UbiFi 4G Home Internet

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by RJM62, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Anyone have any experience with this provider?

    https://ubifi.net/

    My ISP is starting to **** me off. There's an intermittent problem upstream of my home that's causing frequent outages during especially cold weather.They keep sending guys to check the "plant" wiring. They find nothing wrong, of course, because there's nothing wrong. I think the problem is on the upstream side of whatever device is immediately upstream of me based on tests I've done during outages.

    I talked Saturday with one of the supervisors, and he had me meet him at his office and swapped out a modem. It didn't solve the problem. (The one that was replaced was less than a month old.) I've also replaced the router, splitters, and most of the interior wiring. No joy.

    This morning I showed up at their technicians' depot during their morning muster and raised a fuss, armed with printouts of all the diagnostics I've already done. They sent someone over right away who spent a lot of time and found no problems, but did replace an old grounding block and a couple of F-connectors. I doubt that was the problem because during the outages, the modem shows normal signal levels and SNR. But we'll see.

    If they don't get it solved soon I'll be looking at alternatives. This one looks good on their site -- but everything looks good on the providers' sites.

    Rich
     
  2. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So you'll be at the mercy of whichever 4G carrier puts a signal at your place? What do the speeds and latency look like?
     
  3. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They use AT&T, which has decent signal here. I get 40 - 50 Mbps on my AT&T phone. I haven't tested the latency, but when I use the phone as a hotspot during cable outages, there's no noticeable lag.

    I did call UbiFi and the salesman was very straightforward about the possibility of losing the contract with AT&T. He also said the modems are carrier-agnostic, so they'd have to try to negotiate a deal with VZW (which has good signal here) or TMO (who claim to, but I haven't verified that).

    They do offer a 30-day trial. If Sparrow Fart Telephone can't solve the problem within a week or so, I'm thinking about giving UbiFi a try, but keeping my local service active. If UbiFi works out okay, I can always keep my local service for television, but downgrade the Internet package to their lowest-level plan rather than canceling it. Then if UbiFi doesn't work out, I can upgrade again over the phone. But I want some feedback on UbiFi first before I invest in their equipment.

    Rich
     
  4. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I just ran multiple speed tests on ATT using my phone. Averages were:

    Ping: 45 ms
    Down: 37 Mbps
    Up: 11 Mbps

    That's from inside the house on the side facing the tower. I'd actually use the outside antenna if I signed up, which would probably improve things a bit; but the spot where I'd mount it is inaccessible right now due to the snow.

    Download is a bit less than I get on cable, but still adequate. Ping is about the same. Up is slightly better. So the capacity for it to be usable is there. How well they actually use it is questionable.

    Rich
     
  5. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Rich, do you know what frequencies they use for the modem?
     
  6. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    B1 (2100 MHz)
    B2 (1900 MHz)
    B3 (1800 MHz)
    B4 - AWS (1700 MHz)
    B5 (850 MHz)
    B7 (2600 MHz)
    B8 (900 MHz)
    B12/B13/B17 (700 MHz)
    B20 (800 MHz)
    B25 (1900 MHz)
    B26 (850 MHz)
    B30 (2300 MHz)
    B41 (TD 2500 MHz)
    UMTS (850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz)
    GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)

    Those would certainly cover all the bands presently in use by ATT, VZW, or TMO where I live .

    The manual is pretty interesting. The router has some pretty decent features, including bandwidth control to individual devices by MAC. That's kind of unusual on stock firmware.

    I'm still hoping that my ISP can get their act together on this intermittent problem. I'll give them some time because I know intermittent problems are frustrating. But I do want to have options. I also like the idea that competition may be on the horizon if this service turns out to be the real deal. Right now we have only one broadband provider. Competition tends to improve service quality and keep prices down.

    Rich
     
  7. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    Do they have data caps/plans? That’s usually the killer with these cellular based ISPs
     
  8. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cold knocks out your service? Rain knocks out mine. I've tried explaining it to the customer (dis-)service drones but only get the "we will schedule a service call" response so I ask how they are going to find the problem when it's dry. The drones must think the techs are majik. Never have gotten through to a drone level that can understand there needs to be a work order in place for a rainy day. Of course their service scheduling system prolly can't handle that type of concept so actual human intervention is required. Can't have that in this day and age.
     
  9. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No caps, confirmed by the person I spoke to over the phone.

