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Further 4G + 4G+ testing in regards to my post
Hi so first of all , I ordered the sma female - ts9 male adapters to try out vodafone later in the week with my setup incase the unlock code I requested from three for my B525 doesnt work. Its suppose to come in 3-5 days so I will update whenever I get either of them. I assume vodafone is also on the 1800 and 800mhz frequency?. I made a short video of the continual ping test during downloading from vultr here It appeared to be capped at around 10 mbps? it never went over that on the download. when I tried speed tests on other sites it was much quicker. If you get a chance to see it let me know what you think.  Since you said on your blog reply that you doubt three do carrier aggregation on masts so far apart, I found them both on site viewer here and gave a rough idea how far i am below. I'm not sure now whether I pick up the site in dungloe or arranmore, or both lol.
[Image: DoiAG3l.png]
 What I noticed is, Three have 2 LTE masts listed, at both sites,( im guessing it lists 1800 + 800 seperately) whereas vodafone have one at each site. according to comreg. If you  can check them on there maybe you know what it means. Since vodafone have only one do you think that means they only operate one frequency like 800 mhz at each?  Look forward to your input, I enjoy learning about this stuff  Big Grin .
Ill post the results of my testing whenever I get a hold of the vodafone sim/router and try get it hooked up to my antennas I currently have in the three router. Thanks
I looked up the ComReg's mobile site licencing for those sites and both Three and Vodfaone have 4G+ on both sites:

Three (3_DO0071) 4G: 800MHz + 1800MHz.
Vodafone (DL058) 4G: 800MHz + 1800MHz.
Eir (DL_3175) No 4G.  3G on 900MHz band. 

Three (3_DO0183) 4G: 800MHz + 1800MHz
Vodafone (DLDLO) 4G: 800MHz + 1800MHz
Eir (DL_4084) No 4G.  3G on 900MHz band.

This means you could be using either mast. Smile  1800MHz has poor penetration, particularly if there's any obstruction such as vegetation in the line of sight.  With your router set to 1800MHz only, you can try tweaking your antenna to see if you can improve the RSRP figure as this will improve the upload speed on that band. 

The reason Three has two sites is that they use the former O2 spectrum for the 800MHz band.  ComReg shows them separately despite Three owning them.  With Vodafone and Meteor, the only way to tell is by looking up the site IDs in ComReg's mobile licensing documents.  

Going by your video and ping times, the 1800MHz band certainly has much less congestion and the pings appear more stable also.  The 800MHz band looks like it's maxed out with the RSRQ rarely dipping below -12dB. 

Going by your download speed, it looks like it's affected by Three's traffic shaping.  The Dutch Vultr site likely hosts CDN content as it gets priority, which you can test:

Both the UK and Dutch Vultr test pages usually deliver the same speed from testing over a Gigabit FTTH connection, typically 400 to 800Mbps. 

Most speed test sites make lots of parallel connections to the test server to try maxing out a connection.  They also try catching what the speed gets up to (e.g. Ookla's and Neflix's  Great for finding out what a connection gets up to, but not great for troubleshooting streaming, downloading, etc. that usually transfers over a single TCP connection with the server.
I'll give it a go, lowest RSRP I could get was like -108 on 1800 Mhz Only, If only the upload was stronger it'd be perfect for the streaming. Unless I try finding somewhere even higher for the antennas, or trying different ones that could pick up 1800 mhz abit stronger. They are both somewhat in line of sight since im pretty high up myself , theres only a very small hill infront I dont think it's blocking it completely. They both are in the red mostly sometimes drops to -10 or -12 on RSRQ on the 1800 Mhz but the 800 Mhz is always maxed out pretty much like you saw even last night at 2-3am. There is masts behind me in gweedore but theres a big hill behind me so its probably blocking the signal. I should get the the SMA (f) to ts9 adapter tmoro since it was dispatched this morning. I picked up the vodafone router today too so i'll try see what I can get with LTE inspecter without any external antennas after dinner and let you know. Any way of forcing it to connect to an invidual tower , like blocking it with something to isolate it maybe? My goal basically is to squeeze as much as I can get out of the internet here. I dont think theres any other solutions other than 4G internet that would suit streaming?. all the sat providers are probably high orbit satellites so i assume the ping will be very poor. and I heard they have a lot of data caps. theres no cable internet whatsoever unless you include dial up Big Grin. I dont even get water from the mains its from a pump system in the field coming from a river. It's stupid that we have to go to such lengths to get a decent internet service. The eir fibre thing definitely wont come here either since its basically 2-3 isolated houses then nothing for miles. So it's worth spending whatever and finding out what my best options are , I've already improved my connection 4x from your informative blog + advice so its a good start Smile
Vodafone Update: Okay so I actually was surprised to see the router I was given was a Huawei B3500 , I looked it up on LTEmall and saw it is listed capable of:
4G FDD-LTE B3/B7/B20 (800/1800/2600MHz)
3G UMTS B1/B8 (900/2100Mhz)
It just refuses to pick up any 4G whatsoever,it just shows this connection failed with no signal when I try force it into 4G only mode. I also tried changing the 3G frequency to 2100 Mhz using LTE inspecter and it refused to do that as well. It works fine with Three's 3G, being able to use both frequencies freely with similar signal strength. 2100 usually being better.
What it shows here , UMTS/HSPA+ :
My current apn settings which is what I suspected might be wrong but idk:
This is what happens when I try to force 4G:
One thing I noticed, when I turned the router on it was showing full bar signal in cyan blue which is meant to be the 4G color but when I got the the router settings page when I hooked it up to pc via ethernet, it said system update available (firmware) and it was showing dark blue 3G by the time I got there. I did the update and tried to start testing but 4G just fails and doesn't work. Any idea what the issue is?

