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Thread: 4G router issues/questions - Using D-Link DWR-961 for home internet

  1. #1
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    4G router issues/questions - Using D-Link DWR-961 for home internet

    Hi All -

    I'm attempting to use a t-mobile tablet data add-on plan to run my home internet. I typically only use about 20-30GB a month in data, and I also want something that is portable that I can bring with me to the lake where I get surprisingly good T-mobile connection versus other carriers.

    I bought a US Cellular D-Link DWR-961 4G router/modem on the advice from someone that it would have band 12 support and T-mobile would just recognize it as normal tablet data usage. I've been using it for a few months and it has worked okay, but I seem to have speed issues. I'm hoping someone can offer some advice. This is what I have seen:

    • Since I have been working from home, the speeds sometimes seems fine for normal usage, but other times are unbearably slow just to surf webpages. Downloading files always seems slow
    • Running a speed test at speedtest.net sometimes shows DL speeds of 60Mbps+, and other times <0.5Mbps. It seems to depend on the server I pick
    • Running the google speed test usually shows speeds of <0.5Mbps DL
    • This would all make it seem like the data is being throttled, however, I am able to stream Amazon Prime and Netflix and for the most part it is HD quality. It usually takes a min or so to buffer up to full quality, and lately I have had some issues with the quality dropping out randomly in the middle of a show, but other than that it is fine.
    • Additionally, T-mobile seems to indicate some of the usage as hotspot data when I look up my usage stats, but not all of it.


    Does anyone have any thoughts on why it is working for me for streaming and not general web-surfing? Are there any settings on the router that I may be able to change? Or does anyone have a recommendation on a different router to try? I saw a thread that talked about some routers, but it was a couple years old and the equipment there is hard to find and possibly obsolete. I can't post the link but the topic was Looking for 4G LTE router (using TMO SIM).

    I would appreciate any help/thoughts that anyone has. Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjprince View Post
    Hi All -

    I'm attempting to use a t-mobile tablet data add-on plan to run my home internet. I typically only use about 20-30GB a month in data, and I also want something that is portable that I can bring with me to the lake where I get surprisingly good T-mobile connection versus other carriers.

    I bought a US Cellular D-Link DWR-961 4G router/modem on the advice from someone that it would have band 12 support and T-mobile would just recognize it as normal tablet data usage. I've been using it for a few months and it has worked okay, but I seem to have speed issues. I'm hoping someone can offer some advice. This is what I have seen:

    • Since I have been working from home, the speeds sometimes seems fine for normal usage, but other times are unbearably slow just to surf webpages. Downloading files always seems slow
    • Running a speed test at speedtest.net sometimes shows DL speeds of 60Mbps+, and other times <0.5Mbps. It seems to depend on the server I pick
    • Running the google speed test usually shows speeds of <0.5Mbps DL
    • This would all make it seem like the data is being throttled, however, I am able to stream Amazon Prime and Netflix and for the most part it is HD quality. It usually takes a min or so to buffer up to full quality, and lately I have had some issues with the quality dropping out randomly in the middle of a show, but other than that it is fine.
    • Additionally, T-mobile seems to indicate some of the usage as hotspot data when I look up my usage stats, but not all of it.


    Does anyone have any thoughts on why it is working for me for streaming and not general web-surfing? Are there any settings on the router that I may be able to change? Or does anyone have a recommendation on a different router to try? I saw a thread that talked about some routers, but it was a couple years old and the equipment there is hard to find and possibly obsolete. I can't post the link but the topic was Looking for 4G LTE router (using TMO SIM).

    I would appreciate any help/thoughts that anyone has. Thank you!
    Carrier is easy to see the hotspot data...
    Unless you trick them down.
    I am using my T-Mobile tzone $2.99/month unlimited data for years, last month used over 900Gb data. It is fast with LTE-CA router for constantly over 600Gbps

    Sent from my moto g(7) supra using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjprince View Post
    Hi All -

    I'm attempting to use a t-mobile tablet data add-on plan to run my home internet. I typically only use about 20-30GB a month in data, and I also want something that is portable that I can bring with me to the lake where I get surprisingly good T-mobile connection versus other carriers.

    I bought a US Cellular D-Link DWR-961 4G router/modem on the advice from someone that it would have band 12 support and T-mobile would just recognize it as normal tablet data usage. I've been using it for a few months and it has worked okay, but I seem to have speed issues. I'm hoping someone can offer some advice. This is what I have seen:

    • Since I have been working from home, the speeds sometimes seems fine for normal usage, but other times are unbearably slow just to surf webpages. Downloading files always seems slow
    • Running a speed test at speedtest.net sometimes shows DL speeds of 60Mbps+, and other times <0.5Mbps. It seems to depend on the server I pick
    • Running the google speed test usually shows speeds of <0.5Mbps DL
    • This would all make it seem like the data is being throttled, however, I am able to stream Amazon Prime and Netflix and for the most part it is HD quality. It usually takes a min or so to buffer up to full quality, and lately I have had some issues with the quality dropping out randomly in the middle of a show, but other than that it is fine.
    • Additionally, T-mobile seems to indicate some of the usage as hotspot data when I look up my usage stats, but not all of it.


