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Zte Mc801a external antenna question
#1
Hello all. 
My name is Michal and this is my first post on this forum . 

I am with three 5g broadband for last few months on zte mc801a router. My device is in the attic ,as i get the best 5g signal there (just against the roof).For last 2-3 months my are suffer with bad congestion times speeds. While upload stays the same, download is between 5 to 10mbits. . My house is 1.2kilometers in straight line from the mast my modem is logging to. I was able to identify the mast by 4g cell id and cellmapper website. I moved my device a little bit to the left, which boosted signal strength by 3to5dbm and sinr up to 7db,but my upload suffers . Downloads speeds are lower, but way more stable and browsing feels much more responsive now

I have ordered Poyting XPOL-1 V2 5G 3dBi antenna. Will this help with my connection quality ,or i am wasting my time? There is another 2 5g three mast within 4km range from my house. 
Few statistics : 

Connection quality before and after i moved my router : 


 [Image: forum-3.jpg]

[Image: forum-2.jpg]

Speeds in congestion hours:
[Image: forum-4.jpg]

Morning speeds : 
[Image: forum-5.jpg]

And speeds right now :

[Image: forum-1.jpg]

cell router is connected to:

[Image: forum-6.jpg]
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#2
If the antenna has not dispatched yet, I suggest cancelling the order. The antenna sockets on the ZTE MC801A only work on 5G bands n77 and n78, i.e. 3.6GHz bands and up. The router only uses its internal antennas for 4G and the lower 5G bands such as 5G band n3 that you are connected to. This antenna is also omni-directional, which means it may perform no better than your router in the attic. This type of antenna is intended for urban areas where the signal comes from various directions such as from reflections off buildings, whereas in a rural area, a directional antenna is better for picking up a specific mast and rejecting unwanted signals and interference coming from other directions.

Your 4G and 5G readings are good, particularly the SINR. The vast difference in the day / night speeds unfortunately indicate that your mast has very high congestion. Your router's signal readings don't show the RSRQ reading which would give a good indication whether it is backhaul congestion, which it may be.

As Three does not appear to aggregate 4G band 3 while connected on 5G band n3, there is a good possibility you can improve your speed by just setting your router to 4G only. This would aggregate band 4G bands 1 and 3 along with either band 20 or 28.

One other test you can try is band locking to one 4G band at a time to see to see if there is much speed variation from one band to another. If you find you are getting similar speeds on band 1 or 3 as without band locking, then the issue is most likely backhaul congestion, which unfortunately you can do little about other than changing provider. As your SINR readings are already good with just the internal antenna, there does not appear to be another Three site within range.

To access the band locking menu, log in into your router's web interface, then in the URL bar, change text after # to "#debug_page", e.g. http://192.168.0.1/index.html#debug_page
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#3
Are you sure about these frequencies? Manual states that antenna ports supports anything from 700mhz .Unfortunately my router is locked, i cant access any hidden menu, but with java script there is a bit more detailed information. . I ordered omnidirectional as i was hoping to get signal from other masts.

[Image: dsds.jpg]

[Image: snipping.jpg]
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#4
I wonder if they made a hardware or firmware change to support the lower bands on the antenna ports as they previously only supported bands n77/n78, such as mentioned in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyI4N-ycYjE&t=218s

As the script shows the RSRQ reading, it's looking like backhaul congestion. Keep an eye on the RSRQ reading to see where the value typically holds in case it just hit -10dB in that screenshot. If the RSRQ is mainly -12dB or more negative, then that network band is congested. However, if it's regularly hitting -10dB or better during peak time when your download speed is poor, then backhaul congestion is the main culprit.

Mobile masts share the same spectrum across its masts on the same bands, any within range that you are not connected to becomes a source of interference. For example, if a further out mast Three is also operating on 4G bands 1 and 28, the signal coming from the nearby mast will drown out most of the signal from the further out mast on the same bands, much like trying to listen to a weak distant radio station operating on the same frequency as a nearby radio station. You would need a very directional antenna to reject the signals from the nearby mast to try locking on a further out one.
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#5
At the moment RSRQ stays between -9 and -11db and goes to green range from time to time. So far so good after router movement today. Connection is rock solid on -96,97db and 5G SINR sits on at 16db all the time. Massive improvement ,as my tv is not lagging and i can have battlefield session on pc without ping spikes at the same time. It was impossible for the last few months, we had to use hotspot for tv in the evenings. I hope the antenna will help somehow,as from what i see ,after the movement 4g connection dropped a bit. Maybe i will be able to place router in different place to improve lte,while antenna take care of 5g signal