I added some info to my previous post I lost connection while editing so I had to redo it Big Grin
I wonder if Vodafone ran out of B528's.  Unfortunately, that B3500 is an older Huawei model, which I think is a rebranded Huawei B315.  It does not support 4G+, so will work on either 800MHz or 1800MHz depending on the signal strength.  It looks like LTEInspecteur is not picking up the 4G capabilities of the router.

From my past experience with Vodafone, it can take a few hours to get 4G access after the SIM goes online for the first time.  If it does not go into 4G by tomorrow morning, I suggest calling Vodafone or using their webchat and they will reprovision the 4G profile on the SIM.  When I was with Vodafone prepay on my mobile a few years ago, I had to contact them every month or two to get 4G re-enabled on my profile, including when I first got my SIM, however, I haven't heard of anyone on bill pay losing 4G on Vodafone once they get online.  Going by Comreg's 2018 drive test report, you should have good 4G coverage on Vodafone:


From looking at those two sites on Comreg's licensing, the Arranmore Vodafone's 3G mast operates on 900MHz only.  Their Dungloe 3G mast operates on both 900MHz and 2100MHz.  This is the page of mobile licence documents on Comreg going up to 2019:
I tried again at 4am still no joy connection fails. I also tried manually searching and this happens -
As for LTEinspecteur it kind of shows LTE when I select 4G only / 4G preferred  via the actual router settings but it still shows as if no signal like this
Pretty disappointed with the B3500 then I was happy at first when I realised it had SMA ports on the back Sad I guess I wont be needing the  sma-ts9 adapters at least not  for now. All I can do is hope three provide the unlock code someday this week so I can try the sim in my B525 which is 4G+ Capable. But first of all I'll probably have to try contacting vodafone about this 4G not working/failing to connect on this sim in the morning... I have no idea why.  Is there any other software similar to LTEinspecteur which I can force the router into specific bands? I had the B315 with three before, I still have it actually but yeah you're right it feels very similar, with just a couple extra settings and thats about it. One other thing, Do you know of any methods I could do myself to unlock the B525 if three dont provide a code? I tried using the online live chat but they were asking me specifically after providing the IMEI if the phone number I was using (the sim) was in the router, I just said no (because i read on ur blog it was against t&c Big Grin )  then he recommended me to go to a store and ask to request a unlock code request, which I did. Store rep said I would get it by email. The email I got this morning was kind of confusing, im not sure if it's an automated thing to say its in progress, or that I didnt meet one of those criteria. See what you make of it?   Here it is : I definitely should've topped up by 100 euro aswell i've had it since summer time. Thanks again for the help  Blush
[Image: qGqWhgj.png]
It seems to suggest that the SIM has not been topped up by €100 in this handset (in this case the router). I've never unlocked a SIM directly with Three before, so am not sure if this is just an interim response either.

