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Brent78

join:2011-10-23
Freetown, IN

Newbie Questions - Ec/Io, DL vs UP Speed, Etc...

Am in a rural area in Indiana and just switched from dial-up to Millenicom (Verizon). I'm using the Novatel MC760 (f/w 167) with a Wilson indoor panel antenna (301135). Sprint has no coverage in my area, so the unlimited plan wasn't an option.

I'm not really having any huge "problems", but want to make sure that I'm getting the full potential of the setup.

VZAccess reports my RSSI as being in the -75 to -85 range - usually hovering right around -79 to -81. Mobilink3 reports my HDR Active Set Ec/Io as being in the -1 to -5 range - usually staying around -2.0 to -4. 1xRTT is disabled. Comparing those numbers to what I've read online, I would assume that my setup is working pretty well.

My speeds have been as high as 1.22Mbs down and .86Mbs up, but my down speeds fluctuate quite a bit - going as low as .28Mbps. The up speeds rarely change, though, almost always staying above .5Mbps. Likewise, ping is always in the 100ms to 140ms range - even when down speed is really slow. When the down speeds is significantly lower, the RSSI and Ec/Io always still seem to be good.

Based upon the above numbers, is it safe to assume that the down speed inconsistency is more about tower load than signal problems? Am I correct in assuming that a signal problem would affect both down and up rather than just one? And shouldn't signal-related speed problems be accompanied by a corresponding drop in RSSI and Ec/Io? Is the "HDR Active Set Ec/Io" in Mobilink3 the right number to be watching?

Even with the inconsistent download speeds, this is a huge improvement over dial-up - especially since my line conditions seemed to get worse and worse all the time. I'm definitely thrilled with the new setup, but am trying to decide whether there's more room for improvement or whether I'd be wasting my time/money.

Any help and comments will be appreciated. Thanks!!


dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO
said by Brent78:

Based upon the above numbers, is it safe to assume that the down speed inconsistency is more about tower load than signal problems?

That's what it sound like to me, I see that type of performance on towers with single T1 feeds to them.

Dexter1992

join:2010-07-16
Winona, MN
reply to Brent78
Your experiences are exactly what I experience except your upload is higher than mine, I have only seen mine go up to 0.46Mbps, download is over 1Mbps at night, and in the day my download will be as low as 0.28Mbps as well. Still better than the 0.02Mbps I got with dial-up.

Enjoy your new service, I think your setup is perfect. Now I would work on optimizing your PCs so you can save more MBs. If using chrome, use Adblock+, and FlashBlock. That should help save usage and speed up browsing at the same time.

Brent78

join:2011-10-23
Freetown, IN
reply to Brent78
Thanks a lot for the quick replies Dib and Dexter. While improving the situation would have been nice, I think I prefer hearing that it's likely out of my control. It would have been difficult to decide what to change/do next since it works so well at times and seems to be maintaining a good, clean connection.

Was up around 3:00 this morning and was able to get 1.45Mbps down, but am back to .6Mbps down right now.

When I signed up, I ordered both the Wilson panel (301135) and a Wilson outdoor omni (301202) from Amazon. I had seen where some people had better luck with omni while others had better luck with directional and thought I should experiment with both. I figured the directional would get a better signal but thought the omni would benefit from being outside and higher. Then any potential gains from being outside would probably be offset by signal loss in the longer cable, though.

In any case, I'll try the omni outside with my laptop and see how that goes. Thanks again!

Dexter1992

join:2010-07-16
Winona, MN
I use the direction grid antenna 2.4Ghz, the frequency mismatch amounts to less than 1dbi loss. I used LMR-400 cable, and 25 feet of it. I live in a rural area and got my grid on a pole above my roof and aimed through my valley just touching a few trees. I get -84dmb. I bought an Amp and now my signal is -69dbm. I get speeds and fluctuations the same as you.

I am curious to see how the omni performs though, please update!


compuguybna

join:2009-06-17
Nashville, TN
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·HughesNet Satell..
·ooma
·Virgin Mobile Br..
DOWNLOAD the CURRENT version of VZAM and dump the Mobilink3 software. More accurate stats and readings.

VZAccess Manager v7.3.13 (2635a) for your Verizon Wireless USB760

»vzam.net/download/download.aspx

Brent78

join:2011-10-23
Freetown, IN

2 edits
I have both the VZAccess and Mobilink3 installed, but use the newer drivers included with VZAccess. I'm not using either one to manage the connection since I'm running Windows 2003 RRAS to share the connection with my LAN.

After I updated my MC760 to the latest firmware, VZAccess stopped showing Ec/Io (along with a lot of other things). When I was able to get it to show by fiddling with it, the values it was showing were always the 1xRTT numbers.

Mobilink3 ##debug shows a lot more data still - specifically HDR Ec/Io. The RSSI it shows is strange, though, (in the 20s), so I have to rely on VZAccess for that.

Brent78

join:2011-10-23
Freetown, IN

1 edit
reply to Dexter1992
said by Dexter1992:

I am curious to see how the omni performs though, please update!

Even with the omni outside, it couldn't compete with the directional panel inside. That probably has more to do with my location than with the omni antenna.

I moved the panel into my attic and changed the positioning. I've been able to get the HDR Active Set Ec/Io (again, assuming that's the one I should be looking at) to stay in the -1.5 to -2.5 and the HDR RSSI to stay almost fixed at -79 (rather than bouncing around between -75 and -85).

