I have been using Spark 4G rural wireless broadband for over two years. Apart from some early variability, the connection has been consistently solid since March this year with 90 – 100 Mb/s download and 40-50 Mb/s upload. My computer connection is Ethernet, not Wifi.
My house in the Western Bay of Plenty is on the top of a 100m hill with no obstruction to the tower on the next hill, 2 km away. The modem faces the tower through glass doors. The modem statistics for signal quality and strength are excellent and are unaffected by the speed problem.
RSRQ = -3dB, RSRP = -77 dBm, SINR = 21 dB.
The download speed dropped dramatically in the first week of October to 1-5 Mb/s. After no improvement I lodged a fault call with Spark on 8 October. Resets at both ends didn’t help. A replacement modem was supplied but it made no difference and the issue was sent back to the network team on 20 October. After no response I chased up the fault call on 31 Oct and went through another reset without success.
Spark said the issue couldn’t be escalated unless I recorded speed tests over a day and sent them via email after which I would be called back the next morning (1 Nov). A couple of dozen test results were recorded and emailed, covering 7.40 am to 10.40pm, mainly for 31 Oct but some were recorded during the previous days. Min/Max downloads = 1.74 – 7.99 Mb/s. Min/Max uploads = 13.81 – 37.29 Mb/s. There was no call-back and no response to the email.
As the one-month anniversary of the speed drop approaches and considering Spark’s comment to me that I should expect drops with more network users and time of day, I wonder if I’m being softened up to accept this as the new normal.
I changed to wireless as the ADSL was poor at <5 Mb/s but the local cabinet has since been upgraded and I would get 20 Mb/s if I changed back. Incidentally, I also tested a Spark cellphone 4G connection to the same tower (wifi turned off) and got 2/3 Mb/s download. I tested a Vodafone 4G cellphone at the same time to a Vodafone tower 8-10 km away, partially obstructed, and got 55 Mb/s download and a later one at 90 Mb/s.