and that is towards the basestation directly in line of sight across the valley to the east, but nevertheless the angle from the iPadís position it the edges if the window is not so good and I think this is why it is usually not reporting 4G mode. In 4G it is supposed to be theoretically csosbkymifmgetting 60Mbps according to AAís server and I think 3G is 17Mbps max here.

Donít know why the dongle only gets 2Mbps downstream compared with the iPad in 3G mode and its 8Mbps. The dongle has better positioning anyway, it was fairly high up on the south walk if the office, again with an east facing window and line of sight straight to the basestation. To increase its chances, I even got a long USB extension cable which Janet deployed so that the dingle could be placed slap bang in the middle of the window east-facing. However that produced no improvement. Speeds were measured with the Andrews and Arnold speed tester.

Does anyone else have experience of performance levels of 3G dongles?

Perhaps this dongle just is not that good? Maybe its internal antenna is not that great? I donít see why that in the iPad should be better, unless itís to do with the greater amount of physical space available in it.
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CarlT

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Re: Dongle and 3G performance
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2018, 07:06:17 PM »

I now have a 3G USB dongle (Huawei) NIC which speaks PPPoE and plugs into my `Firebrick router for use as a failover backup internet connection.

The 4G ones mentioned seem to be a pain to set up and seem to suffer from a problem where the use of NAT is forced on you, unless you use some kind of tunnel to get round the whole thing with attendant reduced MTU and performance loss too.

A tunnel via something like PPPoE?

Shame the Firebrick doesn't speak PPPoE via the USB port, or does it? No reason why it couldn't - it's transporting Ethernet frames at the end of the day so shoving PPP over them should be doable.
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Weaver

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Re: Dongle and 3G performance
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2018, 02:09:29 AM »

Thatís a good point. As I understand it, the 3G dongles emulate a Hayes modem and the Firebrick does PPP over that link. I think the 4G once present some kind of Ethernet interface, but I presume the Brick doesnít send PPPoE in Ethernet frames to the dongle. Maybe the carriers do not have anything there to pick up PPPoE at their end, they only understand IPv4, so maybe it is all to do with the carriers.

I havenít tried it, but I think the Brick could send PPPoE to a USB device if I am allowed to create a Ďportí object mapped to a USB dongle (actually to a Ďsocketí in a Ďdongleí in usb, iirc).
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 02:12:18 AM by Weaver »
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CarlT

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Re: Dongle and 3G performance
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2018, 04:31:47 PM »

The carriers doing anything with PPPoE is irrelevant. The point is to get a PPP session to an A&A BRAS. A third party can't give you the same IP range A&A do, they are there to just forward PPP.
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CarlT

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Re: Dongle and 3G performance
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2018, 04:34:09 PM »

I should caveat that with that a third party can act as an LTS but either the PPP session or some other tunneling has to be done to A&A's network as they are the only ones that can advertise the IP addresses you use.
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Weaver

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Re: Dongle and 3G performance
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2018, 05:11:30 PM »

To complicate matters further it is Three -> AQL -> AA. And so AA is reselling AQLís service who are reselling Three. I believe that AQL is the guilty party responsible for the lack of IPv6, something that AA has never managed to get fixed even though it was mentioned years ago. I am just guessing about a lot of this, given the scraps of info I have got from their support wiki pages. I need to try to read up on the subject of dongles etc properly, which means a ton of googling, which I am hopeless at.
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chenks

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Re: Dongle and 3G performance
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2018, 06:11:45 PM »

plus, as a third tier reseller, you'll be bottom of any priority list when it comes to Three traffic.
all MVNO's suffer from this. primary priority always goes to the "real" customers, then PAYG, and MVNO.
gods know where AA lay in the priority scale as they are reselling an already resold product.
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