1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. We recommend you enable 2FA on your OcUK forum account. Please see the thread here
    Dismiss Notice

****The Official 5G Home Broadband Thread**** (Three/EE/Vodafone/etc)

Discussion in 'Networks & Internet Connectivity' started by TallPaul_S, 20 Jan 2021.

  1. TallPaul_S

    Soldato

    Joined: 24 Mar 2011

    Posts: 6,340

    Location: Kent

    There's not a dedicated thread for 5G home broadband that I can see, and with Three's current offering at £27 a month for 24 months, with unlimited data, and the 1st 6 months at half price, 5G could now potentially be a replacement for fixed line broadband for some people.

    Myself included.

    Background: My house has a BT Openreach FTTC connection, and that's it. No Virgin media, no FTTP. Current sync rate on the Vodafone FTTC is 32mbps, but I've had a struggle getting that. Over the past 2 years the line from house to telegraph pole has been replaced along with the master socket, and a fault at the exchange fixed. At times it's been under 20mbps.

    Virgin Media did a big expansion to within a few hundred metres from me, but stopped there, and with no sign of them coming to my street any time soon, I started looking at options.

    The Three 5G coverage checker has me right on the edge of a 'no coverage' hole, probably due to the elevation, to the north (and between my house and the mast) is a dip where I doubt any connection would be possible. It also said the signal was good outdoors, I was .75km away from a good indoor signal.

    As Three offer a 30 day money back guarantee, I thought it would be worth a test to see if it could work. I placed the order with Three on Monday evening and it was delivered this morning. Once I got home, it took 5 minutes to 'install' it and get some semblance of an internet connection.

    This is the router that's supplied, the Huawei 5G CPE Pro:
    [​IMG]

    The 3 lights are (from the bottom up) Wifi, 4G connection and the most important one of all, 5G connection.

    The few hours that followed were spent trying every single window sill I could, to get a signal. I knew where my 5G mast was - 900m away as the crow flies, at probably 100ft higher elevation, with tree/houses etc in the way, but could I get a solid 5g signal for more than 5 minutes? No. Things were not looking good... Everything I'd read told me to place the router as close to a window as possible, don't have curtains drawn between the router and the window, and make sure it can see the sky.

    After this, I thought sod it, and paced the router on a bookshelf some 6ft inside the room, still facing the window at the correct angle, and.... constant 5g connection. Not a single drop out for 20 mins, 30 mins, 40 mins.... 1hr, 2hrs... hold on. I drew the thick blackout curtains. The signal remained. It was lower than what I was getting when I did get 5g on the window sill, but more importantly it was stable.

    I think the window frames were interfering with the signal, as raising the router into the middle of the window pan improved thing a bit, but not to get a reliable connection.

    [​IMG]

    So, what sort of speed does a relatively poor (25-50% according to the router, however it also shows 4 out of 5 bars) 5G signal, in the middle of a particularly wet and windy evening, and at the range limitation of a 5g mast, get you? Well, it's not currently the 5G headline speeds of 3/400mbps, that's for sure. But it is a HELL of a lot better than 25-30mbps. I'll have a further play with the router location tomorrow evening so see if I can further improve the signal, and to see what a clear day does regarding the signal.

    Now, I will say - on a good signal, I've often had 90-100mbps on my EE 4G phone connection, so to some this may seem poor - the ping on a 4G connection for gaming etc isn't really there yet, 5G improves upon this, and hopefully with favourable weather and a bit more fine tuning of the router location I can get a stable, regular 150mbps download speed. Remember, I'm 900m from the mast, with trees/houses etc in between and no line of sight. The fact I get any signal at all, is pretty remarkable, in fact.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Caged

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 24,403

    Those low single thread figures suggest Three's network is congested, which is hardly surprising as they seem to have a habit for that. I would suggest keeping a record of your speeds over time so that in the event of any obvious and sustained drop-off you have the evidence to be able to show that you should be released from your contract.

    I'm waiting to see what Teltonika and Mikrotik offer up for 5G before hopping on board - putting the radio on the outside of the house is going to be better than fighting with antenna cables.
     
  3. WJA96

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jul 2005

    Posts: 17,339

    Location: Norfolk, South Scotland

    You need to be inside 500m to get decent 5G communications. With direct line of sight.
     