    Does anyone have any thoughts on why it is working for me for streaming and not general web-surfing? Are there any settings on the router that I may be able to change? Or does anyone have a recommendation on a different router to try? I saw a thread that talked about some routers, but it was a couple years old and the equipment there is hard to find and possibly obsolete. I can't post the link but the topic was Looking for 4G LTE router (using TMO SIM).

    I would appreciate any help/thoughts that anyone has. Thank you!
    This is mostly educated guessing, but bear with me...

    T-Mo throttles hotspot data on some plans to "3G speed", or 512Kbps, which sounds like the 0.5Mbps speed tests you're getting.

    On the other hand, T-Mo zero-rates most audio and video streaming, as well as some speedtests, so it's possible they aren't throttling that as low. (I believe video throttles to 1.5Mbps unless you have an "HD video" add-on or plan.)

    As to the varying speedtests, T-Mo games their speedtest results when you're throttled. If you use the T-Mo server, T-Mo reports the connection speed from tower to server, not server to your device, so you get the test result of the full speed of T-Mo's network, not the throttled speed from it to you. The difference in your speed tests are probably the "real" speed of your throttled 0.5Mbps connection vs. the "network" speed of 60Mbps.



    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
    --
    Todd Allcock, Microsoft MVP: Mobile Devices 2007-2011

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    I know nothing about the router you are using but I can offer some info based on my own setup. I am using a GL-Inet X750 4g lte router with an unlimited data phone line sim from the original ONE plan. Without using a vpn on the router all usage shows up as hotspot data which is sometimes slowed down according to load in the area. With a vpn enabled all the usage shows as on device data and I don't experience any slow down at all. If you are able to run a vpn client on your router you might give that a try. I would definately go with a wireguard client as it is much faster than openvpn client.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by elecconnec View Post
    This is mostly educated guessing, but bear with me...

    T-Mo throttles hotspot data on some plans to "3G speed", or 512Kbps, which sounds like the 0.5Mbps speed tests you're getting.

    On the other hand, T-Mo zero-rates most audio and video streaming, as well as some speedtests, so it's possible they aren't throttling that as low. (I believe video throttles to 1.5Mbps unless you have an "HD video" add-on or plan.)

    As to the varying speedtests, T-Mo games their speedtest results when you're throttled. If you use the T-Mo server, T-Mo reports the connection speed from tower to server, not server to your device, so you get the test result of the full speed of T-Mo's network, not the throttled speed from it to you. The difference in your speed tests are probably the "real" speed of your throttled 0.5Mbps connection vs. the "network" speed of 60Mbps.



    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk

    Thanks for your note, this is helpful information. I was looking into it a bit further, and I think you are 100% correct on what is happening. That's interesting about the speedtests, but it's good to know that if I can get everything working as I want, that I should be able to see those speeds.

    Thanks again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomasinnv View Post
    I know nothing about the router you are using but I can offer some info based on my own setup. I am using a GL-Inet X750 4g lte router with an unlimited data phone line sim from the original ONE plan. Without using a vpn on the router all usage shows up as hotspot data which is sometimes slowed down according to load in the area. With a vpn enabled all the usage shows as on device data and I don't experience any slow down at all. If you are able to run a vpn client on your router you might give that a try. I would definately go with a wireguard client as it is much faster than openvpn client.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the info. I found some additional information that mentioned VPNs as a possible solution as well. Most also pointed to TTL settings as the main issue. There is supposed to be an easy fix to change TTL settings on your laptop to get around this for a specific device, unfortunately my account on my work laptop doesn't have high enough administrator rights to test it out. I have an old dd-wrt router that I may be able to adjust TTL values for all traffic, so I am going to try that out this weekend. I've found another work-around using pdanet as well. I will post anything I find out here for future reference for others.

    How do you like the router that you are using? Worst case if I can't get anything else working well, I may try a new router. Yours seems relatively cheap compared to the others that are typically suggested.

    Thanks again for your help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjprince View Post
    Thanks for the info. I found some additional information that mentioned VPNs as a possible solution as well. Most also pointed to TTL settings as the main issue. There is supposed to be an easy fix to change TTL settings on your laptop to get around this for a specific device, unfortunately my account on my work laptop doesn't have high enough administrator rights to test it out. I have an old dd-wrt router that I may be able to adjust TTL values for all traffic, so I am going to try that out this weekend. I've found another work-around using pdanet as well. I will post anything I find out here for future reference for others.

