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Testing: Vodafone 5G & 4G - Inc. Voxi, Lebara

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
Good Morning,

So I'm continuing my coverage of NR networks as the become available and also looking at the state of a out 4G infrastructure too as it becomes ours primary platform as 3G comes to the end of its life.

I start with a long range line of sight test of NSA-NR at 50Mhz, as with my other testing 5G will get a "First Five" test which is 5 back to back speed tests which are accompanied by a screenshot of NSG at the time and a picture of the mast from the location of testing.

Lets begin....

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First Five

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So this mast site is the one that covers my home office (thought that is on the other side of the mast to this test) and is pretty solid, sitting at the desk I've tethered to it many times to download large steam title and hit peaks of 42MB/s (336Mb/s which for being about 800m away as the crow flies and having many obstacles in between I feel it reaches well)

As always, a picture of the mast site, (it's the high rise in the centre of the picture)

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The network in the area is still undergoing upgrades, though it looks like this site is complete another test I have prepared for next post will be getting done again as its under-going additional upgrades today apparently and I've just received a notification for more upgrade work in neghbouring areas so could be a busy couple of weeks.

Next: More Vodafone 5G
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
So by now we've walked 8 miles and we arrive at the new Aldi in Kings Norton to test the Vodafone 5G service situated on top of Campion House.

This site is being upgraded today (Mon 1st March) according to Vodafone so a re-test is coming shortly.

In the meantime lets begin, with the NSG readout.

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First Five

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Campion House, From Aldi

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So its not my first time testing this mast but I've never approached from this side, either on the back side or to the left (on this photo)

When I got closer to the site the reason for the somewhat poor results may have be due to not being directly under any of the beams, as in this photo the cells face either directly away or to the left and right.

Another reason for it being slower than the previous mast site is due to lack of LTE spectrum (only Band 1 and 20 currently) lets see what happens with it after its upgrade.

Next: Has Vodafone missed something or is this good network management.
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
Has Vodafone missed something or is this good network management?

So for those of you who have or following my Testing: Three thread you may have have seen my comments about Three's coverage over-reaching and connecting when it was technically impossible to transfer data.

Well as I said there, I don't see this with Vodafone, now granted Vodafone doesn't have as densely populated network (less mast sites in one area) as Three/EE due to its licensing on previous technologies with lowers frequency spectrum (900mhz and 800mhz when LTE came in)

However Vodafone does have areas where it could actually connect 5G, but as another mast takes over on the LTE side it drops the 5G and will not reconnect until paired back with the the mast site that it is actually connected and sat on.

A prime example of this is a mast site in West Heath, Birmingham where both the Longbridge and Campion house masts cover with 4G and just stepping 100 meters from the West Heath site but still in line of sight the phone will switch to Longbridge's 5G sight for 4G and then negotiate 5G.

Now I will test the West Heath site in the coming week to show its 4G performance (it's very good) but this sight was also updated at the same time as the two neighboring 5G sites but due to limitations I don't think there was physically space for the 5G cells.

So Vodafone customs in the beams of this mast site don't get the 5G because the LTE mast don't have it, and in my opinion as much as that might seem to suck....

It's very good network management in my book, by keeping areas to strict to what they connect to makes for good bandwidth allocations, also means not as much pressure on the 5G network and also no extra draw on bandwidth from another site that could lead to a site being left with extra capacity and one with none.

Thanks for reading :)

Coming Next: A Walk down the river and "Oh, that's changed"
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
You should put this on Youtube, I'd watch. :)
Video editing will take ages, though.
Editing would be a pain but also wouldn't be able to shoot a video that conform to by standards, as I'm sort of racing against getting another job I'm seizing the moment currently to get as much of local area done and perfect the testing.

I guess the distant future will be trying to do a test per week, right now I'm building an image, hopefully I can get into central Birmingham to test the network whilst its a ghost town, this may well be a head to head if I can work it out.
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
So carrying on the hunt, 4G is now the only thing on screen but CellMapper doesn't know the mast..... hmmmm a newbie....

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Not bad for a quite little road quite some distance away from the mast too.




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Not bad for 25mhz of bandwidth,

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Found It:

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So I knew a new one was here somewhere because the the one for the area disappeared from the top of an old office block nearby,

While it looks impressive setup for both Vodafone and O2 (by the looks of it) I couldn't see any 5G kit on it, however looks may be deceiving, either way no 5G was broadcasting today and to be honest I couldn't work out if it was online or if the temporary mast to the left was actually what was broadcasting.

For a new mast in this area I would expect an array of 3CA LTE and 5G though so I'm guessing it not online yet

Ill be back at this one in the coming months to do O2 testing, so will update on Vodafone's part if anything to report.

More Coming Soon :)
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
If you did make a video, I would happily edit it for you in my spare time (Quite a lot of it lol) as i do have some experience in Da Vinci resolve and Premiere pro (None of the apple final cut crap)
 

Blu3fire

Regular Member
I'm totally fascinated by your threads, and this testing, even in if understand less than 50% of what is happening. :D

I concur that some YouTube type content would be something great to watch, and have some basic tutorial type info in there for the less wirelessly educated.
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
The Blends Right In mast on West Heath Island....

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This mast is quite a good performer, I've tested this mast up to 295mbps from a further distance.

