Friday 13 November 2015

BWI5 (Deferral Account) Speed Problems - Check This Post

In about mid-August of 2015, I started to get fluctuating download speeds on my BWI5 (Deferral Account) service. At times the download speeds tested as low as .95 Mbps.

This was after I reported in this blog post of 10 Aug 2015 how steady the download speeds were for the past 12 months in spite of the growth in the number of users.

This slow down occurred at a time when the LED on the front of the Netgear unit went from green to blue, the receive signal strength went from around - 84 dBm to around -67 dBm, and the operating mode changed from HSDPA/HSUPA to LTE.  Common logic would indicate that these changes would indicate a better quality of service. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect.  

After working a few weeks with my Bell contacts, we may have identified the problem and come up with a solution for folks using the Netgear 1516 router.
After the last software update to the Netgear router, the HSPA (WCDMA) band does not play well with the LTE Band. That means that people like me who are located roughly where the signal from the LTE site, even though it is slightly farther away, overwhelms the HSPA signal and creates havoc.   

The same software upgrade disabled the ability for a user to disable a particular band on the Netgear router. After the upgrade, it seems the 700, 800, 1900 and 2100 bands are being treated as equal and the router decides which the best signal is. It seems the router is selecting the 700 band even though the installer aimed the external antenna at the Pine Shores tower. This site does not have a LTE capability. However, the back lobe on the antenna looks at Buttermilk and I assume this is where the LTE signal that comes into play originates.

 A tech provided the following info and asked me to try it.
            “New update of Netgear 1516 removed option to disable LTE
In cases where clients coverage is borderline HSPA / LTE and experiences drop connections or difficulty connected disable LTE and test

      Type the address below:
      From there you have the option to Enable/Disable Frequency Bands
      Disable the MBR1516: LTE B17 band (700 MHz)”
Note by Hermes: You need to sign in using the input you normally use to access the router web page.

I did as requested and even went one-step farther and disabled all bands except the 1900 band, which is the only band in use at the Pine Shore tower.  

 All the speed tests are now back to normal with speeds well above 5 Mbps.

I am not sure if you can do a similar thing with the Huawei router but one can check with Bell tech support.

For the moment, all is good in BWI5 land for me. J