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Mikrotik Chateau 5G - 5G or not 5G?
#1
I've been using a Huawei CPE Pro 2 for a little while now on SMARTY and getting about 40/10 out of it. I decided to try finding a better spot for it the other day and I managed to get about 10mbps more on a windowsill I then ended up trying it just outside the window too. To my shock it instantly reported a 5G connection and my speed test came back around 230/20!

Huawei system info:
[Image: syY4wf4.png]

So it seemed pretty obvious that with an external antenna, I should be able to vastly improve the speed I can achieve. As the CPE Pro 2 doesn't have any external ports, I decided to pick up a Chateau 5G as it has external 5g ports but also is easier to mod if needed (although was hoping not to have to). So far, I've been able to replicate the speeds both slower indoor and faster outside, infact I saw over 300mbps last night outside on the same windowsill but it's not reporting a 5G connection at all? 

The oddity is, if I untick 5G in winbox and apply... it drops to similar slower speeds I see inside the house. Its also a similar behaviour if I lock to any NR band other than 78 or 77. Locking to 78 or 77 returns the faster speeds but it still only reports LTE for data class and there are no n bands under CA or primary. The cell monitor has some odd behaviour too, with 5G enabled it only returns 3 5G cells... with 5G unticked I get all the LTE cells and the 3 5G cells. That may be normal though

5G enabled:
[Image: 3VMlcwI.png] [Image: B7pnCse.png]

5G disabled:
[Image: BvQREkf.png] [Image: 3MVTc5k.png]

Am I being stupid? Is it using 5G and not reporting it correctly in winbox, or is it just using LTE? I did notice with 5G unticked, the primary and CA bands swap. You can probably tell I'm a bit new to this so any help is appreciated. I have a Poynting XPOL-2-5G on the way which I can test with soon.

Both my packages and routerboard versions were updated to 7.3.1, the modem is on firmware RG502QEAAAR11A06M4G out the box if that helps with no updates reported.
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#2
Going by the signal read-outs and the speed difference between toggling 5G on/off, I've no doubt your router's modem is connecting to 5G band n78. Cool

I'm surprised that the status page is not showing the 5G connection or signal read-outs, which would show further down. The cell-monitor however does show the signal read-outs, which you can use to position/align the antenna when you get it. As the cell-monitor lacks the SINR read-out (which the status screen should be showing), you can try aiming for the least negative RSRP/RSRQ read-outs, e.g. -100dBm is better than -105dBm.

There is a bug in cell-monitor where it continues to show the last 5G cell read-outs when 5G is disabled. Basically, these 5G signal readings do not update until 5G is re-enabled or until a reboot.

The two rear antenna ports are pre-wired for the 5G n78 band, so it's just a matter of attaching the XPOL-2-5G leads and aiming the antenna to maximise the n78 readings. There is no need to rewire anything internally unless you plan adding a second antenna at a later stage, such as to try getting 4x4 MIMO.
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#3
Thanks for the reply Seán, appreciate some reassurance i'm not just being hopeful and the tips on alignment.

The antenna is out for delivery, so planning on giving it a test maybe later or tomorrow by temporary attaching it to my bike repair stand to see what difference it makes before permanently mounting. Annoyingly even though we're only a 15 minute walk from the town centre here our copper run is over 1KM to the cabinet so even with FTTC we're lucky to get 30mb. 200mb+ is another world to me.

I may also try using netinstall on the Chateau to do a clean install of routeros... it may hopefully fix the 5G weirdness.

I did notice earlier today Poynting recently announced the XPOL-24  which is 4x4 MIMO which sounds like a good upgrade option in the near future over running multiple antennas. Our house is fairly small and in a close housing estate so I don't want to cover the house in too many white boxes
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#4
Well that was a really frustrating hour or so. I mounted the antenna the best I could for a test just above head height, hoping to achieve at least similar results to when the router itself is outside. No such luck.