Although this sits in the middle of two 5G sites that can cover the area around, it doesn't connect with 5G.
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
New: Been an interesting week in Birmingham for Vodafone, or at least according to their network status checker anyway... many mast sites have been getting "upgrades" though I should add that two of these mast sites have already had upgrades in recent months and one of them was adding 5G which I've tested above recently.

Today: Been for a walk this afternoon and been looking at O2 and Vodafone's 4G services in the Cofton/Rednal areas of Birmingham.

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So as can be seen above this is a small monopole mast stickered by Vodafone but also features O2's network under the Cornerstone (CTIL) agreement, this seems to show as Vodafone hosts Bands 1 and 20 here where O2 are limited to just Band 20 so naturally Vodafone performed better.

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This mast as can be seen from the photos is situated next to what is an on-going redevelopment in the area (the Old MG Rover site) and currently serves quite a dense housing area.

It is sure to note however that this mast site won't be in great demand for bandwidth from home users as new builds and existing dwellings are well served by Virgin Media Cable and Openreach FTTP services and a large area is just green land too.

Head over to my Testing: O2 Thread to see how the partner network performed.

Next: More Monopole testing.

Thanks for reading :)
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
And More: Next were testing another monopole, pretty much identicle setup to the previous but now we are on the busy A38 on the border of Longbridge and Rednal and this time we have a nearly level playing field for O2 and Vodafone as this mast sports both Band 1 and 20 for both the carriers.

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So how did Vodafone's network do just up the road then....

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So Vodafone does pack a fair punch in its 2CA monopoles to be fair, and if you've read the Testing: O2 Thread you will see they are pretty evenly matched in performance here though Vodafone has the extra 5Mhz of bandwidth on Band 1 and that shows with the higher upload speeds.

However this site does have a backup nearby to help balance the dense housing in the area and to the other side there is a larger mast site and also a large area of empty land awaiting re-development (Old MG Rover West Works site) so will be interesting to see how this mast matures.

Next: Even the good ones have bad days!

Thanks for reading :)
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
So heading back to base at the end of todays test walk I deciding to try some 5G testing through Vodafone and having already gotten good results from this mast in the past both 4G and 5G I thought I would see if I can break a record.

Well unfortunately no records where broken, the mast seemed to be suffering some problems both on 4G and 5G.

First the 4G:

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Next the 5G:

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It seems pretty clear here that some sort of backhaul issue was occurring and now wondering if there may be backhaul issue holding back the 5G on this site.

However this evening I've tested the site again, though this time from home so weaker signal, and I'm happy to say the performance on 4G is back to kick-ass levels

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Unfortunately I can't say the same for the 5G

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By the looks of it the 5G may well have stalled passing data, the 2CA 4G connected with the NR is doing the leg work, the difference between the 4G and 5G test in terms of lost download bandwidth is about the same as I would get from Band 20 (800mhz) operating alone

As you can see in the following I have forced the LTE to connect on Band 20 only and it is indeed making up the lost bandwidth on its own.

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This goes to show that 5G is very much new a temperamental and might be taking networks longer than they'd like to get used too, but at the same time might be showing the affects of launching services before they are ready to support it (ie. backhaul)

I think I will now broaden my testing with Vodafone's 5G so maybe a while before I have anymore updates for you, however....

Coming this weekend: I'm heading north to Newcastle and hope to bring back some interesting results.
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
Out in Stirchley, Birmingham today for a quick test of Vodafone's 4G, so without further delay lets get into it....

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Located at Lifford Lane, beside train tracks, but tested from the High St. (A441)

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Thanks for reading :)
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
5G testing of Vodafone in Newcastle Upon Tyne this week may not go ahead for Vodafone due to a lack of coverage being expected but expect to be able to share some other out of town testing in future :)

Testing will be focusing on O2's network over the next two weeks and then I will resuming the Vodafone 5G testing in the following weeks.

In the meantime I have a list of planned test sites coming soon and will be dialing back the Vodafone testing to my Pixel 4a (4G Only)

As usual thanks for reading and anybody wishes to join in on these threads please feel free to share a speedtest.net result and the wider the angle the clearer the picture :)
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
Good Evening, today was a miserable day for weather in Birmingham and an interesting day for faults with Vodafone with all the masts they recently had upgrade works completed having a issues that since being fixed have seen great improvements on 5G again in my area.

Anyway, I was in Selly Oak, Birmingham today grabbing some bits and tested 5G at a distance from Metchley Park near the QE Hospital.

Let's begin,
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So this mast seems to be a newer build site, and not yet located on CellMapper, as I didn't get near enough to it to lock its LTE cells, however its in the plans for O2's 5G testing and will be taking Vodafone along to scout LTE.

That brings me to the next first for Vodafone, this is the first time I've manged to get 5G locked on when using another mast for LTE, the mast I was actually connected to for 4G was this one which I'll be sharing next.

So the speed test's where pretty good, considering the issues plaguing my local area the past week. (hopefully fixed now)

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For a fairly busy retail area and right next to the cities main hospital I think this tested pretty well and the fact that the 4G mast wasn't exactly the greatest of performers I think this is a site that gives a good idea of what to expect, however more testing is coming soon from other areas.

Next: The 4G mast mentioned earlier.
 
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