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Author Topic: Three 4G broadband experience  (Read 3965 times)

re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #60 on: March 17, 2019, 03:06:31 PM »

Not sure what to conclude so far.  First test with the SIM in the phone gave me 20meg download from upstairs.  Using the Billion router with E3372 dongle gives only just under/over 6/5meg (down/up) in the same room.   Sticking it back in the phone to double check and it gives 25/5. . . . Dongle directly in the laptop gives 7 down and 5 up.
Perhaps phone is using a different Band? Maybe phone has a better positioning and/or better internal antenna?

There don't seem to be any detailed settings or statistics available from the dongle.
UI tends to have limited statistics, perhaps even more so with MiFi and USB modems. If your firmware version has HiLink, then you should be able to use LTEWatch. Huawei E3372 is listed as compatible with LTEInspector (a different program, but using same API I guess), so it would be able to provide you with more in-depth statistics and give the option to force Band.

The dongle just shows a default profile, do you think I should be filling in the APN stuff specifically?   See screenshots ..
There should be no need to make changes to the APN.
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aesmith

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #61 on: March 17, 2019, 04:00:42 PM »

Cheers.  The dongle doesn't belong to me so I don't want to spend too much time worrying about it, or any money of course.  LTEwatch doesn't give me anything except "A connection cannot be made" when I give the dongle's IP address.   Your suggestion about bands may well be correct, but I don't think I have any way of getting that detail out of either the dongle or the phone (Iphone SE).
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #62 on: March 17, 2019, 04:19:13 PM »

Sadly, I cannot really comment on the iPhone SE. I have no clue with tools are available on iOS.

As for the dongle, apparently E3372h is the version that ships with HiLink firmware (software version 22.x as opposed to 21.x with E3372s; I am under the impression that "h" denotes "HiLink" and "s" denotes "stick"). Don't take my word for it since I have done very little research on it, though what I have said mostly comes from here. I wouldn't suggest flashing it anyway seeing as it is not yours. ;D
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #63 on: March 20, 2019, 11:19:33 PM »

I had a doctors appointment yesterday and so was in direct line-of-sight with the Three mast.  Upload improved but download still as random as usual.

So that pretty much confirms that it really IS contention causing my random performance rather than the weather.

Direct line-of-sight (I can physically see the mast and am holding my phone facing it):

Early morning at home:


NOTE:  The mobile app detects carrier based on SIM1 despite the actual test using SIM2.  Quite confusing as the actual test was done on Three despite it saying O2.
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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.

aesmith

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2019, 07:23:52 PM »

I've just received my Ebay Huawei B525.  Initial test in the living room LTEwatch showed RSRP -108dBm and a download speed of 7meg.  Already nearly twice as fast as our DSL.  Moving to the spare bedroom gave -94dB and speed test of 18meg down and 6 up.  Fiddling with the aerials has improved to -90dB, raising the router up by about a foot gave -85.  That's all on Band 20 which seems to be the only one available.

I'm now onto my third free 200meg SIM.  A couple of speed tests seem to use the allowance, so I don't have a test at -90 or -85dB  However I think it's promising enough for me to think about getting a real SIM.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 08:03:31 PM by aesmith »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2019, 08:24:35 PM »

I've just received my Ebay Huawei B525.  Initial test in the living room LTEwatch showed RSRP -108dBm and a download speed of 7meg.  Already nearly twice as fast as our DSL.  Moving to the spare bedroom gave -94dB and speed test of 18meg down and 6 up.  Fiddling with the aerials has improved to -90dB, raising the router up by about a foot gave -85.  That's all on Band 20 which seems to be the only one available.

I'm now onto my third free 200meg SIM.  A couple of speed tests seem to use the allowance, so I don't have a test at -90 or -85dB  However I think it's promising enough for me to think about getting a real SIM.

As long as you aren't gaming I'd expect even at worst it to be comparable to DSL, on average much better.
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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.

re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2019, 10:22:52 PM »

I've just received my Ebay Huawei B525.  Initial test in the living room LTEwatch showed RSRP -108dBm and a download speed of 7meg.  Already nearly twice as fast as our DSL.  Moving to the spare bedroom gave -94dB and speed test of 18meg down and 6 up.  Fiddling with the aerials has improved to -90dB, raising the router up by about a foot gave -85.  That's all on Band 20 which seems to be the only one available.

I'm now onto my third free 200meg SIM.  A couple of speed tests seem to use the allowance, so I don't have a test at -90 or -85dB  However I think it's promising enough for me to think about getting a real SIM.
The most I have ever gotten on Band 20 was about 20 Mbps downstream, and that only happened during an off-peak period early morning. But generally, it's single digits (as I have said too many times, so I feel like I going insane ???, though it is my choice to mention it :D).

Please be aware that the settings in the router will default to Auto for Antennas (this can be changed in the system settings). It may decide that External is better (if they are plugged in, of course) but as I discovered the other morning, I could get more downstream (at the cost of 1/2 the upstream) by using forcing Internal (though I imagine the location it was in was prime for the internal antennas); approx. 60-65 vs. 70-75 Mbps downstream even though the signal was weaker. But I haven't extensively tried it so it may have been just a fluke, and at peak times the difference may be nil anyway.

Regardless, worth testing some different configurations and positions until you find something good. Though with -85 dBm RSRP on Band 20, I'm surprised that you have no Band 3 at all. Perhaps there is something it can't penetrate.
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aesmith

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #67 on: March 22, 2019, 09:15:53 AM »

Cheers again.  I think there's promise here compared to our DSL which on a good day can just about manage a 4 meg speed test, with around 48ms ping times due to fairly heavy interleaving.   The other factor is that BT has our DSL classes as impacted by REIN from an electric fence, which basically gives them the right to walk away from any sort of fault.   So that's quite a low bar for 4G to meet in terms of both speed and reliability.

