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Please help.. 4g to replace my broadband..

Bootymagic

Casual Member
Hello all.. please redirect me if this is in the wrong place? I'm new to this forum.

I live on a farm, and consequently don't have a hope of cable broadband. The copper wire coming to the house is ancient and i'm about a mile from the cabinet, over fields and poles etc. Usually around twice a year the cable breaks through squirrels or weather.

I have broadband, but its not fantastic. My kids are now starting school and we need more bandwidth asap. Who knew online homework was a thing, let alone gaming :rolleyes:
My property is old and the walls are thick.. and no ISP provided router will do the job sufficiently.
We also have IPCCTV cameras due to the location.

I purchased an ASUS RT-AC5300 to run everything, which is performing well. Its easy to set up and user friendly, I have no issues with it thus far.

I would like to improve my speeds by moving off the copper wire onto a 4G (then 5G) sim based option. My router will accept a 4G connection, presumably via a dongle on the back.
I'm line of sight (about 1 mile) to the nearest mast, and so i'm looking for advice on how best to set this up?

I've spoken to Three mobile. They have offered me an unlimited data plan SIM for £10 per month..


I just need to work out how to make my router talk to the mast in the best way.

any advice would be appreciated

thanks
 

kommando828

Pro Member
Before you commit to Three you can order one of their free data sims, for no fee at all it gives you 250mb a month. This is enough for signal testing and seeing which frequencies the local Three mast is using.

I am in the same boat and have gone Three, I am 4km away from the mast and with an external directional antenna and a dedicated Huawei B525 Cat6 4G router I get 50mb download but latching on to Band 3 and only using Band 20 for Carrier Aggregation. I too started off with a dongle which gave me 20mb, the extra is from improving the signal and the Cat6 freature of the B525 (ie carrier aggregation which is 4g+ adding the download of 2 frequencies) . Your mast may not have 4g+ in which cast a Cat4 modem will be fine.

Once up and running for a few months I dropped the landline and ported the old BT number to Sipgate for £20 and use VOIP. No more line rental.

If you access the IPCCTV from the internet when away then Three's internet APN give the best possibility for a fixed IP address but nothing is guaranteed so it can and does change.
 

Henchard

Casual Member
I wrote a blog on my experience here.


I've since bought a secondhand SIP phone off Ebay for £15 and signed up for a free basic SIPgate account (chosing a number with the same dialling code) and I now have a free incoming phone line as well. I'll probably drop the landline in due course altogether.

I also take the SIM out of the router when I travel, pop it in a mobile phone and use it for free calls and to tether my tablet.

So far it has been remarkably stable and I have had speeds upto 70 Mb/s. (never less than around 38Mb/s - probably averaging around 50 Mb/s) Believe me for someone who is stuck down a remote valley on the end of 6 miles of a copper landline strung through trees etc. this is revolutionary!

Just ran a test to see current speed (I'm 8.5 miles from the one transmitter that can just be 'seen' in our valley)

speed.JPG
 

Bootymagic

Casual Member
Before you commit to Three you can order one of their free data sims, for no fee at all it gives you 250mb a month. This is enough for signal testing and seeing which frequencies the local Three mast is using.

I am in the same boat and have gone Three, I am 4km away from the mast and with an external directional antenna and a dedicated Huawei B525 Cat6 4G router I get 50mb download but latching on to Band 3 and only using Band 20 for Carrier Aggregation. I too started off with a dongle which gave me 20mb, the extra is from improving the signal and the Cat6 freature of the B525 (ie carrier aggregation which is 4g+ adding the download of 2 frequencies) . Your mast may not have 4g+ in which cast a Cat4 modem will be fine.

Once up and running for a few months I dropped the landline and ported the old BT number to Sipgate for £20 and use VOIP. No more line rental.

If you access the IPCCTV from the internet when away then Three's internet APN give the best possibility for a fixed IP address but nothing is guaranteed so it can and does change.
Kommando828, thanks for this. It looks like this is defo the route I need to take. I spoke to Three today, and although they assure me that I can get 4G signal, from them at my address, they couldnt tell me where their nearest mast is. Ive looked at mastdata.com and I cant find a nearby three mast.. I dont want to commit to anything, so i think i'll order that free sim and see what happens
 

Bootymagic

Casual Member
I wrote a blog on my experience here.


