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Further 4G + 4G+ testing in regards to my post
#41
To my surprise, Three has already started using band 1 for 4G, which my phone is showing in the cell list while standing outside.  I'll need to see if I can pick it up with an antenna when I get a chance Smile

   

In the Network Cell Info APP, when the phone is in 4G+ mode, it is using the first listing of each EARFCN group, i.e. band 20 (PCI 127) + 1 (PCI 115) above.
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#42
Ill give it a go now too soon to see if I can Big Grin
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#43
I tried selecting 2100 Mhz in LTE inspecteur but no luck yet Cry still waiting on my mikrotik dish to come, probably be sometime next week with bank holiday on monday too.
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#44
Another thing I was wondering, what is THE strongest antenna there is in terms of 4G ones, everything I read online is so conflicting about gain and other things, like I guess its more of a marketing thing too but its so confusing. I also imagine having the router on the antenna like the one im getting is probably the best since theres no cable loss.

How much speed do you think you realistically lose , example my situation , running 10m cable to my LOG antennas , my current setup.
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#45
It's difficult to say what's the highest gain out there that doesn't involve a dish.

Most Log and Yagi antennas of around 1 metre in length typically provide around 10dBi of gain. Narrow band antennas 700-900MHz antennas are typically around 3dBi higher and 1700+MHz are around 6dBi higher for the same length.

For Yagi antennas, doubling the antenna length adds 3dBi of gain. For Log antennas, the additional gain is less, around 2dB. This is probably why most suppliers don't stock anything higher than around 10dBi for a wideband antenna as a 2 metre 13dBi antenna would be quite difficult to ship without getting damaged. I remember a post on Boards where someone had a pair of 2m length Log 4G antennas, but that was the last time I encountered anything that long.

Apart from the 700-900MHz range, most suppliers seem to have done away with narrow band 1700+MHz antennas, likely due to most masts offering 4G+ that utilises a low frequency band and dish-type antennas offering higher gain without involving something over 2+ metres long.

There are also a lot of antennas on the market with made up gain figures, much like how eBay is flooded with rechargeable batteries with fake mAh ratings. Generally if the antenna does not offer a radiation pattern graph or chart, the gain figure is usually fake. Some suppliers also add up the gain figures thinking two 11dBi antennas add up to 22dBi, e.g. the listing says 22dBi, but in the picture you can make out 11dBi.

For the cable loss, it is typically around 3dB to 6dB for 10 metres depending on the cable quality and frequency. Cable loss mainly affects the download speed when the RSRP signal falls below about -103dBm. Below this level, some of the signal begins falling below the noise floor of most router radios. This is different to the antenna gain where every dB counts as each additional dB of gain means less noise/interference being picked up from other directions. The cable length has a higher impact on the upload speed as the longer the antenna, the weaker the transmission from the outside antenna. That MikroTik should provide a better upload on band 3 as there is no cable to attenuate the transmitted signals.

I didn't have much luck with the 2100MHz LTE band I picked up. I mounted a pair of wideband LOG antennas on the gable today, but could not get a stable connection with either band 20 + 3 or 20 + 1 carrier aggregation. I seem to be outside the range limit for band 1 and 3 on their own or as the uplink, i.e. the router just ends up saying "No signal" when I force my router to use either in LTEInspecteur. However, the mast seems to let me use them in carrier aggregation as long as I select band 20 for the uplink. The problem here is that the band 20 site in that direction is completely congested and it is difficult to fine-tune the antenna as the Huawei router only shows signal readings for the band selected for the uplink, not band 3 or 1 which is much more sensitive to precise aiming.
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#46
I also cant pick 2100 Mhz only on LTE inspecteur, but when I select 1800 Mhz as the uplink, I can check the band 1 box aswell and it works, but im not sure if its actually using it or not. Same goes for if I set 800 as the uplink. I had the same issue when trying to get the band 3 with the big 80cm dish, It wouldn't pick it up at all, only once for a split second, but with the LOG antennas , I can get 1800 to show up in LTEinspecteur with 1-2 bars of signal, and adjusting it gets me at best -110 db (2 sometimes it shows as 3 bars) in the router page.
One strange thing I notice is, when adjusting them , The signal is slightly better on 1800 when its to the left, and then the 800 signal is slightly better aimed a bit more to the right. Its like they dont get the signal from the exact same spot, but in terms of general direction its coming from that area.

