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Author Topic: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable  (Read 4970 times)

DaveC

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2021, 10:40:23 AM »

A lot of questions!

Firstly, L2TP.  "officially", AAISP have two kinds of L2TP:

* Failover - You can use your existing broadband credentials (abcd@a.N) to create an L2TP connection.  When this is active, AAISP will give this priority and route traffic over it instead of the broadband connection.  This is a standard feature on all broadband accounts.

* Standalone - this is the £10/month for 1TB service, and will be on a different login (and a different quota) to any existing services.  So you can't use this to route your existing IPs.

In the past, I think AAISP used to give out free extra L2TP-only "lines" on your existing login which would come out of your existing quota, but I'm not sure if they will do that any more - but maybe something you could enquire about.


Secondly, USB - I can't help you with the issue of active cables, but I do think you should avoid USB modems, and just try a standalone router/modem.  A few reasons:

* All USB modems seem to be quite old, meaning they have low "category" LTE modems.  It's rare to find anything above Category 4, which excludes carrier aggregation (it was introduced with Category 6, and improved in the later categories).

* You will be limited in location to somewhere near your Firebrick.  With a standalone router, you can place it anywhere you can get an ethernet cable to.  You can even get external routers.

* They "just work"

I'm currently using a mini POE-powered router (AR-150) with USB modem (ZTE MF823) to give a failover 4G connection to my Firebrick.  This is double-NAT (NAT in my mini router, NAT in the USB device), but I don't mind as it's just used for L2TP to AAISP.  This is located in the loft, with the Firebrick in a 4G-unfriendly cupboard under the stairs and a 10m cable between them.

However, I'm looking to get a better modem supporting carrier aggregation, so will be replacing that setup with a standalone modem, probably the Huawei B535, which are selling at around £50 in ebay auctions, or around £100-£120 from Amazon.

But it sounds like for your setup (long distance from mast, thick stone walls), you may benefit from an externally-mounted router (or at least antenna), so I would definitely think about getting one installed professionally.  Perhaps a satellite TV installer would do it for you.




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Weaver

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2021, 04:44:15 PM »

Thank you so much for your recommendations! A very generous reply, much appreciated.

Itís probably two or three miles to the basestation. Should be able to see it from where the Firebrick is in the room through the east-facing bay window. The really thick (six foot thick!) stone wall is behind the FB; itís the gable end of the old house. Youíre right about the external antenna; if the signal strength turns out to be poor inside the room, then that will be the way to go, but we should be fine given the ideal orientation.
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burakkucat

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2021, 04:59:35 PM »

We have had a discussion about your USB dongle and the "active" cable in the past. I seem to recall that the end result was that you scrapped the "active" cable.

I'll try to find your earlier post, when time permits.  ;)
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jelv

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burakkucat

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2021, 06:41:10 PM »

This thread? https://forum.kitz.co.uk/index.php/topic,23777.msg401387.html#msg401387

Thanks, jelv. That could well be it. (Or there could be others . . . )
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Weaver

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2021, 09:41:29 PM »

Thank you both ! The ME/CFS and pain drugs have destroyed my memory completely, a problem that you will have repeatedly noticed here. I beg your indulgence.
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burakkucat

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2021, 09:59:54 PM »

Would you like me to merge both threads? If yes, would you like the new merged into the old or the old merged into the new . . . (My personal preference would be the former.)
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Weaver

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2021, 10:03:16 PM »

Yes please, as you chose. Didnít appreciate the full Powers of The Black Paw.
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burakkucat

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2021, 10:31:13 PM »

Didnít appreciate the full Powers of The Black Paw.

New merged into the old whilst retaining the old subject line, with a little edit.  :)
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aesmith

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2021, 09:24:46 AM »

We've found really poor performance with USB dongles, maybe OK if you only get 3G but rotten on 4G.  Does your firewall have an Ethernet port available?  A better solution would be a standalone 4G router, configured to pass through it's IP address.  However if you're using A&A L2TP then maybe double NAT wouldn't be an issue as you'd be routing to/from your A&A issued addressing.  Double NAT makes it easier as most 4G routers want to issue DHCP addressing on their LAN ports, and you'd also be able to access the router for management.
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Weaver

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2021, 10:52:18 PM »

I definitely would like to go the 4G router route, no pun intended at all. I just need to be well enough to handle the config and talk my wife through the business of plugging the kit in. Iíve been too ill for several years and have kept on putting off the whole subject of 4G. Our Kitizens understandably think Iím just being awkward about the subject but after I got my Solwise 4G wireless NATin disaster/crisis/emergency standalone router set up and tested, Janet went and Ďfiledí it after it went down to England to see her mum in Staffordshire, and then I never did any further 4G developments. I know the Solwise router got back here because it was never unpacked down there, as it turned out not to be needed on that occasion, so it must be here.