I've since bought a secondhand SIP phone off Ebay for £15 and signed up for a free basic SIPgate account (chosing a number with the same dialling code) and I now have a free incoming phone line as well. I'll probably drop the landline in due course altogether.

I also take the SIM out of the router when I travel, pop it in a mobile phone and use it for free calls and to tether my tablet.

So far it has been remarkably stable and I have had speeds upto 70 Mb/s. (never less than around 38Mb/s - probably averaging around 50 Mb/s) Believe me for someone who is stuck down a remote valley on the end of 6 miles of a copper landline strung through trees etc. this is revolutionary!

Just ran a test to see current speed (I'm 8.5 miles from the one transmitter that can just be 'seen' in our valley)

View attachment 158
That is an amazing result, but do I need the nearest mast to be a 'three' mast if i want to use 'three' sims? or will they still ghet a signal?
 

kommando828

Pro Member
Yes a Three sim needs a Three mast, the mast I use is a shared EE/Three mast so shared masts work as well but Three must be on the mast in some form.
 

Mark8253

Regular Member
I’ve never fully understood why mobile providers are so coy about telling their customers exactly which service they broadcast from each mast. We’re not asking for a full disclosure of their entire asset base, just local information to individual users. We are rural, so I can usually work it out with a directional antenna, but it would help if they weren’t so secretive.
 

Bootymagic

Casual Member
Yes a Three sim needs a Three mast, the mast I use is a shared EE/Three mast so shared masts work as well but Three must be on the mast in some form.
Guess I’ll just have to test my three sim then and try to work out where the mast is.. if I get 4g maybe it’s not an issue, I’ll just use a none directional antenna.. or whatever they’re called 😂
 

Bootymagic

Casual Member
Before you commit to Three you can order one of their free data sims, for no fee at all it gives you 250mb a month. This is enough for signal testing and seeing which frequencies the local Three mast is using.

I am in the same boat and have gone Three, I am 4km away from the mast and with an external directional antenna and a dedicated Huawei B525 Cat6 4G router I get 50mb download but latching on to Band 3 and only using Band 20 for Carrier Aggregation. I too started off with a dongle which gave me 20mb, the extra is from improving the signal and the Cat6 freature of the B525 (ie carrier aggregation which is 4g+ adding the download of 2 frequencies) . Your mast may not have 4g+ in which cast a Cat4 modem will be fine.

Once up and running for a few months I dropped the landline and ported the old BT number to Sipgate for £20 and use VOIP. No more line rental.

If you access the IPCCTV from the internet when away then Three's internet APN give the best possibility for a fixed IP address but nothing is guaranteed so it can and does change.
So I’ve received my SIM.. I haven’t done any testing yet however I popped it in my phone and I’m getting full 4g service on Three mobile throughout the house.
It looks like I might be onto a
Guess I’ll just have to test my three sim then and try to work out where the mast is.. if I get 4g maybe it’s not an issue, I’ll just use a none directional antenna.. or whatever they’re called 😂

So I’ve received my SIM.. I haven’t done any testing yet however I popped it in my phone and I’m getting full 4g service on Three mobile throughout the house.
It looks like I might be onto a winner.
At the moment I can’t find where the Three mast is.. Three themselves couldn’t tell me, so anyone knows an way of finding it id be most appreciative
Looks like I’ll be able to pop up a directional antenna if I can find it
 

Verita

Regular Member
The Open Signal app on Android works best for me, with location (on the phone) switched on it pinpoints my position and the cell the phone is connected to. This can be verified in my 4G router.

Whether the data is up to date is another question. The cell labelled 'phone' in the clip is actually some 500 metres away, under the tip of the red arrow. It was moved there a couple of years ago.

What's either interesting or baffling is that the router (Three's HomeFi B311) connects to a different mast than the phone, about the same distance away, so the actual mast a router might decide to connect to could be different to that which a phone chooses. (Both the router and the phone are on Three 4G.)

The Huawei routers will display the cell_id in the Settings menu, so a combination of that and the OpenSignal app to track it down is useful.
 

Attachments

Bootymagic

Casual Member
The Open Signal app on Android works best for me, with location (on the phone) switched on it pinpoints my position and the cell the phone is connected to. This can be verified in my 4G router.

