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callendula

@nothnbut.net

Losing speed between wisp module and computer

Hello! I have been trying to find the some tips to help me with a current problem and after a search on the internet, came across this forum. Hopefully, some one has some ideas!

I have a 900mhz receiver that receives radio internet from the provider tower. The company has said I am 4 miles away. Several years ago, when we first purchased the service, we had amazing speed (coming from dial up). An online speed test gave consistent results at 3mbps. Internet was quick and we were happy. Over time, we have experienced problems and the inter would drop and try to reconnect. It was so frequent, it was annoying. The company said we had low quality signal and they sent a tech out. he replaced our original module with a new one and a test showed the strength at 97%. We have since not experienced any of the drops. But, we still have slowed speed. Now, we are quite happy that we no longer have to wait on reconnect problems, but a speed test shows we get anywhere from .3 to .98mbps. This happens consistently at any given time, not just certain times. The company says our equipment can go up to 3mbps and their test of our module said our receiver was getting 2.86mbps. I have tested speeds online with the computer directly wired to the module and also through our router. Even the wired connection fails to go over 1mbps. I cannot figure out how i am losing so much between our antenna module and the computer. This makes no sense to me. We have changed nothing but we cannot get anywhere near the 2.86 they say our antenna is receiving.

Any ideas what can cause such loss? We did not have our cable changed when the new antenna went up and it is at least 4-5 years old. It is a Cat5e UTP. I have checked portions of it and see no crumbling, but can this be the source? Over time, does heat and cold affect the wires, or perhaps the wires degrade from use passing information back and forth? We have had the company look at this problem and they can't seem to figure out what would cause the loss. The only thing the rep gave us was that a router will dilute speed...which I understand, but the problem occurs with the computer directly wired to the module, too. I also accept some loss, but this seems to be ridiculous, especially since we had much better speed before. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance.

wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1
Their tower is probably saturated. In short, there is nothing as a customer you can do.

LLigetfa

join:2006-05-15
Fort Frances, ON
kudos:1
reply to callendula
If they don't charge you for a truck roll, ask them to come out with their laptop and run a speedtest with it. A bad surge protector or bad cabling could cause Ethernet errors.
--
Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it. -- Stephen Vizinczey


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to wirelessdog
said by wirelessdog:

Their tower is probably saturated. In short, there is nothing as a customer you can do.

Hi! Thanks for your reply. I'm not exactly sure how the whole wisp service works, so I hope this doesn't seem dumb to ask. But if they say my module on my porch is receiving 2.86mbps, should I be expecting to get near that inside the house on my directly connected computer? The way I understood them was that their tower sends out 3mbps and with the distance/loss I was actually getting 2.86 available which I should be able to see on my speed test. Am I correct in this?


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to LLigetfa
said by LLigetfa:

If they don't charge you for a truck roll, ask them to come out with their laptop and run a speedtest with it. A bad surge protector or bad cabling could cause Ethernet errors.

Thank you! The surge protector--do you mean the AC converter thing they have the Ethernet cable from the outside module antenna connect to? Or surge protector power strip? I have the AC cord from the module plugged directly into the wall outlet. I believe they gave us a new AC cord the last time they came out to install the new antenna. They also ran the speedtest and had the same number range I did, but they couldn't seem to figure out why it was so low. The guy even commented it shouldn't be that low! Yet, they didn't seem to be able to troubleshoot it. I've even thought maybe our old computer was to blame, so I direct wired the newer faster laptop but the speed result was the same.

I wondered if the ethernet cord itself might be the problem. The length that I can see looks good, but I have no idea how long they last. The one we have says UTP Cat 5e Type CM or MP 100MHZ. We haven't been charged a service call so far -- perhaps they'll come drop off a new cord for us to try.

I appreciate all of the helpful suggestions!!

wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1
reply to callendula
Lets back up for a moment. Can you post a picture of the equipment they are using?

