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  Mobile broadband queries
Posted by: Sunshine - 02/04/2021, 11:30 AM - Forum: Mobile Broadband - Replies (11)

Hi there,
 I currently have my internet broadband with eir. I am in a rural area and getting maximum 3 mbs.
My contract is up and my bill jumped from 25 to 60 pm. I won’t be paying this and looking for advice on what internet options I have.

 I also use my mobile phone as a hotspot with my vodaphone account. This works the best as speeds are higher.
My vodaphone contact is also up and that was 35 pm with 20 gb pm of data.

I spoke to eir and they suggested getting the mobile broadband for 29.99 pm.
I see vodaphone have this also but it’s 40 pm with only 300 mb. Eir has unlimited data.

I work from home so I need a reliable and decent speed. Other devices are iPads, pc, and PS4 in the home.

My options are:

I was thinking of starting a new contract with vodaphone with unlimited data and using my phone as a hotspot for working. 
Pros: I know speed is good as have used already. 
Cons : internet drops when I get a phone call.
Nobody else can use internet if I am away. Also, worried incase the network drops and I have no backup for working from home.

Other option is get Eir Mobile Broadband. I am not sure of the speed in my area for this. 

If I go for Eir Mobile Broadband I will switch my mobile phone from vodaphone to gomo for only 12.99.

So my question is which is the best option for working from home.

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  Estimate payback time on Electric Ireland's solar PV battery storage
Posted by: Seán - 22/03/2021, 09:18 PM - Forum: General - No Replies

A good while back, I posted an article on my blog about how storing excess power in batteries would cost more than buying it from the grid (link).  This remains true for most lead acid batteries due to their limited cycle life even with shallow discharges.

With lithium ion prices dropping substantially in recent years, larger battery banks such as power walls have become more affordable.  The cycle life of modern lithium ion batteries are much greater, especially with LiFePO4 batteries capable of many thousands of charge cycles. 

After finding out Electric Ireland now sells a Solar PV Battery storage system (like a power wall) claiming a 20 year service life and a 10,000 charge cycle / 10 year guarantee, I became curious to see what the payback period would be like.

At this time of posting (22nd March 2021), their smallest 5kWh battery costs €6,700 inc. VAT including installation.  The battery system is made by Sonnen GmbH of Germany and uses LifePo4 cells.  It can be recharged using solar power and off peak power, such as to top-up during the winter or cloudy days.

As we will just be looking at the battery payback period, we’re going to ignore all solar savings and other electric running costs other than what the battery will be storing. 

Generally PV batteries get one charge cycle per day.  They store the excess solar PV energy during the day.  During the evening time or when there is a higher electrical load than what the PV array can supply, they release their stored energy to power electrical appliances.  During dull overcast and shorter winter days when there is not enough sunlight to fully recharge the battery, the battery's charge controller can top up the battery during the Night tariff where a night meter is installed. 

For our calculations, we will assume one 100% charge cycle on average per day.  In reality, it's likely to be over 100% during the longer sunny days where the battery will supplement intermittent heavy loads (washing machine, dish washer, etc.) and recharge again before the sun sets.  During winter months, it's likely to be less, such as where it's partially charged during the offpeak tariff and not enough PV input to fully top it off during the day.  

Scenario 1 – One full charge per day, 25% from Electric Ireland’s Home Electric+ Night Boost plan

Electric Ireland’s standard discount rates (direct debit + online billing) are as follows.

24 Hour Tariff (Traditional meter) – 18.81c inc. VAT (for reference)

Home Electric+ Day – 20.94c inc. VAT
Home Electric+ Night – 10.78c inc. VAT
Home Electric+ Night Boost – 5.82c inc. VAT

25% of 5kWh is 1.25kWh.
75% of 5kWh is 3.75kWh.

Savings per year:
1.25kWh x 365.25 = 456.56kWh stored from the Night Boost tariff
3.75kWh x 365.25 = 1369.69kWh stored from the solar panels

456.56 x (20.94 – 5.82) = €69.03 offset from the Night Boost tariff
1369.69 x 20.94 = €286.81 saved from the stored solar power

Total = €355.84 saving per year.

