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How to check which 4G band your Huawei B315/B525/B528 router is using
.Before purchasing a band-specific LTE/4G antenna, first check what band you are currently using.  

These steps cover the B315, B525 and B528 and should be the same for most newer Huawei routers such as the B618, etc.  The older Huawei B593 series does not report the band #.

  1. In your web browser, enter the URL:
  2. Click on the Settings tab and log in.
  3. Now go to the following URL:
  4. Right-click the text and click 'View page source'
  5. Look for the band tag as shown in the example below.

These are the common band #s in use in Europe.  Eir, Vodafone and Three in Ireland currently use bands 3 and 20 for 4G. For the Covid-19, ComReg has temporarily allowed the use of band 1 (2100MHz) and band 28 (700MHz) for 4G. For example, Three is using band 1 for 4G in some built-up areas such as Letterkenny and Sligo.
  • Band 1 = 2100MHz
  • Band 3 = 1800MHz
  • Band 7 = 2600MHz
  • Band 8 = 900MHz
  • Band 20 = 800MHz
  • Band 28 = 700MHz
[quote pid='5' dateline='1579355384']

Should we buy a new antenna then?

Fantastic, useful information as usual, Sean!

So ours is band 20 as expected (three rural antenna on the south coast, screenshots from the mastmap attached)... We have been wondering if we should try getting a better aerial like the one you recently advised as we are in a valley below the mast and speeds have deteriorated a lot in the past year. I think we are getting the signal through a gateway gap in the ditch on the hill above so we might need something more directional!

The speed we get deteriorates in the evening because of contention, we do realise the aerial can't fix that.

This afternoon, the speed we're getting looks good but this is unusual - 16.37 Mb download, 21.4 Mb upload, latency 46 ms, still, perfect weather today too.
The rest of what we see from the B525 is: 

<txpower>PPusch:6dBm PPucch:-15dBm PSrs:0dBm PPrach:-1dBm</txpower>
<dl_mcs>mcsDownCarrier1Code0:0 mcsDownCarrier1Code1:0 </dl_mcs>
<earfcn>DL:6300 UL:24300</earfcn>

What do you reckon? Try another aerial or would it be another €100 down the maw of acceptable broadband speeds?

Thank you. Imogen
I'll be interested in seeing what your figures are in the evening when your speed is at its slowest.  At the moment, those signal readings are actually reasonably good.  I'm surprised the download speed is not much higher, which makes me wonder it's affected by Three's traffic shapping.  Try also refreshing the page a few times to see where the RSRQ and SINR roughly settle around.

Although this may sound ridiculous, when your speed is at its slowest try a download speed test on the "Los Angeles, CA, USA" server on and then repeat with the "London, GB" server.  If the Los Angeles result is much higher, repeat the two tests to rule out a fluke.

Whichever host TestMy is using for its Los Angeles mirror, it happens to be one that gets prioritised in regions affected by Three's traffic shapping.  For example, if you get let's say 4Mbps in your usual speed tests, but get over 10Mbps on the TestMy Los Angeles server, a better antenna upgrade will not improve your regular peak time speed.
Great advice - I'll come back to you when I've figured that out and done more tests.
I am wondering if it would be worthwhile for me to get an external antenna for my router (Huawei B525), currently we are getting around 30-40Mb download speeds and around 1-4 Mb upload speeds. I am on the Three network by the way. The stats from the website are as follows:

<txpower>PPusch:19dBm PPucch:7dBm PSrs:0dBm PPrach:23dBm</txpower>
<dl_mcs>mcsDownCarrier1Code0:2 mcsDownCarrier1Code1:7 </dl_mcs>
<earfcn>DL:1275 UL:19275</earfcn>
Based on the weak RSRP (signal strength), it would be worth getting a directional outdoor antenna to improve this. From what I can tell between the RSRQ and SINR readings, your mast seems to have a low load (unless this was early in the day) and the signal quality is pretty good for such a weak signal.

Your download speed will likely improve depending on the upstream contention to the mast and your upload speed will be much higher, probably 20Mbps or higher. Check this reading again around 9pm to 11pm as this is generally when traffic is at its heaviest.

If you have an Android 9+ phone handy on the 3 network, get the App Network Cell Info and see if 1700 appears on the EARFCN column. You are currently on a former O2 band 3 mast (earfcn is 1275). If your phone shows a 1700 (a native Three band 3 mast) on this column, that means you possibly can get 4G+ between the two band 3 masts. If your masts are connected by fibre, this can potentially deliver over 200Mbps with a good band 3 antenna, such as with two of these:

If you see only 6300 or 1275 or are unable to check with a phone, I suggest getting something like this, which covers all the 4G bands (with less gain). This one would also be easier to align as it's less sensitive to alignment compared to the above narrow band antenna:
Hi, Seán,
Thanks for all the information,
Unfortunately I don't have an android, although when I log into my routers settings it does say that I am connected to 4G+, would you still recommend me to get the antenna off amazon because I wasn't able to check the EARFCN number?
Thanks again for all the information.
In this case I suggest going for that antenna on Amazon as it will cover the 800MHz 4G band that the other one doesn't. Most of Three's 4G+ sites run a combination of 800MHz and 1800MHz for carrier aggregation. Even still, whenever Three runs fibre to the masts (if not already), you can potentially get 100+Mbps when depending on the traffic on the mast.

