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Hive mind question for techy people

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 girlymonkey 16 Nov 2020

We are not very impressed with our internet and are looking into other options. We have no need for a physical phone line and are now finding unlimted data sims for less than we are paying for broadband.

How much of the speed depends on the mobile network and how much from the Mifi router?

Any recommendations on routers?

Anyone use this system and love it or hate it?

We don't do gaming etc but do sometimes watch programmes on catch up.

 mp3ferret 16 Nov 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

The device on your end will make a huge difference.  

something like this might help : 




They are both high gain directional devices.

In reply to girlymonkey:

I think with many "unlimited" plans there is essentially a limit on usage. After x amount of data used you may find that you get throttled quite heavily, and although you may still be able to use it, it'll be pretty crap.

I also live in Stirling and was having terrible issues for months until I moved to another part of town last month. It seemed like it was down to Openreach having issues with the network, at least that's what Sky told me. 

Post edited at 21:41
 elliot.baker 16 Nov 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

I asked this question a few weeks ago


I think the decider for me was was reading that continuous use of a mobile phone for a hotspot might reduce the lifetime of the battery, and I'm going to get a new iPhone probably so didn't want to risk that. Obviously not an issue if you're going to get an actual hot spot router thing separate to your phone. 

Post edited at 21:39
 girlymonkey 16 Nov 2020
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

So it wouldn't charge us for going over a certain amount, but it would slow us down at a certain point?

We are on the fancy new fibre stuff, and it's useless!! We don't know if it's the line from the fibre to our house that's rubbish or the router etc. However, we just don't need a line if mobile is sufficient and the deals I am finding are cheaper.

In reply to girlymonkey:

Not the cheapest option, but can you get vodafone gigafast down there? Ours has proved very good for speed, and you don't need a landline (we don't have one). The wifi router it comes with seems ok, we can get reception in the garden, driveway and attic no problem - although there are a couple of very localised weak spots upstairs where the old exterior wall blocks much of the signal.

If you don't need a landline it can be a good value for money option, in that the speed is really good and the cost only middling. But if you just want cheap but passable, it's probably not the best option.

In reply to girlymonkey:

Ah right.

Yes, that is correct. They sell it as unlimited, but read the contract for any mention of a "fair usage policy". That basically allows them to take you from streaming HD video back down to flip book animation that you'll have to wait 10 minutes on buffering.

 girlymonkey 16 Nov 2020
In reply to skog:

We are on the fancy fibre and unimpressed! Maybe it's a rubbish router or maybe our connection from the house to the street is rubbish? I often end up turning off the wifi on my phone and using mobile broadband as it's better! However it's not unlimited and my husband needs to use it too!

 jkarran 16 Nov 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> We are on the fancy new fibre stuff, and it's useless!! We don't know if it's the line from the fibre to our house that's rubbish or the router etc. However, we just don't need a line if mobile is sufficient and the deals I am finding are cheaper.

My partner got upsold to an expensive fibre deal when we called for the umpteenth time to report a line fault and crap internet. The fibre stops halfway up the road, the rotten decades old phone lines that crackle in the weather are the problem so obviously the premium product was still crap. I was fuming given it wasn't the first time they'd had to fix cable faults, they just scammed her while she was stressed about having remote access to her uni work. Eventually I got that scam cancelled and a tech came out to find the best remaining pair between us and the roadside box. Worth persevering and having a chat to the guy or girl who goes up the pole, you'll probably get a straight answer from them.

If your WIFI router is set up right it should, at least when you're in the room with it be significantly faster than your internet (I assume it's not fibre right into the house/flat). I haven't looked in years to see what manual settings if any are still available in bundled router/modem units to screw up a link, I suspect almost none. There could be interference but I'd be surprised.

It's probably not your WIFI but you could test that a few different ways. Simplest is probably run an internet speed test over WIFI then repeat with you laptop plugged into an Ethernet port (WIFI off to be sure it configures and uses the ethernet link). It shouldn't be any different though you might need to take the averages of a few readings each way to be sure if your internet is as bad as mine was.

