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4G Backup, Terrible connection! 3 or is it the router?

mpmc

Casual Member
Hi folks

I have a Tenda 4G680 as a backup in case our line goes down (which is does often), with a 3 'free' data sim (with some credit on it) shoved in it but the speed is absolutely terrible.

Last time I ran fast.com it came out at 2.4mbps! I have noticed that it will randomly speed up & then crawl when browsing so I'm thinking it's a 3 issue? I did try a Lebara SIM, while that was a bit better CGNAT is a real pain :(.

I did the basic ping test and this is the result. I wonder if you can tell when I browsed the net? :p
Code:
PING 1.1.1.1 (1.1.1.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=51 time=177 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=51 time=1013 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=51 time=137 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=51 time=298 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=5 ttl=51 time=309 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=6 ttl=51 time=299 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=7 ttl=51 time=479 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=8 ttl=51 time=943 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=9 ttl=51 time=383 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=10 ttl=51 time=476 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=11 ttl=51 time=244 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=12 ttl=51 time=107 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=13 ttl=51 time=85.5 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=14 ttl=51 time=84.7 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=15 ttl=51 time=369 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=28 ttl=51 time=68.2 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=29 ttl=51 time=1176 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=30 ttl=51 time=996 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=31 ttl=51 time=1055 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=32 ttl=51 time=788 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=33 ttl=51 time=522 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=34 ttl=51 time=319 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=35 ttl=51 time=77.3 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=36 ttl=51 time=99.2 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=37 ttl=51 time=97.4 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=38 ttl=51 time=306 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=39 ttl=51 time=1369 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=40 ttl=51 time=1064 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=41 ttl=51 time=831 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=42 ttl=51 time=749 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=43 ttl=51 time=569 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=44 ttl=51 time=428 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=45 ttl=51 time=383 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=46 ttl=51 time=213 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=47 ttl=51 time=289 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=48 ttl=51 time=331 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=49 ttl=51 time=204 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=50 ttl=51 time=218 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=51 ttl=51 time=94.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=52 ttl=51 time=104 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=53 ttl=51 time=90.2 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=54 ttl=51 time=292 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=55 ttl=51 time=794 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=56 ttl=51 time=573 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=57 ttl=51 time=84.3 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=58 ttl=51 time=78.6 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=59 ttl=51 time=79.2 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=60 ttl=51 time=72.6 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=61 ttl=51 time=90.8 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=62 ttl=51 time=86.1 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=63 ttl=51 time=93.4 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=64 ttl=51 time=98.5 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=65 ttl=51 time=112 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=66 ttl=51 time=83.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=67 ttl=51 time=91.6 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=68 ttl=51 time=71.1 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=69 ttl=51 time=72.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=70 ttl=51 time=68.8 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=71 ttl=51 time=79.1 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=72 ttl=51 time=76.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=73 ttl=51 time=72.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=74 ttl=51 time=67.4 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=75 ttl=51 time=68.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=76 ttl=51 time=59.3 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=77 ttl=51 time=59.0 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=78 ttl=51 time=60.5 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=79 ttl=51 time=55.8 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=80 ttl=51 time=66.1 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=81 ttl=51 time=86.1 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=82 ttl=51 time=58.5 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=83 ttl=51 time=89.2 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=84 ttl=51 time=65.7 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=85 ttl=51 time=53.4 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=86 ttl=51 time=65.1 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=87 ttl=51 time=59.0 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=88 ttl=51 time=63.3 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=89 ttl=51 time=69.8 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=90 ttl=51 time=62.0 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=91 ttl=51 time=86.7 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=92 ttl=51 time=58.2 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=93 ttl=51 time=80.5 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=94 ttl=51 time=86.7 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=95 ttl=51 time=73.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=96 ttl=51 time=81.1 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=97 ttl=51 time=65.3 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=98 ttl=51 time=504 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=99 ttl=51 time=123 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=100 ttl=51 time=727 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=101 ttl=51 time=77.0 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=102 ttl=51 time=122 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=103 ttl=51 time=77.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=104 ttl=51 time=83.3 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=105 ttl=51 time=65.7 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=106 ttl=51 time=63.7 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=107 ttl=51 time=66.6 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=108 ttl=51 time=75.2 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=109 ttl=51 time=993 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=110 ttl=51 time=76.7 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=111 ttl=51 time=115 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=112 ttl=51 time=79.0 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=113 ttl=51 time=5664 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=114 ttl=51 time=4949 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=115 ttl=51 time=3937 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=116 ttl=51 time=2913 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=117 ttl=51 time=1895 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=118 ttl=51 time=871 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=119 ttl=51 time=186 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=120 ttl=51 time=82.3 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=121 ttl=51 time=114 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=122 ttl=51 time=65.4 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=123 ttl=51 time=73.0 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=124 ttl=51 time=63.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=125 ttl=51 time=72.3 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=126 ttl=51 time=80.2 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=127 ttl=51 time=66.6 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=128 ttl=51 time=74.6 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=129 ttl=51 time=76.8 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=130 ttl=51 time=65.9 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=131 ttl=51 time=145 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=132 ttl=51 time=2237 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=133 ttl=51 time=1214 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=134 ttl=51 time=196 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=135 ttl=51 time=84.6 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=136 ttl=51 time=2011 ms
64 bytes from 1.1.1.1: icmp_seq=137 ttl=51 time=1010 ms

