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glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Answered

By 'dropouts' I mean web pages will no longer render despite being connected with good signal strength.

 

I have been using this device now for several months and have been recently been experiencing frequent  dropouts while connected to the net - once every 20-30 mins after midnight, every 15-20 mins during the day, every 2-10 mins at night.

 

The device is an LTE USB modem, model MF821, made in China by ZTE Corp.

Software is Telstra's Mobile Broadband Manager - version 3.10.20131 (Inteweave Pty Ltd).

 

My computer is an Apple iMac 7,1 with 6GB RAM running OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) on a 512GB SSD drive.

 

3 months ago, I upgraded from 2GB RAM, OSX 10.5.x (Leopard) and a 500GB HDD. I must admit that dropouts were less frequent with this older setup - maybe once every few hours.  Typical signal strength in my area was 4-5 bars Telstra NextG - I could live with that.

 

Recently, however, I have been experiencing increased signal strength in my area - up to 2 bars of 4G.

This resulted in even faster speeds but faster dropouts - both blessing and curse combined.

 

I have to close Telstra Broadband Manager - not 'force quit' as this results in a hangup which requires a full re-boot - unplug the dongle, wait about one minute, then reverse the proceedure.

 

Can anyone help?  This is driving me nuts!  Cheers.

 
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe
Accepted Solution

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

THE FINAL SOLUTION

 

Okay,  I just thought I'd do something different and as as test,  I removed the 4G sim card from the dongle, cut it down and inserted it into my iPad 4.

 

I then turned the iPad into a personal WiFi hotspot and logged in with my iMac.

 

Well, I'm now getting LTE speeds of up to 15 Mb/s with NO DROPOUTS in my house.  I cannot wait to see what speeds I get on the LTE network in the CBD with my iPad.

 

Needless to say, that POS Chinese dongle is now in the trash.

 

THIS.......is the solution I was hoping for all along.

 

I hope this will be of use to any out there who have had similar issues - the answer was staring me in the face all along.

 

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

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17 REPLIES 17
Level 23: Superhero

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

I assume you've tried disabling LTE and see if the 3G supports a stable Internet ( all be it a little slower ) ?

Cheers,
Dave

glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Hi Dave,

 

Ummmm...no.  How does one disable LTE?

Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Hi Glendonb,

For assistance with this one it would be a good idea to speak to our Tech Support team on 133 933. If you would like to first try Caaf's suggestion though you can visit the manufacturuers website here: http://www.zte.com.au to download the user manual for your device.

Thanks,

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glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Thank you, both.

 

I will try Dave's suggestion first, then proceed with tech support if needed.

 

I have to report that since posting this up, the problem has mysteriously abated to tolerable levels - interesting....

glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

OK.  After midday today it all went to hell in a handbasket with dropouts evry 5-10 mins.

 

Modem has been getting rather warm, too.

 

I downloaded and installed the 64 bit driver update for the software but it seems to have made no difference.

 

Browsed the ZTE site and no instructions on how to disable LTE.

 

Oh well...next stop, tech support.

glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Tech support in Malasia/Philippines unable to help.

 

In case anyone else out there is having similar problems, FYI, This is a Telstra PRE-PAID modem with twin sockets for outboard antenna which I intend to purchase for it.  May or may not help alleviate the problem.  We shall see.

 

Meanwhile, waiting for level 3 tech support....

 

glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Okay.  Well, Level Three tech advised me that technicians have been working on my local tower lately and therefore disruption to services could occur.

 

Apparently, I am situated adjacent to a 'black spot' which could also further impact the 3G/4G service.

 

L3 tech suggested obtaining a Smart Antenna.  Looking further into this I'm a bit baffled as to how that particular device would help me in this instance.

 

I purchased a single antenna from Flea Bay for $25. Result = two bars og 4G signal which is still unstable. Equivocating about purchasing a second.

 

Watch this space....

Level 23: Superhero

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

I don't suppose the Mac has a terminal window where you could enter AT commands to the USB modem?

AT+ZSNT=0,0,0 – Automatic mode (will select between LTE (4G), UMTS (3G) and GSM (2G)
AT+ZSNT=1,0,0 – Force 2G mode only ** could try this but speeds would be slower than the growing weeds in your garden.
AT+ZSNT=2,0,0 – Force 3G mode only **id be using this one**
AT+ZSNT=6,0,0 – Force 4G mode only


Cheers,
Dave

glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Hi Dave, 

 

Yes, Mac does have a terminal window built in. 

 

However, typing in any of these AT commands results in the message "Command not found".

 

Not sure what's happening with that - maybe different commands needed for Mac?

 

Glen.

Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Hi,

When you spoke to the L3 technician did they advise when the work on the Local tower would be complete? As mentioned earlier were you able to force your device to 3g? We can assist with this.

 

I'm going to send you a private message with a form to complete if you wish to have this followed up further. 

 

-Matt W

Need help? Check out our Community Wiki or Support Portal || Looking for a new mobile? Order online today || Get help with any Tech at Home with Telstra Platinum || Don't forget to tag answers as Accepted Solutions and give a Like to the member(s) who helped you out.

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glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Hi Matt, 

 

L3 tech did not know when works to local tower would be complete.