I have unlocked a Three B525 before using this guide, however, it is risky as it involves flashing modified firmware and installing a special USB driver and registry tweak. Although it's intended for the B525-65a, this worked for me with a Three-locked B525-23a:

You will need a USB A-A cable (i.e. same USB plug on each end), a Philips screwdriver to disassemble the router and a tweezers. As this involves flashing third party firmware, there is a risk it could brick your router if it fails. I suggest using a virtual PC or a spare PC without any important data to download the Mediafire link as that site often has dodgy ads/pop-ups that will trip most antivirus products. Windows will display a "USB device not Unrecognised" until the USB driver and registry fix are installed. Look for the commend by Neil Els below the video as he gives a step-by-step summary, which I recommend printing out.

So far I've not come across any alternative to LTEinspecteur that can force the router on specific bands. I see from that video clip that Meteor 4G (Eir 4G) is available, so if you manage to get your router unlocked, you can test an Eir prepay SIM which would get you 80GB for €20/28 days. Eir has a hidden 750GB bill pay 4G plan, but it's considerably more expensive, typically €52.50/month + €50 activation, although usually they price match their main 12 month broadband promotion.
So the vodafone support so far has been hopeless :/ ... for some reason I suspect it has something to do with the firmware update it made me do, since when I glanced at the router while setting it up it showed cyan blue for 4G , ever since that nothing. And they only give me 3 days to test it which is kind of ridiculous as well.
I tried the live chat about 4-5 times. they all said this :
That they refreshed/adjusted settings on their end. I did notice one of the times when one of their support people was doing it on their end , it changed to LTE for a split second with full bars, then back to 5 Bars with EDGE. but I lost the chat then cuz I was using the vodafones 3G to talk. I also contacted three via twitter, they did confirm the email indicated I apparently didnt spend enough , which isn't true, though I was using a phone sim in it so then again maybe thats the issue?.I provided my IMEI for the router and they said the escalated it and I should receive email within week (doubtful).
I'm probably going to have to do the risky unlocking method if im gonna try this vodafone thing out since it doesn't want to work with this B3500 router at all. Nothing working out so far Big Grin
That's a real bummer. If you don't get 4G by tomorrow, definitely return it within the testing period as otherwise they will insist on paying the full contract. Usually once Vodafone refresh the profile, it should go into 4G right after the unit is switched off. With me, they used to ask me to switch it off for 20 minutes, so you can try that just in case it needs to be off longer than the 5-7 minutes this chat suggests.

If you are up for a challenge and don't want to try the risky unlocking method, there is an "LNB" retrofit antenna that lets you use a satellite dish as a very high gain band 3 (1800MHz) antenna. You can pick up an 60-80cm dish quite cheap and attach the antenna where the LNB would go:

The main catch with this is that it requires very careful alignment as there is a 14 degree vertical and 16 degree horizontal acceptance angle. Think of like trying to tune Freesat without a sat beeper. This is the main reason I wouldn't recommend it as your first antenna. However, as you already use directional antennas, this will give a rough guide where to initially aim. As domestic satellite dishes are offset, the dish needs to face towards the ground to pick up the terrestrial-level signal as this Latvian listing shows:
If all fails with vodafone I'll probably try that out then.
Do you happen to have a link to a unlocking tutorial for the B315 , I can practice doing it on that one since its my old three router and its just laying there anyway, If I manage to flash the firmware with that I can at least test the vodafone sim to see if it works with a single band on 4G to get an idea of speeds. I think I just got unlucky with this router. The support is completely hopeless too, A guy I was talking to on twitter was saying they dont cover my area even though I know for sure I get 5 bars with my antennas and 3 with the internal Big Grin still refused to accept the fact I have coverage.

Update : I went all in and took the B525 apart/flashed the firmware. Biggest hurdle done at least Big Grin  router finally unlocked
... but now back to the vodafone sim. I made a video showing what happens.
The 4G still doesn't work even in the B525 so the router isn't the issue. I measured the distance from myself to the mast its only 10 Km to arranmore and about 14 km to dungloe.  
At least according to google , with MIMO antennas 1800 Mhz should have connectivity up to 35 km + and 800 even more. So I doubt its a limit on the 4G tower connection range right?
That's great with the unlocking.  I'm surprised it left Three's web interface intact, although at least the unlocking part worked.  For comparison, this is what my Huawei B525-23a looks like:

You should definitely be within the range limit, particularly since you get 4G fine with Three's mast and Vodafone has 4G sites on the same masts.  Technically it is possible for a mobile operator to limit the range much less such as in an urban environment where there are lots of sites in close proximity.  It's now looking like a problem with the SIM or its profile.
Ill try going in tmoro and getting a new sim card since nothing works with tweaking apn settings on my end either. My router UI also used to look like that until some newer firmware update.
I noticed it lists the profile name as PAYG , does that mean pay as you go? I bought the 300 GB simply broadband plan under bill pay so it shouldnt be unless the guy gave me the wrong sim or something. I just called there they were quite rude basically just said the issues been escalated and thats it nothing is wrong on their end. Even though I've only got till friday to test it. Hopefully they'll just give me another sim in the shop :/ Anything you can see with apn settings I could try? like the username/pw combo or apn itself? out of options really if it is just the SIM.
Your APN settings in your clip are all fine. The profile name is likely from the Huawei's own naming. For example, when I put an Eir phone SIM in my router, it shows "Meteor Broadband to Go", the name of a former Meteor plan.

The router only uses the APN configuration to establish a data connection after it registers on the network. Even if the APN configuration is incorrect, it should still register on the network showing a 4G signal, but will show a "Connection failed" error.
Weird how it shows no signal at all for 4G then, except for a split second earlier on in the day when the vodafone guy was doing stuff on their end and when I was initially setting it up. Hope I can get it to work somehow , Will try getting a new sim tmoro evening if they'll give me one.
Another thing I am unsure what is wrong is when i'm using my Three sim in B525 for my streaming, When i start it up SINR is stable 13 then drops to 5 or 6 and keeps changing like this:
[Image: CUCNjj9.png]
Pretty sure it used to be stable in the past. is SINR affected by people using the mast or anything like that?
The SINR is the Signal to Interference Noise Ratio.  The interference mainly comes from unwanted signals picked up from other cells.  If the mast you are connected to consists of 2 or 3 sectors (most masts with 1800MHz are multi-sector on both bands), it's possible that you are in-between two sectors of the mast, in which case the interference is coming from the sector that you are not connected to.

Indeed the traffic on the unwanted sector/mast will cause the SINR to drop.  Traffic on the cell you are connected to generally does not affect the SINR, just the RSRQ which takes both interference and traffic load into account.  A quiet cell with a good quality signal is typically around -3dB to -6dB RSRQ.  A fully loaded cell with a good signal has an RSRQ of -12dB.  Interference will cause the RSRQ to deteriorate further with -19.5dB (shown as -20dB) as poor as it can get.  

You can try turning the antenna direction by a few degrees each direction to see if the SINR gets more stable.  If it does, this indicates the interference is coming from another mast in a different direction.
Update:  I purchased an Eir prepay sim and a Vodafone one too because they were saying I'd have to be in a contract to try it again. So I got home and adjusted the antenna to the
perfect position for my three sim , solid signal. 3 Signal Here:

Then I took it out and put in the vodafone sim,(because they both have masts in same location on comreg) and I get this??? :
So I went back out and moved the antenna around, got nothing in the dungloe direction and nothing in the arranmore direction but I did in the gweedore direction which is just a big mountain  opposite direction - behind me and signal was rather weak and so was the speeds, 2-4 bars, Here :
So to me it looks like I'm only getting a weak vodafone signal from one area and it appears to be either gweedore or dunlewy. I dont understand why I dont pick up anything in the direction my 3 one does since its in the exact same location for both sites :/ . Really disappointed with that. 

Eir sim: So I also had the same issue for the eir sim. Though at least this time the information makes sense as I looked up site viewer and saw the nearest meteor (eir) tower to me was in Gweedore , also in the same direction as the vodafone signal. It was definitely better speed wise , decent 30 mbps on 800 Mhz with only 2 bars of signal. But the issue is I dont have line of sight of the gweedore ones. Theres a big mountain in the way :c . Signal :

Conclusion: I was unable to get 1800 Mhz on either of them and not even comparable 800 Mhz Signal either. The Eir one makes sense but the Vodafone mast is in the exact same location where I'm currently getting my strong 3 signal. Is there a chance i'm just unlucky and the tower is down/under maintenance or am I out of range or something? Really confused with that one Big Grin . I get decent 1800 Mhz signal with 3 aswell (2 bars when adjusted optimally) though for some reason I suspect it isnt in the same place because signal is worse in the perfect position for 800 Mhz which is -88 RSRP, but its like -116 RSRP on 1800. If I turn the antennas abit more left , which would be more toward dungloe, the RSRP improves on the Band 3 to about -109 or 108 at best and the 800 Mhz one gets slightly worse , to about -92./.. Another weird one lol.   