I tried to align the antenna in every direction, slowly moving left to right and changing the angle. I only ever saw +-10 for RSRP and RSRQ on all 5g cells/bands listed in cell monitor and even without moving the antenna it fluctuated close to these ranges. I even pointed the antenna directly downwards with no noticable change in RSRP or RSRQ. The speeds were also much lower while the Chateau was inside. I tried to align as close as I could to where I roughly know the masts are (from seeing them or the ookla map) with no luck.

So I tried moving the Chateau outside and instantly the speeds shot up to close to 200mb again Confused . Feeling even more deflated, I disconnected the Poynting antenna and attached the rabbit ears back and low and behold, consistently 20-50mbps more with comparable 5G cell readings for RSRP and RSRQ.

So not 100% sure what I learned from this, other than the internal antennas are still heavily in use if not exclusively. One oddity I noticed is as soon as the Chateau was outside, the cell monitor stopped reporting LTE cells. As soon as I bring it back inside, the LTE cells start showing again without needing to change any settings. When 5G is disabled, I still also get much lower speeds with both antennas... I'm wondering if disabling 5G changes which antennas it uses internally? The primary/ca band definitely switches which may be related to the speed change too.

Not too sure what to try next, other than adding external ports to the Chateau for some of the internal antennas. Any suggestions?
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#5
I wonder if you have the correct Poynting antenna, i.e. that it's not the 4G model, just in case the wrong one was shipped. The 4G model does not cover above 2.7GHz. For reference, the 5G antenna I have says A-XPOL-0002-V3-01 on the label on the back of the antenna. The "V3" is the important bit.

Another test is take the Chateau outside where it got 200Mbps, attach the Poynting antenna and place the antenna inside face down, i.e. to prevent it connecting to the n78 band altogether. If it's still getting above 200Mbps, this is a good indication it is using internal antennas, in which case the Chateau could be a customer return from someone that did an internal rewiring. Although it uses two internal antennas to provide 4x4 MIMO on band n78, these are receive-only and would require the external antenna antennas to transmit and connect on the n78 band.

I'm surprised it would stop reporting LTE cells outside, unless the network supports 5G Standalone Mode. I wonder what the cellular status screen was showing as the cell-monitor generally includes the connected cells in additional to the neighbouring cells.
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#6
Dear Seán, may i please ask a short question on more or less the dame subject?: I am in Greece with Cosmote, could not get any readings on 5G bands on my Chateau 5G. Only LTE bands. Any suggestions? 5G is obviously ticked ON
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#7
If they're operating on the n78 5G band in your area, the signal might not be strong enough to receive indoors as this 3.6GHz band does not penetrate building material that well, much like the 5GHz Wi-Fi band.

On a dry calm day, try testing it outside the building temporarily.

Another test you can try is tick 5G only (leave 4G unticked) and run the following cell monitor command in the Winbox terminal:
/interface lte cell-monitor 0

While it may not to connect to 5G standalone (5G NSA requires an existing 4G connection), this should show the neighbouring 5G cells, which may include other operators. If it shows any cells, take a screenshot within 10 seconds. If no cells appear at all even with the router outside within a minute, then it's unlikely there is any active 5G mast in your area.
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#8
Will definitely try outside, but knowing we are in Athens (my phone has perfect 5G connection) we are on a boat in a harborSmile We should see 5G cells. Router or provider settings may be?

Well got n28 appeared after I tried it with 4G unpicked
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#9
It should have no problem picking up 5G if your phone has a good signal, especially on a boat, which doesn't attenuate the signal as much as through concrete walls. The router shouldn't need any setting changes other than ensuring both 4G and 5G are ticked and no 5G bands are selected to lock to. If any 5G band #s were accidentally selected, you can clear them by clicking the up arrow to the right of the band # drop-down.

I suggest try the SIM from your router in your phone just to make sure 5G is provisioned on the SIM. If the phone also remains in 4G, you'll need to contact your mobile provider about this. Here in Ireland, this occasionally happens with new SIMs with the Eir mobile network that don't even get 4G access.

If your phone shows the 5G icon with the router SIM, then there may be a problem with the router's modem. In this case, try checking if their is a newer modem firmware by running the following command in the Winbox terminal:
/interface lte firmware-upgrade 0

If the latest firmware is newer than what it reports installed, run the following command and give it about 5 minutes to download and install:
/interface lte firmware-upgrade 0 upgrade=yes
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#10
Sorry for the lack of updates for a while, been a little busy but there has been some progress.