LLigetfa

join:2006-05-15
Fort Frances, ON
kudos:1
reply to callendula
By surge protector, I mean something like this at the point of entry.


said by callendula :

They also ran the speedtest and had the same number range I did, but they couldn't seem to figure out why it was so low. The guy even commented it shouldn't be that low! Yet, they didn't seem to be able to troubleshoot it.

In that case, I would not let them leave without some plan of action of how they intend to fix it.

By wire, I mean the outdoor portion which can be prone to damage from water ingress or rodents chewing. That's not to say the indoor wire cannot get damaged from chewing but assume it would not go unnoticed.
--
Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it. -- Stephen Vizinczey


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to wirelessdog
said by wirelessdog:

Lets back up for a moment. Can you post a picture of the equipment they are using?

I will post a picture as soon as I can. It is raining and is supposed to for much of the day. I will try once it stops, though!


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to LLigetfa
I haven't seen anything like that photo. It could be on our tower, though, with the antenna. The ethernet cable runs down the pole and into the house and it doesn't connect into anything except an AC plug converter box. I'll try to get a picture of the set up. Our last antenna was one large rectangular enclosure, so when they replaced it, they removed the whole thing. I am only assuming that maybe the new setup also has a protector added in the enclosure.

The wire portion outside that I can see looks fine. I've grabbed it, tested the coating and it isn't flaky or peeling or otherwise appearing to be damaged. However, we have had freezes and scorching summers (Texas) over the lifetime of the wire. It connects into the antenna box from the bottom and appears to be pretty well protected from most elements at that point. A short portion of it runs under the house which I can't see. The only constant is the wire, though--since it was used with both antennas. I'm wondering why they didn't think to go ahead and change out the wire with the new installation--certainly they need replacing every so often. I wish I had thought about having them do it while they were here! Then if I still had problems, I could mark the cable off the list!!!

LLigetfa

join:2006-05-15
Fort Frances, ON
kudos:1
Not all WISPs use entrance protection as the code requirement is loosely interpreted but we needed to give consideration to a bad SS. They do take a lickin' and don't always keep tickin'. I've even seen them fail new out of the box.

Wire should last a very long time if outdoor grade is used and rodents don't chew it. I have seen the result of water getting in it and rodent damage. A temporary wire can easily be strung up for a test to rule out (or in) the existing wire. The temporary wire can also be used to loop the existing wire to verify it with a dedicated tester.
--
Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it. -- Stephen Vizinczey

jcremin

join:2009-12-22
Siren, WI
kudos:3
reply to callendula
Without much info, I doubt it is the cable, router, or anything on your end. If it were, I would expect there to be very high packet loss as ethernet slowness is usually caused by the lack of traffic even being able to flow correctly.

I would tend to agree with wirelessdog that the problem is probably on their tower end of the link. Most likely either due to over-saturation (too many people on that tower) or low signals. I would tend to think if it were a saturation issue, you'd be able to do a speed test in the middle of the night and see much faster results. Given the little bit of information, I would say either the signals are too low to provide the full 3 mbps, or maybe there is a setting or other compatibility issue between the old equipment and new equipment.

You said you were having disconnect issues beforehand but didn't really say if the speed was the same as after the replaced the equipment. If you were still seeing faster speeds but having disconnect issues, it points to the issue being specifically with the antenna they replaced. If the speeds were already slowly getting worse, there might have been two totally different issues.

There are so many factors, that it is hard to say with any level of certainty, especially with the kind of information that you as a customer would have access to (signal strength, noise floor, modulation rate, etc).


Jim_in_VA

join:2004-07-11
Cobbs Creek, VA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Metrocast Commun..