No idea what the mobile hotspot deals are like, I suspect it's very much buyer beware and worth doing your research into the particular deal you're considering. My 4G phone isn't up to much beyond low-medium res youtube most of the time, fine for web browsing and killing time in a queue but I'd find that pretty frustrating as my main source of home entertainment.


Post edited at 23:49
In reply to jkarran:

If it's voda gigafast, it's fibre to the premises, there are no crappy phone lines and you don't need to get a phone (and if you do it's voip over the fibre, not a line).

So if gm has that, the problem is probably something affecting her area, or her router; it can't be the copper as there isn't any.

Assuming that's the 'fancy fibre', anyway. Voda megafast is just FTTC, if it's that it could be the line from the cabinet to the house (and she'll be paying for that line too).

Post edited at 00:12
 girlymonkey 17 Nov 2020
In reply to skog:

We are cheapskates and went with Shell energy who used the Vodafone infrastructure when it went in. I presume Vodafone then add a line to your house if you sign up with them, which Shell didn't. We were assured that it would be fine because it's only a short hop from the pavement to the house so that bit of line wouldn't slow us down much.

I just ran a speed test on wifi and one on my phone internet and the phone one is about a third faster. I guess that answers my question! Lol

In reply to girlymonkey:

Ah, yeah, that phone cable from the cabinet to your house does make quite a difference. Especially if there's a fault on it!

For the full fibre (only available through Voda here at first, not sure whether others are allowed in yet), they run it down your street and put a junction outside each house; if you order it they come out and run an optical cable from there to your house. You'd also get a new wifi router.

Just checked, the cheapest here is £28/month (with first 3 months free), so not cheap - but you can cancel your phone line, it isn't needed for it.

Maybe not what you're looking for, just thought I'd point it out.

 girlymonkey 17 Nov 2020
In reply to skog:

Yeah, I'm not sure I would have wanted them to put fibre right into the house anyway as cable access points are also ratty access points!! Wouldn't risk that again!!

Sometimes the internet is fine, I'm using it on the laptop just now with no problems, and other times it's either really slow or non-exsitent. Probably is our line to the house being dodgy or something...or ratty having a chew!! (only half joking!)

In reply to girlymonkey:

In a number of places there are localised internet providers with their own masts and repeaters. A friend near Kendal went from a slow and unreliable connection to fibre like quality, I think it was these guys: http://www.kencomp.net/ 

Obviously only available in some areas but I can see this kind of thing becoming more common.

 StuPoo2 17 Nov 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

When you say "fancy fiber" ... what exactly do you mean?

I have fiber to the premises (FTTP) and I get 330Mb down and 70Mb up.  I can't fault it.

Could you share the results of a speed test with us?  https://www.speedtest.net/


  1. What does your provider say you should be getting if you go onto their website and punch in your post code.
  2. Laptop/Desktop hard wired into the back of your router (i.e. no wifi in the equation)
  3. Wifi test 1m from the router in direct line of site.
  4. Wifi test in the adjacent room.  
 Mike-W-99 17 Nov 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

You can also get some good technical details here on what line speeds the network thinks you can get and what you are actually getting. The observed speeds entry is what it claims you are getting.

https://www.broadbandchecker.btwholesale.com/#/ADSL Just enter you landline number and fill in the captcha.

 StuPoo2 17 Nov 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> cable access points are also ratty access points!! Wouldn't risk that again!!

They need ~8mm drill hole to get the fiber cable into the house.  Can be fed in via an existing vent.

0% risk of vermin.  

 girlymonkey 17 Nov 2020
In reply to StuPoo2:

Nothing is 0% risk of vermin in our house!! A small opening gives them an edge to start working at. This is a long standing problem in our house and a few others in the street. We have dug up so many bits around the house over our time here to find entrances which they have created. 

Nope, no more holes please!

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