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Standard User DanielCoffey67
(regular) Sat 31-Aug-19 19:23:59
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4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


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Have there been any graphs of typical 4G mast usage levels vs time of day for the major UK 4G providers?

I understand that any one specific mast can have different levels of usage depending on whether it is remote or in a busy area but I was wondering about studies over a larger sample size.

The reason I ask is that my 4G download speed with EE varies pretty dramatically throughout the day but exhibits a distinct pattern from day to day of 30-35 in the very early morning falling to 20-25 mid-morning, 10-15 for the rest of the day until late evening when it climbs back up again to 20-25 at around bedtime.

I'd love to know if that pattern (but not the speeds, of course as there are too many variables) is typical and has been graphed anywhere?
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 31-Aug-19 19:29:02
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by DanielCoffey67:
I'd love to know if that pattern (but not the speeds, of course as there are too many variables) is typical and has been graphed anywhere?

I've not seen one. Many "masts" are actually three cell sites (known as sectors); and what is congestion/load on one may not apply to others.

Much more than you wanted to know about masts here, and probably the person to ask about graphing load:
https://pedroc.co.uk/

plusnet 80/20 (2/jun/14) at 470m; high sync history: 64/9 (Sep/17), 54/6 (Jan/19), 51/6 (Mar/19), 47/6 (Aug/19)
20 years of broadband from 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Live BQM
Standard User DanielCoffey67
(regular) Sat 31-Aug-19 20:05:09
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the link.

I have no idea where my local masts are sited but I do know the antenna can see quite a few of them when it is outside. I am currently propping it up indoors while I wait for an installation.

It can see five Band 3/1800MHz cells and six Band 20/800MHz cells, some of which are a bit weak. If I had to take a guess, I think the strongest Band 3 cell is -97.5dBm and the strongest Band 20 is -87.8dBm. I am hoping that the modem manufacturer is going to send me a booster to help latch onto those weaker masts better.


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Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 31-Aug-19 20:08:12
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by DanielCoffey67:
It can see five Band 3/1800MHz cells and six Band 20/800MHz cells, some of which are a bit weak. If I had to take a guess, I think the strongest Band 3 cell is -97.5dBm and the strongest Band 20 is -87.8dBm. I am hoping that the modem manufacturer is going to send me a booster to help latch onto those weaker masts better.


Those are good indoor numbers! I know people whom are hanging on to signal at -110 and -120 which is where things don't work, getting -100 with an outdoor antenna. I'm indoors with a mast only nextdoor, and I get about 70 Mbps from EE. CellMapper shows I'm around -90dBm at best. The weaker ones are -95 and the furthest away -108.

plusnet 80/20 (2/jun/14) at 470m; high sync history: 64/9 (Sep/17), 54/6 (Jan/19), 51/6 (Mar/19), 47/6 (Aug/19)
20 years of broadband from 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Live BQM
Standard User DanielCoffey67
(regular) Sat 31-Aug-19 20:19:54
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
They were outside but just holding the antenna on a piece of 2x4". It will be going up a little higher very shortly.
Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Sat 31-Aug-19 20:28:46
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
I'm in London with -126 smile

See image below.

https://i.imgur.com/zhOXGWk_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape...

I use it for 2 hour calls quite often, and when the WiFI goes down I am able to stream just fine and send whatsapp etc. I get around 9Mbps on a speedtest.

Point is your fine with the signal strength in my view
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 31-Aug-19 20:31:57
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by DanielCoffey67:
They were outside but just holding the antenna on a piece of 2x4". It will be going up a little higher very shortly.


I've just been searching, and from what I've read, I THINK Ofcom consider indoor coverage sufficient, when OUTDOOR is -95dBm. That is because they can't judge how a building has been constructed.

plusnet 80/20 (2/jun/14) at 470m; high sync history: 64/9 (Sep/17), 54/6 (Jan/19), 51/6 (Mar/19), 47/6 (Aug/19)
20 years of broadband from 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Live BQM
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 31-Aug-19 20:33:04
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: ukhardy07] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ukhardy07:
I'm in London with -126 smile

That is quite low, but obviously works for you, antenna and mast must be quite well aligned smile

I'm showing -91 and -96 on my iPhone XS at home right now, Band 3 on EE (1800mhz).
Different frequencies / bands will have different characteristics.

plusnet 80/20 (2/jun/14) at 470m; high sync history: 64/9 (Sep/17), 54/6 (Jan/19), 51/6 (Mar/19), 47/6 (Aug/19)
20 years of broadband from 1999's ntl:cable modem trial - Live BQM

Edited by jchamier (Sat 31-Aug-19 20:33:50)

Standard User TimJ
(committed) Mon 16-Sep-19 11:22:48
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
Apologies for the late reply.

I also see a very significant change in speed vs time of day. I am on Three (SMARTY £18.75 Unlimited SIM). At 5 or 6 AM is is in the 50-60Mbps region but most of the day it is 20-30Mbps dropping further in the evening. Some manual speed tests show <10Mbps.

Here are a couple of SamKnows graphs over the last 30 days.

Speed vs time of day

Speed vs time date

It is a rural location 6.1km from the mast with fringe reception. This is my aerial, the mast head box contains a Huawei E8372 USB Modem, Raspberry Pi acting as a router, POE, and temp controlled fan.

Photo
Standard User DanielCoffey67
(regular) Mon 16-Sep-19 12:19:17
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Re: 4G : Mast congestion vs time of day?


[re: TimJ] [link to this post]
 
Many thanks for the excellent information. It is good to know that usage depending upon time of day is an issue for many users.

I have an 8dB omni antenna at the moment into a Cat6 modem from OutdoorRouters.com. I don't believe the modem can work in Bridge mode yet so it is handling routing too.

I am still seeing speeds of around 30-35Mbps in the very early morning with afternoons giving 10-15 and the early evenings being at or just below 10Mbps. It climbs back as the evening progresses. It will all be down to usage.

I don't have uninterrupted line of sight to any mast although one big one is only obstructed by a few trees. I can get an accurate sight on it if I move a few hundred yards down the lane. The other masts are scattered here and there with the modem able to see about six as reported by "qmicli -d /dev/cdc-wdm0 --nas-get-cell-location-info"

I went for the omni antenna in the hope that we would get Band 3 and Band 20 aggregated. No idea if the modem is doing it though.
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