When I try 2100 Mhz on its own : https://i.imgur.com/BPVUFof.png
When I try 1800 + 2100 Like this : https://i.imgur.com/RKZQHoD.png and signal I get with that is : https://i.imgur.com/m0PRZmN.png
When I do the same with 1800 + 800 : https://i.imgur.com/g72Iy4x.png
And finally, to rule out the fact it wasn't just working with every frequency (some kind of bug) I selected 1800 + 2600 and some other frequencies that arent available in Ireland and it failed to "select frequency" so I wonder does that mean we're in range for 2100 Mhz or not. I assume it at least means we must be getting some kind of fringe reception from 2100 Mhz though I dont know why It wont let us pick it as the uplink.
Interesting stuff Big Grin

Another point I'd add, I notice the 4G+ symbol only appears when I upload or download something (on the huawei router page) so I did a speedtest while watching the symbol when I had 2100 + 1800 selected + 800 + 2100 and the 4G+ symbol didnt work with either of them. Though when I select 1800 + 800 mhz it does always appear when the download/upload is utilized.
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#47
I got the mikrotik, I couldnt get the sim card inserted to save my life, so I took the thing apart and managed to insert it that way. I cant figure out the setup now, I managed to get to router page by going to 192.168.88.1 , i hit the reset button on the router cuz everything was stuck and now I can't get back to anything, dunno what to do Cry 

Got the thing working by resetting at start up for 5 seconds, I have the router interface again but yeah its really confusing, not sure where my readings are, etc. Or how to get it all setup. Dont want to put it in the tree until I get the setup working.
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#48
Indeed I recall having to fully dismantle the original MikroTik model to get the SIM in, so it looks like they haven't improved the SIM slot.

I recommend downloading their utility WinBox, which I recall being easier to navigate the main menus:
https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:Fi...me_startup

If I recall right, I think I had to go into Interfaces -> LTE to view the signal readings while connected. These update automatically every few seconds. I think the band picker is on that page (or a sub menu). As I never used this new 4G+ model, I'm not sure if there's any special way of configuring carrier aggregation or just ticking multiple boxes like 3 and 20.

As for your testing of 800 + 2100 on the Huawei router, by it not showing 4G+ meant it was just sticking to one band, i.e. 800MHz. With mine, it will go into 4G+ with 800 + 2100 once I start a download. However, if I select 2100MHz only in LTEInspecteur, it fails and the same if I select 2100MHz in the Huawei's web interface, in which case it says "No signal" until I change it back to Auto.
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#49
At least I got the thing to fit by taking it apart, terrible sim slot design, spent so long messing around trying diff sim adapters and stuff that it got dark before I got a chance to get it outside Cry sim back in the three router for now. I did try to get the thing to work though, i had it sitting on the window (without the dish attached), it was reading around -96 db on band 20. which was good but couldn't get the internet to work at all. here is the menu + band selection : https://i.imgur.com/3OxXWI0.png
Im not sure if I did all the apn stuff correctly or not, I just typed 3internet in the apn bit, , there was a PIN and modem init thing aswell but i just left it blank.
most of the options I don't know what they do Big Grin
When moving it around the window, it would say "3G Evolved LTE" or it would sometimes swap to "3G Evolved LTE (CA2) "
I have no idea what ca2 means , you probably do Big Grin

here is how I had it with the poe and ethernet - I just plugged the grey ethernet on poe into PC https://i.imgur.com/HMIH8S6.jpg
taken apart / there like diamond shaped antennas pointed down into direction of dish https://i.imgur.com/RTqtLpl.jpg
used eir sim adapter since it was the only one that fit best https://i.imgur.com/aAD6Lr3.jpg

not sure why I couldn't get the internet to work, the rsrp were promising I guess considering the log antennas on the tree on band 20 are getting -91 db . the fact i wasnt even using the dish, just the base antenna pointing out the window and getting -96db is pretty good I'd say. We'll find out tomorrow for sure though more importantly on band 3
any idea on how to get the connection to work? it would just show https://i.imgur.com/POFLCsa.png when trying to search stuff.


