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Author Topic: Three 4G broadband experience  (Read 6225 times)

re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2019, 01:17:48 PM »

I am happy to see contributions made here have been an inspiration for you. :)

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).
At those speeds, you are certainly not using Three's "SuperVoice" (VoLTE) 800 MHz band (Band 20) - you're going to be connected using the normal 1800 MHz band (Band 3). Band 20 is not notoriously slow, but in most cases the downstream is going to be slower than 3G in the single figures. You can use LTEWatch to check your connection stats and force specific bands if you need to.

Plugging an analogue phone into the B310's phone socket also allows calls to be made from the mobile number, which is useful.
To my knowledge, B310 does not support VoLTE. But even still, Three only officially supports devices sold by them to use their VoLTE. Furthermore, VoLTE is only supported on Band 20 with Three. Though calls on 3G should not present any issues.

My advice is if you want to reliably make and receive voice calls via your router using the mobile number, it may be best to set the network mode to 3G only since auto induced some oddities for me on my B525 and 4G only calling will not work even if you forced Band 20, which is Three's only VoLTE-enabled band, since the router needs to support VoLTE and needs to be supported by SuperVoice.

I know my B525 does not support VoLTE (at least with the current firmware, since I believe there firmwares out there with this support). But by oddities related to auto mode, I think inbound calls would not switch the connection to 3G to receive a voice call (though, outbound was okay I think). You may or may not have the same issue.

If you have experienced something different, please post here because I would be intrigued
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Zen Unlimited Fibre 4 G.fast (330/50 Mbps sync, 352/60 Mbps attainable) @ ~200m - Zyxel XMG3927-B50A
Three 4G LTE with Huawei B525 (peak down/up ~75/~27 Mbps, typ. 35-55 Mbps down)

vic0239

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2019, 04:09:53 PM »

LTEWatch reveals that I am on a 4G connection (see screenshot). However, the only frequency band I can connect to is the 800MHz Band 20 which confirms the Three coverage checker is correct. I did try all the others bands with LTEWatch, but none would connect. Speed tests on the 2G and 3G setting were only around the 5-6 Mbps mark.  :(

You are correct about the phone calls, no dial tone when set to 4G, I must have checked that out when connected at 3G.

Many thanks for the info, very useful to someone with no knowledge of mobile comms.  :)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2019, 05:59:48 PM by vic0239 »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2019, 05:25:15 PM »

I've relegated mine to SIM2 in my Galaxy S10 now as pfSense really doesn't work well with a connection that fluctuates so much.

There doesn't seem to be a way to tell the DNS to only use the connection if the others are down, its all or nothing which meant regular DNS timeouts due to lookups routing over Three.

It might indeed have been possible in the firewall rules but then there is the second issue where there have been some rough days where the connection had so much packet loss pfSense kept marking the gateway as down then up again, bouncing the connection, which causes connectivity issues as the firewall restarts.  A backup isn't much good if it makes day to day usage garbage.

Clearly you need a router that is 4G aware to accommodate for all these things.
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2019, 05:56:33 PM »

LTEWatch reveals that I am on a 4G connection (see screenshot). However, the only frequency band I can connect to is the 800MHz Band 20 which confirms the Three coverage checker is correct. I did try all the others bands with LTEWatch, but none would connect. Speed tests on the 2G and 3G setting were only around the 5-6 Mbps mark.  :(
How are you getting 30 Mbps downstream on Band 20? That band is only using 5 MHz, versus 15 MHz on Band 3 with Three. I can only get under 10 Mbps downstream with Band 20, but pretty consistently above 40 Mbps on Band 3.

Are you sure you are not using Band 3 (1800 MHz)?

By the way, Three doesn't have 2G connectivity.

Also, you may want to remove your IMEI from your screenshot.
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Three 4G LTE with Huawei B525 (peak down/up ~75/~27 Mbps, typ. 35-55 Mbps down)

rpdmallett

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2019, 09:34:07 PM »

I've been on the Three unlimited data PAYG scheme for several months now... and I've found out what happens if you go over the 1TB per month limit.

Basically they terminate your month of unlimited data early.  See attached image for text they sent me.

