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Standard User ashdown
(newbie) Fri 27-Sep-19 21:44:26
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CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadband


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Greetings all.

I've been experimenting with mobile broadband as a possible alternative to a 50 Mb Virgin Media service and, so far, I've just been looking at Three and Smarty (the sub-brand of Three). I have a Teltonika RUT240 mobile router feeding a pfSense router/firewall, with a LAN behind it and an IPv6 tunnel from Hurricane Electric. I make use of VPNs (both in and out) and I have a VPS or three for general playing. So not entirely an average user.

I have a free Three 200MB-a-month SIM for testing and I've found this works well, giving me a public IP address when specifiying the APN as 3internet (a CGNAT shared address with an APN of three.co.uk), no Web proxy and, as far as I can see, no filtering or other restrictions on use.

I was tempted by the £18.75 unlimited SIM from Smarty because the price is attractive and the only commitment is a month, so ordered one a few days ago. I'm a little disappointed to find that it forces a CGNAT connection (it accepts the 3internet APN but still gives me a private IP address with a shared public address) and also forces all tcp/80 HTTP traffic through a proxy. The CGNAT, of course, causes difficulty with inbound connections but an acceptable workaround is to use a tinc/rinetd tunnel on a VPS, where the VPS's fixed IP address is effectively mapped to my LAN.

Still, I'd prefer a "clean" connection without the ISP fiddling with my data and wondered if the assembled experts could suggest any other providers worth looking at. I'm especially interested in identifying limitations before buying a service and the various providers' customer service people don't seem partricularly technical. (I asked Smarty about CGNAT before buying their SIM and they simply didn't understand the question.)

That's enough waffle! Any suggestions, comments, etc will be most welcome.

Edited by ashdown (Fri 27-Sep-19 21:46:06)

Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 27-Sep-19 21:53:17
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: ashdown] [link to this post]
 
I found a VPS IP is often seen as blocked by streaming sites and iplayer. One solution to that is an L2TP tunnel to AAISP. they donít do encryption. Or you could use a VPN provider such as NordVPN as most routers have OpenVPN support now.

On the ISP side the cheapest that works probably worthwhile, but radio is always a shared medium. As you have the choice of VM what is the reason for moving to radio?

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 ashdown
(newbie) Fri 27-Sep-19 22:05:56
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the comments. Perhaps I'm lucky but I can stream Netflix, BBC, etc through a VPN to my VPS without any issues. VM's service is fine from a technical POV but I'm getting fed up with their twice-a-year price rises and the need to renegotiate price every year to keep it half-reasonable. Talking to their CS is a really awful experience, especially with a typical hour or so wait in a queue. Mobile broadband is around half the cost and that's attractive. I do like AAISP and the L2TP tunnel is a good technical solution to provide fixed IPv4 and IPv6 but the extra tenner-a-month reduces the price incentive.


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Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Fri 27-Sep-19 23:45:23
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: ashdown] [link to this post]
 
Just go for a the Three unlimited SIM smile.

If you want bargain basement, i.e. Smarty, you've just told us why it's so cheap.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Three 4G, tbb tests normally 35-45Mpbs down, 65Mbps off-peak, 9-24 up.
==================================================
If you never think of anything off the wall, you'll never think of anything original.

Edited by RobertoS (Fri 27-Sep-19 23:45:48)

Standard User Ewok
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 28-Sep-19 09:56:52
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by RobertoS:
Just go for a the Three unlimited SIM smile.

If you want bargain basement, i.e. Smarty, you've just told us why it's so cheap.


You are saying Smarty forces all the web traffic through a proxy but three itself does not?

Interested as I am also looking at switching my 50mb fttc over to 5g with three in the new year some time as it will result in a cost saving as well as hopefully a big speed increase, BUT I don't want them messing with my traffic. I will also consider EE, voda, o2 but when it comes to 5g it seems unlikely anyone will compete with three (assuming I can get a half decent signal which I don't know yet as I dont think 5g is here yet so I will end upi having to test them all).

Edited by Ewok (Sat 28-Sep-19 09:58:48)

Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 28-Sep-19 10:19:24
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: Ewok] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Ewok:
You are saying Smarty forces all the web traffic through a proxy but three itself does not?

