Experiences with 4G broadband

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Boydie
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Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by Boydie » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:33 pm

This may be of interest to anyone else living in the middle of nowhere.
Where I live, the best broadband you can get is ADSL2+ with a real-world speed of 5Mbps. We're about 1.5km from the cabinet so FTTC is unrealistic, even if there were any plans to upgrade the cabinet. FTTP is mooted, but keeps getting put further and further back (the planning notices for it are now so ancient they've rotted away, as has one of the posts one was mounted on).
My father-in-law (lives halfway up a mountain in Wales) recently tried 4G broadband so I though I'd give it a go, although 4G reception around us is poor - 2 bars outdoors and 1 indoors, so my hopes weren't overly high...

3 were offering unlimited-data (notionally "capped" to 1000GB/month) Home 4G for £22/month, complete with cheap modem. With their Category 4 modem, I was able to get in the high teens downstream and nearly 10 Mbps up. With a better (Category 6/4G+) modem, and external antenna (directional, even though I don't quite have line of sight to the mast), things have got a lot better. Typically, I'm now seeing download speeds in the 40s and high-teens for upload. This can drop down into the high-20s (at worst) at really busy times of day, but again can hit low-60s at quiet ones. Downloading large files shows that these rates are consistent and vary little from moment to moment.
4k/UHD streaming via Amazon/Sky now works perfectly, with no drops in quality.

Admittedly, it's slightly pricier than traditional broadband/fibre because I still need an additional landline contract, and price of decent modem and antenna was about £200. Ironically, it's now cheaper to get a landline with ADSL2+ broadband than it is without, which gives me another 5Mbps bandwidth for devices which don't need huge data rates so I can get full-speed access on these whilst still downloading massive files/streaming 4K.

Plus, as has been pointed out, I get a nice Dr Who-esque tupperware box on a pole to confuse/worry the neighbours! :D

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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by guesser » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:41 pm

Boydie wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:33 pm
Plus, as has been pointed out, I get a nice Dr Who-esque tupperware box on a pole to confuse/worry the neighbours! :D
Tell them it's a "5G" to turn the cows' milk sour and give them all cancer
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iainjh
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by iainjh » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:47 pm

we're not in the middle of nowhere but thanks to BT's not-spot (we surrounded by fibre cabinets for miles, but they took our local cabinet away!) I get about 900kb ps max, and I think we're stuck at that level.

would you mind sharing the model numbers of the modem/ aeriel bits you ended up with so I can research?

TIA

:)

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CMcDougall
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by CMcDougall » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:12 pm

when they tried 5G for 5mins, did the birds not all die & fall out the sky?? sure I read the gHz is too close to microwave ovens, hence fried birds brains inside to out :evil:

ADSL starts slower (20/2) at exchange & can travel 11,000 meters, fibre (80/20) can only travel 1,000 meters (IF on .9 copper NOT 1950s aluminium) but will only get 2/0.8 at end and not stable at all.

Get lots of neighbours to register their interest, might get the ball rolling faster for FTTP (300/50), but I've got a primary school over my road with 8 lines into a magic box that joins all 20/4 together to get a proper speed, what a waste of line rentals and money that could be spent on teachers!!! :roll:
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by Kazzie » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:31 am

CMcDougall wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:12 pm
when they tried 5G for 5mins, did the birds not all die & fall out the sky?? sure I read the gHz is too close to microwave ovens, hence fried birds brains inside to out :evil:
Bluetooth and Wifi, (specifically the old 802.11b and g varieties) are exactly that: they use the unlicensed 2.4GHz portion of the spectrum, as used by microwave ovens. 5G seems to be squatting around 3.4-3.8GHz instead.

You'll be quicker boiling bird brains with bluetooth. :)
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Elminster
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by Elminster » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:32 am

I live at the end of nowhere. But luckily only a few hundred from both the cabinet and the exchange. We should be getting FTTP in next 18 months but of course that does not always mean that you can 'get it'.

I think 5g, from what I have seen, is very short range and directional, so probably won't be taking out any birds, but expect cities to be covered in antenna.

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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by Boydie » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:14 am

iainjh wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:47 pm
we're not in the middle of nowhere but thanks to BT's not-spot (we surrounded by fibre cabinets for miles, but they took our local cabinet away!) I get about 900kb ps max, and I think we're stuck at that level.

would you mind sharing the model numbers of the modem/ aeriel bits you ended up with so I can research?