Also about mounting it on the tree + adjusting, Is there any specific/ideal way to do it with this one? like any tilt up or down? according to specs it has a 25 degree beam width if that helps . I saw theres a mobile app I wonder will that let me see readings outside , would be a lot easier that way.
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#50
-96dB sounds like a great start without even the dish attached. On its own, it's basically omni-directional like the Huawei using its internal antennae.

I am not sure why the Internet is not working as it looks like it's connected on the 4G side from your screenshot. From what I recall, the only thing I did was enter "3internet" for the APN and tick the bands (e.g. 1, 3 and 20) on the QuickSet menu. If it gives a Bridge or Router option, choose 'Router'. When it is connected to the 4G where you had the strongest -96dB signal, you can try unplugging and re-inserting the Ethernet plug on your PC to refresh its DHCP configuration. Try pinging 8.8.8.8 to see if pings get through.

The "3G Evolved LTE (CA2)" refers to Carrier Aggregation (4G+) and I assume the '2' means two carriers. I'm surprised it manages to go into 4G+ mode without the dish inside, especially with how weak your band 3 signal is.

Going by your poe into PC screen, that looks fine. The Eir SIM adapter is fine and indeed I've used a combination of adapters, e.g. Three nano SIM + iD Mobile (defunct) micro SIM adapter + Eir mini SIM adapter. Wink

I suggest mounting it without the tilting adapter (the little jagged metal piece). It's just a matter of turning it one way or the other to try getting the least negative RSRP figure on band 3. You can try using the tilting adapter later on to see if tilting the dish up offers any further improvement. The 25 degree viewing angle will be a lot easier to aim than the satellite dish.
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#51
Update: managed to get the internet to work by selecting "bridge all LAN ports" , Im pretty sure this is what made it work because I removed the bridge then tested another ethernet cable and I wasnt able to connect to it until I reset it and reselected this setting in the quickset area. haven't actually got it up the tree yet, just had it sitting on the fence with the dish and I was getting better band 3 signal than the LOG antennas, band 20 performance is really poor in this spot but I will try putting it up high now and see how it goes.

https://i.imgur.com/Vpb8ggW.png


Update 2 : So I attached it to the pole where the LOG antennas are, right below them, (would this interfere with it in anyway when they arent being used?) and so far the signal strength is definitely improved. One thing to point out , I doubt it is even in the optimal position as I didn't even secure it with the clamps I just cable tied it there for now , I may even mount it at the top of the pole above the LOG since so far even in its current position, it is getting a stronger signal. Problem is I didnt have any way of checking the signal properly other than running to the window looking in and going back up the tree so it was a pain. Ill try adjusting it more tomorrow.

Old readings on band 3 LTE : https://i.imgur.com/kGtUpth.png
New readings with mikrotik on band 3 LTE: https://i.imgur.com/BD08RTf.png
Old readings on band 20 with LOG : https://i.imgur.com/490Ll2A.png
New readings with mikrotik on band 20 LTE : https://i.imgur.com/yDOSPA5.png

[3G band 1 performance increased aswell , LOG antennas reading -85 rssi and with the mikrotik I am getting -75 RSSI , so a 10 improvement so far]

Extra note : I bought 2 cat 6 cables just incase one didnt arrive when the dish was here, I ordered one from irishwireless and the other you recommended, there appeared to be a -2 db difference in the signal when trying both, I'm not sure if it's just margin of error or there is a difference in quality [actually not sure why it made a difference at all Big Grin ]. One would read -112 db and when i'd swap to the other it was -110db , I did this twice and it was the same result so I went with the irishwireless cat 6 cable for now.