Three doesn't have that many sites that run 4G+ across two 1800MHz cells, but those that do tend to use a combination of a 4G site using O2's former band 3 spectrum and a native Three 4G site, so when I saw the telltale sign that you're on an O2 mast, I thought it would be worth checking. Most other 4G+ sites use a combination of O2's former band 20 spectrum and Three's own band 3 spectrum. Unfortunately, Huawei's routers only shows technical details for the the main carrier it's connected on, not the second carrier like the newer Android phones can.
Thanks for your help!
Hi Sean

Definitely part of our problem is contention.
At 15.35 in the afternoon before it gets bad, 13.6Mb/s DL from London on v 18.4 Mb/s DL from Los Angeles.

There could be good news on that longer term, as the 4-site National Broadband planning vans are currently around our area. We are 12.5km from Carrigaline which is going to be one of the first towns rolled out... so here's hoping fibre to the local masts might be a priority instead of the current microwave backhaul... and you never know, perhaps we will eventually get fibre that works!

We now have a Wittenberg LAT 22 Duo aerial costing just over €100, which we tested on a lighting tripod to raise it up, but have not permanently installed yet (it's a bit better on speed but not huge). That gives us a rsrq < -9db and a consistent rsrp of -85db. Which is better than our panel antenna. Those figures probably can be improved with a taller mast. Interestingly, we found that mounting one antenna above the other was no different than side by side on a U-bracket?

We wondered what you thought before we do the permanent setup. We do get extreme winds here, so a massively tall mast for our antenna on the gable of the house, although it helps to get over the intervening hill to the three mast, might not be wise...

Thanks as always for your wonderful advice.

That's great news about the National Broadband Plan. Hopefully that'll mean they'll cover your street over the next year or two.

The purpose of the U-bracket is to allow the inclination to be adjusted. With the LAT22 antennas I have, if they are mounted directly on to a vertical pole, there is no way to tilt them up. In my area, the mast is much higher than our house, so tilting them up a few degrees makes a big difference. Even if tiling them up does not improve the signal, tilting them up by roughly 10 degrees will help rain run off. If rains droplets build-up between the two main bars, it will attenuate the signal until the antenna dries off, especially with the horizontal antenna.

While you could re-mount the pole the wall tilted by 10 degrees, a problem here is that the top antenna will be a few cm further back than the other. As 4G transmits with a collinear signal that rotates as it travels, if the signal has to travel a few cm more to reach one antenna than the other, the two antennas will not pick pick up the signals properly cross-polarised, i.e. each would be picking up a partial signal of the other cross-polarised signal as interference.

As you are getting a very good RSRP with a tripod, I wouldn't worry about trying to mount them higher than the house. Basically try to get the SINR figure as positive as possible. You can try mounting them one above the other to start with, however, if rain affects the signal too much (e.g. causes the SINR to fall below 10dB), I suggest mounting them with the U bracket to tilt up by about 10 degrees.
Hi Sean and others,
thank you very much for all your invaluable information.
 I have the Huawei B525s-23a on Three's unlimited (750gb) plan. According to Comreg, my closest mast is ~1.7km away


I usually get somewhere between 60-80mbps Smile(with wired connection to pc only)
I wouldnt have a clue how to interpret the signal results.


Coming from having ADSL speeds of 2mbps, 60 seems glorious, I'm just curious as to whether an external antenna could help with the speed- like everyone, I'd like to get the best speed I can.
My router displays 5 bars 4g constant and it only has internal antennas. 

I'm not sure if you'd be able to help me with my other question. How could I create a seamless wifi network throughout my house inexpensively? I live in a timber-frame house with a mix of foil insulation and fibreglass  and a solid wall between the mast-facing room where the router is and the rest of my house.So there is drop-off in Wi-Fi connection on the other side of the house.

I have 3 tp-link routers sitting around and I was thinking about setting them up as AP's with the same SSID and pw using the powerlines.... but I've read up online about how devices don't automatically connect to the closest one and I'm not sure how I could work around that. 

