Question regarding mobile internet routers

Iolgz

Posts: 10   +0
Hi all,

I'm not sure this is the best place to ask this question as it's not strictly PC related, but thought I would give it a shot.

For the last year or so, I have been using mobile internet as a means for home broadband, due to my flat having old broadband infrastructure (copper wires, allowing maximum of 12mbps speeds) which seems for the most part to fare slightly better than wired currently until something better is fitted.

I have been using a Huawei AI Cube B900-300, which has served me ok, but recently I have been searching for something which could fetch me slightly better speeds (speeds vary anywhere between 10-25mbps UP and roughly 10mbps DOWN, although it does vary depending on different factors), so I recently bought a TP-Link MR6400 router, mainly because it has external SMA antennas, whereas the Huawei does not, along with that I have bought an omnidirectional antenna I plan to stick near a window for better signal, which I'm hoping may up speeds slightly (not received as of writing this, will update as per results).

After a lot of messing about trying to do what I can to speed things up, it got me thinking as to why my phone internet, which runs off the same carrier as the SIM installed in both previous routers, gets speeds up to around 100mbps, often 5 or 10x that which I receive from the routers, in the same room, at the same time.

My understanding is that phones are fitted which much higher grade hardware, namely the CAT number being much higher. The Huawei is a Cat6 and the TP-Link is a Cat4 but has the advantage of external antennas.

My question is: If I was to purchase a more expensive router, like say, a Huawei B818-263 which is a Cat19, will this inherently bring me faster speeds?

I appreciate any replies in advance and apologies for the essay!
 

Gabriel Pike

Posts: 237   +61
So, I don't have experience with Huawei but I do have some LTE experience. I think you already touched on why this happens. There is a huge difference between what a Cat 6 device and a Cat 4 device can do. Lets for simplicity sake just say that a Cat 4 is inferior to a Cat 6. Have you talked to your provider about the issue? They should be able to explain and offer suggestions.
 

Iolgz

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Hi thanks for your reply. Yes I have but my provider offers very little in the way of mobile broadband routers themselves - they mostly do small "MiFi" boxes, the ones you charge that are ment for portability etc. Which is why I have tried sourcing a more capable device myself.

All I'm wondering is, if I was to purchase a Cat19 router, would it likely bring me better speeds than what both the Cat4 and Cat6 routers do? It's a lot more expensive so just wanted to check before spending the money.
 

Endymio

Posts: 701   +565
Cat6 has a maximum download rate of 300mb/sec. Cat19 is something like 5 times this -- but I seriously doubt you'll receive any benefit from that, for the following reasons. First of all, your LTE carrier has to support Cat19 in your particular area. But more importantly, you''re not receiving anywhere near the maximum Cat6 rate now. The fact that your upload rates are higher than your download is also troublesome, as this is the opposite of what you should normally see. It sounds as if you are either having some signal strength or interference issues, or perhaps your bottleneck is elsewhere.

A few things you can do to test are to see what speeds you get from using your phone as a mobile hotspot, as well as trying your pc from a wired connection back to your existing LTE router.
 

Iolgz

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  • #5
Cat6 has a maximum download rate of 300mb/sec. Cat19 is something like 5 times this -- but I seriously doubt you'll receive any benefit from that, for the following reasons. First of all, your LTE carrier has to support Cat19 in your particular area. But more importantly, you''re not receiving anywhere near the maximum Cat6 rate now. The fact that your upload rates are higher than your download is also troublesome, as this is the opposite of what you should normally see. It sounds as if you are either having some signal strength or interference issues, or perhaps your bottleneck is elsewhere.

A few things you can do to test are to see what speeds you get from using your phone as a mobile hotspot, as well as trying your pc from a wired connection back to your existing LTE router.

Hi. Yes I have done a test on my phone, I tethered it to my pc and was receiving speeds of around 100mbps. I don't have WiFi on my PC so I used USB tethering.
 

Endymio

Posts: 701   +565
So your current connection PC->router is by a wired connection? Are you using a nic (network card) in your PC or a port on the motherboard? Also, do you know if the cable is Cat5 or Cat6?
 

Iolgz

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Correct. It's into a port on my motherboard. The cable is Cat 7. I've used my pc in different locations and gotten higher (wired) internet speeds.

I'll attach some speed tests done from phone and one done from pc wired to LTE router. In same location, same room. The higher one is of course my phone.

I'm wondering whether, depending what bands my local masts use, if the phone able to utilise more bands etc, hence the faster speeds? I haven't really got a clue so just shooting in the dark with limited knowledge!
 

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Endymio

Posts: 701   +565
Well, it sounds as if you've definitely pinpointed the LTE portion of the router as the issue. Have you gone into the firmware on the Huawei or the TP-Link and verified the LTE settings, looked at the traffic and interface statistics, etc?
 
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Iolgz

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Well, it sounds as if you've definitely pinpointed the LTE portion of the router as the issue. Have you gone into the firmware on the Huawei or the TP-Link and verified the LTE settings, looked at the traffic and interface statistics, etc?
No, I'm not experienced with LTE and wouldn't know what to look for? If you're able to briefly explain I can give it a go!
 

