HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

HSPA setup and configuration (for wireless networking, please use the 'Networking issue' forum)
JakeK
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HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by JakeK » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:17 pm

Hi,

I started using Exetel's HSDPA service about two weeks ago and it has caused me nothing but agony. I'm close to snapping the $200 modem in half because it annoys me so much.

Like other people on this forum I suffer from an absurd amount of dropouts for where I live. I live approximately 30 minutes outside of Melbourne (Macleod, Army base). I was sufferring from these drop outs until I followed the suggestion to change the bands I use. It worked, but for a very short period of time. So now about every freaking 3-5 minutes I have to disconnect and reconnect my connection. It is like jump starting a 99% depleted battery, it just dies soon after. Last week I was also getting very good speeds and stayed constantly on the HSPA network, but now that good fortune got hit by a land mine and then had a bomb dropped on it. It rarely ever gets on the HSDPA networkand I can't even use it for what I bought it for, video calling. This is making me extremely frustrated, I fork out $200 bucks for this modem and pay $40 a month for an unreliable service. I understand that Mobile broadband isn't supposed to be reliable in speed, but this is a whole different ball game. This is epically bad.

I am glad I am not on a contract because I am about 5 droupouts from going into Exetel and throwing my modem attached to a brick through a window. I rely on this a lot and I'm fed up.

I have emailed and played cat and mouse on the phone with the crazy arse voice system so I thought here would be the next best thing.

If you guys/girls manage to help me resolve the issue I may just find you and kiss you, maybe.


Jake

EDIT: I worked out what is causing the problem. The modem isn't creating a constant connection to the internet when idling and drops out. I was pinging google and had no problems for an extended period of time. I was even back up to 1.03 mbps. I needed to brush my teeth so I thought I'd test it by stopping the ping of google and when I came back it was disconnected.

samarium
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by samarium » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:40 pm

I've been testing an E169 USB stick, and notice that when idle it is dark blue/UTMS, and when active is light blue/HSPA, so this sounds somewhat similar to what you are describing.

Maybe an external antenna will give you better signal strength and thus the switch between UTMS & HSPA will be more reliable?

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CoreyPlover
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by CoreyPlover » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:16 pm

JakeK wrote:EDIT: I worked out what is causing the problem. The modem isn't creating a constant connection to the internet when idling and drops out. I was pinging google and had no problems for an extended period of time. I was even back up to 1.03 mbps. I needed to brush my teeth so I thought I'd test it by stopping the ping of google and when I came back it was disconnected.
Yes. Having a constant background ping going often ensures a continuous HSPA connection (rather than the connection dropping back down to UTMS which can result in stalling when new activity is connected and a HSPA connection is attempted to be reestablished.

peterh_oz
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by peterh_oz » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:24 am

CoreyPlover wrote:
JakeK wrote:EDIT: I worked out what is causing the problem. The modem isn't creating a constant connection to the internet when idling and drops out. I was pinging google and had no problems for an extended period of time. I was even back up to 1.03 mbps. I needed to brush my teeth so I thought I'd test it by stopping the ping of google and when I came back it was disconnected.
Yes. Having a constant background ping going often ensures a continuous HSPA connection (rather than the connection dropping back down to UTMS which can result in stalling when new activity is connected and a HSPA connection is attempted to be reestablished.
Would a voip device or even running skype (whether in a conversation or not) provide this "constant ping" by having a continuous connection just in case a call or message arrives?

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CoreyPlover
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by CoreyPlover » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:37 pm

peterh_oz wrote:Would a voip device or even running skype (whether in a conversation or not) provide this "constant ping" by having a continuous connection just in case a call or message arrives?
Not sure if the communication made while not in conversation is regular enough to keep it dropping to a lower speed network. It may be as little as a 30 second lull in traffic results in a drop and SIP communications might be set at longer intervals.

A ping has the benefit of being extremely regular and even has a controllable delay (at least, when scripted in a BAT file or something).

karLos
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by karLos » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:59 pm

just to be clear, is this a bad signal or is it a fault with the technology?

JakeK
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by JakeK » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:15 pm

Its not bad signal because I always have 70-100% reception.

I just need to figure out how to drop the ping packet size so when I run it a lot it wont use any download.

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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by CoreyPlover » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:28 pm

JakeK wrote:I just need to figure out how to drop the ping packet size so when I run it a lot it wont use any download.
On Windows PING, you can use the "-l <size>" option to set the size of the PING packet. You can also write a script to send a ping every 10 second instead. Since there is extra overhead on each packet, you probably want to open Windows Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc), Networking tab, View, Select Columns, Bytes Sent / Received in order to get an accurate indication of the true data send and received back (hopefully "Dial-up" adapters appear in the Networking Task Manager...)

