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Author Topic: Three 4G broadband experience  (Read 16881 times)

Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2019, 10:10:44 PM »

Note: The below assumes you are using the default IP address. Just change as needed.

I don't know anything about this device, but usually the stats are listed on the Device Information page, which itself is under System in the Settings (http://192.168.8.1/html/deviceinformation.html, directly).

If there are no stats or if the aforesaid page does not exist, http://192.168.8.1/api/device/signal should give you some information about the device's signal, as long as the API is not restricted for some reason. For me, it orders the stats like: RSRQ, RSRP, RSSI, SINR.

LTEWatch (https://www.lte-anbieter.info/ltewatch/huawei.php) can show these stats and can be used to monitor signal and quality as long as the device is using HiLink API. Huawei E5573Bs-320 is listed as as tested here, but if the above API does not show stats then I imagine it will not work as this probably accessess the same API.

Mines the E5573Bs-322 and no stats on that page other than the WAN IP address.  The API url also just brings up an error.

LTEWatch on the other hand DOES work, which is nice.  Its allowed me to test around the house to find a more reliable spot.
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2019, 10:29:50 PM »

Mines the E5573Bs-322 and no stats on that page other than the WAN IP address.  The API url also just brings up an error.

LTEWatch on the other hand DOES work, which is nice.  Its allowed me to test around the house to find a more reliable spot.
Interesting. So perhaps LTEWatch uses a different part of the API. Noted. Would be interesting to know which part at some point.

What stats do you have in your new location?
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2019, 09:48:47 AM »

Interesting. So perhaps LTEWatch uses a different part of the API. Noted. Would be interesting to know which part at some point.

What stats do you have in your new location?

Actually it occurs I may have forgotten to login to the web UI BEFORE trying that API URL. LTEWatch wouldn't work without the login password either.

I figured out why my performance was so random before, it was falling back to Band 20 which as we know Band 3 is where all the bandwidth is.  I can totally understand why they would throttle bulk traffic like crazy on Band 20, otherwise VoLTE wouldn't work.  But my goodness Three, tell us in the UI for crying out loud!

Left appeared to be a good signal in the UI but yeah not so much.  Middle is the new position last night followed by the same position right now.


Combined connection speed:


The upload seems to lock onto whichever ISP it identified, as does the ping test.  So basically the result here only shows downstream combined, everything else seems to be the Three connection.

DSLReports typically fails if it tries to test upload over Three (presumably because I'm doing the DSL test as I need the higher threads to get a sensible result of the load balancing), but trying a few times it too seemed to lock-on to the Zen connection for upload giving this:
(you might have to right click, view image for it to appear as it seems their cdn is blocking hotlinking)


This is a HUGE improvement over before, bufferbloat was skyrocketing in the old location!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 10:09:14 AM by Alex Atkin UK »
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2019, 11:22:22 AM »

You may want to hide your Cell ID, for obvious reasons.

Actually it occurs I may have forgotten to login to the web UI BEFORE trying that API URL. LTEWatch wouldn't work without the login password either.
That certainly seems like the reason, as it would be foolish to leave API open without authentication.

I figured out why my performance was so random before, it was falling back to Band 20 which as we know Band 3 is where all the bandwidth is.  I can totally understand why they would throttle bulk traffic like crazy on Band 20, otherwise VoLTE wouldn't work.  But my goodness Three, tell us in the UI for crying out loud!
Band 20 is not only slower because it occupies lower frequencies, but also because it is limited to 5 MHz (versus 15 MHz that Three use on Band 3). I found Band 20 to give sub-10 Mbps speeds, more realistically around 6 Mbps.

Some 4G routers have the option to force specific bands in the UI, but I imagine yours does not. You can actually set the Band manually in LTEWatch by clicking the + next to "Frequency Band" as opposed to using automatic, just in case it would rather hop onto Band 20. Note: I do not know if this change is permenant in the API after a reboot.

Left appeared to be a good signal in the UI but yeah not so much.  Middle is the new position last night followed by the same position right now.

The UI can be deceiving. But those stats are looking reasonable. The fact it was using Band 20 or perhaps switching between the two Bands may explain why the speeds were poor/inconsistent. Not a guarantee that it was the reason, since high utilisation on your tower may be the biggest issue.

You could benefit from using antennas by a small degree, or even buying a router with better internal antennas (or even better, using a new router with external antennas). You could try your luck with purchasing this B525 from eBay since it's just a penny under £115. It's what I have, and even if it doesn't improve your 4G connection, you'll have better WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, etc., and antennas are included with this one.