 

I do not know how to force the device into 3G-only mode, other than the already-supplied AT commands, which would not work for some reason which escapes me - perhaps I need to change to a specific terminal directory for the cmds to work?

 

I'm still having issues, so if you could assist me any, I would be most grateful.

 

Cheers, 

 

Glen.

glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Righty ho...received the following email from Telstra tech thisarvo:

 

"Hi Glen,

Thanks for your time on the phone earlier. As I mentioned, you should be able to restrict your device to 3G via the connection manager in one of two ways.

The first is to click on the options button in the connection manager tool bar (the two gears). Under connection, choose the option to manually select a network and then click search. It should come up with two networks, a Next G or 3G and a 4G one. Select the 3G one and it should now only connect to 3G.

The other method is to hold shift while clicking on the same options button in the connection manager. This should give you a fifth menu button in the options screen called Diagnosis. In that section there is a button called Modem Terminal, which should allow you to send AT commands directly to the modem. I have not tried using this before so I can't guarantee that it will work, but the option is there if you want to experiment.
Let me know if you need any further info, or if these options don't appear in your version of the connection manager.

Best Regards,

Christian
Social Media Team - Telstra Digital Sales and Service 
www.telstra.com"
 
Option number one worked and I'm now running only on the Next G network - kicking myself for not digging around in the Connection Manager myself.
 
Anyway, connection now appears more stable - have been online now for over an hour during peak time with no dropouts.
Average download speed is around 9.6 Mb/s, which, while not blazingly fast, is adequate for browsing.
 
Shame about 4G instability in my area; with 2 bars of 4G I was getting just over 12 Mb/s.
 
There you have it.  Hope this is of assistance to anyone else out there who may be experiencing similar issues.
 
Cheers, Telstra.
glendonb
Level 3: Gumshoe
Accepted Solution

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

THE FINAL SOLUTION

 

Okay,  I just thought I'd do something different and as as test,  I removed the 4G sim card from the dongle, cut it down and inserted it into my iPad 4.

 

I then turned the iPad into a personal WiFi hotspot and logged in with my iMac.

 

Well, I'm now getting LTE speeds of up to 15 Mb/s with NO DROPOUTS in my house.  I cannot wait to see what speeds I get on the LTE network in the CBD with my iPad.

 

Needless to say, that POS Chinese dongle is now in the trash.

 

THIS.......is the solution I was hoping for all along.

 

I hope this will be of use to any out there who have had similar issues - the answer was staring me in the face all along.

 

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

jillybubs
Level 1: Cadet

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Hi Christian,

 

what can I do if the manual select option is greyed out? I just want to stop the 4g.  Help would be very much appreciated.

 

thanks

Jill

Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

Hi Jill,

 

Please open the connection manager then go to Tools > Options. Under the connection tab you'll see network selection - here is where you change it to manual. Please make sure the device is disconnected at the time. 

 

If you get stuck, let me know Smiley Happy

 

-Matt W

Need help? Check out our Community Wiki or Support Portal || Looking for a new mobile? Order online today || Get help with any Tech at Home with Telstra Platinum || Don't forget to tag answers as Accepted Solutions and give a Like to the member(s) who helped you out.

All moderation actions are supported by the CrowdSupport Community Guidelines

wdtvandsound
Level 11: Detective

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

""Option number one worked and I'm now running only on the Next G network - kicking myself for not digging around in the Connection Manager myself.
 
Anyway, connection now appears more stable - have been online now for over an hour during peak time with no dropouts.
Average download speed is around 9.6 Mb/s, which, while not blazingly fast, is adequate for browsing.
 
Shame about 4G instability in my area; with 2 bars of 4G I was getting just over 12 Mb/s.""
 
The latest Telstra 3G/4G Yagi Antenna with the Telstra guarantee will connect in to the top of the antenna port 1 with a patch lead on your device then use its Wi-Fi about the house. 
 
Other wise a TMSA (Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna) 3G only, will boost signal from the Yagi Antenna giving you 5bars of 3G signal around your house up to 20 Mb/s, with an an improvement of up to 30m. One customer had signal out to the end of his drive way in to the street.
 
Phone Telstra on 1800305307 for TMSA Opt:4 or Opt:3 for the Yagi and talk to an Australian!!
I'm not a Telstra employee.
I'm a Wireless 3G/4G LTE/4GX Antenna Sub-contractor and these are my opinions and not of Telstra.
wdtvandsound
Level 11: Detective

Re: Overcoming frequent dropouts with Telstra 4G dongle

The latest.....

There is now a 4G Yagi kit available that is best installed by a Telstra Tech (such as me, if your in my area) and this is the best way to get a solid Telstra certified warranty by calling the 1800305307 Opt3.

The install will come with the 2 Yagi antennas and RG8 cables, one for download and the other for upload with the 2 cables will come with patch leads connecting directly into the 2 ports in your 4G LTE Wireless Modem or the cradle.

 

The last 4G install I did gave 48.5Mbps and 16Mbps on the upload on a 4G Advance in the $99 cradle with an Ethernet port to their router.

 

There is hopfully a 3G/4G Smart Antenna coming......don't hold your breath......

 

I'm not directly employed by Telstra

Opinions are only by me

I'm not a Telstra employee.
I'm a Wireless 3G/4G LTE/4GX Antenna Sub-contractor and these are my opinions and not of Telstra.

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