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  >> Mobile Broadband (3G, 4G, 5G etc)


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Standard User jacksbyrne
(newbie) Mon 23-Sep-19 11:03:10
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4g Broadband - What are my options?


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Hello all!

I've been browsing for a while on here trying to solve issues with Three HomeFi. Had the B311 with the known issue, swapped out to the MiFi and still had either slow speeds, absolutely no connection (either to the network, or to the router from any devices, varied depending on the phase of the moon, for all I can tell) and numerous calls to Three support led me nowhere. Apparently my house just doesn't have the signal for it (despite being full bars, for whatever that's worth). I've cancelled with them, because I can't have days without any connection at all, I work a lot from home and move a fair bit of data (I work in audio), hence why I was happy with the idea of unlimited 4G to replace my 1MBps non-fibre speed I was getting with Sky. I got the odd moment of 15-20MBps with Three, but it was just so inconsistent (and typically more in the Kbps range) that I can't continue with it.

Now, I'm pretty much a novice as far as the technical side of mobile internet, but I'm a fairly quick study and willing to do some reading on my end to get up to speed. I'm looking at a rolling monthly landline slow internet as a stopgap, but are there any routes I can go down with the 4G thing still? What information do you need from me to help out here?

Hopeful of finding a solution!
Standard User jacksbyrne
(newbie) Mon 23-Sep-19 11:33:13
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: jacksbyrne] [link to this post]
 
Some more information, should it help.

My mobile is on the iD network, which runs off Three. 4G in and around my house on that thing is fantastic, which has led me to think that they're talking utter nonsense with signal issues. Can I just grab an unlimited SIM on iD (or something like VOXI or another of the Three backed mobile providers) and just chuck that in a good 4G router?
Standard User DanielCoffey67
(regular) Mon 23-Sep-19 12:02:29
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: jacksbyrne] [link to this post]
 
Most of the major providers have Unlimited Data deals now so it might be worth having a look at their respective Coverage Checkers to see which seems to offer a fair signal where you are. You could then grab a 2Gb PAYG SIM and test it in your actual location before making any decisions.

In the meantime you might want to have a look at an external antenna. An outdoors Omni antenna would be useful to get a better signal provided you keep the run from antenna to modem short (less than 5m). If you have uninterrupted line of sight to an actual mast you could try a directional antenna but that does limit your options if that mast goes down.

In my specific area I am on the edge of "possible 4G outdoors" and "no coverage" with Three and Voda but am in a fair to reasonable signal area with EE (-95dB to -110dB) so I have taken up the EE Unlimited for £34 SIM with an outdoor +8dB Omni antenna and outdoor modem which passes its data via PoE Cat5 into the house. Results so far are around 40Mbps in the early morning tailing to 15Mbps at peak times then back up to 40Mbps overnight. I am around 5 miles from the nearest mast with no direct line of sight.


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Standard User jacksbyrne
(newbie) Mon 23-Sep-19 14:27:56
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
Hey Daniel,

Thanks for that! Are there any particular 4G routers you can recommend over the locked Three options?
Standard User woodmass14
(committed) Mon 23-Sep-19 17:02:10
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: jacksbyrne] [link to this post]
 
From my understanding Three do not lock their routers or phones. So if you still have their equipment, feel free to test other provider sim cards.

Edited by woodmass14 (Mon 23-Sep-19 17:03:05)

Standard User R0NSKI
(knowledge is power) Mon 23-Sep-19 19:46:37
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by DanielCoffey67:
an outdoor +8dB Omni antenna and outdoor modem which passes its data via PoE Cat5 into the house.


Impressive, out of curiosity what antenna and modem are you using?

Standard User DanielCoffey67
(regular) Mon 23-Sep-19 19:59:01
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: R0NSKI] [link to this post]
 
I went to OutdoorRouters.com and bought their marine grade omni antenna (since we live in Scotland which is a net exporter of rain, specializing in the heavy sort), a pair of 1m coax cables and the Cat 6 version of their outdoor modem/router.

Cat 6 is 300/50 theoretical speeds and should be able to do Band Aggregation I think whereas the Cat 4 is 150/50. I should add that the Ethernet connector on the modem is only 10/100 but you would need a pretty strong 4G signal to get better than that speed in rural areas.

The modem/router is still under active development in that the current firmware (OpenWRT) does not support bridge mode (modem only) yet and they are considering how to integrate a 4G signal booster onto the box. There is a blank circuit board that the modem is mounted onto which I suspect is ready to be populated with their booster stuff once they have ironed out the kinks.

The modem/router comes with 2.4GHz wifi (which I have disabled) and is fed power via a PoE Cat5 outdoor-grade cable. This cable runs through the wall to my PoE Network Switch although you do get given a PoE Injector in the box of you don't have a PoE Switch.

At the moment my ASUS AC86U router is simply set to Wireless Repeater and serves my 5GHz devices, Routing is done on the outdoor router for now but I am talking to them about bridge mode for the near future.

So far the modem is rock solid and the support is very good (same day turnaround for software questions since part of their team seems to be Euro timezone and next day turnaround for technical issues since it is assembled in China). Dispatch was very quick (same day) and PayPal gives assurance in the case of any issues.
Standard User R0NSKI
(knowledge is power) Mon 23-Sep-19 20:11:23
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the info, there is a guy on the Kitz forums who has 4 ADSL lines bonded together trying to squeeze out a connection. He's on the Isle of Sky, has line of sight to a mast about 3.6 miles away, but being pretty much bedridden and I think also rather attached to nursing his ADSL lines along hasn't made the move. Going by your results I think this would give him a huge bump in speed which would benefit his wife who runs a B&B, and off course himself.

Standard User DanielCoffey67
(regular) Mon 23-Sep-19 20:15:31
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: R0NSKI] [link to this post]
 
Get him to pick up a roughly 2Gb PAYG SIM first to check the signal in a phone. If he can get 2-3 bars outdoors, he should be set to proceed. If the signal is struggling to give 1-2 bars, a directional antenna (or two, cross polarised) may be needed.
Standard User R0NSKI
(knowledge is power) Mon 23-Sep-19 20:26:07
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Re: 4g Broadband - What are my options?


[re: DanielCoffey67] [link to this post]
 
He does have a SIM and gets pretty good reception in windows facing the antenna, so outside with a decent antenna it will be much better. I think one of his fears is loosing internet as the cell tower goes down occasionally, but keeping an ADSL line will give a back up.

Anyway I've pointed him to this thread so he can see the info you've posted.

As for myself when 5G arrives here I think I'll have to experiment, having all the providers very close by (ranging between 200 to 500 meters) with line of sight of all the masts may prove better and cheaper than what I currently have.

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