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Huawei B535-232 4g/LTE Router Issue

Buggerlugz

Casual Member
I see what you mean. "empty SSID" is listed on two connections both on the same channels as my 2.4 and 5ghz network name. I will raise this with my "Three" as it's obviously "a Huawei thing." (putting it politely, as Prince Andrew would say!)
 

smithbill17

Casual Member
I don't think you'll get any explanation from either Three or Huawei. You'll simply waste hours of your life trying to explain to some numbskull what your question is about.
 

TTJJ

Casual Member
Do any of you have experience with external antennas for these devices and have any reccomendations?

I got this for my parents and they live on the boundry of 3's signal - they get 4G+ but it can be a little tempremental at times. I bought a cheap one off of eBay but it actually made it significantly worse.
 

GavinAshford

Regular Member
Do any of you have experience with external antennas for these devices and have any reccomendations?

I got this for my parents and they live on the boundry of 3's signal - they get 4G+ but it can be a little tempremental at times. I bought a cheap one off of eBay but it actually made it significantly worse.
When you say external antennas, do you mean external to the house or 'bunny ears' external ones that just stick out 5-6 inches above?

And, when you say the signal got worse. Is that seen through the signal level values like RSRQ, RSRP, RSSI and SINR or seen from doing speed tests?
 

Buggerlugz

Casual Member
I did email Huawei directly about the hidden network issue 4 weeks ago. Whilst I got an acknowledgement email, they didn't reply though.

So yes, the Chinese government is spying on us all. Obviously.
 

TTJJ

Casual Member
When you say external antennas, do you mean external to the house or 'bunny ears' external ones that just stick out 5-6 inches above?

And, when you say the signal got worse. Is that seen through the signal level values like RSRQ, RSRP, RSSI and SINR or seen from doing speed tests?
I don't know how to check the signal level values - only the graphical signals and also from speed tests.

It wasn't those bunny ear ones you describe it was more like the external ones where it's a box with cables running to the two antenna ports but not as big and for indoor use.
 

GavinAshford

Regular Member
I don't know how to check the signal level values - only the graphical signals and also from speed tests.

It wasn't those bunny ear ones you describe it was more like the external ones where it's a box with cables running to the two antenna ports but not as big and for indoor use.
Depending on your router you should be able to find them in the settings somewhere (newer Huawei routers I think have them under the Advanced > System > Device Information section - note you need to refresh the page to show the latest ones, it doesn't change automatically).

Do you have a link for the antenna you bought? And what router are you using?
 

TTJJ

Casual Member
Depending on your router you should be able to find them in the settings somewhere (newer Huawei routers I think have them under the Advanced > System > Device Information section - note you need to refresh the page to show the latest ones, it doesn't change automatically).

Do you have a link for the antenna you bought? And what router are you using?
It's a B535 one, it's on 3 and the antennas were just cheap ones from eBay they're all the same ones for around 10 quid. At that price I shouldn't expect much though to be fair.
 

GavinAshford

Regular Member
Yeah it sounds like they're just not very well made/designed and could be introducing more noise/interference than using the router without them. Presumably you bought them so that they could be in a better position than where the router is currently located? If you move the router to where they are (at least temporary) does the signal/speeds actually improve?
 

TTJJ

Casual Member
Yeah it sounds like they're just not very well made/designed and could be introducing more noise/interference than using the router without them. Presumably you bought them so that they could be in a better position than where the router is currently located? If you move the router to where they are (at least temporary) does the signal/speeds actually improve?
Not really no - I think it's on the 4G boundry and no matter where it is in the house speed really fluctuates. It gets 4G+ most of the time but then speeds can be less than 1mbps so it's unusable.
 

GavinAshford

Regular Member
Not really no - I think it's on the 4G boundry and no matter where it is in the house speed really fluctuates. It gets 4G+ most of the time but then speeds can be less than 1mbps so it's unusable.
What kind of signal level (displayed on the lights on the router) are you actually getting with and without the antenna? If it's medium-high (3-5lights out of 5) then that would more likely indicate towards the mast being over subscribed with users in the area (or slow back-haul), however without knowing the CellID and other info I can't tell for sure - my assumption is that you're getting 4G+ by connecting to band 3+1, but it could also be 20+32, though I believe that's currently only being tested in limited areas.
 

smithbill17

Casual Member
It's a B535 one, it's on 3 and the antennas were just cheap ones from eBay they're all the same ones for around 10 quid. At that price I shouldn't expect much though to be fair.
You might want to watch this guys 'teardown' of one of those cheap antennas - it put me off buying one:

The Huawei 'bunny ear' antennas are available on Amazon for around £20, but i've no idea if they would be any better. If you do buy some, do please report back here if they were an improvement (I might buy some then!):

If you use an Android phone, you could try installing the huaCtrl app - its a bit rough & temperamental but does actually work with the B535 and B525 routers:

You can use the huaCtrl app to view the various signal parameters and also to try changing bands that your B535 uses to communicate with the mast. You need at least two channels for 4G+

Over on this ThinkBroadband forum:
you'll find some posts from 'jchamier' who gives some info/links detailing which Bands the Three network uses.