So I didn't have any luck with the poynting directional antenna. I even managed to try with a CPE Pro using its two external antenna ports but I couldn't find any noticable change in signal quality or strength in any direction I pointed the antenna. Even when pointing down to the ground it gave zero change. It was definitely the V3 model, and even had the frequency ranges on the side. I don't have direct line of sight, so maybe It's relying on reflection for any signal at all? Or maybe I'm just terrible at positioning. Either way I spent hours testing with no sign of improvements.

I have since returned the antenna and also replaced the Chateau. I don't know if its due to the 7.4 update or the previous unit being faulty/modified, but the new one is now reporting 5G band aggregation properly so thats all resolved. It's also showing the correct led colour, and the speeds are consistent with the other devices.

I tested out the Chateau in the attic, and was able to achieve really fast speeds there too, which is great. I don't know if its a great idea to run it long term up there though with humidty and temperature changes?

What I'm thinking of doing now, is trying to mount some omni directional antennas in the attic space and run cables through to our spare bedroom. I know this will require covering both 4G and 5G which also means modifying the router, which I'm happy to do.

What I don't know is, which omni antennas would be best to purchase and how to wire them to get the best signal. Is that something you may be able to advise on? I was looking at two 4x4 antennas to cover all antenna ports (maybe 2x https://www.netxl.com/5g-ready-antennas/...o-antenna/), but not sure if thats over kill or likely to be needed in the future.

It's currently using B1 as a primary band, with n78 and B3 as CA bands.

Thanks
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#11
That was a pity with the antenna tests as there should have been huge variations in the signal readings between facing the antenna out and at the ground, especially on the 3.6GHz band. I still wonder if something was wrong the antenna, although it would be coincidental to have both a faulty antenna and router With the CPE Pro, it switches to its internal antennas if signal from the antenna ports is weaker, whereas the Chateau 5G relies on the external antenna connections for the 3.6GHz band.

As the Chateau 5G works up in the attic, I suggest setting it up there and run an Ethernet cable to the ground floor for connectivity, e.g. to a Wi-Fi mesh for Wi-Fi coverage on the ground floor. The Chateau 5 has a very wide operating temperature range of -40°C to 70°C. If the attic gets above 70°C, I would be more concerned about heat damage to the roof material than the router! Likewise if the attic approaches -40°C, I'd be more concerned about freezing water pipes. Humidity shouldn't bee an issue as long as there is no risk of condensation dripping on it (e.g. from overhead pipework, etc.) An omni-directional antenna basically provides the equivalent signal to having the router in the same spot (without cable loses), so I would avoid using an omni-directional antenna if possible.
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#12
Yeah that antenna left me feeling really confused to be honest. It was a little frustrating with both, having to rely on the Chateaus cell monitor as it wouldn't even show the graphs for the 5G connection. The cell monitor kept getting locked at only showing 5G cells and not updating so I had to keep enabling/disabling the interface too. Either way I persisted trying every angle in small increments with no change for over an hour. This new one is working flawlessly so far, its a shame I don't still have the antenna as it'd be interesting to test with that. Maybe, as you say, the device was either faulty or had been modified. 

The CPE's signal readings and strength tests are not great either. The strength test kept bugging out and not showing any results requiring a reload resulting in the same outcome. I definitely enabled the external antennas and tried the same process as before, small increments rotating and also adjusting elevation.

I actually have the Chateau still running up in the attic, cable tied down and about a metre off the boarding on a small shelf between the supports. I have a CAT6 line already in there and is plugged into my asus router in a dual wan setup inside the house. I saw the wide operating temperature, I wasn't sure on the humidity though. There are no pipes or anything just lining/felt and tiles above. I popped my wireless humidity meter up there a week or so ago and it did peak to 80% relative after rain so was a little concerned... although we've kept fabric covered wooden chairs/cardboard boxes up there for years with no signs of issues so can't be that bad.
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