1 edit
reply to callendula
If its like my 900MHz Wisp, the cat5 runs from the radio on the external antenna, enters the house, and plugs into a small box (POE) that is plugged into a wall socket. From that small box another cat5 cable runs to my computer (or router) ... is that what you have? If so, try unplugging/replugging, it will re-establish the connection to the tower.
--
... need help? »evdo-tips.com/


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to callendula
Click for full size
antenna tower
Click for full size
antenna tower
Click for full size
converter
Click for full size
ac plug in for converter
Here are pictures. I didn't know how to make them smaller. The tower has a coaxial that comes out and plugs into something. I am not sure how that is set up. The ethernet comes out the bottom and down into teh house. That plugs into the black converter box (which is plugged into the wall outlet). The converter has a cable running from the converter box and into the router (which I can move directly to my computer if I want). I couldn't get up close to the tower to see what exact model, but it is a Canopy and i assume Motorola since our last one was Motorola and the AC plug in says Motorola.


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to LLigetfa
said by LLigetfa:

Not all WISPs use entrance protection as the code requirement is loosely interpreted but we needed to give consideration to a bad SS. They do take a lickin' and don't always keep tickin'. I've even seen them fail new out of the box.

Wire should last a very long time if outdoor grade is used and rodents don't chew it. I have seen the result of water getting in it and rodent damage. A temporary wire can easily be strung up for a test to rule out (or in) the existing wire. The temporary wire can also be used to loop the existing wire to verify it with a dedicated tester.

I am not sure what grade the wire is. Is there a way to tell? It just says UTP Cat 5e Type CM or MP 100MHZ on the wire.


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to Jim_in_VA
said by Jim_in_VA:

If its like my 900MHz Wisp, the cat5 runs from the radio on the external antenna, enters the house, and plugs into a small box (POE) that is plugged into a wall socket. From that small box another cat5 cable runs to my computer (or router) ... is that what you have? If so, try unplugging/replugging, it will re-establish the connection to the tower.

Hi! Yes, it sounds like my set up. I have unplugged and replugged. Our company said to leave it out about 10 minutes to force our antenna to reset. But it doesn't change anything. They have also reset our antenna from their office before. They've checked their tower and told us everything is working properly. The lady says she is showing that our antenna is receiving 2.86mbps.


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to jcremin
jcremin

Testing anytime shows the same result.

We set up service years ago. I forget exactly when we started service. My husband seems to think it was around 9 years ago. We had an antenna hooked up and when we checked the speed, it was near 3mbps. It varied of course, but usually around 2.5 or so. It was much faster than the dial up we ditched. It worked great and we were happy with it--even when we signed up for netflix through the wii--we had no problems streaming. Then this year we had dropping problems. Although we didn't know what it was at the time, I found that we'd lose internet and I'd have to reboot the router. It would run for a while and the scenario would repeat itself. When it became a major problem happening every 5 mins or so, we called. They looked at our antenna on their computer and said they showed several drops and the signal strength was low at 72% and the antenna showed it was receiving only 1.5 from the tower. (I did not do a speedtest myself at this time) So, the tech came out and replaced the antenna for us. After he did so, the office said the antenna signal strength was 97% and 2.86mbps. But, the speed is still slow and the test I did after they replaced the antenna shows .98 at the highest and usually around .3

I told the lady my tests was showing .98 with the antenna directly connected to the computer (no router). She said my antenna was receiving 2.86mpbs. When I asked why I could only get .98 if my antenna was receiving 2.86, she said that trees and distance, a router, background programs, etc would slow down the speed. She said they only guarantee 1mpbs and since my antenna was getting 2.86, I was getting near the maximum they provide (3). She didn't have any other suggestions or tips. I just assumed that if the antenna is getting 2.86 then I should be able to see that reflected on a speedtest.

We have much improved the disconnections because we haven't had one drop. However, the speed is still much slower than what they say we are getting at the antenna outside. I don't understand--to me, we have the speed available, but for some reason we can't tap into it. It's like we are losing speed between our antenna and the computer.

wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1
reply to callendula
Pictures speak a thousand words...

1. That installation is horrible. The connection between the radio and the antenna is not weather sealed. The zip ties holding the radio to the pole will fail at some point.

2. The percentages you are quoting are the results of link efficiency tests. You might want to call them and make sure they a.) run 10 second tests and b.) run three in a row. 95% and above is ok, anything less will be problematic. If they run the said tests at the default 2 second intervals it really isn't an accurate test.