In terms of speeds, I was never able to get over 3-6 mbps on the upload on band 3 with the LOG antennas , but now I am hitting 10-15 mbps and this is at peak time as well. The download ranges from 15-30 mbps . the performance on band 20 is probably the same, the download is really poor 2-6 mbps [though this mast is definitely heavily congested,-15 and -16 RSRQ especially during this pandemic noticed a big performance drop] but the upload is also pretty much the same as what I'd get on the LOG antennas if not better, did some speeds tests and got around 12-16 mbps upload. Quite good so far I just really want to get the optimal signal as I even read -96 db on band 3 but when i went to tighten it up to the pole , it went back to -102 Cry

Another question I have since I have noticed something, I think I am connecting to either 2 different masts or something? it sometimes changes when I reboot the router or reselect
band 3 have a look at these 2 : https://i.imgur.com/vk8jgrZ.png and https://i.imgur.com/RjvHtDw.png
They have different cell ID and operator names (probably old o2 one?)
Weaker signal -105 db with 20 Mhz and operator listed as : 2702
And the stronger signal -102 db with 15 Mhz and operator listed as: 3
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#52
That band 3 signal sure is a massive improvement! Glad to see it work out.  Hopefully the upload speed is consistent on band 3, especially since it provides the additional download bandwidth.  I just wish I across it earlier before suggesting the satellite dish. 

You are correct in that you are picking up a native Three band 3 site in addition to a former O2 4G site.  The O2 site is the one with the 15MHz bandwidth as that was what O2 acquired during the 4G spectrum auction.  Three got 20MHz of bandwidth on band 3.

Three supports carrier aggregation between these 2 carriers on band 3, so I recommend ticking only band 3 in the list.  This way when you see it show that "CA2", you'll know it's now doing 4G+ between the two band 3 sites.  There's no point using band 20 at all if you're getting 4G+ between two band 3 cells. Cool

The next time you adjust the MikroTik, I suggest wedging something thin behind the lower clamp to see if tilting the dish up improves the RSRP any further.  If it does, you can try inserting the metal piece to tilt it up slightly.  If you already have the metal piece in, you can try the opposite such as wedging something behind the upper clamp to see if the signal is better without tilting up.

I'm surprised the two Ethernet cables made any difference to the signal.  As the modem is in the dish, in theory the Ethernet cable is doing nothing more than passing the decoded data inside as its speed is fixed to the Ethernet port, i.e. 100Mbps. 

Before trying to share out the connection, check the IP address on your computer to see whether it's an internal IP address, e.g. 192.168.1.x.  Generally, bridging means passing through the public IP address and all traffic directed to/from it.  If it's a public IP address or the IP starts with 10.x.x.x or 100.x.x.x, it's bridging the WAN interface directly to your PC, in which case you would to find a way to enable routing on the MikroTik before you can try using the Huawei router (with its DHCP disabled) to share out the Internet connection. 

Hopefully the streaming works better. Smile
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#53
I'm very happy with upload so far, exactly what I was looking for it's just a matter of perfecting it now , big thanks for all the help <3 .
whenever I check band 3 it always just connects to a singular one like this https://i.imgur.com/nHpuB9A.png
I'd love to be able to try get them into carrier aggregation as they both have similar signal and speeds. I saw theres a bunch of things you can do with the firmware of the router like saw a guy mentioning something about cell locker feature that you can lock to specific cell, they have a forum but its hard to find the right thing Big Grin.
When I select 20 and 3 it does always show "Evolved 3G LTE CA2"
Some examples of it here but its quite confusing for me : https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:In..._Cell_lock
Is there a way to force 4G+ between the two? I can only check band 3 and hope for it to do it atm Cry
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#54
To me that seems to indicate Three does not have carrier aggregation enabled between the two band 3 sites there.  Just in case it needs activity to trigger carrier aggregation between these two, you can try starting a download and see if it shows CA2. 

