Question

Phone vs "High-Speed" Internet Gateway

  • 6 September 2021
  • 8 replies
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Can anyone else verify my results that show a speedtest speed that is double on my 4G phone vs the silver tube gateway with the latest firmware?

I held the phone next to the gateway and got 119 Mbps down and 26.4 up with WIFI turned off so only using T-Mobile cell data. Connected to the T-Mobile gateway and ran the test again and got 54Mbps down and 10.12 up. 4 bars of signal strength on the gateway.

I can only assume that T-Mobile is limiting their gateways, but that is not a good selling point. It’s almost worth it to go back to the hated Comcast for $10 more per month with 4 times the speed.


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1 login to gateway as admin, create different SSID for 2.4 GHZ  WIFI band

Create another SSID for 5GHZ WIFI  band.

Now using your phone connect to 5GHZ SSID, then do the speediest, it will be far better than 2.4GHZ wifi.

2.4GHZ  wifi radio limits the down/up speed <50mbps.

Alternatively, if you are using a laptop, try to connect  to gateway using the ethernet port through cable and do the speed test.

 

This is what my observation has been.

Userlevel 5
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Can anyone else verify my results that show a speedtest speed that is double on my 4G phone vs the silver tube gateway with the latest firmware?

I held the phone next to the gateway and got 119 Mbps down and 26.4 up with WIFI turned off so only using T-Mobile cell data. Connected to the T-Mobile gateway and ran the test again and got 54Mbps down and 10.12 up. 4 bars of signal strength on the gateway.

I can only assume that T-Mobile is limiting their gateways, but that is not a good selling point. It’s almost worth it to go back to the hated Comcast for $10 more per month with 4 times the speed.


I have a 4G tmobile phone and the 5G gateway and my 5G gateway gets 10x the speed of the 4G phone, and what you get has never happened to me. From reading about people’s problems, I’d guess that 1 in 20 people get a faster signal from their house on 4G than they do 5G. That 4G speed on your phone is very good, for 4G.

If I were you, I would first verify that I’m getting 5G on the gateway by going to the GUI at the following web address:

192.168.12.1

With either OVERVIEW or STATUS selected on the left, click the dropdown arrows near them to check and make sure you are receiving a signal on both the Primary and Secondary bands. Then you can establish that you are on 5G. If you are getting the Primary band signal alone, that is 4G.

It is possible for the 5G silver gateway to connect to different band combinations, after being turned off and on using the button on the side, and that these band combinations yield different speeds. That’s why a key thing when getting this gateway is to find a location and orientation (by rotating it and/or elevating it) that gives you the band combination with the highest speeds and best signal. Four bars is a good signal. My signal is only 3 bars, and 5 miles from the tower, I get download speeds in the 150 to 330 range. Yet some people with 4 or 5 bars can’t get even a speed of 5Mbps.

One of the characteristics of the 5G signal is that the speed can fluctuate wildly. I can do a speed test one minute that is 320 download, and the next minute that is 150 download, and I can tell from the GUI I’m on the same band combination. The gateway will sometimes dynamically switch you to a different band combination, but for me at least, I keep on a certain band combination for many hours usually. You can restart the gateway to get on a different combination.

Worst case scenario for you is that you are connected to 5G on the gateway, and that in your location, you are one of the rare people who has better 4G speeds than 5G. As far as thinking Tmobile throttles the gateway speeds, giving preference for phones during high traffic periods, that is unlikely because 5G speeds for most people are characteristically AT LEAST 2x the speed of 4G.

Nater Tater (channel on YouTube) has many helpful videos concerning issues with Tmobile  home internet, regarding gateway placement and orientation, using the GUI, finding tower location.

For me, the gateway works best in a window, raised about a foot from the sill, facing my nearest tower, which is 5 miles away. You have to be careful about putting the gateway in a place it might overheat though, like a South facing window, as that can hurt performance.  

