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27 posts

Geek
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# 248685 5-Apr-2019 15:07
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I've been talking to Vodafone on and off for a while about my RBI.  I'm wondering if anyone else has similar issues.

 

I'm near Rotorua, and I have line of sight to a 3G cell site.  My RBI connects with 5 bars, but it drops out intermittently, at which time we get no internet at all.  We also have two mobile phones with Vodafone (both iPhone Xr), and if we take them off the wifi then they also can connect, we can make calls, but get no data connectivity. 

 

There's a 4G site the next lake over, we get 1-2 bars of reception from that.  If I tell the RBI modem to connect exclusively on 4G then it connects to that site, and we get consistent data connectivity (albeit a little slow - around 4Mbps).  But if I switch back to the closest site on 3G, then we have no data.

 

The problem is intermittent, so it'll start going again after a while.  But it's flaky enough that we can't really leave the modem connected to the closest 3G site, and the 4G site is far enough away that it sometimes drops out (when it rains etc), so we can't leave it connected there either. 

 

It seems to me that:

 

     

  1. This must be a network issue, since it affects all our devices, not just the RBI
  2. It must be something wrong in the configuration of the cell site itself, because we still have connectivity to it and can make phone calls through it (to talk to Vodafone and complain), but no data

 

Has anyone else had issues like this?  Is it believable that Vodafone would have a faulty cell site / faulty cell site configuration, and both never have noticed and never have fixed it?

 

Next, of course, the Vodafone customer support is really friendly and really useless.  I've just called for the third (fourth?) time.  Each time they've insisted that we reboot, then reset the RBI modem (despite the fact the phones don't work either), then finally understood the phones don't work either, then failed to understand that the RBI works when connected to the neighbouring cell site.  I've gone through half an hour or more of trouble shooting, then they log a ticket.

 

The last ticket was INC2596910, I just called and refused to do the diagnostics (yet again), and asked for status on the ticket instead.  Apparently a tech had looked at it and it was with Downer, who hadn't called to make an appointment.  I've said I don't want Downer, because that's a waste of time - the problem isn't at my end.  Apparently the guy on the phone couldn't do anything about that, so I made him raise another ticket (now ticket INC2606264) this time being very specific that I want a Vodafone tech to call me, not a Downer tech to come out and look at my modem that I already factory reset and fiddled with for them despite there being nothing wrong with it.

 

Anyway, we'll see what the next steps are, and any advice gratefully received.  My next step is probably to cancel my Vodafone and move to Spark - the reception isn't as good here, but it's a 4G site and I actually get service from them when I call them.


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830 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 2211392 5-Apr-2019 15:17
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Are you useing internal or external antenna?

 

 

 

If you are using internal you should get external antenna and point towards the 4G transmitter.

 

Do you know if the 4G transmitter is 700MHz or 1800MHz?

 

Something like this https://www.gowifi.co.nz/specs/Ant-228_datasheet.pdf or two of these https://www.gowifi.co.nz/700-directional/ant-205.html will improve your reception and speed no end and you will be able to forget the 3G site.

 

If your not in to DIY @coffeebaron might come to your neck of the woods to install.

 

John





I know enough to be dangerous




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  # 2211395 5-Apr-2019 15:43
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Hmm.  I hadn't thought about an antenna to make the 4G more reliable.  It might make it faster too - when it's working the 3G is faster than the 4G (due to being closer), with an antenna I might get both speed and stability.  It's the Huawei B315, which provides no information and almost no user customisation, so I don't know what frequency, although I could look up the sites to see what they broadcast on and take a guess.

 

Still seems to me that the site I can see out my window should work.  


 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek
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  # 2211396 5-Apr-2019 15:48
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I will check my B315 when I get home.

 

I am within spitting distance off three vodafone cell site but I connect to one which is miles away, I also get decent speed approx 40 / 40 on a good day with internal antenna.

 

The advantage of 4G is that it is faster, the downside of 4G is you can go through your data caps faster.

