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Will Three address mast contention? Lets find out!

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
I've currently in the process of having another go at pestering Three to resolve the contention on my mast, especially so after 5pm every day. I contacted them initially Monday via web-chat, explained the contention issue and got a month credited to my bill immediately. 2nd line support then called me back yesterday and seemed more keen to resolve it this time. The tech was keen for me to set my router to 4g only, so I presume it'd not drop to 3g automatically which I did.

Then last-night around 7pm I went back to web-chat to report I was back to the usual sub 2Mbps evening download speeds and got another month credit to my account.

I've been doing some speed tests today and it certainly looks like mast contention to me. 3x tests back to back recording the low and high, I'm seeing the following patterns appear as the day goes on..... (this is with the B535-232 router on my desk with the bunny ears by the chimney breast connected to bands 1 and 3.)

7am 90-102Mbps-down 18-25Mbps up with 60ms latency
8am 51-57Mbps down 13-15Mbps up with 63ms latency
8:30am 32-130Mbps down 20Mbps up with 60ms latency
9am 19-60Mbps down 14Mbps up with 60ms latency
10am 18-38Mbps down 13-16Mbps up with 53ms latency
10:30am 35-68Mbps down 15-17Mbps up with 60ms latency

What stands out is the gap between low to high from doing tests back to back, it seems an issue with load balancing as much as mast bandwidth availability to me. Higher upload availability appears to coincide with higher download bandwidth speeds too.

I'm expecting sub 2Mbps by 6pm as usual today, but we'll see how things pan out.....
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
I've currently in the process of having another go at pestering Three to resolve the contention on my mast, especially so after 5pm every day. I contacted them initially Monday via web-chat, explained the contention issue and got a month credited to my bill immediately. 2nd line support then called me back yesterday and seemed more keen to resolve it this time. The tech was keen for me to set my router to 4g only, so I presume it'd not drop to 3g automatically which I did.

Then last-night around 7pm I went back to web-chat to report I was back to the usual sub 2Mbps evening download speeds and got another month credit to my account.

I've been doing some speed tests today and it certainly looks like mast contention to me. 3x tests back to back recording the low and high, I'm seeing the following patterns appear as the day goes on..... (this is with the B535-232 router on my desk with the bunny ears by the chimney breast connected to bands 1 and 3.)

7am 90-102Mbps-down 18-25Mbps up with 60ms latency
8am 51-57Mbps down 13-15Mbps up with 63ms latency
8:30am 32-130Mbps down 20Mbps up with 60ms latency
9am 19-60Mbps down 14Mbps up with 60ms latency
10am 18-38Mbps down 13-16Mbps up with 53ms latency
10:30am 35-68Mbps down 15-17Mbps up with 60ms latency

What stands out is the gap between low to high from doing tests back to back, it seems an issue with load balancing as much as mast bandwidth availability to me. Higher upload availability appears to coincide with higher download bandwidth speeds too.

I'm expecting sub 2Mbps by 6pm as usual today, but we'll see how things pan out.....
I've never had a problem with speeds this slow but I do see slower speeds of around 20 down 12 up in the evening (About the time you specified). I honestly think that it isn't the amount of users on the mast, it's the amount of masts sharing the backhaul (Microwave towers that are a couple miles away). They used to be really fast round here (Over 150 Mbps whatever time of day) but recently EE & Three have been building lots of masts in neighbouring villages to help with the signal in some areas. I noticed that every time they switched on a new mast, our speed got slower and slower and slower.
 

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
I'd like to know more about how to pinpoint where microwaves are used on masts and the hops required to reach a fibre, and which mast's are hard-lined into fibre but obviously carriers aren't keen to publish that information anywhere.
 

Gandi69

Pro Member
Ive been moaning at 3 on social media about speeds, managed to get through to their social media chat team and they've knocked 50% off my bill as a good will gesture. I can also apparently cancel my contract any time within the first 6 months, after that I cannot. I am going to push for the discount every month until its fixed.
I know myself it should get resolved sometime soon when they finally switch on their newly built tower about 500 yards from my property.
However this tower still has no antennas on it yet but I have noticed that there is a fresh trench running to it which I'd hazard a guess is them connecting it up to the fibre feeds.
Unfortunately the help Team @ three cannot tell me anything about this, just coming back with the usual stock answers and no concrete info. The only way I know anything at all about any of it is from the good people of this forum.

My speeds seem to be as follows, with upload generally always being acceptable at all times.

9.30am-5pm between 12-20mb down and 22-28 up.
5pm-11pm - 7-15mb down and 22-28 up
11pm-3am - 12-25mb down and 25-31 up
3am-9.30am - 22-45mb down and 28-31 up.

Clearly a lot of usage on the mast i'm connected to in the busy periods of the day.

Im using a 535-232 and panaroma DMM-7-38 antenna positioned externally with as near as line of site to the current tower as possible. The elements will probably destroy the antenna in time as its outside but it is sheltered under an awning.

