BR1 mini AT&T setup for better speeds

#1

I’ve been running a br1 mini on AT&T’s network for a couple months now and want to know if there are any settings I need to implement to get better speeds. I have a SureCall Wide-Band Yagi (SC-230W) antenna plugged in to get a better signal.

This is setup at my home and is my primary internet connection due to a lack of anything else available. Speed tests are usually in the 8-10/6-8mbps at off peak times and drop to 1-2 down during most of the day. I have an unlimited data plan so I’m not worried about data caps.

I am running the latest firmware and the only setting I really had to configure was changing the APN to BROADBAND, per request from AT&T.

Thanks,
Bill

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#2

The fact that you are getting good speeds off peak and poor speeds during the day suggests that there are a lot of users on the cell tower you are connected to. Nothing much you can do about that.

What are the LTE signal readings on your BR1 Mini? The RSRQ and RSRP and the SNR in particular? get those readings during off peak and during the day periods for comparison and post here so we can review it.

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#3

Current readings while in a state of 1/1 mbps speeds. RSRQ: -17dB, RSRP: -98dBm, SINR: -1dB, RSSI: -69dBm.

Readings the other night when things were going much faster, 6-8/6-8. RSRQ: -13dB, RSRP: -99dBm, SINR: 2dB, RSSI: -69dBm.

Something worth noting, my current slow speeds on speedtest.net (which are consistent with dog slow browsing, etc.) are not consistent with what my br1 says and also what my eero says. My br1 shows 4-6 down and my eero actually showed this device (my pc) as getting similar down speeds, yet speed test and general use is consistent with ~1mbps type speed. Very strange.

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#4

Looking at your signal readings, we can see that the RSRP (Ref Signal Received Power) is pretty much the same during periods where throughput is ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ so there is unlikely anything ‘getting in the way’ of your antenna and the cell tower. The change in RSRQ and the SNR backup the theory that your issue is the tower getting congested with an increase in subscribers.

The difference in SpeedTest.net measurements and those shown by the BR1 is likely down to how many networking ‘hops’ you are away from the nearest speedtest.net server. More hops = more latency, more latency = less throughput point to point between you and the speedtest.net server (when using TCP). When accessing other servers that are hosted physically closer to you you will get higher throughput.

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#5

What I’m not understanding is why my overall speed is so slow despite my throughput on the br1 and eero showing as being much faster. It’s like the speed is adequate (~5down/up) coming into the br1 and then slows after passing through the eero and onto other devices on the network. It’s not like there’s a number of devices pulling data simultaneously on the network either. It almost seems as if this is an eero problem.

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#6

I’m using a MAX BR1 (with Verizon) connected to a three eero setup and it works great – do you have multiple LTE bands you can try to force a connection to with AT&T? In my location Verizon has both B4 and B13… for some reason B13 is typically the “preferred” band and has abysmal throughput. If I lock the Pepwave to B4 instead, I get roughly 40/40.

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#7

That’s smokin’. There’s 21 bands available for AT&T, I have it set to
auto. The current connection is LTE band 12 (700 MHz).

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#8

It’s pretty nice, yeah! Except that Verizon is now throttling even old grandfathered plans like mine on Netflix…

So, this might take a while with 21 bands, but what I’d recommend you do is experiment a bit by forcing the BR1 Mini to connect to various bands and see if any of them gives you better speeds.

Are you using the LTE-A version?

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#9

Yes, I have the LTE-A model, although there’s no 5g here. I have an
unlimited AT&T plan, used around 400gb last month. Problem is, I’m in
kind of a dead spot so it’s hard to get a great signal. This plan came
out earlier last year and was initially marketed to rural type folks
with limited options. I’m not rural, just in an area where my only
options are this or satellite. Not even DSL.

#10

Got it. The reason I ask is that (currently, at least) the BR1 can’t connect using LTE-A AND band locking. I experimented with LTE-A with a MK2 unit and it would still flip-flop between B4 and B13 as the primary band. Any time the B13 was the primary, it was terribly slow. I find that just locking onto B4 is the best option in my case.

#11

You are very lucky to be getting 400GB a month off of a flate-rate cellular plan!

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#12

Do you know if carrier aggregation has been improved/fixed? I am looking at getting a MK2 LTE-A and want to make sure it can handle something like aggegating 13+ 2 or 4

Thanks!

edit: after testing the device for a couple months, carrier aggregation is working. updating the cellular radio firmware also helped improve signal.