Solution appears to be just pay for another month a bit earlier than you'd expected to.
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #35 on: March 09, 2019, 09:55:30 PM »

Interesting. I was unaware of what would happen on PAYG if you hit the 1000GB. On pay monthly, I have been reading that the limit is more of a soft limit rather than a hard limit - some sources say they just throttle you with traffic management. I imagine they could take action if you are persistently hitting 1000GB on pay monthly.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2019, 11:57:23 PM by re0 »
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Zen Unlimited Fibre 4 G.fast (330/50 Mbps sync, 352/60 Mbps attainable) @ ~200m - Zyxel XMG3927-B50A
Three 4G LTE with Huawei B525 (peak down/up ~75/~27 Mbps, typ. 35-55 Mbps down)

vic0239

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #36 on: March 09, 2019, 10:12:43 PM »

How are you getting 30 Mbps downstream on Band 20? That band is only using 5 MHz, versus 15 MHz on Band 3 with Three. I can only get under 10 Mbps downstream with Band 20, but pretty consistently above 40 Mbps on Band 3.

Are you sure you are not using Band 3 (1800 MHz)?

By the way, Three doesn't have 2G connectivity.

Also, you may want to remove your IMEI from your screenshot.
Just going by the modem status and LTEWatch, but Iíll check it again. Speed tests are quite expensive though!   :( I did get ~24Mbps on my phone on 3G but that was outside in the garden so I am totally confused. Iím beginning to think that the modem is just doing its own thing, as it quite happily let me select 2G only on the network settings. Perhaps it is showing 4G but simply dropping down to the best connection.
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2019, 12:31:46 AM »

Just going by the modem status and LTEWatch, but Iíll check it again. Speed tests are quite expensive though!   :( I did get ~24Mbps on my phone on 3G but that was outside in the garden so I am totally confused. Iím beginning to think that the modem is just doing its own thing, as it quite happily let me select 2G only on the network settings. Perhaps it is showing 4G but simply dropping down to the best connection.
I think I am maybe creating a bit of confusion. I am terrible like that sometimes.

If you're using the Three SIM, 2G will not work; won't connect. Three only has 3G and 4G servies operating. The modem will allow you to select 2G but it should just not connect. If you select Auto, it'll pick what it determines to be best and the API will report which connection it is using (you will be able to see that in LTEWatch). If you select 2G and it does connect then perhaps it is a bug with the router firmware, but it'll certainly be connecting over 3G/4G and not over 2G.

What I was trying to say is that if you are connected to Band LTE 20 (800 MHz), I think it is highly unlikely for you to be receiving in excess of 30 Mbps downstream - I can only get around 6-8 Mbps. In my case, I find UTRA Band 1 (3G, 2100 MHz) to be faster than LTE Band 20 for downstream by approx. 2 times, and LTE Band 3 (1800 MHz) to be 3-4 times faster than 3G.

For me, when I change the network mode in my router UI, the connectivity type does update in LTEWatch, but the frequency band does not. If you have it set to 4G and it switches to 800 MHz from 1800 MHz for some reason, LTEWatch won't show the band it has changed to - perhaps the application needs to be closed and reopened, but I haven't tested this.

Also, if you are monitoring the data transfer rate in LTEWatch, be warned it is innaccurate and seems to display speeds much above the actual rate.
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Zen Unlimited Fibre 4 G.fast (330/50 Mbps sync, 352/60 Mbps attainable) @ ~200m - Zyxel XMG3927-B50A
Three 4G LTE with Huawei B525 (peak down/up ~75/~27 Mbps, typ. 35-55 Mbps down)

vic0239

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2019, 08:22:13 AM »

Don't worry confusion is a common occurrence for me these days!

I've run through the settings again and observed the following. The router was rebooted after each change.

Network Connection    Home Screen    LTEWatch      Speedtest
Auto                          3G 4 bars          UMTS (3G)    5.6/3.3   
3G Only                     3G 4 bars          UMTS (3G)    4.5/2.9
4G Only                     4G 3 bars          LTE (4G)       14/8

The speeds are a bit lower as the modem was not by the window (laziness as well as confusion).
Perhaps it's the modem that is confused!   :-\
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #39 on: March 10, 2019, 07:24:59 PM »

I decided to do a few speedtests using different techologies on Three. About 30 minutes ago I completed them all.

I found making a table annoying, so I just did the average of 3 tests on each technology. RSRP, RSSI, RSRQ and SINR figures are not an average and were taken when connection was idle.