Whether the data is up to date is another question. The cell labelled 'phone' in the clip is actually some 500 metres away, under the tip of the red arrow. It was moved there a couple of years ago.

What's either interesting or baffling is that the router (Three's HomeFi B311) connects to a different mast than the phone, about the same distance away, so the actual mast a router might decide to connect to could be different to that which a phone chooses. (Both the router and the phone are on Three 4G.)

The Huawei routers will display the cell_id in the Settings menu, so a combination of that and the OpenSignal app to track it down is useful.
Thanks, I’ll give that a try and see what happens 👍🏻
 

Bigyinuk

Casual Member
I went through this exercise when looking to replace my terrible copper broadband with 4G.

Best advice I'd give is to get PayG sims from ALL the providers and try them in a phone and see (a) which gives the best signal and (b) which gives the fastest download speeds. Not all 4G providers are equal speed wise and it all depends on their capacity and backhaul IN YOUR AREA. Great signal does not necessarily mean better download speed.

When you've decided which provider, look at the contracts they have on offer - imo it would be silly not to get an unlimited sim as all the providers do one and they are pretty cheap nowadays, probably cheaper than a copper or fibre broadband.

Next get a router - Getting a reliable router with a connection for an external antenna is probably important for rural connections. Either a Drayek Vigor 2862 or the Teletonika RUT 950 (which is dual sim) work well - But not cheap although of course this is a one off spend.

Next to look at is an external antenna. Even though I got a decent 4G signal in the house, fitting an external antenna doubled my download speeds. I was told by the people I bought the antenna from that in very few cases does a directional antenna perform better than an omini directional one - this is because unless you have absolutely clear line of site to the cell that you're getting your signal from (assuming you know that 100pc) there's no telling which direction the antenna should be pointed. Your antenna will need to be within 5m from your router - don't be tempted to extend the cable as there is considerable signal loss per metre at those frequencies. The Fullband Mimorad antenna works well - approx £60

Providing you have a reasonable signal and you get a decent download speed you're good to go.

Speeds here are approx 30mbps download / 15 mbps up with Vodafone - not so fast with 3 or EE in my area but might not be the case in your's. Not ultrafast but much much faster than copper was.

Sipgate are good for a free incoming SIP. There's also Vonage who do an inclusive outgoing landline calls package with hardware adapter for £9 pcm. You can port your old number to your SIP provider.

Regards
 

Bootymagic

Casual Member
I went through this exercise when looking to replace my terrible copper broadband with 4G.

Best advice I'd give is to get PayG sims from ALL the providers and try them in a phone and see (a) which gives the best signal and (b) which gives the fastest download speeds. Not all 4G providers are equal speed wise and it all depends on their capacity and backhaul IN YOUR AREA. Great signal does not necessarily mean better download speed.

When you've decided which provider, look at the contracts they have on offer - imo it would be silly not to get an unlimited sim as all the providers do one and they are pretty cheap nowadays, probably cheaper than a copper or fibre broadband.

Next get a router - Getting a reliable router with a connection for an external antenna is probably important for rural connections. Either a Drayek Vigor 2862 or the Teletonika RUT 950 (which is dual sim) work well - But not cheap although of course this is a one off spend.

Next to look at is an external antenna. Even though I got a decent 4G signal in the house, fitting an external antenna doubled my download speeds. I was told by the people I bought the antenna from that in very few cases does a directional antenna perform better than an omini directional one - this is because unless you have absolutely clear line of site to the cell that you're getting your signal from (assuming you know that 100pc) there's no telling which direction the antenna should be pointed. Your antenna will need to be within 5m from your router - don't be tempted to extend the cable as there is considerable signal loss per metre at those frequencies. The Fullband Mimorad antenna works well - approx £60

Providing you have a reasonable signal and you get a decent download speed you're good to go.

Speeds here are approx 30mbps download / 15 mbps up with Vodafone - not so fast with 3 or EE in my area but might not be the case in your's. Not ultrafast but much much faster than copper was.

Sipgate are good for a free incoming SIP. There's also Vonage who do an inclusive outgoing landline calls package with hardware adapter for £9 pcm. You can port your old number to your SIP provider.