  4. Haze

    Mobster

    Joined: 10 Jan 2007

    Posts: 3,807

    Probably not a dedicated thread, due to the massive amount of people that still can not get it
     
  5. TallPaul_S

    Soldato

    Joined: 24 Mar 2011

    Posts: 6,340

    Location: Kent

    I'm going to be keeping a very close eye on it over the next week or 2, but tbh stability is more important than speed, I work from home with a vpn connection so need a stable connection, I'd take a slightly slower connection of it's more stable.
    Yep, for the best connection I agree, but as this proves, you don't need to be that close to get a usable 5G signal.
    It's still early days but it's available in a lot of towns and cities now, obviously the majority of people who can get 5G will also be able to get superfast speed via a fixed line, but there's always people like me who's only option for fast Internet is this.

    And cost wise Three are the only real option at the moment. EE want £100 a month for a 200gb allowance, vodafone gigacube is £60 a month for unlimited data.
     
  6. Begbie

    Caporegime

    Joined: 20 Oct 2004

    Posts: 25,167

    Location: ....

    I'm suprised you don't have a stronger 4G available, I get 150ish with 4G in my area (no 5G here yet).
     
  7. thewanted

    Soldato

    Joined: 27 Jul 2007

    Posts: 5,419

    Great write up, thanks @TallPaul_S! My situation is similar to yours (albeit on EE) where the coverage checker says "outdoor only". Even with your poor signal your download speed is more than 2x my VDSL2 (FTTC). I do wish your upload was better though because sub-10mbit is disappointing.

    Are you tempted to install an external antenna? How is the ping jitter?
     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2021
  8. WJA96

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jul 2005

    Posts: 17,339

    Location: Norfolk, South Scotland

    If you want one, just start one. There’s no rules about who starts an ‘official’ thread. Just start a thread with ‘****The Official 5G Thread****’ and post some relevant stuff and you’ve done it!
     
  9. Haze

    Mobster

    Joined: 10 Jan 2007

    Posts: 3,807

    The reason im on 3 home broadband, is because i can get 750k from BT, or 3/4mb from 3 4G, can not get band 20 around here though, so even 4G sucks, im paying £22 unlimited
     
  10. TallPaul_S

    Soldato

    Joined: 24 Mar 2011

    Posts: 6,340

    Location: Kent

    I've tested 4g with EE (current phone contract) and three - EE at the front of the house barely gets 10mbps down and less than 1 mbps up. At the back, 20-30 down and 30 up. On Three, it's a similar story, slightly better at the front but not more than 20-30mbps at any time aside from 1am on EE where I've randomly seen 100mbps!
    As I understand it, the 4G signal is still used for upload, hence the poor figures compared to the download speeds. Annoyingly, I can get 20 down and 30 up on 4g alone out the back but there's zero 5g signal there :(

    An external antenna is definitely something I'll be looking into if the connection is stable, £150 they cost so not too bad. The ping jitter is OK but not the best, need to do more testing with this.

    Done! :D
     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2021
  11. TallPaul_S

    Soldato

    Joined: 24 Mar 2011

    Posts: 6,340

    Location: Kent

    Quick update. With much better weather, and some fine tuning of the location (I actually carted the thing all over the house before finding the original location was almost perfect), which turned out to be around 2-3ft away from the first spot, I'm now seeing 160-180mbps down, occasionally 200mbps, and 10-15mbps up.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Bear in mind this is my FTTC connection:
    [​IMG]

    Last week I downloaded COD Zombies which was 58GB on the PS5. The estimated time to download was 8-9 hours.
    I've just set off Doom Eternal which is 63GB and it's sating around 50 minutes. I'm flabbergasted. I timed it taking 45 seconds to download 1GB of data.
     
  12. ChrisD.

    Caporegime

    Joined: 20 Sep 2006

    Posts: 26,792

    5G is pretty awesome tech and a viable alternative to those less fortunate to be blessed with decent broadband.
     
  13. Royal Fleet

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 21 Nov 2007

    Posts: 1,064

    Location: Fleet, Hampshire

    Really interesting thread. Please keep us posted on your longer term views. I have a perception that mobile is more variable than wired so I would be interested to hear if that is your experience.

    Not that I can imagine as a suburban town and a house in a dip will mean I have it anytime soon...
     