Payback period =  €6,700 / €355.84 = 18.8 years

Scenario 2 – One full charge per day, 25% from Bright Energy’s Night Meter plan

Bright Energy currently has Ireland’s cheapest standard (out of contract) unit rates.  As with Electric Ireland, we will use the Day/Night Meter rates to provide a cheap tariff to recharge from to cover the dull winter and cloudy days.

Standard Meter 24 Hour tariff – 16.146c inc. VAT (for reference)

Day/Night Meter Day unit – 18.217c inc. VAT
Day/Night Meter Night unit – 10.325c inc. VAT

Savings per year:
1.25kWh x 365.25 = 456.56kWh offset from the Night Boost tariff
3.75kWh x 365.25 = 1369.69kWh stored from the solar panels

456.56 x (18.217 – 10.325) = €36.03 offset from the Night rate tariff
1369.69 x 18.217 = €249.52 saved from the stored solar power

Total = €285.55 saving per year

Payback period = €6,700 / €285.55 = 23.5 years


These scenarios do not take recharging and inverter energy efficiency into account.  A night meter also has a higher day unit rate (see above) and a higher standing charge in the case of Electric Ireland, so the payback period is likely to be a little longer.  There is a €600 grant available for qualifying homes that would knock about 2 years off the payback period based on the above savings.

With larger solar arrays, it would be possible to get additional charge cycles by scheduling heavy load appliances to operate around noon.  This way they run on the excess stored PV energy from the morning hours and allows the battery to store PV energy again for evening time use. 

There will be a feed-in tariff available from July 2021 that will allow excess energy to be sold back to the grid.  This will negate some of the savings that a battery would offer.  For example, if the feed-in tariff is 10c and the daytime unit rate is 21c, then the battery would only save 11c per kWh compared to selling the power to the grid and buying it back later.

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  Three 5G vs Eir 5G
Posted by: Corklad - 28/02/2021, 10:32 PM - Forum: Mobile Broadband - Replies (8)

Anyone have any experience with Eir 5G ? I was with Three 5G for a few months and speed were generally impressive getting over 500mb regularly.

I moved to Eir 5G this week as it’s half the price bundled with my home broadband and speeds are absolutely horrendous - I get about 150mb if close to a few masts but in most areas I’m getting less than 5mb on 5G when I was getting >400mb on Three 5G.

I know Three have 100mhz vs Eir with 85mhz in the 3.6ghz range but that shouldn’t account for such a change.

Is it possible the iPhone 12 is showing 5G but not actually using it ? The field test menu on the iPhone 12 doesn’t give much information anymore.

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  mikrotik lhg lte6 or iskra p58 mimo
Posted by: sdcampbell - 27/02/2021, 06:15 PM - Forum: Mobile Broadband - Replies (12)

Hi, i have purchased a tp link mr600 and am getting a maximum of about 28mbps on a mast about 15 miles away with CA, if i move outside i can get about 38mbps.The mast only has bands 3 and 20 so what would i be better with, the mikrotik has about 5dbi gain at 800mhz and about 14.5dbi at 1800mhz.The Iskras have about 10dbi at 800mhz and about 11dbi at 1800mhz.Is it better to go for the bigger boost of band 3 or the iskras which boost both more evenly, thanks.

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  Will antenna improve my speeds?
Posted by: dalor - 24/02/2021, 09:44 PM - Forum: Mobile Broadband - Replies (4)

I live in urban environment 200 metres from the cell tower my BS818 router connects to, but I have no windows facing the cell tower.
The best window is at 90 degrees angle to the cells. And there are lots of cells in band 1 and 3 on that tower which my router happily aggregates.

I get around 50 Mbps using a single-threaded speed test.

Can this be improved with a MIMO antenna?

Quiet period

Two download tests using testmy.net with the nearest server

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  Starlink Available? Says I can now order.
Posted by: Emilia - 24/02/2021, 04:07 PM - Forum: Mobile Broadband - Replies (3)

Just received this email about starlink: 
[Image: 19CbdiF.png]

Hardware costs 499 euro and the price of the plan monthly is 99 euro a month. Theres recent posts about starlink in kerry if you google it, not really sure what they mean by that, is it like a data center in kerry for the satellites or the first order available there?  