3. You are using a Motorola Canopy 900mhz system. Here is the issue and probably why you are seeing slow speeds. The Access Point only has an aggregate throughput of 4megs. That would typically equate to 3megs down and 1meg up. Herein lies the issue. That is the total for ALL customers. So if they have 50 customers on the access point you have the 3down/1up split between all of them.

It is certainly possible to manage QoS, etc to manage a high number of users - we have 50+ on a Canopy 900mhz system but you have to make sure everything is set and set properly or you will have issues. If they run their network anything like they installed the equipment they aren't going to be knowledgeable to properly have QoS, protocol filters, control slots, etc in place.

I would venture to say there is nothing you can do on your end to help rectify the problem.

jcremin

join:2009-12-22
Siren, WI
kudos:3
said by wirelessdog:

The connection between the radio and the antenna is not weather sealed.

This is the same thing I was going to point out. Any bit of moisture in that connector has the ability to cause major problems and there's nothing sealing it to prevent water from getting in to begin with.

If they told you they guarantee 1 meg service, then have them come out and show you that you are getting at least that much. I don't personally know Canopy, but I can say that it is a bad idea to judge throughput solely based on what the AP reports. Real world throughput may be much lower.

Another potential issues is a congested backhaul, where the bottleneck isn't between you and the tower. This means that there may in fact be plenty of speed to the tower, but somewhere between the tower and their main feed could be slowing things down.

I have a hard time believing that it really is congestion, as those types of issues are usually worse at peak times and much better in the middle of the night. It sounds like you have slow speeds all the time, which I would say is more likely an issue with the 900mhz wireless link to your house, whether it is at the tower or with the install at your house.

wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1
reply to callendula
Slow speeds all the time and erratic latency point to an incorrectly configured AP - i.e. no control slots.

I didn't address the variance in the speed tests. When a link test is run on the AP it dedicates the CPU resources to the SM being tested. So even if the AP is totally saturated the link test can still look good.


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to wirelessdog
said by wirelessdog:

Pictures speak a thousand words...

Thanks for the suggestions! Oh..ok..thanks for clearing that up--with the spread out of speed between the customers. I thought that meant 3mbps for EACH customer..not having to split between them. That is where my understanding was faulty. So they are sending out 3 across the area and whoever is using it at the time, makes it split between them. I can see how that would be a problem, especially over the years since we have had it. It would make sense to think that they have added more customers since we first signed up. Thank you for clearing that up for me!

This company is not the original we signed up with. The first one we had was bought out--which we thought maybe was the problem. Perhaps they were not as skilled at what they did. But, it could be that, or the fact that they've gained customers and haven't updated their system to handle it.

They have said we could get a 50-70ft pole and then use a 2.4 (I think) antenna. That is supposed to get a faster speed. However, the pole was $200-300 for installation. I'd hate to spend the money only to find we aren't having any better speed. Any ideas about that route?


callendula

@nothnbut.net
reply to jcremin
said by jcremin:

This is the same thing...

I am mad that they didn't set this up correctly. If it is something on their end..I guess I am stuck. Being rural, we don't have any other choice than satellite..and that costs much more plus the weather affects it.

Yep, constant slow speed. I guess we will try a new cable just to see (they supply equipment free so wouldn't hurt to try). We called, but they are closed for vacation, so guess it will be later next week before we can have them send a tech back out and have them check the connections again, and the other suggestions here in this thread, etc.


Semaphore
Premium
join:2003-11-18
101010
kudos:1

1 edit
At the very least that coupler between the Module and the antenna needs to by taken apart and checked for water. If there is water in there then they should both be replaced as they will oxidize and the connection will only get worse. If there isn't water in there it's a miracle but it should then be properly weather proofed using COAX seal and/or Self Amalging tape and 3M electrical tape. You can find a thread on the WISP forum where John Galt explained the best way to do that. BTW That type of connector is called an N connector and there is a widely held belief that they are weather proof an of themselves - that's is absolutely wrong - they MUST be weather sealed.