From what I'm aware of, there is no way to force 4G+.  Basically the modem tells the cell what bands are available and carrier aggregation capabilities and the cell then establishes the second carrier. 

Indeed the MikroTik supports cell locking.  Going by their Wiki, this only affects the primary band.  This is not a feature I tried with the MikroTik and does involve typing commands in its terminal:
https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:In..._Cell_lock

Based on the screenshot for your 20MHz band 3 cell with a PCI of 1, this command should lock it to that wider 20MHz cell:
/interface lte at-chat lte1 input="AT*Cell=2,3,,1700,1"

Command to undo the cell lock:
/interface lte at-chat lte1 input="AT*Cell=0"
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#55
I' got the cell locking to one band to work fine, I tried this cell monitor thing and its listing three band 3 sites here : https://i.imgur.com/N9toKmJ.png
Would be unfortunate if they don't let me do 4G+ between the band 3 sites, when reading that wiki I saw something that sounded like you could do it

"for example to lock to two different PCIs within same band and operator:

/interface lte set lte1 modem-init="AT%CLCMD=1,1,6300,384,\"24701\",6300,385,\"24701\""

not sure if that's what its for or not Big Grin anyway whats more interesting is the third band 3 site, I wonder what the 3rd one is
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#56
In that screenshot, it's listing the three sectors of the one site as all three have the same 1275 EARFCN. Carrier aggregation cannot take place between multiple sectors that share the same FCN as they share the same frequency, i.e. EARFCN 1275 is 1812.5MHz. It would be like two CB radio operators talking at the same time on the same channel #. Wink

The reason it's possible between the former O2 and Three sites is that the Three site operates on a different band 3 frequency, i.e. EARFCN 1700, which is 1855MHz. Similarly, Vodafone and Eir are allocated different frequencies for band 3.
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#57
Ooh right lol , I loved learning all this stuff its really interesting and I never found anywhere better to learn about it than here Smile I guess my next goal is to tweak the signal as best I can as I noticed how much it actually affects the upload speed particularly, I had -110 dbm holding it at fence level and the upload would barely get over 4, but moving it onto the pole and getting it to -102 got the upload from 10-15.  I'm googling stuff about trying to get it into 4G+ with the same band but probably it just isn't enabled at that site  like you said. just dont want to give up yet Big Grin  Imagine combining the speed of those two , they're way faster than the band 20 one Cry

Another thing I also wonder now is ... will I be able to connect to vodafones band 3 masts now or will it still be no signal ... hmm
And about that command about  "lock to two different PCIs within same band and operator" any good in terms of getting band 3 ca2 to work or is it unrelated?

 I did a comparison of both band 3 sites to see what kind of difference there is. Im not sure if its because of the slightly weaker signal or it's just more congested than the other.

The 20 Mhz one + Signal readings : https://i.imgur.com/rFjGwMM.png
And  the speed on it  : https://i.imgur.com/KJgD6IN.png
The 15 Mhz one + Signal readings: https://i.imgur.com/2Jng0J9.png
And the speed on it : https://i.imgur.com/5FbvLNS.png

Strange thing aswell here with ca2 we spoke about earlier, the same band and earfcn lol : https://i.imgur.com/CJk23Kx.png
It did disconnect again soon after.

Tried the speeds several times, same server, different servers etc, difference was the same-ish.  The 15 mhz being faster, but is that because of the signal you think? I thought the wider cell would be faster in theory , If I lock the it to the wider 20 mhz cell and try adjust for that, I wonder will it be faster.  I upgraded the routerOS to the latest and then I did the LTEfirmware as well which updated the operator name to 3 ITA for some reason Big Grin .
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#58
I don't have high hopes of it connecting to the Vodafone band 3 mast, unless it was down during the time you had the Vodafone SIM. If they have a short max range limit, no amount of signal strength will overcome the round-trip timing measurement, unless you can break the speed of light. Smile

That's interesting how the 15MHz signal is both faster on the downlink and uplink, so probably means more users on the 20MHz cell. The 20MHz cell has a theoretical 50Mbps of uplink capacity compared to 37.5Mbps for the 15MHz cell and 25Mbps for the 10MHz band 20 cell.