I'm new to these threads so I apologize if I put this in the wrong place.
Thanks very much for your time and help!
That's a brilliant speed considering how much traffic there is with most people working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Going by the first ComReg screenshots, that mast has two band 3 nodes. Your SINR reading is very good assuming that is stable. The RSRQ however is below -12dB, which with the good SINR usually indicates high traffic load, so getting 60Mbps+ is great.

Before you order an antenna, first try testing your router outside temporarily (e.g. with an extension power lead) where it has clear line-of-sight with the mast. If the speed improves, then an antenna should give at least that improved speed. If the speed tests are much the same as inside, this indicates that network traffic on the mast or its upstream is the bottleneck, in which case an antenna may not offer any improvement other than better signal readings.

If you decide to go for antenna, I suggest something like the following:

Pair of LOGs (with 5m cable) - These need to be mounted at least 30cm apart, something to consider when choosing a pole. Both antennas need to be cross polarised (e.g. one horizonal, one vertical or one -45 degrees and the other +45 degrees) and both pointing at the mast.

MIMO panel antenna - The panel antenna just needs a simple outdoor TV antenna wall mount, but costs more.

Both the above suggestions have 5 metres of cable. You will need to 8mm holes to pass the cables including its crimped SMA connectors inside.

As for your Wi-Fi, you will need mesh-compatible access points for devices to seamlessly roam. However, even with access points with the same SSID and password, I find that many devices roam fine between access points when idle. However, if a device is streaming or on a voice/video call, they tend to cling to the original access point when moving about the mouse.

If possible, try using wired Ethernet connections between your access points, especially between the router and a more centralised access point. From my experience with HomePlugs, the 500-600Mbps models typically deliver around 40Mbps and the 1Gbps+ models typically deliver 80Mbps average and this fluctuates depending on the home's wiring, appliances running, etc. In our house, I gave up on HomePlugs as I found the connection too unsable.
I'm a little stuck on which antenna I should get to allow me to do some proper testing. I'm exactly 2km as the crow flys from masts 3_RS0102 (GSM, UMTS, LTE) & THREE_RS0102 (GSM) with the cellmapper app I get the following with the 3 sim in my phone near the mast;

[Image: uc?export=download&id=1fYRuyrD1yiJ7WjX1anjDRXsXavrQwcA3]

And from the roof of my house with the B5252s router, I get down / up speeds of ~35 / 15Mbps.

I have simular line of sight but 4.5km from cell sites 3_RS0001 (UMTS, LTE) & THREE_RS0001 (UMTS, LTE) which is a 4G+ site from reading your posts. I assume that this site is too far for the B525s to get a connection from but which type of antenna would you suggest would be best for me to test both and future proof should the closer cell site be upgraded in the future?

Would I be best go with the LOG antennas or the panel antenna?

Cheers, James
If the further away site is more than 90 degrees from the other (e.g. one North and one South East), I suggest going for a directional panel antenna such as the Poynting XPOL-2 in the example below:

The panel antenna just needs an outdoor TV antenna bracket and is reasonably straight forward to aim. With the B525, you can use the LTEInspecteur utility on a laptop as a live signal meter.

If the two sites are closer together, I generally find LOG antennas better at isolating one site from the other. On the other hand, LOG antennas are more awkward to install as they need to be spaced about 1m apart, i.e. require a vertical pole or a shelly clamp (double pipe clamp) and a second steel pipe to mount the two side by side.

The screenshot above has just 2G and 3G readings (UMTS = 3G, GSM = 2G), however, based on the -67dBm 3G reading, you have a very strong signal from the nearer mast, so I would go with the panel antenna unless the 2km and 4.5km sites are within 90 degrees of each other.
(16/05/2020, 01:49 PM)Seán Wrote: If the further away site is more than 90 degrees from the other (e.g. one North and one South East), I suggest going for a directional panel antenna such as the Poynting XPOL-2 in the example below:

The panel antenna just needs an outdoor TV antenna bracket and is reasonably straight forward to aim.  With the B525, you can use the LTEInspecteur utility on a laptop as a live signal meter. 

If the two sites are closer together, I generally find LOG antennas better at isolating one site from the other.  On the other hand, LOG antennas are more awkward to install as they need to be spaced about 1m apart, i.e. require a vertical pole or a shelly clamp (double pipe clamp) and a second steel pipe to mount the two side by side. 

The screenshot above has just 2G and 3G readings (UMTS = 3G, GSM = 2G), however, based on the -67dBm 3G reading, you have a very strong signal from the nearer mast, so I would go with the panel antenna unless the 2km and 4.5km sites are within 90 degrees of each other.

That site on Comreg shows as having a 3_ LTE site so should there be 4G at that site also?

I am the red box and the 2 closest sites with the best lines of sight are shown below. (I included the 10Km site because of the relative angle)

The setup and time needed to direct the antennas isn't a problem if I can do it using my laptop LTEInspecteur.