I'll try to do some more tests this weekend, see whether I can pick up band 3 outside for example which might mean an external aerial would make sense.  One thing I noticed was the reported RSRP seems amazingly sensitive to small changes in antenna position.  Best orientation turned out to be angled out around 45 degrees when view from the front, but angled back by around 15 degrees.   I still have two more 200meg SIMs that I can use, but it seems like I can only get one and a bit speed tests from each before they're empty.

The other thing I note is that the B525 seems pretty limited as a router, with for example a silly limit that you can't have the same SSID for both 2.4 and 5GHz wireless.  I may look at either a better router, or maybe configuring the B525 purely as a 4G modem or whatever the equivalent is.  If it came to it I could enable one of the two wireless channels on a separate SSID so I could connect for management purposes.

In case anyone's interested, screenshot from LTE Watch showing the effects of the final move to raise the router by a bit less than a foot. 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2019, 09:22:00 AM by aesmith »
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ktz392837

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #68 on: March 22, 2019, 10:55:43 AM »

Do not forget that Smarty offers an unlimited plan on the 3 network for 25 a month (no contract) if you want to invest in some realistic testing rather than struggling with trials.  I believe they are owned by 3 (just their more budget oriented brand).  If you do give them a try please post experience.
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aesmith

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #69 on: March 22, 2019, 12:09:16 PM »

I didn't know that, thanks.  According to their blurb it should work .. "Our Unlimited data SIM only plans also work with tablets and mobile broadband devices like dongles and WiFi routers. Simply choose your plan, pop your SMARTY SIM in, and you're good to go."  Seems like it's a renewing prepaid plan rather than a conventional monthly contract.
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ktz392837

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #70 on: March 22, 2019, 12:37:03 PM »

I have them bookmarked just in case I ever have a need to investigate them further.

It does seem to be an easy (and relatively cheap) way to give it a proper try for a month - running just a few speed tests gives only a very limited view of how well of a replacement to DSL it would be.

I also quite like they explicitly say how you can use for tethering etc.
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #71 on: March 22, 2019, 04:10:59 PM »

Do not forget that Smarty offers an unlimited plan on the 3 network for 25 a month (no contract) if you want to invest in some realistic testing rather than struggling with trials.  I believe they are owned by 3 (just their more budget oriented brand).  If you do give them a try please post experience.
It's nice that their unlimited plan is only 1 month, but I'd be more inclined to only try them for testing rather than for long-term use. Three is likely going to be cheaper in the long run if they do the discounted SIM again, even more so with retentions. Have no idea of Smarty and their retentions.

One thing I noticed was the reported RSRP seems amazingly sensitive to small changes in antenna position.
Normal. Moving just a couple of centimeters can be detrimental to speed in some cases.

The other thing I note is that the B525 seems pretty limited as a router, with for example a silly limit that you can't have the same SSID for both 2.4 and 5GHz wireless.  I may look at either a better router, or maybe configuring the B525 purely as a 4G modem or whatever the equivalent is.  If it came to it I could enable one of the two wireless channels on a separate SSID so I could connect for management purposes.
I didn't try to have both wireless bands with the same SSID, but that's interesting that it doesn't work. But I would agree that the router side of the device is farily limited, though it is better than the couple of 4G-enabled routers I have tried from Huawei before.

If you want to use it as a 4G modem, you may have the option of Bridge Mode. I said "may" because it appears not all devices ship with the firmware version where the feature is enabled from what I have been reading. Mine has it, and if you have it then it will be under "Security".
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aesmith

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #72 on: March 22, 2019, 06:09:43 PM »

Cheers.  My inclination at the moment would be as you say to test with Smarty with a view to switching to a 12 month contract if I want to keep the service.  By the way I notice hidden in the small print from Smarty is a 1TB cap.  "We’ve set a usage cap at 1,000GB in order to identify commercial use
of our service for example, which is not permitted under our terms. "
  In a way that's reassurance in my case because it should mean they have no beef with usage of a few hundred gig.   For me a hard limit of 1TB is as good as no limit.

Regarding the B525, have you been able to find a manual?  All I can find is the quick start guide. 
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re0

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #73 on: March 22, 2019, 10:31:15 PM »

Cheers.  My inclination at the moment would be as you say to test with Smarty with a view to switching to a 12 month contract if I want to keep the service.  By the way I notice hidden in the small print from Smarty is a 1TB cap.  "We’ve set a usage cap at 1,000GB in order to identify commercial use
of our service for example, which is not permitted under our terms. "
  In a way that's reassurance in my case because it should mean they have no beef with usage of a few hundred gig.   For me a hard limit of 1TB is as good as no limit.
It's the same for Three:
Quote
Unlimited data gives you worry free internet use. Even if you used your phone for every minute of every day you could only use, subject to TrafficSense™, around 1000GB each month. We may use this cap to identify inappropriate use of the service, such as commercial use, which isn't permitted under our terms and conditions.
Not surprised there. :D Though 1TB is quite a lot. I don't generally use more than about 400 GB a month on my main network.

Regarding the B525, have you been able to find a manual?  All I can find is the quick start guide. 
I have not searched extensively, but from the tiny amount of searching I did all I could find were datasheets and the quick start guide.
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aesmith

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Re: Three 4G broadband experience
« Reply #74 on: March 23, 2019, 07:48:32 AM »

Looks like mine doesn't support bridge mode.  I could still use it outside my existing router, I'm not 100% convinced that double NAT does any harm unless the initial NAT is re-writing payloads and subsequent once don't.  Apart from that scenario any "damage" done by NAT is caused as soon as the source IP/port is changed from he original values. 
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