Here's what the router reports.
Screenshot_2021-01-22 4G LTE W-Fi Router.png

My questions are:
- Is this a 3 issue. Going from the ping results any data upload causes it to go to pot.
- Do the router stats look normal or abnormal?

Any info or advice is most welcome.
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
Hello,

Usually it's 3 :)
That said, the RSRP and SINR are pretty bad. Any way you can reposition this to get better values?
See attached for a table with examples.
 

Attachments

  • rtaImage.jpg
    rtaImage.jpg
    39.1 KB · Views: 40

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
As Lucian says, your RSRP and SINR are really bad, and when checking your CellID (1441544) that's a Band 20 cell.

Band 20 (800Mhz) is Three's lowest frequency which penetrates buildings the best, however they only own a small 5mhz slice of that band, single digits of downlink throughput is totally normal, and I'm actually surprised you got 2.4Mbps given the metrics.

Cellmapper shows that the mast you're connected to has all three of Three's bands available - Band 1 (2100mhz), Band 3 (1800mhz) and B20 (800mhz that you're connected to now).
Again, as Lucian says, repositioning your router to try to connect to one of Three's theoretically faster bands would be advisable (they're faster bands because Three own more spectrum in those bands)
Fortunately your Tenda device has support for B3, B1 and B20, but it is a CAT4 device, meaning it can only connect to one of the bands at once, and lacks support for something called Carrier Aggregation where multiple bands are combined to aggregate their throughput
 

mpmc

Casual Member
Thank you both for the replies.

I did a bit of moving with it (it's always upstairs) & sadly no matter what position chosen the best SINR I saw was about 6.00 right by a window. Even then that didn't last as it fluctuated between 6 <> 1 then dropped out completely. It won't even connect to 3G.

I suspect being surrounded by trees (taller than the houses) isn't helping the situation, nor is the fact that Three seem to be "fixing an issue with our network in this area" for about 3 years now.

I did look on cellmapper but I'll be dammed if I can find that cell on there, maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

I really wanted to use 3 as they don't use CGNAT and are the cheapest for unlimited data. I suppose I'll have to suck it up & use EE/Voda.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
A cell is one sector (on one band) of a given mast (eNB).

You need to convert the cell ID to an eNB to be able to use the cellmapper Tower Search for that eNB.

Fortunately cellmapper provides such a tool

Cell 1441544 = eNB 5631

It's not surprising that you can't get 3G with Three, they use 2100mhz for their 3G layer, that's their highest band (ignoring their 5G 3500mhz band) and so it doesn't travel as far or penetrate obstacles as well as lower frequencies.

Given that it sounds like you're surrounded by thick/tall trees, you'll probably be best trying Vodafone or O2, both of who use their lowest frequency bands (800/900mhz) for their main (read: widely deployed) 4G layer, both of whom have more capacity there than Three (and EE)
 
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