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Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Sat 18-Nov-17 13:54:12
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4G now very slow - ideas?


[link to this post]
 
Hi,

I am in a slow ADSL Max area (Market 1/ Market A exchange with only 20CN) with a long EO (Exchange Only) line (about 4.5 km), with no prospect of any broadband upgrades in the near future.

So, I've been using a 4G router to provide a bit of a speed boost since April this year - I have the TP-Link Archer MR200, which has been good so far.

I load-balance the 4G connection with my approx. 2Mbps ADSL link, for flexibility.

Speeds used to be quite good - ranging from a downstream of 10Mbs up to 35Mbps, and an upstream usually over 1Mbps (and sometimes up to 6 or even 7Mbps on occasion!).

However, recently speeds have been a lot slower - anything from 2 to 8Mbps down, and usually under 0.5Mbps up.

I noticed that this coincided with my smartphone now being able to get a 4G signal indoors, whereas I never used to (only via the 4G router in an upstairs window).

I'm guessing that this slow-down could be to an "upgrade" to an 800MHz signal in the area for 4G.

Does anyone have any ideas for investigating 4G slowdown issues? Or - are there any 4G routers where you can specify which LTE Band to connect to? I believe my area has both 800MHz and 1800MHz signals - so I think I get the much higher speeds (although weaker signal) when connecting to 1800MHz.

Interestingly, recently, for the first 2 weeks in November, I was getting excellent speeds again - a good 30 - 40Mbps downstream, and 2 - 7 Mbps upstream. Also, at the time I couldn't get 4G indoors on my phone. But, since 14th November, it's been almost always 2 - 8 Mbps down & 0.3 to 0.5 Mbps up (and that's the date I started getting a 4G signal again on my phone indoors, which is why I'm suspecting an 800MHz connection).

I'm in rural West Wales (Ceredigion), so I wouldn't have thought the local masts would be congested with connections.

Any ideas gratefully received! smile

Many thanks.

Kind regards,

Adam.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sat 18-Nov-17 14:23:50
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
It may be the mast now does 4G but with more people seeing it on their phones, rather than use the slow ADSL, then are letting phones do more over the 4G element now...so mast is busy

One way to tell is to test across the day, e.g. if fast after midnight and before 2pm on a weekday then slows down, or the speed test graph starts to get more wobbly then you are seeing congestion kicking in

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Sat 18-Nov-17 15:40:24
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Thanks Andrew.

I've tried speed tests at various times of day, and yes sometimes they are a bit faster after say midnight.

You could be right about another nearby mast being 4G-enabled. It's definitely a lot slower now. Plus, most surrounding areas now have some FTTC (or even FTTP) as their main home broadband options, it's our small village that has been left out.

It's just strange that the speed has dipped drastically when my phone can get 4G indoors (and this is for continuous days, not just certain times), but when I can't get a 4G signal on my phone, then the 4G router seems to connect at the much faster speeds - which is why I was suspecting it was connecting to the 1800MHz LTE band when running fast, & the 800MHz LTE band (which travels further & penetrates indoors better, but slower speeds) when running slower - although that's just a guess. Maybe EE engineers have been working on the mast, resulting in faster connections when 800MHz was turned off, & slowing right down when it was turned on.

Anyway - it means that 4G is becoming less of an ADSL alternative (in terms of speed boost) here, although still ok as a backup option. Especially when I have to pay for the 4G monthly data (32Gb per month) in addition to the ADSL + Phone subscriptions.

I think my best option is to investigate using a local FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) provider, who I've been in contact with, to provide a faster connection - although I'll have to wait until they provide access for my area (that's if they can).

Anyway - in the meantime, I'll do as you suggest and keep an eye on speeds at various times of day, and try to determine if the mast is congested.

Kind regards,

Adam.


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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sat 18-Nov-17 16:10:14
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
This pattern happened when 3G replaced 2G, then 4G replaced 3G and will be similar with 5G replacing 4G

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 18-Nov-17 18:00:34
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
You've not said which of the 4 network operators you are using, but try them all. Get some PrePay data SIMs to trial.

Each operator has a different allocation of radio spectrum, and most overload conditions will be down to saturated radio, rather than backhaul from the mast. Don't look at top end speeds from cities, but test your area.

EE and Vodafone have significantly more than O2 or Three for example.

http://i.imgur.com/wMggQna.png

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
18 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM
Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Sat 18-Nov-17 18:34:35
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
Sorry, I forgot to mention, I'm using an EE data SIM.

None of the other networks (I did test a while back) have a 4G signal in my area.

Also - speeds were fine between March/April (when I started using it) and the start of September, then plummeted during September and October, then were fantastic again for the first 2 weeks of November, and now are back to being poor again.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 18-Nov-17 18:46:31
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
It could easily be load then, given none of the other networks have 4G yet.

