Question

Semi-Complicated Network

  • 11 February 2022
  • 29 replies
  • 712 views

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We have an Asus RT-AC5300 router. We also have a small 5-port ethernet switch attached to the router for all the wired connections in the house. We just got the T-mobile Home Internet gateway. I have the AC5300 connected to the top ethernet port on the T-Mobile gateway. The speed is usually quite fast, but sometimes things will choke. For example YouTube, Facebook and IG will sometimes take a while to load. This is regardless of a wired or wireless connection. Whats even worse is my wife’s work uses a VPN and after about 45 minutes, her connection slows down to the point of being unusable. Her PC is connected via ethernet (via the switch). I connected the switch directly to the bottom ethernet port on the gateway and she could not connect at all. Rather than go down a network IT wormhole, is there anyway to make this setup more stable? If not, I have a feeling I’m going to have to cancel the service until they can figure out how to make their gateway JUST a modem. Based on what I have read, its the “router” in their gateway that causes all these problems.


29 replies

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Ok we can’t stream TV and play games at the same time. It’s painful! My PS5 can’t get above 6Mb upload. It’s on Ethernet too. Apple TV streams via Ethernet as well. I dunno about this…

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I just played COD on my PS5 and it seems normal. Not showing any data loss now on speed tests. I imagine our tower is pretty congested too due to the Super Bowl. Fingers crossed just disabling the WiFi on the gateway did the trick. I’m also hoping the wife’s VPN works better plugged directly into the gateway. If not, that could be a deal breaker.

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I was able to get into my Asus router with the iPhone app and switch it back to “router” mode. I was able to get on the internet in AP mode, but the speeds were all over the place and I couldn’t access the router via the web UI. I have my wife’s PC connected directly to the ethernet port on the T-mobile gateway and we’ll see how her VPN likes that when she tries to work tomorrow.

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I think putting my Asus router in AP mode was a huge mistake. I cant access the admin any more.

Userlevel 7
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So, when you are stating packet loss I am assuming when running speed tests. If you are not familiar with networking tools such as Wireshark and reading packet captures trying to identify the character of the packet loss can be pretty daunting. I gave it some more thought and found a site that might help you zone in on it a bit more. https://www.dnsstuff.com/reduce-packet-loss When dealing with wireless networks and cellular connections that can be a difficult task. If the statistics on the local wireless channels look good and wired ethernet connections don’t indicate a local issue then it is probably outside your control. Looking at the data on the cellular connections and understanding how that works takes a bit of time to ramp up on. Building a profile of the traffic during low volume times such as late at night vs. daytime or evening hours could help some. Getting the T-Mobile router in the best orientation to the source of the signal becomes a very important factor for good performance. I know my router is 5.3 miles from the tower and picks up 5G on the n71 channel so speed expectations are pretty well established for the conditions. If you link to a higher frequency 5G band then you might expect really good speeds. In a metro area there will be much more “noise” to deal with due to external factors. 

Userlevel 7
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Do keep in mind that packet loss is hard to identify where that takes place especially when going out to an internet target. There are multiple hops and factors so it might not be a local issue. Compare wired vs. wireless when you are testing. Clients farther away from the WIFI signal source will have reduced speed. It takes considerable time to really dial things in. Have fun.

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I have watched this guy before. He does make some good points. I had forgotten about the enable SSID switch. It makes sense if you do not have the SSID enabled then it should turn the radio off. Another source of information is on Redit as there are guys there that are having multiple conversations about the T-Mobile router. He is right taking the shell off to make external antenna connections is pretty easy. The MIMO 4x4 log periodic antenna can make a big difference in improving signal quality by reduction of noise and a stronger signal. You stated you had packet loss. Look at the signal strength RSRP and the signal to noise ratio SNR and try to improve the SNR as best you can. The waveform.com site has information about some external antennas but they are not cheap. The guys at waveform are very helpful and great about answering questions. I know I could improve my signal with the external antenna and have more flexibility to better locate my router in the house for WIFI signal spread but the ~$400 price tag for the antenna is more than I really wanted to shell out given other expenses from moving across country. 

https://www.waveform.com/a/b/guides/hotspots/t-mobile-5g-gateway

When placing the router it takes a little time to dial it into the best location. If there are multiple towers about there can be noise so using your house as a shield to get the signal you need and avoid excess unwanted noise. I found the window with direct north exposure to the tower was not the best one. I found a better signal with improved SNR in a NE window adjacent to the north facing one. If you can see the tower and know it is the one your signal comes from that is helpful. T-Mobile support should be able to provide tower coordinates if you ask. There are web sites you can look up where the T-Mobile towers are also. www.cellmapper.net is one site where you can get information on 4G LTE and 5G NR tower locations. It may not have the most accurate information on a given tower if it is not updated. A conversation with a T-Mobile support engineer should provide the actual location of the tower associated with the PCI signals your router receives. 

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This guy has some good tips including HOW to turn off the wifi:

 

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If I have time this afternoon I’m gonna try a few things. First and foremost, putting my router in AP mode. If that works, I’ll try rotating the trash can to see if it helps. One thing I forgot to mention, when it was working, every time I did a speed test, the speed and ping was fine, but there was always quite a bit of packet loss. Anywhere from 5% to 40%.

Userlevel 7
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Well, I can understand that frustration. At first when the monkey crew was still getting the tower equipment fine tuned it was a bit of a challenge. If you can't get into it to make changes you can reset it to factory default and use the credentials on the bottom to login as admin. Setting up the SSID and WPA key for each channel in the web-gui is not too bad. You should have the 2.4GHz channel and the two 5GHz channels set. I used the same on all three. If you have any 802.11n clients that will need both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz channel the same to function due to how the 802.11n standard works. Newer clients with 802.11ac may not have that issue. Standards for wireless are rather confusing. Loads of fun for tech heads but not for the average Joe.

