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Home wireless networking question.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Norton72, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

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    Sorry to bring this question here, very non-guitar related and all. We live in a rural area where the only internet/cable options are satellite and microwave broadband. We have been on microwave broadband for several years, after a couple of disappointing years on satellite, but still have the satellite dish for TV. Still, on microwave our speeds are very slow -- 0.9 Mbps download is the best I have clocked at speedtest.net. For my phone, I have been on Verizon wireless for about a decade now, and my wife switched to AT&T a couple of years ago when we discovered that AT&T had a much stronger signal than Verizon at our house. (The Verizon signal at home is very weak.)

    A few months ago I got the bright idea that we should ditch the broadband, Verizon (when the contract ran out), and our satellite dish at one time. I thought we would get a digital antenna and we could stream video, music and have internet via an AT&T wifi hotspot. My Verizon contract is up this week, so this weekend we went to the AT&T store and purchased the hotspot device along with a substantially increased data plan. (AT&T is having a promotion this month whereby you get twice as much data as you would normally get for the price.)

    Before taking the plunge I checked AT&T's speed using my wife's phone. I disconnected from the wireless network at home and using only the AT&T cell signal, I ran three passes on speedtest.net with a result of something over 39 Mbps each time. Three hours at the AT&T store -- big crowd -- and we brought the new device home and got everything connected. I ran speedtest on my wife's laptop and my PC and the best speed I got was something a little over 2 Mbps.

    Why such a huge discrepancy? I'm not knowledgeable at all about wifi, cell signals, or any of that sort of thing beyond getting everything connected and running. I realize that these hotspot devices are not really intended for video streaming. I've seen reviews for this device with download speeds close to 15 Mbps so I thought this would be a way to consolidate some bills and have one provider for all of our phone/internet/entertainment devices. Now I'm afraid that I've purchased a device and committed to a data plan that will be useless to me.
     
  2. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

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    According to this website, the fastest AT&T plan offered in your area offers download speeds "up to 18Mbps." I wonder how you got 39Mbps? Are you sure you were testing the same service?

    I could understand a discrepancy between the speed from the modem and the speed from the wifi hotspot if it was an older wifi router (I have an old Netgear that maxes out at 56Mbps I think). Shouldn't be an issue on a new device though I would think. Maybe there is something about your new device that is not compatible with the newer 802.11n (or whatever the latest one is.) Does that sound like it might be an issue?

    Can you post the make and model number of your wifi router?
     
  3. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

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    My router that I'm currently using for my wireless network is an ASUS RT-AC87U Wireless-AC2400 Dual-band Gigabit Router from Newegg. The AT&T wifi (they call it Mifi,) is the AT&T Unite. We have 4G LTE in my area. I think the slow speeds I've been experiencing with my old setup is due to a poor signal from my microwave broadband. It's a line-of-site system and I just don't think I have a clear shot from the transmitter to the receiver on top of my house.

    I'm not sure, but the website you referred to looks like it is describing cable speeds. We have no cable or even DSL available in my area.
     
  4. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

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    It sounds like that could be an issue depending on the transmission frequency your provider is giving you (according to this article, lower frequency wimax is more error prone but less line-of-sight than high frequency GHz band).

    It turns out I don't know much at all about WiMAX, or LTE wifi hotspots/tethers :oops:
    But assuming the AT&T Unite is on the same network and similar plan to your wife's phone, that is strange that it wouldn't get the same speed unless the device or service has a bandwidth or speed cap or something (or if they allocate more frequency bandwidth for your wife's phone plan than they do for the Unite mifi plan?) I dunno. And to pay for service that might only be double the speed of what you used to get is a real bummer too.

    This guy had a neat review of the Unite where he got 15Mbps: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/ChasingWiFiAsARemoteWorkerATTUniteLTEMobileHotspotReview.aspx

    You're right; those are probably copper/DSL. Not sure why I thought that would be relevant...
     
  5. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

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