    Rich
     
  10. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Their phone support actually isn't horrible. The tech support number puts you through to an actual geek. I can also just walk in there and talk to the service manager if I want to. But it's an unusual and intermittent problem.

    I think the problem is on the upstream side of whatever the next upstream device is. I don't think it's a wire problem. The kid who came out today did change the grounding block, but he doubts that was the problem. He just wanted to eliminate the last possible simple cause of the problem.

    I know that in theory a bit of corrosion (which there was) on an F-connector can affect Internet without affecting the TV service on the same wire because of the different frequencies, but I've never seen it happen except in cases when the signal and SNR were marginal to begin with. Mine are superb when it's working.

    They're also superb even when it's not working if I look at the modem status while it's down. That leads me to believe it's still connected to the downstream side of the next upstream device, and that that's where the problem is. But that device doesn't seem to have an IP address because it doesn't show up in a traceroute. If I had to guess it would be an amplifier. I'm a bit rusty, but I think the fiber node would have an IP.

    I also don't think a bit of corrosion in an F-connector would only affect the Internet when it's cold out. But it's within the realm of possibility; so I'll let the uptime monitor run a few more days and see what happens.

    Rich
     
  11. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    The ip address for the first node you hit on layer 3 will be the gateway address that is assigned to your modem via your ISP's DHCP service. Can you reach that address during the outage? Very possible with all the virtual networking these days to have many layer 2 hops before that layer 3 gateway which you'll never see nor really be able to effectively troubleshoot from your side.
     
  12. baboss

    baboss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So are they are a hotspot vendor, selling unlimited lines on their corporate account with the cell provider? A lot of the vendors who have corporate accounts can still get unlimited lines on hotspots and you’ll see those for monthly “rent” on eBay. The carriers have been shutting those vendors down lately though.
    I joined rvmobileinternet.com looking for alternatives for connectivity at our country home. I ended using a guy I found through the rvmobileinternet forums who specializes in transferring grandfathered unlimited plans. He goes out and buys one from someone and then transfers it to you for a fee. After that the Verizon one I have is about $65/month, 1 year contract that I renew every year. I keep my usage around 100/gb a month to stay off the radar....
    If my grandfathered UDP ever went away, which I’m betting will happen sooner or later, this looks like a good alternative.
     
  13. RJM62

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    I can never see whatever the next device is upstream from me on a traceroute. When I had the static IP I could and it was the gateway; but they took it off as part of the troubleshooting over the weekend. I really don't need it anymore anyway.

    Code:
    C:\Windows\System32>tracert yahoo.com
    
    Tracing route to yahoo.com [98.139.180.180]
    over a maximum of 30 hops:
    
      1     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms  DD-WRT [192.168.2.1]
      2     *        *        *     Request timed out.
      3    14 ms    17 ms    19 ms  192.168.254.13
      4    13 ms    33 ms    23 ms  192.168.250.0
      5    25 ms    15 ms    30 ms  mtc-gw.edge.alb2.inoc.net [64.246.129.40]
      6    45 ms    30 ms    27 ms  te0-0-2-0.asr0.nyc1.inoc.net [64.246.129.249]
      7    18 ms    20 ms    29 ms  nyiix.bas1-m.nyc.yahoo.com [198.32.160.121]
      8    28 ms    31 ms    37 ms  ae-1.pat2.bfw.yahoo.com [216.115.111.26]
      9    46 ms    32 ms    26 ms  et-18-1-0.msr1.bf2.yahoo.com [74.6.227.37]
     10    34 ms    30 ms    42 ms  UNKNOWN-74-6-122-X.yahoo.com [74.6.122.55]
     11    35 ms    50 ms    37 ms  po7.fab3-1-gdc.bf1.yahoo.com [72.30.22.5]
     12    30 ms    52 ms    35 ms  po-11.bas1-7-prd.bf1.yahoo.com [98.139.129.177]
     13    32 ms    58 ms    34 ms  media-router-fp1.prod.media.vip.bf1.yahoo.com [98.139.180.180]
    
    Trace complete.
    During an outage, I can't ping anything. But the modem signal and SNRs show that it's connected. If it lasts more than a minute or so the modem will register a T3 time-out error and reboot itself several times, presumably trying to sync, after which it gives up. But the signal and SNR levels still show up good the whole time. Here are some other errors it comes up with. Some I understand and some I don't.