If it is load, it could be that EE have added more "bands" to the mast, using more spectrum. Unlikely in your rural area, but possible. Your TPLink router only supports using one band at a time - and if you have an external antenna worth checking that you have Band 3, Band 7, and Band 20 support. (1800mhz, 2600mhz, 800mhz). Newer devices, like google pixel / iPhone 7 or later, support band aggregation to get more performance. The Netgear AirCard 810s can support this too. The archer doesn't according to the specs page (http://uk.tp-link.com/products/details/cat-4691_Archer-MR200.html#specifications).

Its still highly unlikely that aggregation is in place, as you are extreme rural, so I doubt that EE have anything other than B3/1800mhz. However it is also possible that water on leaves or in bushes has affected your signal; and the changes in temperatures. Do you know where the EE mast is? Do you ahve an external antenna pointing at it? Have EE done any recent works to the mast? Maybe moving panels around?

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
18 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM

Edited by jchamier (Sat 18-Nov-17 18:48:27)

Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Sun 19-Nov-17 00:12:25
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
I think it's a fairly basic explanation, now that you have 4G indoors, so do the neighbours, so overall utilisation has gone up. Same at music festivals, data is often much slower due to the number of people.

No point speculating what has changed, EE could have done a whole bunch of things.

Remember with things like WiFi assist, where an iPhone identifies weak WiFi but good data signal, it will divert to mobile data. Also, in an area such as yours, where home broadband is very slow, people might just disable WiFi all together at times for streaming etc.

In London where I'm at, I can get 80Mbps on 4G at 3am, at 10PM on a Sunday I get around 5. Same full bars.
Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Sun 19-Nov-17 15:53:59
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
Thanks - yes, it could well be load.

I remember that I discovered EE has Band 3 (1800MHz) and Band 20 (800MHz) in our area. When 4G was giving me a fast connection from the Archer MR200, the router was on zero (0%) or 1 bar (25%) of signal (out of 4 bars), and my phone couldn't get any 4G signal indoors (and very rarely outdoors). The recent periods when the 4G has been much slower (over 3 to 4 times slower!), the router has been on 2 (50%) or even 3 bars (75%) of signal (it's forced into 4G / LTE - only mode, & indicates it's a 4G LTE signal), plus my phone now has a good (but v.slow) 4G signal indoors - which is why I suspect I'm now connecting to Band 20 which penetrates indoors better.

The periods of slow & fast speeds seem to happen in all weather conditions (I was worries in the summer when leaves were on the trees that speed would drop or we'd lose the signal, luckily neither happened).

I don't exactly know where the mast is, but I've now got an external omni-directional antenna that I'm going to try, this may improve things somewhat.

Sadly my area doesn't have EE's "4GEE" (double-speed 4G) or "4G+" (I believe that's band aggregation?), so even if I used a suitable router, it probably wouldn't help.

Anyway, thanks for the advice - I'll try the external antenna. With the current situation, 4G is hardly much faster than the slow ADSL in the area.

Other than that - I'll investigate my local FWA provider & options further.

Kind regards,

Adam.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 19-Nov-17 15:57:36
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
I think you've hit the nail on the head - and if this is the case (my guess) then its NOT load related, which will surprise some. (This is quite different to towns and cities)

EE has only 5mhz of spectrum at 800 (Band 20), but this travels much further from the mast, and with good indoor 'penetration, but 5mhz will give the speeds you are now getting. (Typically not much better than 3G).

However EE will also have deployed 20mhz of spectrum at 1800 (Band 3) and with this there is a lot more capacity, people have seen 100 megabit/s close to the mast with nobody else using.

If your reception is marginal, its possible the mast has pushed you over to Band 20 to maintain connectivity, but at the expense of capacity. An external antenna that improves the signal on Band 3 could then give you access to more capacity. If your TPLink router shows the information you are looking at the RSSI number on Band 20 or Band 3. A number around -120dbm is the lowest you'll get - try and aim for -100 indoors, or better outdoors.

A rooted Qualcomm powered android mobile running the free Network Signal Guru app would show you the relative signal levels and be portable.

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
18 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM

Edited by jchamier (Sun 19-Nov-17 16:01:05)

Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Sun 19-Nov-17 17:39:38
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: ukhardy07] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the info. Yes, I'm pretty sure that as I seem to be connected to Band 20 (800MHz) now, more people will be accessing & using that, thus driving the speed down further - just one of those things! It's too slow for streaming anyway - not much faster than ADSL in this area (more like 3G).
Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Sun 19-Nov-17 17:50:57
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
That sounds exactly the case with me. Yes, we're in a marginal signal area, for Band 3 at least - but the router, having much better 4G antennae, got a rock-steady connection to it, even though my phone didn't. But, now that Band 20 has been deployed (possibly a new cell nearby?), the router is locking onto that stronger signal, which gives poorer capacity.