The upload seems to lock onto whichever ISP it identified, as does the ping test.  So basically the result here only shows downstream combined, everything else seems to be the Three connection.
I do not know how pfSense works but presumably it would be, in your case, down to metrics. I am assuming that both connections have the same metrics, so it just picks whichever connection. Though for network transmissions that using multithreading can utilise both connections. If you used singlethreading (which is an option on speedtest.net) then it will just use one. It looks you were already aware of this, however. :)

Sorry, I do ramble on a bit. Hope it's not an annoyance!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 11:24:58 AM by re0 »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2019, 12:08:08 PM »

My very professional installation - I'm a huge fan of self adhesive velcro strips:


In all honesty for its size, the reception is quite impressive as I have aluminium blinds which can't be great for reception.  It may also explain why that particular spot is getting a good signal, wouldn't be surprised if adjusting the blinds angle made a huge difference.

I'm going to get that second landline re-activated and keep swapping it around for the latest offers at the end of the contract (assuming neither G.FAST or FTTP becomes viable in the next 18 months) so I don't think its worth throwing more money at this.  I'm actually considering putting the sim in a Galaxy S10 for data only while using my existing O2 PAYG for calls, or just slapping it in my Note 4 and seeing how that compared to the WiFi AP solution.

Out of curiosity I've requested the desk survey for FTTPoD, but honestly for the installation price I could probably get a THIRD or even FOURTH VDSL line and come out better off. (do they charge more for a new drop cable installation?)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 12:17:09 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2019, 12:38:17 PM »

My very professional installation - I'm a huge fan of self adhesive velcro strips:
Nice setup. Haha. I was thinking about getting a Netgear AirCard antenna and using suction cups to keep it on the window. But it's directional to my knowledge, so would need relocation to a different room. Furthermore, it won't improve the low, peaktime speeds at all; perhaps only off-peak, night-time speeds though not guaranteed.

Out of curiosity I've requested the desk survey for FTTPoD, but honestly for the installation price I could probably get a THIRD or even FOURTH VDSL line and come out better off. (do they charge more for a new drop cable installation?)
When I had a new drop cable, it was included in the new "fibre" installation costs. Though the complexity comes in when you consider whether or not there are any D-side pairs available (which most likely will be) and if there are any additional works required in relation to ducting or overhead cabling. To my knowledge, as long as the works can be completed within the installation window it should be at no extra cost.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2019, 11:19:11 PM »

Of note, even with the new location I'm still getting issues with it randomly not loading for double-digit seconds.

I can't be sure its the Three connection due to the balancing, but its pretty much 99.9% going to be as that simply doesn't happen on the VDSL line except on very specific websites.

So I stand by my original point.  Its certainly usable, but I really wouldn't want it as my only connection.  Although I do wonder if its the WiFi AP as the UI page also has a nasty habit of lagging sometimes which is odd.  Maybe a firmware update at a later date will fix it.  I suppose in all fairness, its not designed to be running 24/7. (its certainly not going to do the battery any favours)

It will certainly be interesting seeing how it performs in a different device.  Just need to wait for the Galaxy S10 to release.
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2019, 01:01:24 PM »

I've never had any issues with double-digit loading times for pages on my Three connection, even at peak times.

While it could be an issue of many users, I think you have already considered the problem being the device itself (or more specficially, the WiFi aspect). Though even the UI on my B525 seems a bit sluggish, so it does not necessary mean anything. But it could still be the device, whether or not it is the WiFi itself.

I would have suggested perhaps it is a DNS resolution issue, but since you mentioned high latencies previously then it is likely something else.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2019, 04:02:37 PM »

Yeah its unlikely to be DNS as that should come from Unbounds cache when accessing the same site over and over, plus its load balanced over both connections.

Its not WiFi as it happened over USB too.

I suspect its either temporary reception issues/crosstalk or just contention.  The UI freezing just bothered me as that usually means the CPU is maxed out on the router which would also cause the problem.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 04:06:57 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2019, 04:40:57 PM »

Sorry, I made an assumption there that it was the WiFi mentioned. :(

I do not think these devices are the best as a permenant fixture (more of a temporary unit or for those on the go, though I've never used one), but only way to tell is to try another device when you get one and cross your fingers. :fingers:

I am quite fortunate to not experience any major issues, and minor issues are few. But it's only been about a month at this point since I've been using it as a backup connection and a connection for my other devices (since my main network has no WiFi, so all wireless devices use the 4G broadband connection).
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2019, 06:39:04 PM »

Yeah I've decomissioned it from my main PC right now as I keep getting random "protocol errors" in Firefox, not sure what's going on there.