 

John





I know enough to be dangerous




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  # 2211398 5-Apr-2019 15:55
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Maybe I should let the Downer guy come out, he'd probably install an antenna for me so as to resolve the ticket, and that'll be Vodafone's expense not mine.  Hmmmm.

 

Another easy solution would be for Vodafone to upgrade the cell site I see out my window to 4G.  It's often overloaded in summer anyway, so that would make sense.  I guess when you're not making any money and making staff redundant that network upgrades probably aren't a priority.


Fat bottom Trump
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  # 2211425 5-Apr-2019 16:43
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I have had similar issues for years. The site I depend on is often overloaded and my connection goes to hell, especially during school holidays. It is 4G and has been upgraded, but is still congested. I have two external antennas.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 




27 posts

Geek
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  # 2211433 5-Apr-2019 17:08
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Ah well.  Roll on SpaceX and Starlink I guess.  Unless someone wants to give me a fibre rollout, I guess that's the best solution that I'll get.


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Ultimate Geek
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  # 2211507 5-Apr-2019 22:07
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On my B315 I log into it, then log in as admin, and on the main page there is a bunch of information with the transmit frequency.

 

If you post that info it will let me know the best antenna for you.

 

John





I know enough to be dangerous


 
 
 
 




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Geek
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  # 2211509 5-Apr-2019 22:15
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You are correct, I hadn't noticed that before!!

 

 

 

When on 3G, I get:

 

USIM card status: Normal

 

Network mode: 3G

 

IPv4 status: Connected

 

IPv4 address: 49.227.77.169

 

Ecio: -8dB

 

Rscp: -69dBm

 

Rssi: -61dBm

 

Downlink channel: 3086

 

Scrambling Code: 176

 

Band: 8  

 

 

 

When on 4G I get:  

 

USIM card status: Normal

 

Network mode: 4G

 

IPv4 status: Connected

 

IPv4 address: 49.227.200.139

 

Rsrq: -15dB

 

Rsrp: -108dBm

 

Rssi: -75dBm

 

PCI: 431

 

Upload Frequency: 730.5MHz

 

Band: 28  

 

 

 

I'm assuming that means in the 700MHz band.  Looking at the map here: https://gis.geek.nz/celltowers/@-38.0169925,176.3063745,12z looks like all near me are 700MHz, with a 900Mhz at Rotorua airport that we might see occasionally.  So 700 seems safe.

 

 

 

Thanks for your assistance.


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Master Geek
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  # 2211530 5-Apr-2019 23:55
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I take it that you had a tech come to your house and they put a yagi on your roof. If this is the case they should pointed it to the most dominant cell for your location.   The coax cable should be connected to antena 1 on the modem.

 

If you don't have a yagi installed on roof go into setting and change the antenna settings to internal. Also might be worth checking the firmware

 

 

 

https://help.vodafone.co.nz/app/answers/detail/a_id/24400/#pc

 

 

 

Also check your address here on the coverage maps make sure you haven't been sold something you can't get at the address. But from your modem stats you should be able to use data on 3G/4G without any issues

 

 

 

https://www.vodafone.co.nz/network/coverage/

 

 

 

 





Anything I suggest or say is my own thoughts and not provided by anyone else unless stated

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  # 2211531 6-Apr-2019 00:06
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@coffeebaron can help you here







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  # 2211609 6-Apr-2019 09:20
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NZFINEST:

 

I take it that you had a tech come to your house and they put a yagi on your roof. 

 

 

No, internal modem only.  We have line of sight out the window to the nearest cell site, and our house is an old Art Deco - an external aerial would require drilling a hole in the concrete wall, and we already have enough issues with water intrusion without that - no eaves to protect it.

 

NZFINEST:

 

If you don't have a yagi installed on roof go into setting and change the antenna settings to internal.

 

 

Already set to internal.'