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Now I got what you are saying. When you do the automated setup it may just have you in as admin in effect. If you want to make changes after that sure you need to get the password off the bottom of the can for admin.

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When I set it up, it only asked me for a password and I did create one. I did try “admin” as the username and it was rejected. Maybe my password never actually saved and its still the default. Needless to say, my first impressions of this thing are a bit tainted now lol

Userlevel 7
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So if it is off just turn it upside down and use “admin” and the MAC address “password” to use the administrative credentials to configure it. If you changed the password then the login user is still admin and the password should be whatever you changed it to if you changed it.

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Since I have never logged into to T-mobile or the gateway from this browser before, I dont think thats the problem. I even left the username blank once and still no go. I’ll try it again. I have the trash can turned off at the moment. :-)

Userlevel 7
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Sorry to be more specific. The router will have admin as the user but your browser will hold the saved incorrect information the web-gui sent to it. So if you were to back out of the 2.4Ghz config it may have no username and have the WPA Key as the password. If you backed saved changed information in the 5GHz config level then it would have the value of Max number of users, 128 as the user and the password would be the value of the WPA Key. Not like you would ever do this but that is what it does to you if you have auto save and auto fill for you authentication. Pick a browser you don’t use as often and turn these off just so you can use it to manage the router. Then you just have to remember your login and do it manual each time. Not a big deal just only when it trips you up and you can't get in.

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Ah! maybe you ran into the issue I just recently posted to T-Mobile with the 1.2103.00.0338 code. If you are using your browser and save the login information well that will mess with your authentication the next time you go in. Now my guess is your username might be nothing or 128 and the password is probably your WPA Key. This is a bug I ran into last weekend. If you save your authentication info to the browser then look at your saved password information for the 192.168.12.1 interface. If you do you will be able to use that to get back into the router OR you may have to do what I did which was set it to factory default and reconfigure. Don’t save the admin login to your browser. When you login to the interface and make a config change as admin each time you save and exit a given config level the browser will pop a window asking you to save your authentication information. If you don’t pay attention it saves not what you put in but other information from the web-gui. It is a rather frustrating bug. Just don’t save the authentication to the browser and you will not run into the bug.

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I worked for HPE for 22 years in support and ran a global support lab as the IT manager and solutions engineer working with millions of dollars of equipment so this is child’s play for the most part for me. I just enjoy being able to help people and staying active on the forum is an outlet for me that is a part time replacement for what I did. It is much more relaxing than 50-60 hours a week as a 3rd level network escalation engineer. Different tech but same basic technologies. Give the T-Mobile solution a good try while you have it. The fact that there is no contract is hard to ignore. My only option here is from a satellite of one or the other. Starlink might be ok but still not perfect and twice the money per month plus the upfront stand up is a pretty steep investment.

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I hear what you are saying. I have roughly 16-20 different devices that connect to our LAN. I run Windows, Apple, and Linux clients in addition to Xbox, Nintendo, and Playstation. We stream and I have done some remote sessions with various team sessions. I get 10X the bandwidth with the T-Mobile solution over what I had when I was in high tech in California on a dual bonded DSL connection. It still does all we need pretty much all the time. If there isn’t some monkey on the tower dinking with the equipment then it is pretty solid here.

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By the way, even if this doesn’t work out for us, I do appreciate your knowledge on all of this. It’s been way more helpful than scouring all these forums.

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Look at the bottom of the router for the default admin password. It is the MAC address of the router.

The password wasn’t the issue. It asked for a username, which was never asked for during setup. Seems very strange.

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By the way, I could swear I read somewhere that you CAN turn off the wifi options on the gateway using the web UI. As for location, in its current location, at best it gets about 500Mb down and 35Mb up. Unfortunately our house is old and our entire network is in a closet. So having the gateway in a different part of the house would be a pain in the butt to re-wire. Right now my goal is stability!

I’m almost tempted to not use our router and try to use just the Nokia gateway and the switch… however I know for a fact that the Nokia has a way weaker signal than the Asus. For example, when I first setup the gateway, I played with it using the wifi and my iPhone. I usually get full wifi bars and fast speeds in the back yard with the Asus. With the Nokia, I got one bar and a 2Mb download. LOL

Userlevel 7
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Look at the bottom of the router for the default admin password. It is the MAC address of the router.

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I made a crude diagram of the layout of the Nokia router. It will help understand the layout of the antennas and help you get the orientation so it gets a better signal strength on the 5G signal. See the attached PDF. 

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Yeah, I wasn’t able to access the web UI for the Nokia gateway because it asked for a username and I never had one when I set it up. When I setup the gateway, it only asked me to create a password. This is why I hate networking, too many layers of annoyances such as that. To be honest, I’m not 100% sold that this will work out for our purposes since we both work from home, stream TV content and I play online games. We also have security cameras, smart home devises and a NAS. With a cable modem, the AC5300 and a 5-port (unmanaged) switch, everything is pretty much flawless. To be fair, I was already prepared for this nightmare before I pulled the trigger. I had already read about how this Nokia gateway is so dumbed down that its a nightmare for power users. I’ll try a few things, but I’m fully prepared to pack it back in the box and return it to T-Mobile. TBH its not even the speed or the low cost that is the most appealing. It was the fact that there is no data cap unlike our stupid Cox cable!

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