I'll investigate to see what happens with the external antenna within the next week or so.

Thanks again!
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Tue 21-Nov-17 09:34:55
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
I think the "cellmapper" android app gives you a better indication of what band the phone is using, and the maps created from the app's monitoring show the cells for different bands.

Using that app while driving around the area might identify the cell site and the bands/cells in use.

Based on that, you might find the 800MHz signal is coming from an entirely different mast ... in which case, a directional antenna might solve the problem.
Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Tue 21-Nov-17 14:49:34
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the info - I've installed CellMapper on my phone, and will use it to investigate further soon.
I think it quite possible the 800MHz signal is from a separate mast.
The only issue is: I was under the impression that a directional antenna required line-of-sight (at least, more-or-less) to a cell mast? I have no line-of-sight to any cell towers from here (hence the omni-directional antenna). I'll try installing the external antenna anyway soon, once the weather improves a bit, and see if that improves the connection (& hopefully to the 1800MHz signal!).
Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 21-Nov-17 15:06:18
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
The signal can bounce. A directional antenna will pick up whatever signals are available whether direct or reflected.
Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Tue 21-Nov-17 15:55:04
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
Thanks - sounds like it might be worth a try!
I'll see how I get on with the omni-directional antenna I already have first, and if no joy, may try a directional antenna.
I'll update this thread later on if I make any progress.
In the meantime, also investigating possible FWA (Fixed Wireless) connectivity.
The current 4G signal, even at 3G speeds, does still provide a useful internet connection backup option anyway.

Thanks again to everyone for all the ideas & input! smile

Kind regards,

Adam.
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Fri 24-Nov-17 09:11:19
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
A directional antenna will pick up signals coming from the one direction. It won't care whether it is a line of sight, or a reflection.

However, when line of sight isn't possible, the antenna rarely gets a signal from a single reflection, but more from an accumulation of multiple paths. In that case, omnidirectional can be better.

Unfortunately, the lower frequency, lower capacity, signal has less dependence on LOS.
Standard User Chrysalis
(legend) Mon 27-Nov-17 11:33:02
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
thanks for this info, I am on band 3 and also good signal indoors, so band 3 can penetrate also I guess if conditions are right.

For reference the app you mentioned wont run on my S7, it says the base quallcomm driver is needed and missing, however the app 'LTE discovery' told me which band I am on.

Sky Fibre Pro BQM - IPv4 BQM - IPv6

Edited by Chrysalis (Mon 27-Nov-17 11:38:21)

Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 27-Nov-17 18:46:13
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: Chrysalis] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Chrysalis:
thanks for this info, I am on band 3 and also good signal indoors, so band 3 can penetrate also I guess if conditions are right.


Band 3 (1800mhz) is the same frequency that Orange and T-Mobile(formerly one2one) ran their 2G signals on for nearly 20 years. So yes, its the main frequency for EE and its gets indoors in most buildings without problem. Its quite close to 2100 which was used for 3G on all 4 networks for over a decade.

However the 800mhz is quite new, and often only in rural areas for EE. Three has a bit more, but Vodafone and O2 have usefully more and have made it their main 4G transmission.

This is why you'll often see 25mbps on O2 or Vodafone and 80mbps or faster on EE.


For reference the app you mentioned wont run on my S7, it says the base quallcomm driver is needed and missing, however the app 'LTE discovery' told me which band I am on.


No, samsung phones don't have Qualcomm CPU or radio hardware. The NSG app needs Qualcomm radio hardware and also needs the phone to be rooted to do anything useful. Cellmapper is pretty good on non-rooted phones of all types. A Moto E 2nd edition LTE (2015) can often be found on auction sites for peanuts and is easily rooted. (The 3rd edition is not Qualcomm).

There is no standardisation in Android, and so its hard to get the technical details. LTE discovery is okay, but sometimes tells untruth's. Samsung's engineering mode screen is more reliable. (good for how to get there, as its different per phone).

Keeping it broadband related, my Netgear AirCard 810 shows these details on its menu, it also has two antenna sockets on the back for external antenna.s

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
18 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM

Edited by jchamier (Mon 27-Nov-17 18:47:31)

Standard User vookis
(newbie) Wed 29-Nov-17 09:12:11
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas? *DELETED*


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
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Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 29-Nov-17 11:10:38
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: vookis] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the spam. Post reported.
Standard User AdamInTheSticks
(learned) Fri 01-Dec-17 23:02:14
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
Thanks.

I will install my outdoor omnidirectional antenna hopefully within the next few days.

In the meantime, I installed an App on my Android phone called "LTE DIscovery", and so can confirm my phone (and thus presumably my 4G router) is now using LTE Band 20, i.e. the lower capacity 800MHz signal.