Bill
 

smithbill17

Casual Member
Not really no - I think it's on the 4G boundry and no matter where it is in the house speed really fluctuates. It gets 4G+ most of the time but then speeds can be less than 1mbps so it's unusable.
Also meant to say that if you have an Android phone with a Three SIM in it, then you could try the 'Network Signal Guru' app which will give you all sorts of blurb about the signal between phone and mast:

Bill
 

smithbill17

Casual Member
Not really no - I think it's on the 4G boundry and no matter where it is in the house speed really fluctuates. It gets 4G+ most of the time but then speeds can be less than 1mbps so it's unusable.
And Network Cell Info Lite is a pretty useful tool too:
 

smithbill17

Casual Member
Not really no - I think it's on the 4G boundry and no matter where it is in the house speed really fluctuates. It gets 4G+ most of the time but then speeds can be less than 1mbps so it's unusable.
If you're not on a long term contract with Three, then you could try considering a different mobile broadband provider. If you check the ThinkBroadband map linked below, tick the box in the key for 'Speed Test Results' - it'll show you a map of the reported speed test results (funny that) that other people have done in your surrounding area. You can then use that to get some kind of idea of what performance other people are getting and who might be your best bet for better download speeds:

(if you live in a very rural area then there may be no useful results for you to look at)
 

TTJJ

Casual Member
Very good advice, thanks.

It's my parents who are using this and I've been out of the country for the best part of a year. I'll be back in a couple of weeks and aim to resolve it all for them then. Managing this for them remotely isn't fun, I bought those crappy antennas and had them going all over their house trying to find a better signal position.

Will definitely take a look at those apps, I'm thinking it may be worth my speed testing the different bands etc. that are available and locking the router onto one of those in the apps.

I'm 99.99999% certain another network would provide significantly better performance but 3's pricing at 17 quid for unlimited everything is an absolute steal.
 

smithbill17

Casual Member
Very good advice, thanks.
If you're not there that often, then you may want to consider trying the Bunny Ear antennas in case they do give an improvement (you can probably send them back to Amazon for a refund if they don't).

You cannot really 'lock' your B535 to a single band. I think if you restart the B535 it'll go back to Auto (not sure though). And my understanding is that it's the mast that decides which band it'll use to communicate with your device. Using an app like huaCtrl just fiddles your B535 into telling the mast that it can only use whichever band you have chosen at the time.

Also, you need to have at least two bands to stand any chance of getting 4G+ speeds as the '+' bit uses carrier aggregation combining two bands to boost speed. And not all masts currently support carrier aggregation.

I think currently Three 4G only uses B1, B3 and B20. See https://kenstechtips.com/index.php/uk-network-frequency-bands

Do your parents actually need 'unlimited' data? If it's that slow at present then they obviously can't be watching online videos as it'd never be capable of online streaming and general surfing & emails won't need anything like unlimited data. Currently O2 & Tesco have 100Gb for £20/month.

You could also try an EE pre-paid data SIM with no commitments just to see if it out-performs Three in your area:

You could also consider using an old Android phone with SIM card as an emergency backup WiFi hotspot.

Various things for you to try. Please report back what works.
 

smithbill17

Casual Member
Very good advice, thanks.
Another thing you could try: in your B535 settings under
Network Settings > Mobile Network Searching, change the Preferred Network Mode to '4G Only' and Network Search Mode to 'manual'. When it pops up with a list of available networks in your area, select "3 4G" and save it to your B535. If both settings were previously at Auto, then it's possible that it was switching to 3G giving poor download speeds.

Conversely though, I've read that some people do actually get better speeds by selecting 3G only. It all depends on the mast arrangements where your parents are located as to whether 3G, 4G or 4G+ will work out best.

And also give some consideration as to whether 5G might be rolled out to your area in the coming months/years.
 

TTJJ

Casual Member
Do your parents actually need 'unlimited' data? If it's that slow at present then they obviously can't be watching online videos as it'd never be capable of online streaming and general surfing & emails won't need anything like unlimited data. Currently O2 & Tesco have 100Gb for £20/month.
1579075389857.png
I would've said no, but the bill shows otherwise. The usage I'm sure is 99% YouTube/Netflix which are ridiculously well optimised and deal with unstable connections very well. I don't think it's consistently bad, it's very intermittent.

Will be able to investigate more in a few weeks anyway.
 

smithbill17

Casual Member
View attachment 192
I would've said no, but the bill shows otherwise. The usage I'm sure is 99% YouTube/Netflix which are ridiculously well optimised and deal with unstable connections very well. I don't think it's consistently bad, it's very intermittent.

Will be able to investigate more in a few weeks anyway.
As Netflix is included in Threes 'Go Binge' its almost certain that the 74Gb of Go Binge data shown in that bill is Netflix. Based on that bill, you would need at least 200Gb per month, and that basically means going 'unlimited'.

If its good enough for Netflix streaming, but its somewhat intermittent, then you could try the setting in the B535 to manually set it to 4G only, which might stop it dropping down to 3G at times. But it could mean that the internet will drop out completely if the 4G signal is rubbish. So worth also trying setting to 3G manually just to see what happens.

If its dropping down from 4G to 3G, then you may find that the Bunny Ear antennas will help to maintain the signal, but if the rubbish antenna from eBay didn't help, then it may be that the Bunny Ear antennae will be no better.

Try using the Android huaCtrl app to view the signal parameters when you change things to see what gets better/worse (remember that huaCtrl seems a bit temperamental so you may have to exit it and restart it). Alternatively, login to the router config pages and go to Advanced > System > Device Information and just refresh the page.

If the signal is decent enough, then your issue (like mine) may be an 'over subscribed' mast - not much you can do about that except a) watch Netflix at 5am when nobody else is online b) change mobile provider

You could try complaining to Three, but £17/month for unlimited data isn't really going to be offered to you at any cheaper price at this present time. But its quite likely that they will give you a £5-10 credit if you complain well enough. And you can complain every 4-6months and they'll keep crediting you £5-10 each time :) (be prepared to spend anything from 20mins to 1+hours arguing your case with Customer Service clowns - probably not best use of anyones time really).

And you could also use this page: https://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Network/Report-An-Issue/ to report a Signal Issue with their network. It's quite likely that they just ignore these reported issues, but just possibly they get clocked-up and help to push your local mast up the list for upgrade.
 
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