I'd also ask the WISP to check the Ethernet Stats on the unit. Input or Output errors on the Ethernet interface could point to a faulty interface/protector or NIC. Not too likely on Motorola equipment but it does happen. A Semi-Deaf interface would yield poor performance at all times as it might be trying to run Half Duplex and your gear is trying Full Duplex - I find a lot of Wifi routers don't do well with determining when to use HD vs. FD.

S

Edit - I can't spell and COAX isn't spell checkable lol


callendula

@nothnbut.net
said by Semaphore:

At the very least that coupler between the Module and the antenna needs to by taken apart and checked for water. ....

A Semi-Deaf interface would yield poor performance at all times as it might be trying to run Half Duplex and your gear is trying Full Duplex - I find a lot of Wifi routers don't do well with determining when to use HD vs. FD.

S

Thank you! Is there a way to force my router to use one or the other exclusively to see if it changes anything with regards to the fd or hd? If that is something I could try while waiting for their offices to open again next week.

wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1
said by callendula :

said by Semaphore:

At the very least that coupler between the Module and the antenna needs to by taken apart and checked for water. ....

A Semi-Deaf interface would yield poor performance at all times as it might be trying to run Half Duplex and your gear is trying Full Duplex - I find a lot of Wifi routers don't do well with determining when to use HD vs. FD.

S

Thank you! Is there a way to force my router to use one or the other exclusively to see if it changes anything with regards to the fd or hd? If that is something I could try while waiting for their offices to open again next week.

Not on a consumer grade router. Trying going direct into your PC and forcing it to 10/half


Semaphore
Premium
join:2003-11-18
101010
kudos:1
reply to callendula
Forcing your PC to a specific speed/duplex may make it worse, or may make it better. Try 10/Half, 10/Full 100/Half and 100/Full to see if any of them make a difference. Your PC must be directly connected to the short flat black cable on the Power injector so that it is directly connected to the Motorola.

You could try a continuous ping to the ISP's gateway at the same time (ping -t on windows). You will see 'request timed out' or 'general failure media disconnected' when the speed/duplex is changed but it should return to 'reply from ' once the mode has switched. Better still you would ping the Motorola unit itself but it might be in bridge mode so finding it's IP may not be easy.

Doing this you WILL create errors on the Ethernet interface when you switch Speed/Duplex, You will also create carrier detect/carrier loss events, so if the WISP checks the Ethernet stats and the unit has not been power cycled they SHOULD see errors.

(Hint if they don't see errors they are either not looking in the right place or someone has since power cycled the unit or they are not being ummm entirely 'transparent')

S

LLigetfa

join:2006-05-15
Fort Frances, ON
kudos:1
reply to callendula
Depending on how the WISP setup the SM, you might be able to get to the stats. Connect directly to the SM with a local IP of 169.254.1.2 and try to hit 169.254.1.1 with your browser.

I like the sense of humor some Moto guy had when he wrote the 401 page:
quote:
Untitled DocumentUnauthorized (401)
Through a series of highly sophisticated and complex algorithms, this system has
determined that you are not presently authorized to use this system function. It
could be that you simply mistyped a password, or, it could be that you are some
sort of interplanetary alien-being that has no hands and, thus, cannot type. If
I were a gambler, I would bet that a cat (an orange tabby named Sierra or
Harley) somehow jumped onto your keyboard and forgot some of the more important
pointers from those typing lessons you paid for. Based on the actual error
encountered, I would guess that the feline in question simply forgot to place
one or both paws on the appropriate home keys before starting. Then again, I
suppose it could have been a keyboard error caused by some form of cosmic
radiation; this would fit nicely with my interplanetary alien-being theory. If
you think this might be the cause, perhaps you could create some sort of
underground bunker to help shield yourself from it. I don't know that it will
work, but, you will probably feel better if you try something.
--
Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it. -- Stephen Vizinczey