Regards
Wow.. that’s a detailed account thanks..
I’ve manage to get a three free data sim and tested it a little.
I’m using the Open Signal app on an iPhone just to gauge the viability.
I’ve initially chosen three as their deals are far superior to anyone else at the moment. They’ve offered unlimited data for £10 per month for 6 months, then £20 thereafter.

Ive connected to a three tower, and its giving me about 15-18 download.. and about 3-5 upload in a phone. Bit disappointing tbh.. considering the alleged distance from the tower (1/2 mile) ..the speeds not as good as I thought.
I’m hesitant about spanking a load of cash on a router and directional antenna..

My other question, that’s only just really occurred.. at the moment I have a decent ASUS router, which is highly configured for my CCTV and other network stuff.

Can I get a router with antenna connections, and configure it so it’s just pushing the internet out? I don’t want it to allocate IP addresses etc.. just push out the internet so I can plug it into my current router and let that do all the work..?
 

Bigyinuk

Casual Member
Yes you can use the 4G router just to connect to the internet. You just need to do 3 things

(1) Switch off DHCP on your 4G router
(2) Assign the 4G router a fixed IP address on your network
(3) Configure DHCP on your ASUS so the gateway address (assigned by the DHCP to your devices) points at the IP address of the 4G router.

You may find that using an external antenna improves your speeds but the reason I don't use 3 as my main ISP for 4G is that they are not very fast. EE is *usually* the fastest but in my area Vodafone outperforms all the others.

PS depending on exactly how your your CCTV system works, on a 4G conection, you may find you are not able to access it from the internet (outside your home), if that's what you're intending to do? Most 4G providers use an IP address assigning system called CGNAT (or double NAT) - this means your "real" internet address is share by multiple users - In this case it is not possible to map a port and IP address from outside to a device inside your network.
 
Last edited:

Bootymagic

Casual Member
Yes you can use the 4G router just to connect to the internet. You just need to do 3 things

(1) Switch off DHCP on your 4G router
(2) Assign the 4G router a fixed IP address on your network
(3) Configure DHCP on your ASUS so the gateway address (assigned by the DHCP to your devices) points at the IP address of the 4G router.

You may find that using an external antenna improves your speeds but the reason I don't use 3 as my main ISP for 4G is that they are not very fast. EE is *usually* the fastest but in my area Vodafone outperforms all the others.

PS depending on exactly how your your CCTV system works, on a 4G conection, you may find you are not able to access it from the internet (outside your home), if that's what you're intending to do? Most 4G providers use an IP address assigning system called CGNAT (or double NAT) - this means your "real" internet address is share by multiple users - In this case it is not possible to map a port and IP address from outside to a device inside your network.
That all makes sense.. seems pretty straight forward.
My CCTV is currently viewable externally, I’ve mapped through via DYNDNS, so the NAT is irrelevant, but I get what you mean.
Any recommendations for a basic 4G router then?
I’m hearing as well that I really shouldn’t use more than 5 metres of cable. If that’s the case I’m thinking of attic mounting the antenna and router, and then dropping the internet down to my ASUS in the lounge via Cat5
 

Bootymagic

Casual Member
The Open Signal app on Android works best for me, with location (on the phone) switched on it pinpoints my position and the cell the phone is connected to. This can be verified in my 4G router.

Whether the data is up to date is another question. The cell labelled 'phone' in the clip is actually some 500 metres away, under the tip of the red arrow. It was moved there a couple of years ago.

What's either interesting or baffling is that the router (Three's HomeFi B311) connects to a different mast than the phone, about the same distance away, so the actual mast a router might decide to connect to could be different to that which a phone chooses. (Both the router and the phone are on Three 4G.)

The Huawei routers will display the cell_id in the Settings menu, so a combination of that and the OpenSignal app to track it down is useful.
Thanks 🙏🏻
 

Bigyinuk

Casual Member
DynDNS won't work with a mobile provider as it will try and use the real IP which is shared between multiple clients and you can't port map across double NAT. This is one of the issues with CGNAT. If you're trying to make an inbound connection using ipaddress/port then its not going to work when you move to 4G.
 

Bootymagic

Casual Member
DynDNS won't work with a mobile provider as it will try and use the real IP which is shared between multiple clients and you can't port map across double NAT. This is one of the issues with CGNAT. If you're trying to make an inbound connection using ipaddress/port then its not going to work when you move to 4G.

That’s disappointing. Does anyone know a work around?
 
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