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EE 4G/5G Advice

danelawton

Casual Member
Hi All

I hav recently had to move to a 4G Home broadband solution. Frustratingly I was receiving an Air fibre solution with 100mb download. Even more frustrating is the green cabinet at the bottom of my drive has 1GB broadband! But no, I don't go into that green box!

Anyway I have had to resort to a 4g/5g package. I have taken a EE mobile broadband out which came with the Huawei 5G CPE Pro. (I also have the external Antenna that was thrown in for free!)

I live right on the edge of a 5G Area and was not expecting to pick up 5G, but I can! Now my issue is I am getting fluctuations in speed and looking for advice on positioning.

I have 2 Masts both EE, 1 under km, and the second in approximately 2.5km. without the external Antenna I struggle to get any sort of speeds (even on a phone).

The Mast that is under 1km away is uphill, about a 30m thick woodland, and a few houses between us and I cannot get direct line of site.

The second mast, If I mount my Antenna on a pole I can get direct line of site to it as between myself & this mast is a valley and I am on top of the hill on one side and mast the other side.

What are peoples thoughts? Would you direct the Antenna at the mast give or take that is open space between, and would you mount it higher rather than on a wall?
 

Lucian

Top Member
Hi,

I would mount the antenna as high as I can (sometimes this doesn't yield the expected results, but usually "height is might") and frankly point it towards both masts, perhaps you're in for a surprise, though to be honest foliage is bad for RF, especially when wet.

Also, what antenna is that? You want a good directional antenna such as the Poynting ones.
 
Last edited:

danelawton

Casual Member
Hi,

I would mount the antenna as high as I can (sometimes this doesn't yield the expected results, but usually "height is might") and frankly point it towards both masts, perhaps you're in for a surprise, though to be honest foliage is bad for RF, especially when wet.

Also, what antenna is that? You want a good directional antenna such as the Poynting XPOL-1.
Thank you for the reply, that rules out the mast closest to me as that’s through trees!
Looks like I will have to get up to the pole I have on the house and point at the other mast see what happens.

Antenna is as below.

Huawei 5G AF9E outdoor boosting 5G antenna, peak gain 14dBi, frequency range 3300-4200MHz.​

 

Lucian

Top Member
Well, try both masts while you're up there, just in case. :)

Btw, did you try holding the router out of the upper windows, any improvement? 5G doesn't like walls.

Re antenna, don't think it's good for you. Unless the specs are lying, it only covers 5G freq, whereas in UK 5G is "not standalone" (NSA), it works in conjunction with LTE (4G).

This means you need an antenna that also covers LTE bands:
- best: Poynting xpol-2-5G
- good: Panorama WMM8G-7-38 5G

Don't waste time and money with cheap ones from ebay, they are rubbish.
 

danelawton

Casual Member
I live in a bungalow no upstairs :D

I can get 5G outside with about 80% strength but low speeds. When I first got it I was getting 90mb speeds on the open side of my house then I moved to mount the antenna and couldn’t find it again!

interestimg re the 4g/5G as the antenna was free but seems to really also boost 4g externally. Having had a read, Its in my head!

Looks like new Antenna been purchased now. This explains the fluctuating ping & Speeds.

So in that case, Still the same situation, which way do you point it! Already have a pole up on the house, will be mounting on that one.
 
Last edited:

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
AFAIK the Huawei CPE 5G Pro (H112-370/H112-372) only has external connectors for the 5G antennas, no 4G ones - the 4G antennas are internal only.

The two antennas mentioned above actually have a lower gain than the Huawei one (assuming the stated 14dBi is accurate and in the critical 3500mhz range) and will likely do nothing for 4G at all (as the router doesn't have 4G external antenna connectors).
In my opinion, replacing the AF9E antenna with something else is not likely to increase the signal reception and at the antenna the signal level could actually end up being lower if the peak of the gain isn't in the 'right' place (I caveat this with not knowing the signal loss through the cable in use, so things may balance out if the Huawei cable is poor quality and the others are better with less loss).

I'd expect your router to connect to whichever 4G mast has the better metrics (using its internal antennas) and then depending where you're pointing the external antenna connect to that mast for its 5G.
Do you know if both masts are broadcasting 5G?
 

Lucian

Top Member
AFAIK the Huawei CPE 5G Pro (H112-370/H112-372) only has external connectors for the 5G antennas, no 4G ones - the 4G antennas are internal only.

Wow, if that's the case that's a disappointing move by Huawei. I searched but couldn't find anything of the sorts. Can you point me in the right direction?

The specs clearly say 2xTS9 connectors for external antenna, no mention of them being 5G-only.