Link: https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/elon...85422.html

Managed to get my address to work by using google plus code, wondering should I order it  Big Grin  . I can't understand if they mean they will ship the dish in mid-late 2021 or they are just using that as their target for when it should be covered.

[Image: ViAIFV3.png] 

I'd definitely be interested in it , especially for the latency aspect.

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  Test your Internet, WiFi or Powerline connection and log drop outs
Posted by: Seán - 22/02/2021, 01:14 PM - Forum: Equipment and Software - No Replies

After having terrible experience with USB Wi-Fi adapters and a previous ISP randomly dropping out, I created a command line batch file to monitor my Internet connection.  I originally wrote the batch file to continuously ping Google's DNS ( and it would report the link as down after 3 failed ping attempts in a row.  Once it started receiving ping replies, it would report the link as up again. 

I have since rewritten the batch file to let the user specify a host to monitor.  If no host is specified, it will monitor connectivity to Google's DNS  When the link is down, it will also test the default gateway, e.g. your router's IP address in case it is the culprit.

To create the batch file, just copy & paste the code below into Notepad and save it as "LinkMonitor.bat": 

@echo off

rem Timeout in milliseconds per ping attempt and final ping attempt
set Timeout=1000
set MaxTimeout=3000

rem Set to 1 to create a CSV file
set CreateCSV=0
set CSVFile=Link_LOG.csv

rem Get the default gateway IP address
for /f "tokens=1,13" %%f in ('ipconfig') do (
    if "%%f"=="Default" if not "%%g"=="" set Gateway=%%g

set MonitorIP=%1
if /i "%1"=="gateway" set MonitorIP=%Gateway%
if not "%MonitorIP%"=="" goto start

rem Get host to monitor from user
echo.To monitor your Internet connection, just press Enter to use
echo To monitor local area connectivity to the default gateway, enter: %Gateway%
set /p MonitorIP=Host to monitor:

if "%MonitorIP%"=="" set MonitorIP=
echo Monitoring started: %date% %time%

rem Continuously ping gateway until a packet is lost
ping -n 1 -w 1000 >nul
ping -n 1 %MonitorIP% -w %Timeout% >nul && goto linkup

rem Note time of lost packet and make two more ping attempts
set DownTime=%time%
set DownDate=%date%
ping -n 1 %MonitorIP% -w %Timeout% >nul && goto linkup
ping -n 1 %MonitorIP% -w %MaxTimeout% >nul && goto linkup

rem Assume connection is down after 3 successive lost packets
echo Link down: %DownDate% %DownTime%
if "%CSVFile%"=="1" echo Down,%DownDate%,%DownTime%>>%CSVFile%

rem Test the gateway and report if it is also down.
if "%MonitorIP%"=="%Gateway%" goto linkdown
ping -n 1 %Gateway% -w %MaxTimeout% >nul && goto linkdown
echo Local link to gateway is down.

rem Continuously ping gateway until a ping reply, then display the uptime
ping -n 1 %MonitorIP% -w %MaxTimeout% >nul && (
    echo Link up:  %date% %time%
if "%CSVFile%"=="1" echo Up,%date%,%time%>>%CSVFile%
    goto linkup
goto linkdown

To run the utility, just double-click the LinkMonitor file.  This will present the following screen:


To monitor the connection between your computer and the Internet, just press Enter.  If it fails to get a ping reply after 3 attempts, it will report the date and time of the downtime.  If the host being monitored is not the gateway IP, it will make one further ping attempt to the local gateway to test if the local link (Wi-Fi, Powerline, etc.) is the culprit.  If this ping fails, it will also report that the local link is down. 

The following shows an output example:


The first link down & up was a coincidence as my Internet dropped for about 30 seconds as I was getting ready to simulate an outage.  Big Grin  The second link down & up is where I unplugged the Ethernet cable from my PC to show that a local link loss was the culprit.  The third link down & up is where I rebooted the router, which takes just over a minute to come back up.

To run the batch file without user input, give it the host to monitor as a parameter, such as


To just monitor local connectivity to your gateway / router, enter:

LinkMonitor gateway

There are a few parameter lines at the top of the batch file that you can modify to adjust the timeout periods and whether to create a CSV file of the down & up times.