Once I have two VDSL lines they will become tier 1, with 4G being tier 2 (only used if both VDSL lines goes down I believe).

I still have it enabled for my games consoles though which was really curious earlier as the Xbox One was all over the place.  Sometimes it was stuck in single-digit Megabits, other times it went up to 115Mbit.  The really weird thing is sometimes it got confused and said it was doing 200+Mbit after a bought of slowness which obviously is impossible.  I can only guess there was some buffering in the Xbox OS as its recombining out of order packets causing that discrepancy, as this never seems to happen on PC.

It kinda makes sense though that combining two connections with vastly different latency and especially jitter, is going to cause some issues.  Used simply as a backup with automatic failover should be much more reliable.  At least on pfSense its really easy to leave a firewall rule that applies different behaviour to the routing on there but just toggle it on and off as required.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 06:41:49 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2019, 07:57:53 PM »

Shame you have been getting those errors. I have never had them.

I have thought about using a firewall to route traffic via specific ports/protocols through the 4G connection and the rest over FTTC (or vice versa). Since my FTTC has an allowance, I thought about just using it for SSH, ICMP and DNS while the rest can just pretty much go over 4G.
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Weaver

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2019, 09:21:01 PM »

I couldnít do selective per-protocol+port routing as I donít use different IP addresses for the different links that I currently have. I have no nat and the same source address is seen on everything that gives upstream regardless of which link it is. I donít have different WAN addresses on different DSL interfaces; the one WAN-facing address is for all uplinks DSL and 3G, so I couldnít even test things by setting source addresses specifically when sending diagnostic pings. To improve that I added an additional IPv4 address to the 3G NIC for ping-test purposes, so that now has two IPv4 addresses but these are never used apart from in diagnostic tests and by the router itself.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2019, 01:35:12 PM »

Shame you have been getting those errors. I have never had them.

I have thought about using a firewall to route traffic via specific ports/protocols through the 4G connection and the rest over FTTC (or vice versa). Since my FTTC has an allowance, I thought about just using it for SSH, ICMP and DNS while the rest can just pretty much go over 4G.

The niggling thing in the back of my mind has been MTU and indeed the Three MTU is 1440, as also mentioned in a thread on this forum.

I wonder if Firefox (or maybe even pfSense) is tripping up on the fact Zen is 1500 and Three is 1440?  Does the OpenWRT box I'm using as the gateway to connect to the MiFi being 1500 also have an impact?

I would have thought path discovery would be functioning here, but you never know.

It certainly seems to not be an issue except when trying to balance across both connections, so would suggest balancing across different MTU connections could be the issue.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 01:38:54 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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vic0239

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2019, 03:36:47 PM »

I've been following this topic with interest particularly as I have been struggling to get 3G backup working on my ZyXel VMG8924-B10A (I've gone back to that after ceasing my second line and retiring my Firebrick 2700 meantime). I was using a 3G dongle with the ZyXel, but I could not get it to connect, despite having success when it was connected directly to my computer.

So I decided to try the Huawei B310 with a PAYG Three data SIM which I could connect to my switch in the event of a broadband failure and am astonished with the result. I am not in a 4g area and initially the modem in auto connected at 3g, but I had noticed that my iPhone occasionally displayed 4g so decided to set that explicitly and lo it connected! The Three checker says:

Quote
Sorry, there's no 4G coverage in your area right now. You might be able to access the internet using our 3G network. Just so you know, indoor signal strength may vary.Great news. Our new 4G Super-Voice signal is available in this area, kicking Indoor Blackspots' ass.

So I must be benefiting from 4G Super Voice. With the modem placed in the window I am getting a consistent 30Mbs down and 11Mbps up which is fine for backup purposes (I've no PSTN phone so VoIP continuity is essential). Plugging an analogue phone into the B310's phone socket also allows calls to be made from the mobile number, which is useful.

I also have a AAISP SIM which works in the B310 and gives me a fixed IPv4 address, but has a more expensive data tariff and ongoing monthly charge. So as this will just be idling away most of the time I think I will go with the Three SIM and maintain a small credit to keep it going.

A big thanks to the previous contributors for the inspiration.
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