I was kind of thinking to buy this router at some point, but not so sure now. Might go for the outdoors variant, but I'd be losing the nice wifi, hmm.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member

1602231698761.png


There are some guys from the adslgate forums (Arabic, from Kuwait I think) who have opened up the router and connected external antennas directly to the board's 4G connectors.
e.g.
 

Lucian

Top Member
Oh right, thanks.. then @danelawton it's pretty clear the router won't be helped by an external antenna on the 4G bands, so hold fire on those antennas, stick to the one you have and do some gymnastics, try to find a good place for both router and antenna.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
Wow, if that's the case that's a disappointing move by Huawei.
Disappointing perhaps, but I think it's an understandable choice.

As you stated before, the 5G frequency of 3500mhz (in the UK at least) is difficult to receive indoors so having the ability to have an antenna outside for that is good.
The 4G anchor meanwhile will be coming from a much lower frequency (as low as 800mhz, B20 if needed) and that has a much better chance of penetrating the building and connecting to the internal antennas.
 

danelawton

Casual Member
WOW

Firstly, cant work out how to do Multi quote on this forum!

Disappointing is an understatement right now. I have just ordered the new antenna too! Ok, next option, what is the BEST 4G/5G Router out there that will work on EE? :D I work from home and with 2young kids i need the best connection possible.

Regarding mast broadcasting 5G, No I don't and looking at the Coverage I would suspect is is neither of the pasts I have near me. I am literally in a "Weak" area and the 5g goes line on the map is about 30m past my house. I would need to look into where this 5g Mast is.

What is the best site to give an analysis of connection?
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
You arguably have the best 4/5G router available already. While there is a newer 'version 2' it wouldn't actually deliver any benefit over the one you have.

In your router UI it should identify the CELL_ID, you'll find this under [Advanced] > [System] > [Device Information] which should identify the 4G cell (mast) that you're connected to.
With that ID you should be able to find that on cellmapper providing your area has been suitably mapped by its users.
Telling which site broadcasts 5G is not possible from cellmapper, the best way is to find the sites in real-life and look at them to see if they have 5G antennas (given the high frequency it would have to be reasonably close-by)
 

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
The design of that 5g router in the video leaves a lot to be desired doesn't it! Mostly not needed plastic to make it look like a higher value item shaped like a long square cylinder.

Also with 5g routers I'm struggling why the manufacturers still think its viable having them indoors. They should be selling them as outdoor devices running off a single POE to maximise the 5g signal quality surely?
 

danelawton

Casual Member
You arguably have the best 4/5G router available already. While there is a newer 'version 2' it wouldn't actually deliver any benefit over the one you have.

In your router UI it should identify the CELL_ID, you'll find this under [Advanced] > [System] > [Device Information] which should identify the 4G cell (mast) that you're connected to.
With that ID you should be able to find that on cellmapper providing your area has been suitably mapped by its users.
Telling which site broadcasts 5G is not possible from cellmapper, the best way is to find the sites in real-life and look at them to see if they have 5G antennas (given the high frequency it would have to be reasonably close-by)
Thanks

Interestingly I am connected to the mast closest to me that I don't have line of site on and have Woodland between me and that mast, and have the router at the opposite side of the house to that mast. It has an open line of site from where it is sat to the mast slightly further away.

What a pain 4G can be! So I wouldn't be better off getting another router and using a external 4G Antenna instead of the 5G one I have.

I also cant drive upto this mast as its pretty much in some ones back garden!

Regarding the 5G I am literally as above in the last area but with the Antenna I get a full signal of 5G just slower speeds. Not sure it that is creating an issue or not though.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
Your closest mast usually has the best metrics and is the one chosen to connect to, so that's not surprising.
Is there a reason you're trying to connect to the one you're not connected to?

What speeds do you get on 4G alone (I assume if you disconnect the antenna then you don't get 5G signal in house)? And what uplift in speeds does being connected to 5G bring?
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
The design of that 5g router in the video leaves a lot to be desired doesn't it! Mostly not needed plastic to make it look like a higher value item shaped like a long square cylinder.

Also with 5g routers I'm struggling why the manufacturers still think its viable having them indoors. They should be selling them as outdoor devices running off a single POE to maximise the 5g signal quality surely?
The top part (2inch or so) that is mostly plastic is where the WiFi antennas - you normally want those in as much 'air' as possible (away from the circuit boards) so that WiFi coverage is as good as possible. Thats why a lot of WiFi routers have rabbit-ear/multiple ~5inch antennas sticking out of them - function over form. Huawei have chosen to go form over function here to avoid the 'ugly' WiFi antennas but housing them internally does impact the compactness (iirc the version 2 is shorter, and I guess that's been done through continued development from the first version)
 

danelawton

Casual Member
Your closest mast usually has the best metrics and is the one chosen to connect to, so that's not surprising.
Is there a reason you're trying to connect to the one you're not connected to?

