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Old 06-03-2018, 10:15 PM   #51
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One of the things that the CSR at 3GStore told me was that, in my scenario, I'm probably going to have to manually lock onto a specific technology. In other words, no matter what hardware is being used to bring the signal INto my van, once it gets in there, the receiving device is going to have to prioritize reliability over speed.

This is the opposite of what typically transpires in the consumer realm. The Netgear AC791L is designed to prioritize speed over reliability. That's why it dashes around like the Energizer bunny on crack, looking for the fastest signal (according to the CSR).

I finally started diving into the RTFM phase of this effort, and I've found that I can't lock this device preferentially, *unless* I'm compelling it to lock onto LTE. It's either lock manually onto LTE, or allow it to do it's self-selected crazy dance. It doesn't allow me to menu-pick HSPA, for instance. For that, I'd need a different device.

Next logical step is for me to investigate other devices into which I could swap the Netgear's sim card when I need locking capability.

Patrick the CSR looked at my numbers and said that I might be able to tease out 1 MB speeds with what I've got, if I could stabilize it. Maybe. That's not very fast, but I could work with it, and it might amount to an 80/20 solution.
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Old 06-04-2018, 01:50 PM   #52
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Eventually I'd like to write up one or more rational, fact-based procedures that describe supportable decision trees for obtaining cellular internet in troublesome areas. Step-wise, as in, if effort A does not yield results, then elevate to procedure B.

Rarely have I encountered as messy a challenge. Cellular connectivity was designed to be invisible to the consumer. People only came behind it and tried to tuck-point the technical information when the invisibility failed. So bits and pieces of information are widely scattered and are uncoordinated at this juncture. And there is no dedicated forum for this subject matter, apparently.

For instance, you can turn your phone into a cellular dowsing rod if you want - and that should be part of any rational process. But once you get your tower confirmed, then you have to go to a different information source which has nothing to do with the first information source, and which may in fact be inconsistent with it. I have encountered this kind of barrier over and over again.

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Old 06-08-2018, 05:49 AM   #53
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T-Mobile sells a SynchUp module that plugs into your OBDII port and is a hot spot and also monitor some vehicle parameters such as battery voltage, fuel supply, when a door is opened, and trips. Grandkids use it for Xbox on trips.
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:27 PM   #54
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An update to this inquiry I was doing...

I managed to get into Verizon's backroom and connected with a very helpful and competent engineer.

To make a VERY long story short, what appears to have happened recently is that cellular companies have actually updated their systems in a way that made remote cell access worse in many cases. The whole paradigm is revolving around LTE and the coming 5G, and that's great if one happens to be immersed in an LTE-rich signal environment. Not so great if one is in a National Park or other remote area.

This vendor site (here) summarizes one of the core technical problems in a nutshell:

"In cases where both 3G and LTE networks are available but the LTE signal is weak, a modem that supports connection to both networks might still try to connect on LTE instead of dropping down to a more reliable 3G connection. This might cause slow speeds, frequent disconnects, or a complete lack of an Internet connection. To resolve this issue, it may be necessary to have the CradlePoint router instruct your modem to connect to 3G only."

They are referencing CradlePoint, but they could be referring to any router brand that offers manual selection capacity.

Intentionally or accidentally, Verizon made firmware updates and other changes in anticipation of the 2019 discontinuance of 3G, and these changes have pooched us in the intervening time. The evidence suggests that they *took away* our capacity to manually select 3G on devices such as the Netgear AC791L, which is the model number of my air card. That device, as originally built, had the capacity for manual selection - all of the historical Netgear documentation says so. But firmware updates removed that part, leaving the device with the physical capacity to select a remotely-usable 3G band, but without the corresponding programming it would need to do it. It has been intentionally degraded, in other words.

There are remote areas of the U.S. and Canada right now where 3G is the only functional game in town, with LTE being so poor that it is only serving to undermine that game. There may indeed be a sunset date for 3G, but in practice, I don't know how that stacks up against the fact that nobody has moved to update those towers and networks yet. Until there's a solution for that, many of us who work in remote areas are going to remain handicapped with respect to cellular capability.
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:08 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelleybeauvais View Post
Does anyone have a really good connection to the internet? If so, what are you using?
T-Mobile offers a module called SyncUp that plugs into the OBD II port and gives a good connection. It also provides vehicle information to your cell phone such as state of battery, fuel level, vehicle location, and, my favorite, when someone opens the door or otherwise molest your vehicle..
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:27 PM   #56
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Default Hmm... don't expect it to change in National Parks

Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
An update to this inquiry I was doing...

I managed to get into Verizon's backroom and connected with a very helpful and competent engineer.

To make a VERY long story short, what appears to have happened recently is that cellular companies have actually updated their systems in a way that made remote cell access worse in many cases. The whole paradigm is revolving around LTE and the coming 5G, and that's great if one happens to be immersed in an LTE-rich signal environment. Not so great if one is in a National Park or other remote area.

