I have a fault on my 'broadband' (normally 3 to 4 mbps) via copper wire. The comment from the BT call handler “Whoa! Your cable is 7.5km long! I'm surprised your phone even works!” doesn't inspire confidence that Openreach will fix / bother to look at it (in a weeks time).
Currently using my phone as a hotspot (seems to do the job) so considering changing to a 4G based broadband. We're in a bit of a dip here, but top of the garden has line of sight to a mast. Should be possible to set up a repeater.
Any thoughts, experiences or advice?
Have one out in the sticks and it works well, occasional 'circle of doom' when streaming.
Moving work digs to low ground in Inverness on Sunday and will try it there
We're just outside Coventry but have no/awful copper wire to the house. We've had an EE setup, followed by Three. The Three connection is great, unlimited data at 20-40mbps for £25 a month (looking online I can see deals priced at £17). With an external antennae it'd be a chunk faster having experimented with the router outside in various places. The Huawei B535 they offer is meant to be pretty good too.
What speed do you get from your phone broadband? Mobile broadband is likely to be faster and cheaper than your 3-4Mbps service.
My mobile broadband is 17Mbps, no idea where mast is as it could be on any of many buildings but probably close. It appears to be reliable.
We've gone from sub 1Mb using ADSL over a similar length cable to 45down/18up Mb using a 4G modem attached to a satellite TV sized aerial on the side of the house - almost direct line of sight to an aerial about 10Km away. The 4G is supplied by EE and the kit supplied and installed by Dyfed Telecom who seem to do the bulk of this kind of work in mid Wales. Have a look at the kit supplied by Microtik - there are a load of different types of aerials etc and you could probably figure out a system for yourself if you're a bit techie - it runs off Power over Ethernet, so just a Cat6 ethernet cable from the switch in the back kitchen to the aerial/router. We got the kit and installation paid for by a Welsh Government grant and unlimited data is £50/month. So far so good on signal availability.
We've just moved somewhere rural with only poor cable Internet and need to work from home. The landlord recommended a small enterprise called NotSpot that had already installed aerials, their router was in situ and we would have to buy a locked and rebranded EE sim to use it at something like £55/mo. Bit steep, but path of least resistance and we had other faff with the move so decided we would plumb for it.
Customer service was initially great, got their sim delivered pronto but their "engineer"/director repeatedly failed to actually set us up and missed agreed dates and times for phonecalls. I let him know I was peed off and considering alternatives and the response came back full of technobabble and threats that I'd be wasting time and money if I thought I could do it myself.
Given we could hotspot off our phones fine, we thought we possibly didn't really need an aerial extender. Bought a good spec Huawei 4G router second hand from CEX for about £100, used a giffgaff sim as interim/proof of concept (only supposed to use for phones and "unlimited" caps at 80GB) then signed up for a proper mobile broadband O2 (best signal in area) SIM in store. Guy in store explained we would be better on a contract for a dinky battery powered mobile hotspot (also huawei), unlimited (600GB/mo) data about £35/month, but can pay off the £30ish device immediately to escape the 24mo contract to be on rolling monthly. Further 20% discount through work. We will be saving money compared to NotSpot after a few months, own the main router ready for our next place, and got the little router as well now for use in the van.
We've had no problems whatsoever in 2mo and I'd reccommend the DIY route since you have already proved decent signal strength through hotspot. The niche for these little rural broaband companies seems to be if you're really in the sticks with crap signal and need more than a simple extender.
Just make sure the contract is a "mobile broadband" one, not just a SIM intended for phones or you might be violating TOS and get download/speed throttled.
> We're just outside Coventry but have no/awful copper wire to the house. We've had an EE setup, followed by Three. The Three connection is great, unlimited data at 20-40mbps for £25 a month (looking online I can see deals priced at £17). With an external antennae it'd be a chunk faster having experimented with the router outside in various places. The Huawei B535 they offer is meant to be pretty good too.
We live near Llanberis and have got the same set up with Three and the Huawei router. Works fine outside of the holiday periods but the Three network lacks capacity and can’t cope when there are lots of visitors in the area. Ok early morning and late at night but slows to a crawl during the day.
I have never checked the speed but I got an EE 4g WiFi jobby for my van. My laptop and tablet and phone is tethered to it. The 4g on the dongle picks up a better signal than my phone does.
It gives good access to my remote desktop and streams YouTube at lunch time just fine as long as I'm not parked in a dead spot.
capacity is an issue here in the west coast too in tourist season.
On EE a local mast out of town can give up to 98mb, in town right now with lots of tourists 10mb on EE normally higher and our BT wired broadband is down from 36mb to 26mb
Thanks all, some really good info there. 4g in the house is only about 2mbps (thick walls and no line of sight).
Top of the garden varies between 21 and 43mbps with uploads usually between 9 and 15, although I got zero and 2 on a couple of occasions.
A bit of experimenting with a huawei router and some sort of antenna might be in order.
Maybe up in the loft will give you the line of sight you get in the garden, roofing will be relatively transparent compared to walls.
Have you considered Solway Communications? They might cover where you live.
I have, I've had very mixed reviews on them. I think they're quite expensive, and possibly less resilient, compared to a 4g solution.
I'm north of the Cairngorms, there's barely 1 bar of mobile reception outdoors - living in an old, stone built property means zero inside. We have an EE 4G wifi with aerial - no other choice in terms of service providers. We might get 6-8MB down and 1-2MB up if we're lucky. It falls over regularly, needing a reboot at least once a day. There's no other alternative locally, unless you go for a satellite dish. It's OK as a last resort, but £40/month for 200MB isn't. One issue to consider with 4G aerials is the cable is a fixed length at 5m - so siting the aerial and router gets more tricky.
Just putting a note here for my own benefit, like "bookmarking" the thread for myself.
I may be looking to do similar for my small office (work premises, not home) as we've just had an absolute farrago with British Telecom and I really want to never ever deal with them again.
The phrase "MiFi" used to be a thing, has this fallen out of use and now just called Mobile Wifi?
Thanks for that, useful to hear the negatives. TBH those speeds are an improvement on my BT copper wire setup (and cheaper).
The constant reboot doesn't sound good, (especially as I'd probably have the router in the loft). Is it EE supplied kit? I'm wondering if third-party equipment might give better results.