ConnectionBandLatency (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)RSRP (dBm)RSSI (dBm)RSRQ (dB)SINR (dB)UI signal (bars)
LTE (4G)Band 3 (1800 MHz)43.0058.0115.57-95-69-6164
LTE (4G)Band 20 (800 MHz)44.673.403.47-85-59-13114
UMTS (3G)Band 1 (2100 MHz)27.3315.442.38N/A-75N/AN/A5

And standard deviation (didn't want to make the table too wide):
ConnectionBandLatency deviation (ms)Download deviation (Mbps)Upload deviation (Mbps)
LTE (4G)Band 3 (1800 MHz)11.273.481.34
LTE (4G)Band 20 (800 MHz)4.930.480.37
UMTS (3G)Band 1 (2100 MHz)1.531.120.04

LTE Band 20 is looking worse than usual, at half at what I am used to seeing - perhaps it is not in the optimal position for 800 MHz. I actually tried different servers and no faster, so that can't be to blame.

UMTS has the best latency, average under 30 ms with little deviation. Respectable downstream, better than LTE Band 20.

LTE Band 3 has the best speeds, both downstream and upstream by a sizeable margin.

I understand that there may be more optimal positions depending on the frequency, but I just did the tests using the position I usually use for LTE Band 3 using the external antennas which presumably are fully compatible with the frequencies used. I could always try again with internal antennas at a different time if I feel the need.

Sample size not great, but I can always revisit later.

Edit: Added table with standard deviation.
Edit 2: Fixed grammar.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 01:45:31 AM by re0 »
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Zen Unlimited Fibre 4 G.fast (330/50 Mbps sync, 352/60 Mbps attainable) @ ~200m - Zyxel XMG3927-B50A
Three 4G LTE with Huawei B525 (peak down/up ~75/~27 Mbps, typ. 35-55 Mbps down)

aesmith

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2019, 10:56:02 AM »

Apologies if this has been covered, but has anyone tried a VoIP phone using SIP over one of these services?  Technically there's no reason why it shouldn't work, even with CGNAT, assuming typical SIP equipment like the Gigaset that I use.
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vic0239

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2019, 11:36:15 AM »

Yes, I've tested VoIP and if works perfectly. I used my Gigaset N300A and an OBi202 adapter and was able to make and receive calls on both.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #42 on: March 11, 2019, 03:33:46 PM »

Now we have a gap in the weather I've done some more testing with the Three SIM in my S10 and the results have been much better.

In the location I had the MiFi using WiFi hot spot:


In a location that previously was bad using WiFi:


Same location using USB tethering:


Another previously poor location, whilst wireless charging, over WiFi:


For reference, O2 which seems to claim band 1 and is my nearest cell tower:
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 08:03:57 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #43 on: March 11, 2019, 05:42:20 PM »

Looks those "poor signal" tests were still on band 3 but its not congested today.  In fact I can't seem to convince it to connect to band 20 at all.
Getting your phone or MiFi to connect via Band 20?

Band 20 would be slower anyway, which probably would hold true even at peak times.

For reference, O2 which seems to claim band 1 and is my nearest cell tower:

Pretty fast that is, shame there are no high data allowance plans. Though, can you confirm this is absolutely Band 1?
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Zen Unlimited Fibre 4 G.fast (330/50 Mbps sync, 352/60 Mbps attainable) @ ~200m - Zyxel XMG3927-B50A
Three 4G LTE with Huawei B525 (peak down/up ~75/~27 Mbps, typ. 35-55 Mbps down)

Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #44 on: March 11, 2019, 08:23:44 PM »

Yup, I got my bands reversed so yeah its good I'm getting band 3. ;)

Getting your phone or MiFi to connect via Band 20?

Band 20 would be slower anyway, which probably would hold true even at peak times.
Pretty fast that is, shame there are no high data allowance plans. Though, can you confirm this is absolutely Band 1?

LTE Discovery claims its band 1 on O2 DL Freq 2129.9MHz UP 1939.9Mhz.  Considering how close I am to the tower it would make sense.

I understand the confusion as many sites suggest that is 3G only.  This mast was built AFTER 4G launched, is it possible they are reusing that frequency on 4G now?


Tried a different app and that too says I'm on LTE on both SIM cards which is even more confusing when everything I read suggested the S10 can only connect to LTE on one SIM at a time.  But turning off SIM2 changes nothing, still claims Band 1 LTE for O2.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 10:58:10 AM by Alex Atkin UK »
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Modems: 2 x VMG3925-B10B V5.13(AAVF.12)C0-jumbo
Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense.
ISP: Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 + Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra.
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