What speeds do you get on 4G alone (I assume if you disconnect the antenna then you don't get 5G signal in house)? And what uplift in speeds does being connected to 5G bring?

I was of the view with a line of site and external Antenna I would get better signals, and with me having the router on that side of the house it always is a better signal.

Currently, No Antenna fitted and sat in a window. I am 2 rooms away (doors closed and my house is all solid walls internally)

Test 1 1840
74ms Ping
47.45 Download
30mb Upload

Test 2 1850
36ms Ping
26.9 Download
31.94 Upload

Test 3 1900
55ms ping
45.71 Download
25.09

I did, 2 days ago with Antenna installed get 90mb down and 40 up, but not had that again. It's too wet, cold & dark to go stick the Antenna up.

I am noticing a bit of instability through the day when on teams calls at work

I have 2 options I think.

1. Stick as I am, See how it goes. (return the new antenna I just ordered to come tomorrow) and put the existing one up.
2. Look to get a new 4g Modem and use that with the Antenna I just ordered. This way I should obtain a higher stability in theory of the 4g, but I lose the 5g facility as would not be a 5g modem.
 

danelawton

Casual Member
The top part (2inch or so) that is mostly plastic is where the WiFi antennas - you normally want those in as much 'air' as possible (away from the circuit boards) so that WiFi coverage is as good as possible. Thats why a lot of WiFi routers have rabbit-ear/multiple ~5inch antennas sticking out of them - function over form. Huawei have chosen to go form over function here to avoid the 'ugly' WiFi antennas but housing them internally does impact the compactness (iirc the version 2 is shorter, and I guess that's been done through continued development from the first version)
One thing I can say about this 5g Router, the WiFi in my house is brilliant! I live in a bungalow and from one end to the other is 16m through solid block walls (no stud walls) and I get a reasonable wifi anywhere!
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
While the WiFi might be great, I'd always recommend doing testing using a wired ethernet connection direct to the router to eliminate any potential WiFi variance.

Given the speeds you're getting, particularly the upload speeds which are pretty much maxing out EE's 4G upload capacity on a single B3 carrier, I would say you get a good connection.

On the device information page, what are the metrics for RSRP and SINR? They do fluctuate so refreshing a few times and taking an average is probably better to eliminate an outlier value.

The signal level (bars of signal or metrics) are not a representation of the speed that is achievable, it is only reporting how good the connection is between your drive and the mast.
A 4G only router with an external antenna may give you better stability in terms of radio connection, but doing so would limit the maximum theoretical speed you'd get across that radio connection.
You're also susceptable to speed variation on the local 4G due to peaks in load on the mast.

5G should be less utilised at the moment due to the number of people with a 5G device and contract.
 

danelawton

Casual Member
While the WiFi might be great, I'd always recommend doing testing using a wired ethernet connection direct to the router to eliminate any potential WiFi variance.

Given the speeds you're getting, particularly the upload speeds which are pretty much maxing out EE's 4G upload capacity on a single B3 carrier, I would say you get a good connection.

On the device information page, what are the metrics for RSRP and SINR? They do fluctuate so refreshing a few times and taking an average is probably better to eliminate an outlier value.

The signal level (bars of signal or metrics) are not a representation of the speed that is achievable, it is only reporting how good the connection is between your drive and the mast.
A 4G only router with an external antenna may give you better stability in terms of radio connection, but doing so would limit the maximum theoretical speed you'd get across that radio connection.
You're also susceptable to speed variation on the local 4G due to peaks in load on the mast.

5G should be less utilised at the moment due to the number of people with a 5G device and contract.
Thank you again

I just battled the cold to direct the Antenna and direct as accurate as I can towards my local mast and the internet goes down basically. As an idea, I was getting 176ms Ping, 0.96mb/s Download with 26mb/s upload. Granted I have not fine tuned to get a better signal. Attached is what the router said on testing.

Currently with no Antenna (its the 5g one only), 3 x refresh 5 mins apart.

RSRP - 85dBm/-85dBm/-85dBm
SINR - 5db/8db/9db.

I do have ethernet on my work items, but for the rest of the bits I don't but that is only TV & Sky.

Interestingly, trying to watch YouTube on TV and its constantly buffering.

For my sanity, I may just buy the 4G router, the TP Link one, Archer MR600? and see which system runs best for me!
 

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