In all honestly, i'd not have complained at all if I could get some consistency from it ie: if it didnt go below 30mbit down or similar but its when its under 8mb then using the connection for daily work/streaming becomes problematic
 

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
That really is shocking throughout the day! Hopefully they'll get your new mast up and running soon (bet you can get 5g with it too!). I had also pretty much given up complaining, but i'm next 2 months free now, so might be 3 months free by the end of tonight!
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
I'd like to know more about how to pinpoint where microwaves are used on masts and the hops required to reach a fibre, and which mast's are hard-lined into fibre but obviously carriers aren't keen to publish that information anywhere.
You'll see a microwave dish (or multiple) on a site if it is either a hub site, a site in the middle of a chain, or at the end of a chain.
If there is no dish then it'll be a hard wire link of some description.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
You'll see a microwave dish (or multiple) on a site if it is either a hub site, a site in the middle of a chain, or at the end of a chain.
If there is no dish then it'll be a hard wire link of some description.
The mast I'm connected to has 5 microwave links on it and growing. Sometimes when I walk past it another one appears.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
The mast I'm connected to has 5 microwave links on it and growing. Sometimes when I walk past it another one appears.
That one sounds like a hub site to me - where other masts connect back to for their hardwired connection to the network. If you say there are 5 (though likely for different providers) I'd expect the hardwire connection to be suitably beefy to deliver the capacity for those additional child sites.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
That one sounds like a hub site to me - where other masts connect back to for their hardwired connection to the network. If you say there are 5 (though likely for different providers) I'd expect the hardwire connection to be suitably beefy to deliver the capacity for those additional child sites.
I used to get 100+ Mbps like I said before but then they keep adding more sites on and it just gets slower and slower and slower. The most recent one was a new monopole that they built in Denholme (Next village over) and that one is for sure microwaves onto the hub site I'm connected to. The link points in the exact direction of the Hub site.
 

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
Three just rang me back again, they've accepted it's contention on my mast and I've been told things will improve in time (but they can't give me a date.) So I'll be back on to webchat tonight when it reaches 2Mbps I guess.
 

Gandi69

Pro Member
Three just rang me back again, they've accepted it's contention on my mast and I've been told things will improve in time (but they can't give me a date.) So I'll be back on to webchat tonight when it reaches 2Mbps I guess.
I had a call from them back in early feb saying the same thing. Was told to just "stick it out" for now. As usual no dates given on fixes. My postcode also has disappeared from the 3 mobile broadband checker too and services are no longer offered in my area, which i put to three via social media and then its back around again to the "keep waiting it may improve" or the "we can send you a new sim card" stuff which we all know does nothing except buy them time (and buys you downtime whilst they cancel your old one and post a new one to you)
 

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
are you guys out in the sticks?
I wouldn't say I'm in the sticks. Just living in a valley with around 3000 homes within a mile of the mast. "Stick it out" must be on their crib sheet currently. My 2pm speed test was 15Mbps, 69Mbps , 40Mbps, all within 30 seconds of each other, which speaks volumes.
 

Gandi69

Pro Member
I wouldn't say I'm in the sticks. Just living in a valley with around 3000 homes within a mile of the mast. "Stick it out" must be on their crib sheet currently. My 2pm speed test was 15Mbps, 69Mbps , 40Mbps, all within 30 seconds of each other, which speaks volumes.
Im in the suburbs of a large town/city so probably lots of people using this mast in my area.
I find my speeds gradually go down the more I do, rather odd behavior.
 

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
Well, back on Three Webchat this morning (sub 2Mbps down and 0.6Mbps up 100ms latency, from 6pm last night). They appear more keen to resolve it now. My complaint has been escalated apparently and a field team is booked to fix my mast with next Monday being the completion date.

I'm rather skeptical about this as the three network checker is very good at just adding another week to the end date, its been doing this since last November.

So fingers crossed I've shaken enough tree's this time to get them to sort it out.
 

Buggerlugz

ULTIMATE Member
You'll see a microwave dish (or multiple) on a site if it is either a hub site, a site in the middle of a chain, or at the end of a chain.
If there is no dish then it'll be a hard wire link of some description.
Are they the round flat fronted ones like a flan tray? There is a little one on my mast but its only about the size of a dinner plate.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Are they the round flat fronted ones like a flan tray? There is a little one on my mast but its only about the size of a dinner plate.
That's a microwave dish if I've ever seen one! Since there is only one (I'm guessing?) that means your tower is microwave linked onto another one, that's your reason for slow speed when there's a lot of users. You might possibly be sharing the fibre connection of multiple masts like i am.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
I might add that it seems to be more EE & 3 masts that use Microwave. I've only seen the odd O2/Vodafone mast that has it. They seem a lot better at rolling out their fibre network. It wasn't really a problem for them here I don't think as the Voda mast that serves me here is right next to a phone exchange lol. Just a thought.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
I might add that it seems to be more EE & 3 masts that use Microwave. I've only seen the odd O2/Vodafone mast that has it. They seem a lot better at rolling out their fibre network. It wasn't really a problem for them here I don't think as the Voda mast that serves me here is right next to a phone exchange lol. Just a thought.
This is likely because EE/Three use 1800mhz for their base 4G network and as such need a much more dense network of masts to provide the same coverage as Vodafone/O2 for their 800mhz base 4G network. It's likely easier/cheaper to MW a mast than run a fast hardwired cable/fibre - or at least it probably was in the past, now I'd expect there to be a much wider fibre network available at least in urban/suburban areas.
 
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