I suggest try tweaking the antenna for each to see which gives the highest speeds. I also recommend doing a speed test on testmy.net to see how each performs on a single thread both down and up. For example, on the local mast here in Kilcar, I typically get around 15Mbps down on both Speedtest.net and Testmy.net around 9pm. On the further away band 20 + 3 (or 1) mast, I get around 30Mbps down on Speedtest.net with multiple servers and just 2-4Mbps on Testmy.net with their UK server. Similarly, downloads only come in around 300-500KB/s compared to 2MB/s for the local mast.

That command you mentioned for locking to two PCIs seems to apply to the R11e-4G model only as it has a '%' sign after the 'AT'. In this case, it would let the modem choose between two PCIs, although that modem would only be able to connect to one at a time being a Cat 4 modem.

I'm not quite sure how it managed that carrier aggregation for the same EARFCN, particularly with it showing the same cell ID. Again, it's like having two radios tuned to the same station. Sure the two will play, but you'll not be able to listen to the news any quicker than a single radio. Tongue

I think they have the wrong operator name in as 3 ITA is Three Italy. Big Grin On the other hand, it's good to get the OS and firmware updated. Pity Huawei doesn't offer firmware updates other than exclusively through ISP customised over-the-air updates.
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#59
So I took down the LOG antennas and managed to get the mikrotik to the top of the pole, for some reason best reading I could get it to today was -101 , speeds slowed down around now 9 pm to really poor levels (did the test now on purpose). here is some examples, the initially faster 15 Mhz cell, ended up being slower , but not by much Cry

15 Mhz band 3cell : https://testmy.net/eqOLReY4o.NSdEXiYLE.png
20 Mhz band 3cell : https://testmy.net/9F8nEXtau.jnCW3xlUJ.png

20 Mhz cell with the band 20 cell 4G+ : https://testmy.net/y1SFAQzOi.UfPaK_Ifx.png
15 Mhz cell with the band 20 cell 4G+ : https://testmy.net/ymTYwY2d~.PCMEy_bG1.png

Performance either got worse or barely increased with 4G+ which is weird, wasn't like that with the LOG's.

Really wish I found a way to get the two band 3 cells to work in 4G+ , I saw someone mentioning something about setting it up to work on same band but couldnt find the details on how.
All I can do now is try get the absolute best I can out of the internet available, anything else you can remotely think of that might help? Big Grin I guess peak time is what's affecting this the most. The positive out of this though is the upload is drastically improved compared to before (10-16 mbps) and 3-6mbps max I'd get with the LOG's.
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#60
You can try with a larger upload block size on TestMy, e.g. 25MB. It tends to measure a little low when it chooses a small block size in its automatic test. Basically the way the site tests is by downloading or uploading a block size, timing how long it takes and calculating the throughput.

If your Speedtest.net download result was much higher at the time, it looks like the mast itself has a congested upstream, i.e. the connection that serves it or Three's traffic shaping. Three prioritises certain traffic, which includes CDNs (YouTube, Cloudflare, Microsoft, etc.) and and seems to include many Speedtest.net hosts. The upload doesn't seem to be affected. Our local Three mast doesn't seem to be affected by traffic shaping most of the time, so both TestMy and Speedtest roughly match during the day (around 30Mbps) and in the evening (around 15Mbps). However, I have seen it intermittently happen where everything goes to a crawl apart from YouTube and Ookla's speedtest. Just a comparision example here at the moment:
[Image: EJ7JtktIy.A468dR7gG.png] [Image: 9303510843.png]

Off hand, I can't think of anything else to tell the mast to establish the second band 3 carrier. I wonder when it does the band 20 + 3 carrier aggregation if it does this between the Three mast or the former O2 mast. If it only does carrier aggregation between 20 and the 15MHz band 3, this would indicate that the native Three site with the 20MHz band 3 has an independent upstream, probably separate all the way to the data centre if it was erected before Three bought out O2.
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