After that, I got the AA 3G dongle and failover up and running, with a permanent IP MTU of 1500 in IPv4, and a 3G device IP MTU of 1440, an IPv6 permanent MTU choice of 1408, and in a 6in4 tunnel when in failover. (1408 = n * 48 - 32; 32 bytes is my ADSL2 protocolsí<=PPP total byte overhead and this is ADSL2 with ATM hence the multiples of 48 bytes payload per cell.)

But I have been wanting to go further and get something that ideally is a straight bridge/modem, or failing that I can go L2TP, but itís a bit of a shame about the MTU. At the moment 3G speed is a bit rubbish, but it works at the moment and itís only for failover. That can be either dongle or ethernet router.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2021, 07:35:48 AM »

Its perfectly understandable in your position.

As you pointed out, you have 4G on other devices and your current setup works without yet another external device and having to fiddle with the Firebrick configuration.

Combined with the one time you need it (lightening strikes) you saying the local mast goes down, its understandable not to want to put the effort in to change things that already work, when your "good days" are limited and better served to other things.

I haven't had the energy to tidy my room in 2 years.  I mean I do bits, but its such a mess nobody who doesn't see it every day would notice its improved.
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tubaman

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2021, 07:40:09 AM »

I would set up a standalone basic 4G solution to start with and see how it goes in terms of speed and usability. Once content that it is a viable solution then I'd look at integrating it into the rest of the system.
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risk_reversal

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2021, 09:27:52 AM »

Perhaps I can also add some thoughts to this thread, especially as I am looking to upgrade my fail over system which uses a USB mobile dongle.

I have a TP-Link W9970 which has fail over capabilities via USB connection.

I currently have a Huawei E367 dongle (3G).

The major bug with this set up is that when the fibre connection to the W9970 drops the USB dongle does not automatically switch over. I have to unplug the phone line to the W9970.

I think that the W9970 is repeatedly trying to reconnect on the fibre connection and this prevents the Huawei dongle from kicking in. The W9970 is a cheap unit and perhaps this is the issue. If I pull the phone line from the W9970, then the mobile dongle works.

The other issue is that speeds are not that good on the dongle usually 5 down and 2 up (on Three) but it's a back up so that is ok. I did try to plug an internal antenna on the Huawei 3G dongle but that was a total waste of time.

I did think of upgrading to a 4G dongle but they virtually all come with the HiLink software installed which creates a double NAT, as they behave like a router. There are some 4G dongles that are just modems and some can be flashed from HiLink to become just modems.

These 4G units also consume over 3Watts, so I could not just plug them into the W9970 as it would blow the USB 2.0 port and so there would need to be a powered USB hub installed.

I then tried the Huawei B535 since it is a CAT 7 device capable of Carrier Aggregation (CA) as a standalone unit. Tried all the mobile networks and EE was the best 50 dn 25 up and steady (but it has CGNAT which maybe an issue). Three's service with no CGNAT is clearly oversubscribed in my area as speeds where cr*p. During the day speeds all over the place, mostly 10 dn and 5 up. After 1am speeds were great 75 dn 25up !!

I was also using LTE-H Monitor to set the CA bands manually having looked then up on cellmapper.

So am now looking to get a Ubiquiti router (started a thread) to be able to get fail over that actually works. From the YouTube videos I have seen it's worth a stab and the unit is reasonably cheap. The YouTube video below says load balancing in title but discusses fail over.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYLvcr1f6Do

If you get a 4G mobile router then be careful as most will not have bridge or IP Passthrough mode.

Good Luck and Hope you feel better
« Last Edit: November 11, 2021, 09:30:43 AM by risk_reversal »
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Weaver

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Re: Antenna for 3G 'dongle'-type USB NIC plus a USB Cable
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2021, 10:45:26 PM »

I donít understand why there is this difference between 4G- and 3G-only capable USB Ďdongleí devices. And why should anyone be selling a 3G-only device even in 2015? The capability to be a simple bridge or PPP+PPPoE-speaking modem is a valuable asset surely, so why provide it in 3G-only devices and not give it in all 4G-devices?

One thought about changing router: You can rent a FB2900 from AA now, and that makes it very affordable; donít have to find £500+ up front now. The FB2900 certainly works regarding failover. Just a thought, may not make any sense at all in your situation.

The FB also can know when the link has really Ďgone downí, in the sense of appearing Ďupí while in fact being useless, because as well as seeing PPPoE going down, the FB2900 can employ continuous PPP LCP ping monitoring so it knows whether or not the whole link is really working or not. My FB PPP-LCP-pings the link every few seconds.
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