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Manual download testing


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Is it possible to perform a single download file transfer test using a small file (eg 1MB) as I would like to test the speed across a 4G mobile link using a TP-Link router ?


I have tried the manual test option but the file size automatically ramps-up - I would ideally like to perform this test without using too much of the data allowance on the SIM card.


Thanks in advance.

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The manual file sizes have a restriction.  Below 12MB, if you download the information too quickly, TMN will send you to larger size.


Judging from the speed of your connection 1 MB should be sufficient... but you may be getting bursts that cause the program to want to throw you a larger size.  See this result...



I'm surprised that one didn't forward, you must have been right on the edge.


If you were to run 2.5 or 3MB tests I think you'd avoid any forwarding, I think that should stretch it out enough without going overboard.  Manually select 3 MB from the download test or use this URL http://uk.testmy.net/dl-3MB&nfw=1 (the "&nfw=1" is the key to tell it not to forward... but it still may if the size is 12 MB or lower.)


Is 3 MB still more than you care to test with?  Let me know how that works.


Happy Testing!  ... and Happy New Year!

- Damon

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Happy New Year to you too !


Thanks for your reply.


I tested both my standard and mobile broadband connections using the 3MB test URL you provided.


The tests confirmed that the 4G connection is much faster than the standard broadband connection - we are in a rural location where the standard broadband links are not good !


Time to purchase some pre-loaded SIM cards !!


Thanks again for your help with this.





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I suggest getting a SIM for each of the prepay providers and run some speed tests during peak time, i.e. 8pm to 10pm.


4G can be surprisingly quick, particularly on cell towers with low contention and those operating on larger bandwidths such as 20MHz.  My fastest speed test with TestMy on 4G was 102Mbps. On the other hand, if there are a lot of users in the area on the one provider, then the speed can severely plummet, particularly if if many are streaming at the same time.


For example, I am currently using the Three 4G network to supplement my DSL connection.  The speed test on the left is at the moment (off-peak) and the right speed test was yesterday evening near midnight (peak):


K4YCTqxkV.png b91VMQuj4.png


For comparison, my DSL connection usually hits 3.9Mbps regardless of the time of day. 

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By means of an update, I am now obtaining approx. 30Mbps download using 4G from EE.


I have a further question ....


The TP-LINK MR200 router I am using is reporting a 50% signal strength - if I use an antenna to try to increase the signal strength, is it likely I would I obtain a further increase in download speeds and, if so, by approx. how much ?


Thanks in advance.



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The first thing I suggest is try the router in a few locations about the house to find where it gets the best signal reading.  If your windows or glass are fairly new, the glass is likely Low-E coated, which radio signals cannot pass through.  So it's worth checking other locations if you only tried on window sills.  


4G (LTE) operates using a combination of vertical and horizontal polarisation (known as MIMO) and in turn requires two antennas to pick up both polarisations, i.e. one antenna aimed vertically and the second antenna aimed horizontally.


What you can try next is aim one TP-Link antenna straight up and the other one sideways and try a download speed test.  Then turn the router by 30 degrees and run another test and once more another 30 degrees.  Although the signal strength figure may not change turning the router, running speed tests at a few angles will help find out which way the horizontal antenna needs to face as it is directional, similar to when an FM radio antenna is positioned horizontally.


An external antenna needs to be placed in the loft or outside to provide much of a benefit, so I would suggest seeing what you can first get with its own antennas.  Unless you plan going for a plan with a large download allowance (50GB+), I wouldn't worry too much about the speed.  With 30Mbps, you can download 1GB in just under 5 minutes. If you manage to get 60Mbps, you can wipe out a 50GB allowance in just under 2 hours of non-stop downloading. 


The maximum speed you can get while the network is idle (off-peak) will depend on the bandwidth the mast is operating at.  Based on your DSL speed, I assume you are in a fairly rural location, so you are likely picking up the 800MHz band, which usually operates on 10MHz bandwidth.  Based on my experience with the Irish networks, this band peaks just over 50Mbps.  From what I heard, the higher bands (1800MHz+) can peak about 140Mbps when operated on LTE Category 4 with 20MHz of bandwidth.  


Higher LTE categories (e.g. Cat 6) use band aggregation and requires a suitable router to take advantage of the bandwidth (e.g. Huawei E5186), but this is mainly only used in built-up high population areas due to the short range the higher frequency signals reach. 

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Hi Sean


Thanks for your detailed response.


As suggested, I tried moving one of the antennas to horizontal, turned the router 30 degrees a few times and I did obtain a 75% signal strength. I performed another download test and the speed was about the same as with the 50% strength.


Given these test results coupled with I am now getting 30Mbps on 4G vs 0.6Mbps on DSL, I am very happy with the increased performance and won't be trying an external antenna.


Thanks again for all your help with this.

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