Endymio

Posts: 701   +565
I don't know the firmware on either of those routers (you should probably repost this to the tech support forum for them) but there's going to be a wealth of information in there. You should be able to verify MIMO is enabled, see if you're getting large numbers of transmission errors, and so on. It could be that for some reason they're connecting at Cat 3, for instance.
 
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Iolgz

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I don't know the firmware on either of those routers (you should probably repost this to the tech support forum for them) but there's going to be a wealth of information in there. You should be able to verify MIMO is enabled, see if you're getting large numbers of transmission errors, and so on. It could be that for some reason they're connecting at Cat 3, for instance.
I've just run another test - I received my external 4g antenna today, so plugged it into the TPLINK and while it gave me less interference, better dBi etc it topped at around 20mbps DL, ran the Huawei (which is Cat6 as opposed to 4) and even without an external antenna it was giving me around 32mbps, so I'm pretty sure it's not a signal issue!

I have jumped in the deep end and bought the new Huawei Cat19 router (B818), arriving tomorrow, done some research and while I'm unaware of the technological reasons behind it, it reportedly brings much higher speeds (carrier aggregation?).

I shall report back with findings!
 

Iolgz

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I don't know the firmware on either of those routers (you should probably repost this to the tech support forum for them) but there's going to be a wealth of information in there. You should be able to verify MIMO is enabled, see if you're getting large numbers of transmission errors, and so on. It could be that for some reason they're connecting at Cat 3, for instance.
Just a thought - could it possibly be the difference in supported MIMO layers? Cat 4 supports 2, 6 supports up to 4 and 19 supports up to 8.
 

Endymio

Posts: 701   +565
It's not surprising that Your Cat6 router would have higher bandwidth to your Cat4, and yes the addl. MIMO antennas are a big part of that. What's surprising is that, by your original post, that you were only getting 10Mb/s downloads, on (as I understood) both routers, though both of them support much higher speeds.
 

Iolgz

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It's not surprising that Your Cat6 router would have higher bandwidth to your Cat4, and yes the addl. MIMO antennas are a big part of that. What's surprising is that, by your original post, that you were only getting 10Mb/s downloads, on (as I understood) both routers, though both of them support much higher speeds.
At the time of writing yes that's correct.

I'm sure there are other factors that aren't in my favour, such as mast coverage, interference etc. According to mast maps, I'm right on the edge of two different cell towers coverage, so that would impede my speeds straight off the bat. My signal strength is at around -90dbi which I believe is average-poor signal strength but unfortunately cannot change that!

My hope is that I'm receiving a certain speed per MIMO layer (which we have established is slower than is should be, but what can you do), thus increasing supported layers may multiply total received speeds. Although I'm unsure if that is how it works!
 

Endymio

Posts: 701   +565
According to mast maps, I'm right on the edge of two different cell towers coverage, so that would impede my speeds straight off the bat. My signal strength is at around -90dbi which I believe is average-poor signal strength
But your phone in the exact same spot gives you ten times the bandwidth, 100mbps downloads, yes? That indicates another issue is involved, as your phone should have inferior antenna to a good-quality router.
 

Iolgz

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But your phone in the exact same spot gives you ten times the bandwidth, 100mbps downloads, yes? That indicates another issue is involved, as your phone should have inferior antenna to a good-quality router.
Correct, yes. Peaks at 100 on a good day, anywhere @ around 80ish otherwise.

That again brings me back to the catagory of the networking chip in both devices, along with processors etc. New phones are what, Cat 21 onwards nowadays? With good CPUs to back it all up. Tell me if that's irrelevant though.

I appreciate your time and helpful replies, by the way, I know very little on the subject!
 

Iolgz

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But your phone in the exact same spot gives you ten times the bandwidth, 100mbps downloads, yes? That indicates another issue is involved, as your phone should have inferior antenna to a good-quality router.
Hi again.

Just wanted to update you on situation. I received my Huawei B818 router today.

I am very happy to say that I am now getting DL speed of up to 80mbps! A lot of money but in my eyes worth it. Great little device!

Thanks for all your help and take care.
 

jobeard

Posts: 13,977   +1,778
Strictly speaking, CAT{4,5,6,7,8} refers to IEEE Cable specs and not router capabilities.

Category 5, 5e, 6, 6a and 7 Cable Standards​
can be seen here:​
It's great that your router change got you a better device which apparently thrives on better cables :)
 

Gabriel Pike

Posts: 237   +61
Strictly speaking, CAT{4,5,6,7,8} refers to IEEE Cable specs and not router capabilities.

Category 5, 5e, 6, 6a and 7 Cable Standards​
can be seen here:​
It's great that your router change got you a better device which apparently thrives on better cables :)

Not quite. See below:
 

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Endymio

Posts: 701   +565
We differ in opinion -- I was referencing IEEE standards
You were confused by the terminology. The LTE standard also has categories just like the IEEE cable standards; it was those to which we were referring. LTE router capabilities are indeed demarcated by these categories.