  14. WJA96

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jul 2005

    Posts: 17,339

    Location: Norfolk, South Scotland

    Ive just done an install for a family in similar conditions with an 18m tower and they’re getting 140/140Mbps on EE 4G with a Mikrotik LHGG unit. They’re genuinely delighted (as am I because I’d promised to take it out again if it didn’t do over 50Mbps and it involved concrete and a BIG hole).
     
  15. TallPaul_S

    Soldato

    Joined: 24 Mar 2011

    Posts: 6,340

    Location: Kent

    The speed is certainly there, but it's the latency/stability which is the question for me too.

    Playing online on Warzone last night I was seeing 40-70ms ping with zero packet loss, and people were dropping fairly easily. Had a couple of times when the button presses weren't registering but that might not have been network.

    I've been in the office this week but will be WFH next week so will see how it is with a constant vpn connection, RDP connection, and VOIP calls.
     
  16. Caged

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 24,403

    What planning did you need for an 18m tower?

    I wish more people would put the SIM card in a remote box from the radios. The thought of having to climb a tower to swap a SIM isn't appealing.
     
  17. WJA96

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jul 2005

    Posts: 17,339

    Location: Norfolk, South Scotland

    Planning? In rural Norfolk? Yes, we did have to get planning consent but it was granted immediately as the location isn't anywhere contentious and it supposedly supported jobs in a small industrial unit on a farm.

    And the tower is hinged, so it basically folds over to work on the equipment at the top. Very little climbing involved. We used the manufacturer (WEC) for installation advice about guy cables etc. and the size of the foundation base. The location is on a farm, so the farm manager just dug us a big hole and we poured the bases for the tower and the guy cables and then bolted the tower down.
     
  18. Efour

    Caporegime

    Joined: 8 Sep 2005

    Posts: 27,042

    Location: Norrbotten, Sweden.

    I'm currently stuck on 4G and 5G is launching here in my town within the next months.
    Im impressed by those pings.
    LOS isn't going to be a choice but i hardly live in a built up area. I could get some kind of roof mounting going on id have to investigate.
    im 440m as the crow flies to where i think the cell tower is, more research needed.
    I'm a bit peeved on the price here. the Huawei 5G routers start at about 5000kr which is roughly 500 quid :/

    Final issue and id appreciate some answers on this..
    THere's no 5G contracts for mobile internet yet, just Sim only deals for phones i know it will work but is there a huge downside doing it like that?
    THe 5G router will bridge directly into the home network.
     
  19. TallPaul_S

    Soldato

    Joined: 24 Mar 2011

    Posts: 6,340

    Location: Kent

    All good so far, the 5g signal does drop in stability a little when it's raining, but moving the router 2ft solves that issue, with slightly lower speeds (100mbps), so not really a big issue. Still getting between 100-200mbps peak depending on the time of day, weather etc, averaging around 150-160mbps.

    [​IMG]

    The only other issue I'm having is the wifi signal isn't the best on the router, right next to the device it's great - full speed up to 200mbps. But the next room over, or anywhere further and it's very inconsistent, ranging from 20-30mbps right down to 5mpbps, so I'm going to look at getting a cheap mesh wifi system to improve the coverage. A cheap system with 10/100 port should will give 80-90mbps everywhere which is more than enough for wifi, and my PS5, main PC and work laptop are all hardwire to a gigabit switch with the CPE pro router so they will get full speed.

    I'll be working from home Mon/Tues this week so that will be a proper test, with a constant VPN and RDP connection for 8.5hrs. Had no issues with gaming, got a win on Warzone and not noticed an lag issues.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jan 2021
  20. tsinc80697

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 10 Apr 2006

    Posts: 7,616

    Location: North West

    I tested 4 Huawei routers and most of them have terrible wifi signal. I've now wired in my Asus RT-AC86U and disabled the Huawei wifi. It's much better as a temporary solution.

    I tried the Eero mesh but it lasted 30 minutes before going back. It's fine when you're right next to the unit wired to the router, but when you're using the 2nd or 3rd Eero the speed is terrible.

    Most of the house has cat5 wiring in place, just not terminated/face plate in most rooms so that's my next job. Wiring in each Eero would create much less of a speed drop but the fact they did it from 10 foot away I thought they might as well go back.