TIA

:)
Modem is TP-Link MR600. Antenna is Poynting 4G-XPOL-A002 (from Amazon Warehouse Sales), which is directional. If you have poor line of sight, esp in a built-up area you may do better with the omni-directional A001.

Getting all the neighbours to register interest for FTTP would require me getting neighbours (only got about a dozen within a half-mile radius). Not sure I want it that badly!

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vanpeebles
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by vanpeebles » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:20 am

Boydie wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:33 pm
Plus, as has been pointed out, I get a nice Dr Who-esque tupperware box on a pole to confuse/worry the neighbours! :D
Don't come crying to us if you end up inside a wicker man :lol:

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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by iainjh » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:27 pm

thank you boydie

chinnyhill10
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by chinnyhill10 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:09 pm

Late to the party here. Lived in this house for 10 years and the best ADSL we've ever had was 3 meg but often closer to two. In July I decided to try 3's unlimited plan with an external Poynting 4G-XPOL-A0001 aerial as 3 were the only unlimited party in town. The experience was mixed. It was much faster, often touching 20 meg but 3 seemed to have alot of network congestion both on data and mast capacity (occasionally found myself kicked off my closest mast to a distant one). Daytime speeds were closer to 10-15 meg.

Then Vodaphone announced their unlimited plan and I switched to that. Slightly stronger signal but they appear to have a much better network. I get lower end of 20 meg, touching 40 meg in the depths of night. And 5G will be no additional cost when it is rolled out. Not been kicked off the closest mast yet either but I know they have others in reach.

EE are also now unlimited and their network is actually the best in terms of speed (I was using them before on a 50 gb a month plan) but they aren't offering a free upgrade to 5G.

So you have to suck it and see. However avoid Dlink modems. Total crap. Crashed every few days and an interface as slow as an Elk running Commando! Changed it for a TP-Link which is faster and more stable.

Also invest in a TV aerial mount from Screwfix for a fiver. Get the aerial above the roofline. The signal readings on the router interface do rise if you can do that.

And if you still struggle, try a Poynting directional aerial but that may take some experimentation.

Good luck!
Last edited by chinnyhill10 on Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by chinnyhill10 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:39 pm

Forgot to add that going to 4G means I have lost my fixed IP. No huge deal except I no longer have the novelty of having chums miles away drop files directly onto my Amstrad CPC via it's M4 card! Not essential but I do like to show off!

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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by Boydie » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:27 am

TP-Link offer a free DynamicDNS service with their routers.

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CMcDougall
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by CMcDougall » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:45 am

Kazzie wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:31 am
as used by microwave ovens. 5G seems to be squatting around 3.4-3.8GHz instead.
does that mean I can cook burgers in 1min instead of 2mins... :D

one day it will all backfire, & the universe will implode :lol:
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Elminster
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by Elminster » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:39 am

CMcDougall wrote:
one day it will all backfire, & the universe will implode :lol:
Pretty sure current thinking is the universe will expand forever but eventually be stone cold and dark. Bit like the cupboard under the stairs.

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BigEd
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by BigEd » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:10 pm

Elminster wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:39 am
CMcDougall wrote:
one day it will all backfire, & the universe will implode :lol:
Pretty sure current thinking is the universe will expand forever but eventually be stone cold and dark. Bit like the cupboard under the stairs.
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguishd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air.
Except... it's yet more extreme than that.

chinnyhill10
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by chinnyhill10 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:04 pm

Boydie wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:27 am
TP-Link offer a free DynamicDNS service with their routers.
Ooh didn't see that. But then I wouldn't actually read the manual would I?

[mutter mutter, been using computers since 1985 I don't have to read that mutter mutter]

Boydie
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Re: Experiences with 4G broadband

Post by Boydie » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:53 pm

chinnyhill10 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:04 pm
Boydie wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:27 am
TP-Link offer a free DynamicDNS service with their routers.
Ooh didn't see that. But then I wouldn't actually read the manual would I?

[mutter mutter, been using computers since 1985 I don't have to read that mutter mutter]
It has a manual? I discovered it by the usual technique of seeing what’s in all the menus, and wondering what all the options do...

... then Googling how to get it working again after messing with them.

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