#13

I’m researching a similar issue with my Verizon account, and am a bit surprised by this comment. I’m hoping you will elaborate, as I don’t claim to be an expert.

In my mind, if the RSRP (received power) is adequate (in my case, -85 dbm) and SINR is poor (-3 dB), that indicates significant noise or interference. Now I recognize the RSSI (which I understand to be a bit subjective [i.e., determined by the manufacturer]) is considered acceptable in my current situation at -70dB, but that my RSRQ is poor at -13dB.

Given these readings I’m not surprised that I’m seeing poor download speeds while upload speeds can be 12x higher.

Interestingly, we can grab one of our Verizon cell phones and use it as a hot spot and see much better download speeds.

Thoughts?

#14

This is purely anecdotal, based on personal experience:

When the local Verizon network is congested the download speeds can drop precipitously while the upload bandwidth is still very good for the peplink equipment. At the same time, a mobile device (we deploy Apple products) will see an equal or better download bandwidth, with a far worse upload bandwidth.

If we add up- and download bandwidths in these situations the experience is that the peplink router combined bandwidth is significantly better than the combined personal device bandwidth.

I would conjecture that this reflects Verizon traffic shaping, prioritizing download capacity for personal devices at the cost of their upload capability, while routers are free to upload as fast as they can, though still limited their in their download bandwidth by the overall allocation wthin the download bandwidth available.

As I said: Conjectures based on anecdotal experience… YMMV.

[Update: The account of the router SIM cards rolled over just now, and the download bandwidth improved 5-10-fold. Thus the conjecture that in our case the cause was traffic shaping by Verizon (deprioritized after the monthly threshold had been exceeded) seems plausible.

Two things of note: 1) the upload bandwidth seemed unaffected by the deprioritization, and 2) the deprioritization had a far more severe consequence for our location than what we had anticipated. It was not occasional, but rather close to constantly in effect for the remainder of the billing cycle.]

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#15

Possibly. But if Verizon is shaping to the point of non usability, then it becomes a useless network for routers.

I am unconvinced for another reason too. I have seen this behavior at times of the day we would not expect to see congested bands. A few minutes later, the issues may clear up, then return.

I’m hopeful that the cause may relate to the limited number of bands supported in the classic LTE Max BR1 line. However personal devices adopted the LTE-A standards earlier.

Perhaps you can comment on this? Are you experiencing unusable download speeds with the LTE-A routers?

#16

The deployment that I am referring to is in an LTE-only (no LTE-A) area, so our experience may be of limited use to you.

W.r.t. congestion: we have a very large neighboring organization whose personnel starts work at 9 AM - the drop in download speed corresponds with the clock ticking over at 9 AM.

There may also be an issue w.r.t. overall bandwidth usage - the deployed Peplink routers sometimes (and certainly this month for one of them) exceed the 15/22 GB threshold (per SIM card) where Verizon starts throttling on an as-needed basis. That may play a major role in this experience. The router that exceeded the the threshold this month is doing significantly less well w.r.t. download speeds when compared with those that did not.

I’ll report back when the accounts roll over in a week or two.

Z

#17

a lot of people get confused between throttling, deprioritization, and congestion. are you comparing apples to apples? what band(s) is the peplink connected on and the phone(s)? based on the plan, what is the bandwidth allowance threshold where throttling/deprioritization kicks in and are both devices below that threshold or above it? you should be able to narrow this down a bit with some more info and removing variables.

#18

I am not confused by the terms. The Verizon account/card I have for the Pepwave is a not supposed to be affected by throttling, deprioritization or caps. At this particular location, the Pepwave device is most often connecting to Band 4. It does not have a model identifying it as LTE-A capable.

The phone I am using, different Verizon account, for comparison has caps, but these have not been reached yet. I have not looked closely to see what bands it is connecting in, but as it is an iPhone 8, it is LTE-A capable. My suspicion is that, if the Pepwave is working properly and is not generating internal noise impacting performance, access to the additional bands is the reason we’re seeing the phone-as-a-hotspot have better performance than the special-purpose device.

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#19

That could support my theory then. You’re devices don’t have access to the additional bands. If you were using LTE-A, and were experiencing slowdowns, then the cause would more likely be the Verizon engineers or a problem with the Pepwave.