Out of interest - are there any 4G routers where you can select which LTE Band(s) to connect to? That would help solve the problem. For example, the Huawei B525 looks interesting, and there are other similar 4G routers, but I can't find any further detailed technical info. It seems that this feature is available for some USB 4G modems - for example, see this YouTube Video - a 4G router with an option to lock onto a specific LTE band would be perfect!

In the meantime, luckily, it does look as though a local FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) scheme for my village *may* well go ahead within the next few months (although no guarantees), which should provide hopefully a nice stable 30Mbps downstream, if it does.

Thanks again everyone for all your information & ideas. smile
Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Sat 02-Dec-17 14:13:20
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
Best to google around but given my experience of huawei devices they usually alllow plenty of customisation, so I would check out a few of their products.

Most of us regular posters here are all on fixed line services so we won’t too much hands on experience of this kind of question. There might be the odd one or two who have tried to achieve what you’re asking but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Let us know how you get on.
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 02-Dec-17 16:26:22
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by AdamInTheSticks:
In the meantime, I installed an App on my Android phone called "LTE DIscovery", and so can confirm my phone (and thus presumably my 4G router) is now using LTE Band 20, i.e. the lower capacity 800MHz signal.


Remember the capacity is per network, for Band 20 / 800mhz:
Vodafone = 10mhz
O2 = 10mhz
Three = 5mhz
EE = 5mhz
The networks all have other allocations, with EE's and Vodafone's being more than the other two.
EE have 20mhz on band 3 (1800).

Also your phone may not have as good antennas as your MiFi or modem, due to a) size, and b) the human holding it ! smile

My Netgear AirCard 810 has the abililty to force 4G and stop switching to 3G, but I've not seen an ability to force Band 20 only. My Moto E 2nd edition (2015) phone can do this, and you might be able to put a data SIM in the phone and USB connect it to a router (e.g. ASUS RT-AC88U) for your network.

but I think your plan to get an external antenna is the best option, as then you will have better signal on band 20 and the cell site will prefer you are on the more capacity band.

FWA should be able to give you more usage for a monthly fee than the cellular guys, but no guarantees.

plusnet unlimited fibre 80/20 - 2 Jun 14 - Sync at 21/Oct/17: 63,430/9,688 - G.INP & 2.6 dB SNRm
18 years broadband since 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Now using Asus RT-AC88U with BT HG612 - BQM
Standard User njb55rtd
(newbie) Sun 10-Dec-17 11:10:14
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
I, too, suffer from these occasional phases. I started 4G home broadband last January with EE using an Archer MR200 router and generally it has been fine with average speeds around 15Mbps. Luckily I kept my old ADSL link ( 1 Mbps ) for just such a situation. So when the EE connection slows right down I just swap over to ADSL and even at 1 Mbs it is still faster than the 4G during these times. The 4G router is connected to an exterior antenna by cable and to my computer by wireless. The ADSL connects to the computer, when required, by wireless. I believe there is a way to "bootstrap" the two routers, which would give a more consistent connection but this is beyond my knowledge at the present time. Could someone point me in the right direction?
TIA
Standard User BatBoy
(sensei) Sun 10-Dec-17 12:56:42
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: njb55rtd] [link to this post]
 
The last picture here seems to suggest something http://uk.tp-link.com/products/details/cat-4691_Arch... if you scroll to the bottom of the page

Edited by BatBoy (Sun 10-Dec-17 12:58:10)

Standard User njb55rtd
(newbie) Sun 10-Dec-17 13:19:51
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for that BatBoy. Appreciated. Unfortunately, due to the geography of the house ( 4G antenna on one side and BT socket on another ), a wired connection between the two routers would be too impractical. I was rather hoping for a wireless solution. Maybe it's not possible.
Standard User BatBoy
(sensei) Sun 10-Dec-17 14:13:09
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: njb55rtd] [link to this post]
 
I'm sure it is possible, but the cost may exceed it's usefulness. Switching between 2 wireless networks is quite easy after all.
Standard User fabyon
(experienced) Thu 14-Dec-17 20:55:57
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Re: 4G now very slow - ideas?


[re: AdamInTheSticks] [link to this post]
 
Instead of load balancing I was wondering if you've heard of Boosty bonding solution since you'll definitely quality as their offering works for people who have an adsl connection of 12mb and less. I'm going to give them a try in January and go for their business resilience solution which allows a higher speed threshold as opposed to the Home solution. Basically the boosty gadget connected to your adsl router would use your 4G connection if and when needed to boost your connection when streaming or a huge download. Search on google. They have two distinct websites one for home (what you need) and business (sold through a third party).

I hope this helps laugh

Plusnet
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