JakeK
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by JakeK » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:41 am

Could you please elaborate on this script?

karLos
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by karLos » Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:45 am

is it a common occurrence that a connection of this type will require a pinging script to keep it alive?

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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by CoreyPlover » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:58 pm

karLos wrote:is it a common occurrence that a connection of this type will require a pinging script to keep it alive?
No. Usually the modem will switch between networks when activity is detected and it will do this very rapidly so there is no real noticable delay. This pinging script is only useful if you find the connection stalling when it attempts to renegotiate HSPA
JakeK wrote:Could you please elaborate on this script?
The simple command "PING www.google.com.au -l 1 -t" will ping Google forever with 1 byte of information. I clock this as using 4.2KB up + 5.1KB down per minute (as this includes packet overhead) = ~550KB of total usage per hour = 0.8c / hour

daftdog
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by daftdog » Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:27 pm

I have also been having problems with continuous disconnects since joining Exetel a few weeks ago.
At first I was pleased to have found an isp that would sell me broadband in my area. I knew that it would be slow under GPRS but anything is better than dialup at 400b/s and continuous dropouts. I bought a used modem off eBay (Huawei E220) and set it up (I use Linux). At first it seemed to work ok then I started getting continuous disconnects and my modem kept being turned off by a request from the peer (Optus). I searched this forum to no avail (not least because of the 'common word' restrictions on the search engine). I then tried ringing Exetel but you cannot register a HSPA fault over the phone so I waited until I could talk to a real person. I kept getting the same guy who asked me the same six questions all of which I'd already tried. I then registered a fault ticket and got three emails from three different people all of whom wanted to blame me or my hardware for the problem.
I then decided to buy a new Huawei E220. After setting it up I still kept getting the same problem. I knew it was not my hardware as I was using two different E220 modems with a laptop, a PC and a new Huawei D100 router. No matter what configuration I used the problem remained the same.
After reading this post yesterday I tried the ping idea (ping -s 0 -i 10 203.13.127.32) and my connection seems to stay up longer although I still get disconnects. (This may be due to the 10 second interval between pings.)
When I am disconnected I cannot reconnect with the modem for some time but if I remove the sim from the disconnected modem and put it in my other one then the connection restarts immediately. (This I don't understand!)
I now think this may be a signal strength problem as I have poor signal strength in my area and tommorrow when I go to the city I will take my laptop and test it up there. If it works ok then I'll know that it's a signal_strength/network_renegotiation problem. (I may be wrong as JakeK says his signal strength is 70/100% and he is having the same problem.)

peterh_oz
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by peterh_oz » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:06 pm

daftdog wrote:I bought a used modem off eBay (Huawei E220) and set it up (I use Linux).
I then decided to buy a new Huawei E220. After setting it up I still kept getting the same problem. I knew it was not my hardware as I was using two different E220 modems with a laptop, a PC and a new Huawei D100 router. No matter what configuration I used the problem remained the same.
Is your area 2100MHz or 900MHz? Check on www2.optus.com.au

e220 only work on 2100MHz which is why Exetel recommends (and sells) the e169 which covers both frequencies, thus ALL of the Optus network.

daftdog
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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by daftdog » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:50 pm

According to the map coverage site I am in a 3G (2100Mhz) area although I take this with a grain of salt. I shall probably have to use an antenna to get this modem working properly in my area.

After looking at the specs on Huawei modems I have just returned from giving myself a good kicking. When I was deciding which modem to buy I must have misread the specs and decided the E220 was the more versatile one. I now realize that what you say is right and I should have bought an E169! (Now you see why I am called daftdog.) Oh well, back to eBay.

Also, the ping solution has stopped working; I think its the weather. This morning there were strong winds from the east and my connection stayed good for a long time but now the wind has dropped and the weather is warming up the modem has gone back to disconnecting every few minutes even when running 'ping'. The area I live in has strange weather patterns, even quite different to areas only a few k's away.

Thanx for your help.

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Re: HSDPA Broadand Drop outs - Extremely Frustrating

Post by peterh_oz » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm

daftdog wrote:According to the map coverage site I am in a 3G (2100Mhz) area although I take this with a grain of salt. I shall probably have to use an antenna to get this modem working properly in my area.

After looking at the specs on Huawei modems I have just returned from giving myself a good kicking. When I was deciding which modem to buy I must have misread the specs and decided the E220 was the more versatile one. I now realize that what you say is right and I should have bought an E169! (Now you see why I am called daftdog.) Oh well, back to eBay.

Also, the ping solution has stopped working; I think its the weather. This morning there were strong winds from the east and my connection stayed good for a long time but now the wind has dropped and the weather is warming up the modem has gone back to disconnecting every few minutes even when running 'ping'. The area I live in has strange weather patterns, even quite different to areas only a few k's away.

Thanx for your help.
New modems r $170 from exetel ...

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