So, the omni is out. Now I'm wondering whether I should try a 2.4G grid in the same placement and orientation as the panel. I think the rated gain on the panel is around 10db while that of the grid is rated at 24db.


Jim_in_VA

join:2004-07-11
Cobbs Creek, VA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Metrocast Commun..
not surprised that a panel would outperform a Omni , all of the energy is focused to the source. Once you are down in the -75 range there is not much to gain, speed-wise, to get it lower.
--
... need help? »evdo-tips.com/

Brent78

join:2011-10-23
Freetown, IN
reply to Brent78
Bit of a follow up to my original post/questions if I can bother you guys again. I'm still having a lot of fluctuation in my download speeds. I'm beginning to think my problems are more something with my location/setup. I'm considering trying an outdoor grid antenna to see if it could stabilize the signal and download speeds any.

To recap, my download speeds can range from 1.6Mbps to .15Mbps . Just now, the download was .7Mbps and seconds later, it was .3Mbps. The upload speed, though, is almost always in the .6Mbps to .9Mbps range; and the ping is almost always around 90 to 130ms range. It's not unusual at all for me to have results of 95ms ping, .3Mbps down, and .75Mbps up.

Even if the most likely explanation is tower overload, does anyone have any ideas of anything whatsoever that could possibly be wrong on my end to explain the wild swings in download speeds I'm seeing? Even a remote possibility that I can try to fix?

Also, should the speed/transfer be fairly consistent from one second to the next or is that kind of fluctuation inherent with mobile broadband? When I've downloaded files, for example, my transfer may be 90Kb/s one second and then fall to 40Kb/s the next and then bounce back to 75Kb/s and then down to 15Kb/s, etc. It seems as though the data comes in bursts with lulls between.

I was fairly certain of the direction of my nearest tower, but actually get better results and signal pointing in a different direction. When using atennasearch, should I be looking for antennas or just towers?

Lastly, if I go to buy a grid, am I correct that I should be getting a 900Mhz model? My channel is (as far as I can tell) 770 which isn't evenly divisible by 25, but which would appear to fall into ranges on both the 1900 (E) and 850 (B') ranges.

Again, thanks for all the help. My situation isn't terrible, but I would like to improve the consistency. I would actually be content getting slower download speeds if I could at least have them be reliably the same.


dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO
If it's tower loading there is not much you can do... here is a breakdown:

The tower has a data line (usually a T1) that runs from the tower to a 'central' location for the state (or part of the state) that it is in.

A T1 has around 1.54Mbps available to it... some of that (.25Mbps or less) is set aside for them to maintain control of the tower, that will leave around 1.25Mbps available for all the users.

Calls get priority... and they use anywhere from 16kbits to 64kbits per caller. So if you have 50 users on calls each with a 16kbit call happening they are using 0.8 of the 1.25Mbps... leaving 0.45Mbps available for data.

Data connections are also eating away at the 1.25Mbps... so if its just you connected at the time, and you are downloading a large file you would see the max available (minus phone calls).

If there are two of you on the tower downloading a large file basically the 1.25Mbps would be split between both users in an ideal situation, of course signal levels etc might give one an advantage, but both would end up seeing around 0.625Mbps... if there were 3, all downloading a large file.. each user would see 0.416Mbps.

So if you were downloading a large file you might see 1.25Mbs and then when the other user downloads a page with a lot of images you might get dropped down to half (0.625Mbps) while they download all the elements of the page, and then return to the full available once they have loaded the page.

------------------------------

If it's a signal situation then a directional antenna could help... because your signal levels would remain strong... and your modem wouldn't re-negotiate at a slower speed to maintain data integrity.

Since you see 1.6Mbps at times it could be that they have 2 T1's or even a larger data line running to the tower, or it could simply be a compression thing (where its really a single T1 but due to compression the test is seeing you move data faster that the max physical available).

I have only ever put up antennas in fringe areas (where it cant maintain a solid signal or good connection)... on a properly working system seeing multiple towers *can* work to your advantage. The system will hand you back and forth between towers based on load. While they are supposed to be designed to deal with overlapping tower coverage some towers or modems have issues with this... so sometimes forcing it to a single tower with an antenna is one way around those issues.

Hope this helps!

Brent78

join:2011-10-23
Freetown, IN

1 edit
Thanks for your response, and it does help! It's one thing to talk about sharing the bandwidth, but to actually see it broken down numerically by calls and everything makes it a lot easier to see how the speeds could end up so low even with a good signal.

I just assumed from the beginning that I'd be fighting with the worst signal imaginable, but maybe I'm not as much in the fringe areas as I initially suspected. I'm not nearly as far from antennas as I've seen others describe, but the area I'm in is pretty hilly and wooded.

When pointing the panel antenna, I was never able to find a definitive sweet spot where it was obvious it was the "right" direction. I've spent hours pointing it different directions and monitoring signal and speed, but it just doesn't seem to make that much difference.

Based on your comment about multiple towers being a good thing, I decided to try switching back to the omni for a while to see whether my use of the panel could actually be making things worse in my location. With the omni, the RSSI is lower (worse), but the speedtest results aren't that much different.

I'll see whether maybe things are more stable with the omni. Thanks again!!

Brent78

join:2011-10-23
Freetown, IN
This was just now with the omni...