This vendor site (here) summarizes one of the core technical problems in a nutshell:

"In cases where both 3G and LTE networks are available but the LTE signal is weak, a modem that supports connection to both networks might still try to connect on LTE instead of dropping down to a more reliable 3G connection. This might cause slow speeds, frequent disconnects, or a complete lack of an Internet connection. To resolve this issue, it may be necessary to have the CradlePoint router instruct your modem to connect to 3G only."

They are referencing CradlePoint, but they could be referring to any router brand that offers manual selection capacity.

Intentionally or accidentally, Verizon made firmware updates and other changes in anticipation of the 2019 discontinuance of 3G, and these changes have pooched us in the intervening time. The evidence suggests that they *took away* our capacity to manually select 3G on devices such as the Netgear AC791L, which is the model number of my air card. That device, as originally built, had the capacity for manual selection - all of the historical Netgear documentation says so. But firmware updates removed that part, leaving the device with the physical capacity to select a remotely-usable 3G band, but without the corresponding programming it would need to do it. It has been intentionally degraded, in other words.

There are remote areas of the U.S. and Canada right now where 3G is the only functional game in town, with LTE being so poor that it is only serving to undermine that game. There may indeed be a sunset date for 3G, but in practice, I don't know how that stacks up against the fact that nobody has moved to update those towers and networks yet. Until there's a solution for that, many of us who work in remote areas are going to remain handicapped with respect to cellular capability.

I read this thinking..... how many times have I been to one of the National Parks and found cell service.... rarely......I think it was somewhere near Yellowstone and not too deep into the park.....

Anyway, yeah, cell phone coverage in really remote places like that or other wilderness areas are slim to none.....I hope you have a "backup plan" to get out if you need it.....
Don't ever rely soley on your cellphone.....

Stay safe out there...
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:31 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
"In cases where both 3G and LTE networks are available but the LTE signal is weak, a modem that supports connection to both networks might still try to connect on LTE instead of dropping down to a more reliable 3G connection. This might cause slow speeds, frequent disconnects, or a complete lack of an Internet connection. To resolve this issue, it may be necessary to have the CradlePoint router instruct your modem to connect to 3G only."

They are referencing CradlePoint, but they could be referring to any router brand that offers manual selection capacity.

Intentionally or accidentally, Verizon made firmware updates and other changes in anticipation of the 2019 discontinuance of 3G, and these changes have pooched us in the intervening time. The evidence suggests that they *took away* our capacity to manually select 3G on devices such as the Netgear AC791L, which is the model number of my air card. That device, as originally built, had the capacity for manual selection - all of the historical Netgear documentation says so. But firmware updates removed that part, leaving the device with the physical capacity to select a remotely-usable 3G band, but without the corresponding programming it would need to do it. It has been intentionally degraded, in other words.
Well, THAT'S depressing. Thanks for this info.

One question: Are you (they) saying that the AC791L has had the ability to set 3G-only removed from its user interface, but that it is still possible to do it programmatically via an external device (presumably via an "AT" command over the USB port). I can't remember whether the Surf SoHo has such a setting. I will have to check.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-24-2018, 11:38 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
Well, THAT'S depressing. Thanks for this info.

One question: Are you (they) saying that the AC791L has had the ability to set 3G-only removed from its user interface, but that it is still possible to do it programmatically via an external device (presumably via an "AT" command over the USB port). I can't remember whether the Surf SoHo has such a setting. I will have to check.

Thanks again.
Really good question, and that's also the next logical question: could there be a workaround? The Verizon engineer who worked with me on making this determination was taken aback by what had happened, and told me he would look into it more deeply and report back if he found anything important (it became a matter of personal interest to him).

There IS an immediate workaround supposing one wants to cough up $300 on the spot. That workaround is called the Pepwave BR1 mini router, which has the most elaborate manual band selection interface I've seen to date in a device that is a bit awkward but which could be made to be portable (3GStore sent me a screengrab of it):



But here's the problem with that $300 option: I could make that investment tomorrow, travel out to my property the day after, and find that they've just pulled all 3G off the tower, as they are expected to do at some near-future point that is currently not being communicated to the paying public.

Knowing what I know, what I would PREFER to do is find a cheap throw-away 3G-only router, so that I can have some functionality for the short term, but cut my losses when that point of discontinuance comes.

Verizon will stop selling all 3G equipment to the public in six more days, which is the internal date that they set ahead of the sunset (18 month lead). The other alternative is to wait for that point where everyone realizes that the death knell has truly rung for 3G, and maybe some of these existing equipment prices will start to fall accordingly.

Edit: Personally I suspect that 3G will not be sunset on schedule in some remote areas where it's just not economical to upgrade the towers, due to the low population (my area is part of a census tract that is approximately 8 miles wide, and I doubt that the population exceeds 50 people total). There are plenty of news stories about the end of 3G, but reality often doesn't match the news.

The problem is, I don't know WHICH areas will continue operating legacy equipment. And it's expensive to play a guessing game.
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:10 PM   #59
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Well, here's a new one. I'm guessing that service will not be cheap!!!!

https://www.airbornewirelessnetwork.com/index.asp
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