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Standard User richi
(member) Sat 03-Aug-19 16:00:00
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Jumping into Three LTE. Watch as I make a hash of it


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OK, I've had enough of rural ADSL. Actually, I've not had it too bad: 15 Mb/s over 3km of copper is better than I'd expected, but with no prospect of FTTP nor an infill cab any time soon, I'm giving up on aged fixed-line infrastructure.

So I bought a Three SIMO on the £10-for-first-six-months deal (£20/month for the following 18). My Billion router already supports a modem dongle, so I figured I'd see how I got on with one of those first. (And now I know I can use the SIM with future 5G hardware, I don't want to invest in a new router if I can help it.)

Follow along as I make the usual string of n00b errors.

Three unlimited SIMO, replacing 3 km ADSL line.
Previously: BT ISDN, Nildram, Plusnet, 186k, EFH, Be*, Plusnet (again), Pulse8, Sky, Plusnet Business, TalkTalk Retail.
Standard User richi
(member) Sat 03-Aug-19 16:06:59
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In which I buy the wrong USB modem


[re: richi] [link to this post]
 
So I went looking on Amazon for a Huawei E3372s, which I figured should see me right. A quick search showed up an FBA seller offering Prime delivery for £42.

The thing arrived and it turned out to be an 'h' model -- with the HiLink NAT firmware. According to Mr. Google, there's no clean way to reflash the firmware to the 's' modem version.

But Amazon gleefully let me return it. But before it went back, some tests showed the same excellent signal strength as I could see with a phone, and pretty consistent throughput of 30 Mb/s down and 20 up.

Three unlimited SIMO, replacing 3 km ADSL line.
Previously: BT ISDN, Nildram, Plusnet, 186k, EFH, Be*, Plusnet (again), Pulse8, Sky, Plusnet Business, TalkTalk Retail.

Edited by richi (Sat 03-Aug-19 16:19:42)

Standard User richi
(member) Sat 03-Aug-19 16:18:11
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In which the replacement has the wrong firmware


[re: richi] [link to this post]
 
Instead, I got a refurb Huawei E3276s-150 modem. A snip at £30.

This is the older model with the Qualcomm chipset, but supposedly at least as good as the new one, which uses Huawei's own silicon.

The 's' is supposed to mean it has the "stick-only" modem firmware, not the HiLink NAT thing, but wouldn't you know it, the thing arrived with the HiLink firmware "helpfully" applied.

After all the research I did to work out how to reflash the first dongle, I wasn't hopeful, but it turns out that this model is much easier to reflash. I followed mikewse's helpful instructions on the OpenWRT forum. Now I can open a port or two if I want.

And, lo, it came to pass that this thing is faster than the newer part. Without really trying to locate it in a good signal spot, I get up to 45 Mb/s down and 30 up.

Three unlimited SIMO, replacing 3 km ADSL line.
Previously: BT ISDN, Nildram, Plusnet, 186k, EFH, Be*, Plusnet (again), Pulse8, Sky, Plusnet Business, TalkTalk Retail.

Edited by richi (Sat 03-Aug-19 16:20:57)


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Standard User richi
(member) Sat 03-Aug-19 17:35:14
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ob. TBB speedtest


[re: richi] [link to this post]
 
My Broadband Speed Test

Three unlimited SIMO, replacing 3 km ADSL line.
Previously: BT ISDN, Nildram, Plusnet, 186k, EFH, Be*, Plusnet (again), Pulse8, Sky, Plusnet Business, TalkTalk Retail.
Standard User kommando
(newbie) Sat 03-Aug-19 17:53:14
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Re: ob. TBB speedtest


[re: richi] [link to this post]
 
I went the same way, got sick of 20 questions every time I got a dry joint fault that only showed itself when it rained and engineers who only came when it was dry. I got the B525 and this is latched onto Band 3 but carrier aggregation is on so when I do a large download it connects to band 20 and adds that in. Only some masts have that but with Band 32 coming it pays to get a modem with carrier aggregation and a MIMO outside antenna.
Standard User richi
(member) Sat 03-Aug-19 19:47:43
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Re: ob. TBB speedtest


[re: kommando] [link to this post]
 
Yeah, I hear you. Frankly, I'm just overjoyed to have a decent uplink speed. Not just so online backups work faster, but also so there's enough headroom to actually get acks back without latency climbing towards 1,000 ms.

But I dare say the upgrade drums will start beating in my head once 5G kit is available.

Three unlimited SIMO, replacing 3 km ADSL line.
Previously: BT ISDN, Nildram, Plusnet, 186k, EFH, Be*, Plusnet (again), Pulse8, Sky, Plusnet Business, TalkTalk Retail.
Standard User richi
(member) Sun 04-Aug-19 11:36:05
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In which I move the router


[re: richi] [link to this post]
 
Without really trying, I get 50/20:

My Broadband Speed Test

Naturally, if I try to site the dongle where it "should" get a good signal, everything falls apart and I get results like 15/5. But when I put it back where I randomly dumped it when I moved the router, we're back at 50/20.

tl;dr: RF is weird.

Three unlimited SIMO, replacing 3 km ADSL line.
Previously: BT ISDN, Nildram, Plusnet, 186k, EFH, Be*, Plusnet (again), Pulse8, Sky, Plusnet Business, TalkTalk Retail.
Standard User kommando
(newbie) Sun 04-Aug-19 15:59:25
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Re: In which I move the router


[re: richi] [link to this post]
 
Probably some signal bounce and the random spot is picking this up, I went external Yagi on a pole but I am 4km away from the mast but only a few trees in the way.
Standard User andynormancx
(regular) Sun 04-Aug-19 17:04:55
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Re: ob. TBB speedtest


[re: richi] [link to this post]
 
You live somewhere rural, 5G is likely to be a long wait.
Standard User richi
(member) Sun 04-Aug-19 17:43:33
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Re: ob. TBB speedtest


[re: andynormancx] [link to this post]
 
But the three masts I can "see" are serving a trunk road and a quasi-secret guvmint/military site.

While I don't expect them to be in the first wave of upgrades, I doubt they're at the back of the queue, either.

Three unlimited SIMO, replacing 3 km ADSL line.
Previously: BT ISDN, Nildram, Plusnet, 186k, EFH, Be*, Plusnet (again), Pulse8, Sky, Plusnet Business, TalkTalk Retail.
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