Userlevel 5
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I have something to add to my previous post. It’s some information I saw on a video which might be helpful for you if it turns out that you just have a terrible 5G speed via the gateway at your house and would be better off on a gateway that could favor your faster 4G LTE connection, same speed as you get on your phone.

That is, Tmobile came out with a new firmware/software update (It’s called software in the GUI), from the old 1.2003.03.0178 to 1.2101.00.1609 and one of the features of the update is that for people who get a very slow 5G speed, it will direct their 5G gateway to use the 4G-only signal. It is an automatic update, and began rolling out in August. However, at least one customer who got the update, in a comment I read, it ruined his great 5G speed of 500+ by forcing him onto the 4G-alone band and a much slower speed. So they’ve delayed it, evidently, and are trying to fix that issue.

Userlevel 5
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5G has different flavors... low, mid, and high band.  Higher frequencies can offer more bandwidth, but have shorter range.

This is why a LOT of TMO 5g has been low band since it's introduction.  It runs close to, if not actually crossing into the edge of, the range that cable networks run.  Some 4G has also run close to this frequency range as well in the past.  So much so that both have been shown to cause interference with cable systems when their is missing/compromised shielding of the cable equipment/cables.

Keep in mind that these cable systems cap out at roughly 38.88 mbps per channel under the DOCSYS 3 spec.  While cell can easily offer double the channel width at these frequencies, it is NOT going to lock in super high speed even with the highest quality metrics, as it is heavily restricted by that lower base frequency of the channel.

So the lower band 5g can often be roughly the same or even worse than the 4g bandwidth, depending on various factors in play.

If you are lucky to latch the higher mid band frequency, shorter range 5g on your phone though, it will be substantially higher throughput... because it is likely running at least 2x the frequency, possibly even 2x the channel width of the 4g or low band 5g the modem may be grabbing. (n41 verses n71 can be worlds apart).

Keep in mind also that they prioritize cell phone traffic over home internet, so when utilization reaches a certain point, home users will be more negatively impacted.

Userlevel 3
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Keep in mind also that they prioritize cell phone traffic over home internet, so when utilization reaches a certain point, home users will be more negatively impacted.

°This.

No help here, but I experience the opposite, get double the speed via wifi thru the portal than I do when on cellular data.

I have a 4g phone, not 5, so not sure if that matters.

I’m experiencing the same thing. On an iphone 12 mini I’m getting 106 MBPS down and .07 up. When connected to the gateway I get 55.3 MBPS down and 24.8 up. That’s in the most ideal times of the day. Usually my down on the gateway is below 6MBPS.

 

Userlevel 7
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The comparison is more like apples and oranges. Phone brands/models can have differences to the wireless modules and drivers depending upon OS and release level. The gateway radio for the 4G LTE and 5G NR may latch onto different bands/frequencies than the phone and as noted phones tend to get priority over the fixed wireless gateways. Traffic volume can change and impact testing. The routing of the traffic to target test servers can change due to traffic handling. There are just many variables that have to be considered. It is hard to really verify results. Multiple tests for each would be necessary to get an average for comparison would maybe provide a more realistic reflection for comparison. 

When I do run testing here with my gateway I commonly use a wired vs a wireless client off the gateway and I use the same reference server as a target. I can do the same test with my iPhone but still each will use the connections they have available to reach the same server and there is no control over how the traffic is routed so I tend to run multiple tests and look at the average. Still I know it is not an apples for apples comparison but I still find it useful and interesting. 

If the T-Mobile 5G solution provides the capabilities required and does it with a high degree of reliability that is really important to me. I know it will not be perfect, it never has been, but for the price per month and the terms T-Mobile has put forth for the service it is a really good deal here. It will never be the perfect solution in ALL places. Some locations are just not going to be serviced well due to multiple factors so results do vary quite a bit for some users. Hopefully it continues to improve and continue to be a really good experience for the majority of users. Enjoy the holiday and have a great New Year!

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