4G Internet

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martyn94
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4G Internet

Post by martyn94 » Tue 30 Oct 2018 16:39

I had intended to post asking for advice, but the site was on holiday so I went ahead anyway.

The big storm ten days ago fried the internet on my freebox, and I got so brassed off trying to report the fault that I started thinking about what my freebox sub was worth. We had managed perfectly well for a few days with WiFi hotspots on our mobile phones, so I thought about switching to 4G full time (encouraged by the fact that Allan has seemed to find it OK).

I bought a TP-Link router on Amazon for about €75, and signed up to the best data deal I could find - €8.90 a month for 80 gigs, for a year, and then falling back to free’s standard €15.99/€19.99 tariff. Which is better than just shy of €40 a month for ADSL.

So far, it has been entirely OK. Usually a lot faster than my old ADSL connection (25-30 Mbps against 12Mps), and never worse, even around tea-time when the kids get home from school. I have lost my landline number, which no-one ever rings, the Blu-Ray player on my freebox (but I have no Blu-Ray discs), and lots of useless TV channels and other gimmicks on the freebox that I never used. So it seems all good.

A few questions for anyone that might know

- the last time I looked at this, a few years ago, there was some question that free might get a bit snotty if you used their sims (designed for telephone service) permanently in a modem. I’ve seen no hint of this so far, and from what I gather of Allan’s experience, he hasn’t either. Is that right?

- how reliable are they? Mine seems to have dropped for 5 or ten minutes a couple of times, but nothing serious.

- what about an aerial? I have no concerns about signal strength here, but a 4g rig might be good at my gaff in Normandy on the rare occasions I go back there. It has apparently got 4g coverage since I was last there, but I know that my house is geographically challenged. Does an external aerial make a lot of difference? The router I’ve bought, without thinking very hard, has no outlet for an external aerial. Can anyone recommend one which has, and the aerial to go with it? (And ideally the cable to go between them: the last time I looked, there seemed to be a mad variety of different possible terminations).

Allan
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Re: 4G Internet

Post by Allan » Tue 30 Oct 2018 22:23

I’ve been happily using SIMs from Free for data for nearly 2 years with no issues. I have scoured Free’s terms and conditions and have found no mention of any restriction on their use, so I think the stories are just an urban myth.

I’ve found 4G very reliable, certainly more so that the ADSL that I had from Orange.

As for an external aerial, I use Huaweii B315 routers which can take an external aerial. When I first started with 4G I used Bouygues and the external aerial made a significant difference but since I switched to Free it makes little difference so presume I now have a stronger signal.

The aerial that I have is https://www.3grouterstore.co.uk/3G/Full ... tenna.html

What I have found is that height makes a considerable difference, I have 2 routers in weatherproof boxes high up on an outside wall the same side of the house as the transmitter.

A point to note about TP-Link equipment, it often has a setting for the country in which it is installed. This does very little other than limit the router’s Wi-Fi signal strength and equipment configured for use in th US generally has stronger Wi-Fi. You might be breaching an obscure communications rule but my outdoor access point doubled its range when I changed the country to USA.

I know you are not bothered about UK TV but a VPN running over Free’s 4G seems to suffer a significant overhead and provides a much slower speed.

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Gus Morris
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Re: 4G Internet

Post by Gus Morris » Wed 31 Oct 2018 12:16

This subject of this topic is way beyond my capabilities to give advice.

I would, however, like to inject a bit of balance. Concerning Orange. I live virtually at the end of the line. My Orange subscription costs just over one Euro a day. For this I get phone calls via VOIP, unlimited calls to land lines in the UK and USA, unrestricted broadband with speeds adequate for my needs and a mobile phone. I too have had my telecoms destroyed by lightning. Orange sorted it all within a couple of days.

Gus

martyn94
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Re: 4G Internet

Post by martyn94 » Wed 31 Oct 2018 14:06

I can’t speak for Allan, but I doubt that there is anything specially bad about Orange. Any ADSL service from anyone is going to be delivered over Orange’s “historic” local wires in any event. The quality of your service will largely depend on how long they are (and how often they’ve been patched): never very long in Port Vendres, and probably not so often patched as mine in Normandy where they are regularly mistaken for gibier by the local hunters.

I had a deal much like yours, from free, but being struck by lightning set me thinking whether I needed all the bells and whistles given that we already have much the same telephone deal on each of two mobile phones. So far, I’m happy to get my basic needs covered for €8.90 a month.

martyn94
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Re: 4G Internet

Post by martyn94 » Wed 31 Oct 2018 14:27

Allan wrote:
Tue 30 Oct 2018 22:23
I’ve been happily using SIMs from Free for data for nearly 2 years with no issues. I have scoured Free’s terms and conditions and have found no mention of any restriction on their use, so I think the stories are just an urban myth.

I’ve found 4G very reliable, certainly more so that the ADSL that I had from Orange.

As for an external aerial, I use Huaweii B315 routers which can take an external aerial. When I first started with 4G I used Bouygues and the external aerial made a significant difference but since I switched to Free it makes little difference so presume I now have a stronger signal.

The aerial that I have is https://www.3grouterstore.co.uk/3G/Full ... tenna.html

What I have found is that height makes a considerable difference, I have 2 routers in weatherproof boxes high up on an outside wall the same side of the house as the transmitter.

A point to note about TP-Link equipment, it often has a setting for the country in which it is installed. This does very little other than limit the router’s Wi-Fi signal strength and equipment configured for use in th US generally has stronger Wi-Fi. You might be breaching an obscure communications rule but my outdoor access point doubled its range when I changed the country to USA.

I know you are not bothered about UK TV but a VPN running over Free’s 4G seems to suffer a significant overhead and provides a much slower speed.
Many thanks for this. The speed is quite enough for me here using the internal aerials (I can see the local free antenna through my bathroom window), but it may well be good to know when I’m next in Normandy.

I’ve used the higher power US WiFi signal on an older router, but this one doesn’t seem to have the option, but the signal is pretty good everywhere as it is.

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