It is possible they do, it is a cut price product. Would be worth running a transparent proxy discovery tool. I thought with most websites now encrypted using TLS ; there was little point in caching proxies.

Interested as I am also looking at switching my 50mb fttc over to 5g with three in the new year some time as it will result in a cost saving as well as hopefully a big speed increase, BUT I don't want them messing with my traffic. I will also consider EE, voda, o2 but when it comes to 5g it seems unlikely anyone will compete with three (assuming I can get a half decent signal which I don't know yet as I dont think 5g is here yet so I will end upi having to test them all).

Mobile networks have to manage traffic all the time. They have towers with generally 3 cell sites in fixed areas. If there is a congregation of users on one of the cells, and not in the other two, then you can get an imbalance.

LTE (4G) as a system is quite good at keeping service but degrading slowly, so you get slower speeds rather than no connection. The old UMTS (3G) and GSM/GPRS (2G) systems would fail in load situations. Often seen in London railway stations at 5pm!

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 Ewok
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 28-Sep-19 10:28:07
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
I am finding quite often with EE on 4g in/around London with my S8+ that I just cannot get a connection. The signal shows 2 bars or more and 4g or 4g+ but trying to load something just fails. I assume it's just over capacity and is not letting me connect to anything, eventually I will be able to connect ok after enough tries. I had it a lot in Aldgate yesterday morning, it is one of the other reasons I am looking at switching to three when 5g is a bit more widespread next year (as I would hope 5g will not have the issue).

Anyway I don't want to take op's thread off topic tongue
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 28-Sep-19 10:33:25
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: Ewok] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Ewok:
I am finding quite often with EE on 4g in/around London with my S8+ that I just cannot get a connection. The signal shows 2 bars or more and 4g or 4g+ but trying to load something just fails. I assume it's just over capacity and is not letting me connect to anything, eventually I will be able to connect ok after enough tries. I had it a lot in Aldgate yesterday morning, it is one of the other reasons I am looking at switching to three when 5g is a bit more widespread next year (as I would hope 5g will not have the issue).
It could be load, depending on which parts of London. EE has a lot of capacity available, and Vodafone are second, in 4G spectrum. One of the reasons for 5G is that it increases capacity dramatically.

Every smart device remains connected, even when in standby (screen off) in your pocket, waiting for a call, or a WhatsApp, or iMessage, or some notification. These connections take up "spaces" on the mast you are connected to, and the numbers for connected devices per square kilometre are approximately 3G=400, 4G=4000, 5G=1,000,000

In many countries more masts are being added, smaller, unobtrusive. In the UK our planning laws and councils tend to prevent masts. The Mayor of London is asking for more to be rolled out:
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/09/27/mayors_offi...

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 28-Sep-19 10:37:52)

Standard User bluecat1
(newbie) Sat 28-Sep-19 10:35:18
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: Ewok] [link to this post]
 
I tried smarty first and had big problems with packet loss and some streaming services just wouldn't work, switched to three and the problems disappeared, I'm convinced smarty are doing something with their network to cause this. As said there is a reason it's cheap
Standard User Ewok
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 28-Sep-19 10:44:40
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Re: CGNAT, Web proxy and other limitations of mobile broadba


[re: bluecat1] [link to this post]
 
Yeah I wouldn't consider any 3rd party for reasons like that, plus I have always assumed the network owner is going to prioritize their own customers over other companies renting their network as it wouldn't make sense not to so I would be going to one of the big 4 only, depending which one gives me the best speeds at home.

I will switch my mobile too but that probably will just go to Three since I won't be restricted to one location on mobile and they should generally be the fastest for 5g (by some distance based on spectrum!) as I move around. For example there would be no point switching my mobile to say Voda or o2 just because one of those gave me slightly higher speed at home than three where I don't really need it (since I will have home broadband anyway on whatever the fastest one is), when it would be likely to give me lower speeds than three everywhere else where I would need it more. I am kinda hoping three is also the fastest at home as I might get a better deal switching home broadband and mobile to them but I will see where things are at in April when I get a new phone and look to see what kind of 5g I can get at home by then, if any. Hopefully the 5g routers will have also moved on a bit by then and be generally better than now.
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