 

NZ FINEST:

 

Also might be worth checking the firmware

 

 

I'm pretty sure we already did a full upgrade, but I'll check again when I'm at home.  It's unlikely to be the B315 firmware given both phones also lose data connection at the same time - it pretty much has to be cell site.

 

NZ FINEST:

 

Also check your address here on the coverage maps make sure you haven't been sold something you can't get at the address. But from your modem stats you should be able to use data on 3G/4G without any issues

 

 

Yup, the maps believe we have lots of coverage, and we actually do - we get 5 bars from the nearest (3G) cell site, we get 2-3 bars most days on 4G from a site further round the lake.  I don't believe we have a coverage issue with the 3G site, we have an issue where it goes quite well most of the time (14Mbps+), and then for about an hour a day just doesn't go at all - despite still having 5 bars of connection.  And at the time it does that, both phones also lose data, but can still make phone calls.  I haven't gone to look whether I can force the phones to ignore that cell site and connect to the 4G around the corner, but when I do that with the RBI we go fine in terms of it working / being stable, but we get about 4-5 Mbps, which is a little slow to stream video, and when we get inclement weather we lose connectivity entirely.

 

Ultimately I think an external aerial that gave us a faster and more reliable connection to the 4G site could sort it, but I'm a little loath to mount an external aerial, as that inherently will mean a wall penetration.  If I think about it right I may be able to go down under the floor and then out through a foundation vent, but I'll end up with quite a long cable if I do that.  I could mount a Unifi external wifi while I was at it though, which would be a bonus.

 

I'm still in a place where it seems simple technical mismanagement to have a cell site that stops working some of the time - it must be a misconfiguration or a loose connection or something similar.  That says that Vodafone have no monitoring running, or no technical QA process that makes sure things are right.  Even more annoyingly, even though I report the issue, they also do nothing - so not only do they have no monitoring and no technical QA that picks it up, even when they're told about it they aren't really willing to investigate.  Maybe that's because they know what I'm saying isn't possible, so maybe I'm wrong, but I really don't see any other explanation at the moment.  I feel like if I managed to talk to a NZ-based tech it would be relatively simple to triage it down to something they can see or sensibly check, the problem with intermittent issues is that it's hard to talk to a tech at the time it's occurring.  I actually did talk to someone a couple weeks ago at the time it was happening, but the only diagnosis they were equipped to do was to factory reset my modem and in general go through helpdesk 101 type trouble shooting.


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  # 2211691 6-Apr-2019 12:49
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do you already have a TV aerial on the roof somewhere?  cant you re-purpose part of that pole to install a yagi aerial (which is essentially the same shape etc as a UHF TV aerial for the RBI?

 

 

 

 

 

 




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  # 2211713 6-Apr-2019 13:30
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Goosey:

 

do you already have a TV aerial on the roof somewhere?  cant you re-purpose part of that pole to install a yagi aerial (which is essentially the same shape etc as a UHF TV aerial for the RBI?

 

 

Nope, both Sky and antenna came down when we re-roofed.  It's now a membrane roof without any penetrations at all - flat roofs and penetrations really don't go well together.  We didn't really watch TV anyway, and Sky was mostly wasted money.  All streaming media now....which is one reason that 4Mbps isn't working so well - it works but it's marginal.

 

I can do an external antenna I think if, as I said above, I go through floor, under house, out a vent in the foundation, then back up the wall.  But I still need to fix the antenna to something, I could just run a pole up the side of the house, concrete in the bottom of it.  Then no new leak points on the house.  You have no idea how many problems we had with rotten baseboards, rotten windowsills, rotten rafters.  I'd definitely just switch to Spark long before I'd put the house water proofing at risk again.


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  # 2211721 6-Apr-2019 13:43
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This is a common 3G thing on vodafone I find.

 





Richard rich.ms

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  # 2212116 7-Apr-2019 08:18
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You could mount the external aerial INSIDE your roofspace however its not optimal and performance will depend on your roofing material.

 

 


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