Would I have a better chance of getting the optimal connection to either the 2Km or 4.5Km with the LOG antennas at 1M apart with some fine-tuning of the position?

[Image: uc?export=download&id=1wZ80BkUpberqL9l6rKcm0cimwgCR8v9L]
The main concern I see with the Athlone direction is the number of Three sites, so in this case the LOG antennas has a better chance of isolating that 4.5km mast from the others in Athlone.

You can check how clear your line of sight is with this tool:

When setting them up, I suggest start by aiming towards that 4.5km site and check that your router is on band 3 in LTEInspecteur. If it's on band 20 (800MHz), you can click 1800MHz on the left to force it on band 3 only. If the SINR value is below 10, you can then try turning the antennas further away from Athlone to see if the SINR value improves.

These are the LOG antennas I use, which have good sensitivity on band 3 and good quality cables:

The antennas need to be tilted up about 10 degrees to help rain droplets run off. If droplets build-up in-between the elements, it will heavily attenuate the signal until they dry off. The panel antenna is unaffected by rain.
Hello Seán. 

Well done on creating the forum.  It’s been really, really helpful. 

I was struggling working from home with an ADSL connection with 5Mbps download and max. 0.5Mbps upload.  The topography in our area means we have poor indoors reception on all mobile networks.  However I tested them all and opted for a 3 wireless broadband solution (Huawei B535 router).

By placing the router in an upstairs window I am getting average download/upload speeds of 18-24Mbps across the day.  Much better than the fixed line, thankfully, but the variation is huge.  Early mornings, I’ve gotten download speeds of 35-50Mbps and 30-40Mbps upload.  But during busy periods it’s down to 10-14Mpbs both ways.

I purchased a Poynting Omnidirectional XPOL-A0001 antenna for the router.  The bad news is that it seemed to REDUCE the speeds I was getting over the internal antenna!  At least, I couldn’t find a spot that resulted in any speed improvement.

This could be caused by the fact that we are near two mast locations, but don’t have line of sight to either.  One is much nearer but below the horizon.  The other is further away, probably above the horizon, but blocked by houses.  There’s about 80-degrees difference between them from our house.  Comreg shows two masts at each site:


I’ve used your advice here to monitor the router signal for a few days.  We are nearly always on a band 3 connection, but it did switch to a band 1 connection for a short period (which appeared to have poorer speeds).


Any insight you can draw from these numbers would be fantastic.  

Do you see any benefit from investing in a directional aerial?  Would it actually deliver any greater speeds for us?  Or maybe just more consistent speed during the day?  

Any guidance would be much appreciated.  Thanks again Seán.  

From looking at the band 3 readings, you are picking up a lot of interference, particularly with the SINR value going negative. As you mention both 15MHz and 20MHz for band 3, you are actually picking up two band 3 cells (Three and former O2), so definitely worth improving that signal. Smile

If you only tried the antenna indoors, I suggest trying it outside with a temporary setup such as on a camera tripod. Place it near a wall that is within view of one mast, but where the house obstructs the other mast. If the SINR is much higher (e.g. >10dB), try a few speed tests. Repeat for another wall that faces the other mast, but where house obstructs the direction of the mast you tested.

If the download speed is much better in either spot, you can try mounting your antenna on that side of the house, assuming you can place the router in a suitable area within within reach of its coaxial leads.

A better option would be to get a directional antenna such as the Poynting 4G-XPOL-A0002. Besides improving the signal strength (RSRP figure), this will help isolate a mast from interference from other masts. Start by pointing it at that 750m site, then try turning 10-20 degrees left/right to get the highest stable SINR reading, getting it above 10dB if possible, even if it means the RSRP figure drops 1-2dB. I also recommend tilting it up about 10 degrees as this helps when there are obstructions in the line-of-sight.

4G Band 1 is a temporary provisioning of the 2100MHz UMTS band for the duration of the Covid-19. This will revert back to UMTS (3G) either in July or October, depending on whether ComReg allows an extension. it's likely you are picking this up from that 1.5km distant mast. Going by the MCS readings, you are picking up Band 1 without MIMO, which likely explains why its performance was poor. Both the Code0 and Code1 should show values above 0 for MIMO operation, particularly during an active download.
Thanks Seán. I appreciate your help with this.

I had tried the XPOL-A0001 outside, but not deliberately to try to isolate the different masts so I will give that a try.

Does the fact that I am currently picking up both 15MHz and 20MHz mean those are signals from the two different masts – or could they be from the same one?  I’m not sure if there’s a way to work out which is the best mast to try to connect to.

If I have no success with the omnidirectional antenna then I will try your suggestion of the directional one.  If it succeeds in reducing the interference, do you think it will result in a speed increase? 

Thanks again,

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