Speed test results:

If you think i'm out of options for these ones. I looked up some stuff about improving the 1800 Mhz one since it seems to have the most Bandwidth and stability overall. I'm just lacking in upload. I currently get about 6 mpbs max on the upload on band 3 with a 2 bar signal. I saw some people having their LOG antenna mounted onto where the LNB would go and pointing into the sattellite dish. Like this : 
 What would be the ultimate thing I can do to try improve that if all the above fails since improving band 3 seems like my last option.

Look forward to the input again  Blush  thanks.
It looks either those Vodafone sites are down for maintenance in Arranmore/Dungloe or they have configured a very short 4G range limit on them.  The site measures the range based on the round trip latency so the modem knows what timing advance to use, so if it's set for let's say 10km max, then no device outside that range will be allowed to connect.  That's a real bummer considering how well you pick up Three on the 800MHz band from those masts.  With Eir, the hill would be the culprit for not getting the 1800MHz band as it is much more sensitive to having line of sight than the 800MHz band.  

Have a look at post #9 above about my suggestion on the retro fit 1800MHz MIMO "LNB" for a satellite dish as that is certainly worth trying if you are up for the challenge.  While you can try mounting a LOG antenna in its place, the problem is that a satellite dish focuses the signal to a point.  The special "LNB" style antenna (below) would be both at the optimum focal point and also provide MIMO to get the full download capacity on the 1800MHz band.  If this works, you could sell your LOG antennas to recover the cost of the satellite dish and the retrofit "LNB" antenna.

To give you idea of what the distance is with 3D google maps. 
[Image: TFyquhm.png]
Tried the vodafone sim again - no signal apparently (In these directions at least) // 7 Km seems like a very short max limit for connection .. not covering very much with that. I think my best bet is satellite then. I was researching them too, it says they're not really any good in the 800 Mhz frequency. Is there any model thats wideband like the LOG antennas that would be effective in the dish setup or is it only specific to the higher 1800+ spectrum.  I assume that also means no 4G+ on the satellite option.
The question of what mast I actually connect to is confusing now at this stage. I suppose I kind of have line of sight to arranmore and   dungloe at least at the antennas perspective with  height in the tree and how high up I am on the mountain. I have my cable just running from that tree in through my window like this : 
The wind sometimes blows the antennas to another direction when its really bad,  they're just attached to the scaffolding pole jammed between a rock then rope keeping it on the tree. 

The signal on 1800 Mhz with LOG antennas:
Speeds are definitely way better than on 800 Mhz, With 4G+ in the middle of the night around 5 AM, even with only 2 bars I was able to exceed 100  Mbps. In the day you can get  anywhere from 25-80 Mbps. If only the upload was abit better, currently maxes out around 6 Mbps.

As for where I'd put the satellite, what would you suggest? the side of the house is kind of low down and not as high up as where the LOG antennas are. That tree was the best spot height wise I could get that was pretty easy to get setup with 15M cable it just about reaches in the window.  I do still have a cell repeater that apparently works for phone , 3G and 4G , its just sitting there on the window doing nothing, I took down the single log antenna that came with the repeater (  it was in the same position as the current dual log antennas you suggested ) and just used them instead since I was getting better speeds.  Is it worth trying that with anything? or is it not any use. 
Back of it states this, probably no good for 1800 then?

I could also just leave the LOG antennas where they are and if for some reason I ever needed swap around from the Satellite to those, like for example if it really isn't any good on 800 mhz. At least they'd always be there. Would using one connection from the satellite and one from the LOG antenna work? Big Grin . running out of options to do, trying to think of everything lol.  thanks again)
P.S : I also purchased the retrofit part for the LNB. Now all I need is some kind of dish... I see it says on the items image that a bigger dish increases gain. What kind of dish should I get?
Trying to get my order changed, I found this
and ordered it instead, It appeared to come with an 80cm Parabolic dish and it ships from UK and from the same supplier, So thats closer than the only other one I could find which was the latvian listing you gave above. So it should come next week  hopefully.  It does state under specifications  "range of frequency Socket 1: 800-900 Mhz  Socket 2 : - 1800 - 2100 Mhz.
Does that mean it's 4G+ capable or just operating one band at a time. It comes with the same length of cable as my current LOG antennas so I should be enough.
27 Dbi Gain which is a lot in comparison to the LOG antennas right? that sounds promising. Do you think maybe it'll even allow me to over come the round trip time limit  connect to the masts which are currently "out of range" ? It'll be worth a try.

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