    Code:
    RCS Partial Service;CM-MAC=58:19:f8:fb:cf:a7;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:24:9f:c1;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
    
    SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Loss of Sync;CM-MAC=58:19:f8:fb:cf:a7;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:24:9f:c1;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
    
    Lost MDD Timeout;CM-MAC=58:19:f8:fb:cf:a7;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:24:9f:c1;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
    
    Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received - T4 time out;CM-MAC=58:19:f8:fb:cf:a7;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:24:9f:c1;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
    
    SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Loss of Sync;CM-MAC=58:19:f8:fb:cf:a7;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:24:9f:c1;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
    
    No Ranging Response received - T3 time-out;CM-MAC=58:19:f8:fb:cf:a7;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:24:9f:c1;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
    So far today it's been stable since about noon EDT. Yesterday it was stable from about noon until about 6:00 a.m. this morning. The failures seem to happen when it's cold and not sunny. This morning they stopped as soon as the sun started beating down, even though the OAT was only ~ 15F.

    It's a bit puzzling.

    Rich
     
  14. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The device they use is somewhat more than a hotspot. It actually looks like a relatively decent 4G Modem / Router combination. But basically, yes. They piggyback on ATT (at least where I am) much like an MVNO.

    Rich
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  15. denverpilot

    denverpilot Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I'm tempted to try this out as a second Internet pipe to the house. It's rare to find a truly unlimited LTE service from any carrier these days, let alone AT&T.

    @baboss the thing that will likely kill your Verizon UDP will be their new announcement that they're going to start locking devices again. Current FCC chair is unlikely to make them follow the law in their C Block acquisition that says no devices can be locked... since he's a former VZ lawyer. Once they start remotely locking devices, they'll bounce the hot spots they don't "like" or claim they can't support properly, off of the network. It'll be the ones with UDP SIM cards in them, amazingly enough, I'm sure.
     
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  16. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I would almost - almost but not quite - place odds on a bad amp in the cable system. It will be the devil to find. I had a similar issue here - intermittent drops, inbound carrier lights fine, marginal but still OK downstream signal, but high packet loss and decreased speeds with occasional complete drops. Temperature related. 5 service calls later, including replacement of the drop, change service entry into premises, new ground block, new modem, increase upstream level, increase downstream level, we hit a temp extreme and it quit to the point they could see it. Next day, the came out and replaced an amp in the system that served the neighborhood distribution. Problem solved. It could also be a bad power supply or injector on the cable, or even a broken shield on the cable in a splice that interrupts power or allows RF ingress/egress.

    The cable team was very responsive, business line, 24-hour US based tech support, local office even had the supe out. The amp didn't act up when they were here.
     
  17. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    I've been suffering intermittent outages for data on Comcast's "service". TV and phone work normally. Most recent failure was earlier this afternoon, and it's clear and a million today. PCs are showing WiFi is working fine, just no internet connection. It fixes itself, too. I guess I'll have to call Comcast and have them take a look. Of course, there's nothing worse than trying to troubleshoot intermittent problems.
     
  18. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    Look at the modem lights when you lose internet. I had to replace mine a while back as it would reboot spontaneously and randomly.
     
  19. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's definitely back in the system and not related to the drop stuff. I would have said a cable suck out when you said when it's cold out except you say it still has signal. Have you compared the signal between when it's not working to when it is? Generally a cable suck out takes the plant down since the 60 cycle A.C. is the first thing to go. Bill may be right about an amp having an intermittent issue, cold solder joint or something weird going on. You would think they'd get other calls though and be able to better pin point based on that. If it's truly only you it could be a tap issue. do you know where you are on the feeder system? Do you know anything about their architecture of the plant?
     
  20. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    T3/T4? You are on a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem? Do the log timestamps on your modem correspond to when the problem occurs?

    If it's really an upstream direction problem, they'll have to monitor at the CMTS for issues on the upstream channels.
     
  21. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's my hunch, as well. Although in fairness to the kid who came out yesterday and replaced the grounding block, it's been more than 21 hours since the last failure; and the two that did occur may be false alarms. They both occurred in the middle of sustained uploads that completed successfully, so the monitoring app may have been unable to connect within its 200ms timeout. If we disregard those two, then it's going on 24 hours.