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  Check powerline adaptor connection
Posted by: Patrick - 20/02/2021, 09:46 PM - Forum: Mobile Broadband - Replies (3)

Hi Sean, what is the best way to check if a powerline adaptor is working ok. In this case it's on an extension to house so may be issues. Is a simple speed test ok or are there other things to look at. 

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  How to map an ISO file with a specific drive letter in command line
Posted by: Seán - 20/02/2021, 04:52 PM - Forum: Equipment and Software - No Replies

After recently installing an old typing tutor for my nephew, a day later he said it stopped working. It turned out that his typing tutor needed the CD present to run.  While it was happy with the ISO file mounted as a drive letter the first day, I could not get it to work again by just remounting the ISO file.  After troubleshooting the issue, it turned out I had to mount the ISO file with the original drive letter that it was first installed from.

While it's possible to automate mounting an ISO file, I ran into two problems.  First, it is a PowerShell specific command, whereas I'm mainly familiar with the legacy command prompt.  The second problem is that this command does not have a parameter to specify a drive letter.

It turns out that it is possible to run individual PowerShell commands in the Windows command line as follows:

powershell -command [PowerShell command]

So to mount an ISO file from the command prompt, the command is as follows:

powershell -command Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath [file.iso]  

When it mounts an ISO file, it uses the next available drive letter in sequence after the C drive.  For example, if drive letters C, D, F and H are taken, it will use drive letter E as this is the next available drive letter in sequence after the C drive.   

So how do we make the Mount-DiskImage command use a specific letter?  The crude workaround that works for me is to temporarily occupy all the drive letters up to the letter before the specific drive letter we want to assign the ISO file to.  Wink The quickest way to do this is with the "subst" command, which associates a path with a drive letter.  Once we mount the ISO file, we can then delete all the virtual drive letters created by the subst command, leaving just the drive letter we wanted the ISO amounted as.

The following batch file template involves a combination of both tricks:

@echo off
for %%f in (D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,X,Y) do subst %%f: c:\ >nul
powershell -command Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath '
for %%f in (D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,X,Y) do subst %%f: /d >nul

To choose a drive letter for the ISO file, just delete the last letters in both 'for' commands up to the last letter before the chosen drive letter. 

For example, if I want to mount 'W:\ISO Images\Windows 10 x64.iso' as the drive letter 'Q', I would type:

@echo off
for %%f in (D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P) do subst %%f: c:\ >nul
powershell -command Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath 'W:\ISO Images\Windows 10 x64.iso'
for %%f in (D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P) do subst %%f: /d >nul

As you can see below, it mounted as drive 'Q' even though there are various drives and unused letters leading up to this drive letter:

The first 'for' command consumes each available drive letter up to drive 'P' by making it another virtual copy of the root 'C:\' path.  For any drive letters that are already in use, the command will have no affect on those drive letters.  The PowerShell command mounts the ISO file.  As all the drive letters are taken up to the letter 'P', it will chose drive letter 'Q' if it's not already in use.  The final 'for' command removes all the virtual drive letters created by the first 'for' command.  As with the first 'for' command, it will have no effect on existing drive letters such as network paths, USB flash drives, etc. 

To choose the drive letter 'Z', don't alter either 'for' command:


From my testing on both Windows 8.1 and 10, running this PowerShell command does not present a PowerShell window.  Instead, the resulting output is displayed in the command prompt window:


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  Wireless Setup
Posted by: skyhigh - 16/02/2021, 09:30 AM - Forum: Mobile Broadband - Replies (11)

Hi There, 

I'm looking for advice for my elderly parents, they are currently with eir, but are not in a fiber area and are so far from the exchange they are getting less then 1mb most of the time.  I have tried test my Huawei B525 router there with 3, because of covid restrictions I'm not getting a proper chance to test it.  I have the following readings from when I tested it:

RSRQ: -15dB
RSRP:  -98dBm
SINR:  -7dB

They are getting speeds of a about 8mb.  

Would getting a 4G+ router improve it, if so what one would you suggest?  They are in a rural area and about 3.3kms from the mast I think they are connecting to.  Would a an areil help and if so what one would you recommennd.

Thank you

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