Funny thing, we had LTE home broadband from three with Huawei b535 router and it was always rock solid, speeds never dropped below 50mbits ,even in the evenings. Although LTE was logging into the mast literally 200meters from me at the end of the street, as both of my phones do (Tesco mobile).
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#6
Try setting your router to 4G/LTE only mode temporarily to see how the speed compares. Three does not appear to use 4G band 3 when it's connected on 5G band n3, so you may get better speed on 4G with 4G band 3, particularly if your phone is still getting faster speed on 4G.
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#7
I did it few times already. It connects to more LTE bands in 4g mode, but upload is slower and ping is higher when 5g is off
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#8
That at least confirms it is making use of the 5G band, particularly with the lower ping. It was likely intermittently dropping 5G before you moved the router, with the switching back and forth between bands causing latency spikes.

It will be interesting to see how the antenna performs. Even at present, your 5G reading is very good, particularly with it maintaining the 16dB SINR.

One other test you can try is run a speed test or a large download and watch the RSRQ during the download stage. The download should cause the RSRQ to drop to -12dB or lower through most of the test / download indicating that the band is fully saturated. I don't see an NR RSRQ in the screenshot, so it would not be possible to tell whether it saturates the 5G band, but would be another way of checking whether the bottleneck is with the backhaul to the mast.
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#9
A bit of morning statistics.If i could keep it all the time lol.According to the charts on internet my 5g connection is on the cell edge by 5G signal strenght data ,but SINR is very high . How should i understand that?

Speed test result:
[Image: morning-1.jpg]

Connection quality:
[Image: morning-2.jpg]

Connection stats while downloading 200gb game:
[Image: morning3.jpg]
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#10
Mobile operators have different RSRP cut-off limits, below which the network either drops the carrier (in the case with 5G or carrier aggregation) or hands the modem over to another band or 2G/3G. As the -96dB reading is close to the RSRP cut-off threshold edge of some network operators (e.g. Eir's was -103dBm on bands 1 and 3 up until recently), it is considered at the edge of the cell. I wouldn't worry too much about it due to the router being stationary. This is more relevant with outdoor phone reception where RSRP readings down in the -90s usually means the user is approaching the boundary between their cell and another.

The SINR figure on each band is more important when it comes to download performance, where a good RSRP is more important for upload performance. Generally once the RSRP is -100dBm or better, it has no impact on the download performance as the signal is above the noise floor of the modem. A better RSRP reading provides more margin for temporary signal degradation such as during high pressure weather, foliage grown in the line of sight, etc. When uploading, a better RSRP provides better upload speed as more of the transmitted signal energy reaches the mast. From my experience, the upload speed usually peaks around -85dBm to -90dBm RSRP.
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#11
So im coming back with update . Big success, connection quality improved overall, speeds improved . Unfortunately ts9 to sma adapters i have ordered are too big and cant place them properly, so SINR reading is bouncing up and down .Actually, when I'm moving them signal is either improving or degrading. At one point i was pretty sure ts9 ports snapped off. Will have to order ones on lead, instead of small twisted ones. Current setup is very fragile and cant really move the antenna leads much

Speed test taken right now ,and its a congestion hour :
[Image: evening-2.jpg]

Connection itself :
[Image: evening-1.jpg]
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#12
So my signal is not coming from the tower i thought at the start .Comreg states its an eir tower,.Next three 5g mast is 5.8kms away on the hill and im 100% positive im using this one,as im getting 5g only in attic with modem pointed directly to the mast location . I can see it from distance in good weather. Closer i get to it with simcard in phone,faster download i have. At the point where mast is pinned on cellmapper map i have over 300mbits so i believe somebody marked it there by signal strength.

On bad news ts9 port on my mc801a snapped so 5g is gone for me lol.Ordered Zyxel NR5103e as suggested in other post. Should have it by wednesday. And yes,n3 dont work on external antenna,i just probably snapped the port off at the start,and when i was moving it ts9 was making or loosing contact,thats why signal was changing .

Antenna itself definitely doing a good job. I tested it with my huawei b535 and second i screw it on,i got 15db gain in signal.What is interesting ,b535 without external was connecting to the mast at the bottom of my street,with antenna straight into the 3.8km away one.
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#13
Another Zyxel NR5103E update here .My 4g connection is fluctuating a bit,but this is due to cheap 4g 6db antenna i got to use all the ports.5g is rock solid all the time. Last night ,in congestion hours i had 30-40/30mbits all the time which is improvement .Have opened ticked with three,guy in customer care said its not normal to have that 2-3 hours window when download just goes completely down .

[Image: zyxel-2.jpg]

[Image: zyxel1.jpg]
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