    I'm still interested in UbiFi, however. Having options is never a bad thing.

    Rich
     
  22. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They are. They also asked me to keep the monitoring app running on my end so they can compare the records.

    They're not a bad outfit overall. They're certainly more responsive than any other cable company I used. But they're very small and I suppose don't have the breadth of experience that a big company would have. What they do have is pretty accessible, though.

    Rich
     
  23. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    @RJM62 Can you post a table or screenshot of your downstream & upstream channel info?
     
  24. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Doesn't change at all when it goes down other than the normal variations.

    It's now almost either 24 or 26 hours since the last outage, depending on whether the last two were falsies.

    Rich
     

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  25. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And the event log. Also nothing since yesterday.
     

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  26. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    Those numbers look excellent! If it happens again, keep an eye on the correcteds & uncorrectables. If they start cranking, it could be downstream problems. Don't know if you noticed that before. You're tuned into channels that don't overlap with cellphones.

    Your upstream transmit power is also great. Being < 40 dBmV means you're on a relatively low-loss path to the CMTS. The modem is not having to "shout!" (up to about 52 dBmV) to be heard. Upstream noise ingress would hit shouting modems first. They'll still have to monitor at the CMTS to catch stuff like that.

    FYI
    https://www.excentis.com/blog/ranging-feeling-2-bpm-docsis-heartbeat

    https://www.excentis.com/blog/take-care-your-cable-network-health
     
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  27. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, the correcteds & uncorrectables were through the roof previously. I tore up the printout I made for the service tech after he left, but I scanned and attached that part of the sheet.

    It's hard to believe that a corroded grounding block would make that much difference. The only other explanations are that they found and fixed another problem, or that the temperatures haven't been that cold.

    Rich
     

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  28. rpadula

    rpadula En-Route

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    Those don't look too bad. Had you recently clicked on the Reset FEC Counters link? The counters are cumulative since last reboot/reinit MAC, so you'd want to reset them while the issue is happening to see if they're incrementing quickly. I suppose you could make a script to reload the status web page & scrape it to collect the trend...

    I am convinced RF is magic. But it could be related to the grounding block. Metal does contract when cold. Most cable modems I've had have a 2-prong AC adapter, so the only real path to a good ground is through the shielded side of the coax.
     
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  29. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'll have to check whether the modem has a grounding terminal on it. Thanks.

    Rich
     
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  30. denverpilot

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    I’ve seen stranger and more expensive outages fixed by fixing the grounding.

    Now I’m still thinking I want to try out this fly by night that’s using AT&T. Usually they’re commercial AT&T customers messing around with buying giant blocks of data for all their sub-customers and playing the “I hope they don’t actually all use too much bandwidth” game.

    It usually lasts about three to five years until AT&T decides to pull the plug on them. So if the speeds worked out better than my fixed wireless microwave provider I could just load balance the two and the TVs would have one pipe and the other toys the other pipe until they go under.

    Maybe by then the growth of two million dollar “ranches” up the road would mean fiber would finally be laid out our direction.
     
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  31. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    5G is going to change all the rules for Internet and local content transmission. I'm all for it. Competition is what keeps businesses more-or-less honest.

    Rich
     
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  32. denverpilot

    denverpilot Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I don’t expect it to be deployed where I live for at least that half a decade I mentioned in the analysis of how long this company might last, though. So the timing may work out. :)

    Y’all keep paying that rural broadband tax on every cell bill. Nobody knows where that money is going, but it ain’t rural broadband. LOL.
     
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  33. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    I believe that the lights haven't changed. Interestingly, in a meeting a church today our interim minister commented that she is having intermittent internet outages at her home, as well. And she lives on the other side of town from us. I guess I'll need to call Comcast tomorrow. This is a new (in the last week or so) problem.
     
  34. baboss

    baboss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That’s the damned truth!
    Running 1 Verizon UDP hotspot USB tethered to a Surf SOHO router along w/ 2 slow DSL lines into a TP-Link “load balancer” which feeds a 3 node Velop mesh for WiFi (to get it out to the barn). Also have a Cel-Fi booster so we don’t drop a cell call when moving away from the couch in the living room. For extra backup I have a Verizon LTE cantenna w/ a 10GB/month plan which I usually use just for the work VPN connection when I need it.
    Assinine setup, in complexity and cost, to get so-so speeds out in the country.
     
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