    How do you like the router that you are using? Worst case if I can't get anything else working well, I may try a new router. Yours seems relatively cheap compared to the others that are typically suggested.

    Thanks again for your help.
    So far I love it. It has worked very well, been using it for several months now. It has openvpn and wireguard clients already built in so it's really easy to setup the vpn. Another point of information for you...I have also tried placing another tmo phone sim in it that has unlimited data but only 3g tethering and I can get full unthrottled speeds with it.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomasinnv View Post
    So far I love it. It has worked very well, been using it for several months now. It has openvpn and wireguard clients already built in so it's really easy to setup the vpn. Another point of information for you...I have also tried placing another tmo phone sim in it that has unlimited data but only 3g tethering and I can get full unthrottled speeds with it.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    Awesome, thank you for the feedback! This will be my next step if I cannot get anything else working easily or reliably.

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    Update on things that I've tried

    Posting an update for future reference which and info that may help others.

    I've tried a couple things over the past day that have worked with varying success. Both involve changing the TTL values that are sent with the data. Apparently phones tend to have a TTL value of 64, but other devices have different values (windows appears to use 128 as default for instance). Mobile companies are looking for TTL values of 64 to ensure that it is a phone using the data. This value decrements by 1 with each connection. So, even if you have a phone with a value of 64, if it is hotspotting off another phone, it will decrement to 63 and the mobile company will then see this as some sort of tethered data. Side note, the TTL or Time To Live value causes the data to expire when it hits 0. Apparently this is to prevent errant data from bouncing around the web forever.

    Method 1:
    The first method I tried was to test changing the value on my laptop itself. This was done pretty easily, run a command prompt as administrator (if you search cmd in the windows search bar and right click on the command prompt, it should allow you to run as administrator). Then enter the following two commands:

    netsh int ipv4 set global defaultcurhoplimit=65
    netsh int ipv6 set global defaultcurhoplimit=65

    Copy one line at a time and then hit enter. I believe it just says OK when it is done. You can verify it worked with the following command:

    ping -4 localhost

    If you have one connection to your router the 65 should be the correct value, but if you have some other setup you may need to adjust that value slightly.

    This worked great and I instantly started seeing 30+Mbps download speeds. The only drawback to this method is that it needs to be done on every device. I have no idea how to do it on a Roku, or Fire TV type device. Additionally, if you don't have full administrator privileges (such as on a work laptop), you are SOL.

    Method 2:
    The next thing I tried was using an old DD-WRT router to change the TTL value on ALL of the traffic going through it. similar to windows, all it takes is running a simple command in the command prompt. I know there are some variations in firmware, but all I needed to do in mine was go to the Administration tab, then go to the Commands sub tab. In the command box enter the following:

    iptables -t mangle -I POSTROUTING -o `get_wanface` -j TTL --ttl-set 65

    then click on the Run Commands button. It shoudl thing for a while and then seemingly do nothing.

    You can check that it worked by clearing out the command box and entering and running this command:

    iptables -t mangle -vnL POSTROUTING

    This all worked well, until it didn't. I test downloaded files and ran some speedtests, and I was getting 10-20 Mbps speeds. Not super fast, but certainly better than 0.5 Mbps and livable. It might just be that the old router that I am using is that slow.

    The problem has been that it dropped connection. Twice on me in the first 5-10 minutes. It never came back on its own, I had to completely disconnect from the router and then reconnect and it seemed to work fine. It's been going strong for about 20 min now. Again, this could just be a result of using hardware that is probably 10-15 years old. But I can't confirm that it works flawlessly yet.


    Method 3 (I have yet to try):
    The last method involves using PDAnet to tether either directly to your router, or to a computer and then use internet sharing to share this connection with your router. I have yet to try this method so I cannot post any details. Apparently the PDAnet connection is more like a data transfer through USB, so it doesn't assign TTL values until it actually gets to the phone or tablet or whatever device that actually has the data connection. Don't quote me on that, I am probably incorrectly paraphrasing some info I read online when I was looking through this.

    If my current connection proves to be unreliable, I am going to try that next before purchasing a new router. In any event, I'm pretty happy I was able to find something that works. It's always interesting to learn about these things and how they work. Hopefully this is able to help some others out!

    PS, there was no VPN needed for any of these things. I have seen varying results online where some people say that VPN by itself works, others say it is just the TTL values, and others say you need a combination of both. So while I didn't need it, it may be good to keep that as another tool if things don't seem to be working correctly.

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    FYI, I am currently unaware of any routers that you can use pdanet with directly (without connecting first through a computer) . Easytether does however work with Openwrt or DDwrt.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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