Cellular struggles, a day in the life of mobile Internet

Welcome to RVForums.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Modern secure site, no 3rd party apps required
  • Invite your friends and let's have fun
  • Commercial/Vendors welcome
  • Friendliest RV community on the web

Welcome to RVForums.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Friendliest RV Community on the web
  • Modern site for PC's, Phones, Tablets - no 3rd party apps required
  • Ask questions, help others, review campgrounds
  • Get the most out of the RV Lifestyle
  • Invite everyone to RVForums.com and let's have fun
  • Commercial/Vendors welcome

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
AT&T:

Since moving to my Pepwave MAX Transit CAT 18 I've seen odd behavior with the AT&T Mobley SIM in regards to LTE-A. Most of the time it just shows LTE (not LTE-A). However, when performing tasks such as speed tests LTE-A will come on. I thought it may be a defective unit as my other Pepwave MAX Transit CAT 18 with Verizon does not have this issue. Both are using the same antenna brand and type (Pepwave). When getting to my current location I decided to put the paddle antennas on and see if that made any difference. While speeds went up, no, the LTE-A issue remained. I figured it may be something internally so I moved the SIM to my other Pepwave which I hate doing anything with the Mobley SIM as it's a nugget of gold that I don't want to jeopardize ($23/mo unlimited, unthrottled (supposedly)). I was relieved to see the same behavior so it's not a defective Pepwave. While I do have my CAT 6 BR1 MK2 in use with T-Mobile running, I did not want to move the SIM another time and see if this was a CAT 18 vs CAT 6 issue. I reconnected the external antenna and will leave it alone from this point forward, it is what it is. It seems it's something the carrier is doing in regards to tower connections seeming like they are giving you LTE-A on demand.

My phone is on AT&T as well. What's ironic is the speed difference. My iPhone 12 PRO MAX will speed test are around 150 down yet the Mobley SIM in the Pepwave will be 20 if I'm lucky. Obviously the tower has the bandwidth, it must be cellular games, plans, phone vs. hotspot, who knows. I'm half tempted to put my phone SIM in the pepwave to see what happens but I don't need to be screwing up my phone when it's my only lifeline. I'll pass on that test for now.

Verizon:

Upon arrival it would not connect. I dropped the connection to the disabled slot, waited a bit, then back to priority 1, still no connection. I figured Verizon had no service here. When putting the AT&T SIM in the unit it wasn't changing over so I rebooted. Now I get Verizon (and very fast speeds) and then AT&T worked. For those with Pepwaves you may want to just reboot your device on arrival. I also have mine setup for daily reboots in the middle of the night now. Back to Verizon...what's interesting are the speed tests from my computer show maybe 20 yet my speed tests from my iPad show 120-150 down. Something is very different in speed tests depending on the endpoint. I have TTL 65 set on the pepwave but I'm not sure it's working as expected. I have since removed the TTL settings as with the CAT 18 units I'm not seeing a difference.

T-Mobile:

Upon arrival this showed as the dominant carrier, interesting. T-Mobile is in the CAT 6 Pepwave. I figured while I'm doing all of this cellular experimentation let me see how T-Mobile does in the CAT 18 Pepwave. Speeds dropped to typical T-Mobile crap, maybe 5 at best with typical upload 1 at best. Seems like T-Mobile doesn't like CAT 18. I put the SIM back in the CAT 6 and still slow, so I must have flagged something. While writing this I figured I should check T-Mobile again and it's still a full pound of suck, 2 MB at best. Quite frankly I have yet to see T-Mobile be worth having. I may dump this plan at the end of this trip if I don't see improvement.

Starlink sure is needed but time will tell how that's going to work out for RVers as well as cost and speeds. For someone that works while RVing the cost is just part of the business requirement and expense. I don't think we'll be able to let go of cellular for a long time though, we'll need a backup for the time being so that will be added expense. I just hope Starlink forces cellular prices to go down.

So that's the continued trials of a cellular RVer. Antenna selection seems to be the most important. If in a fiberglass RV then paddles are probably the best bet. If you're in a metal enclosure then roof mounted is probably necessary. I'm remaining with my pepwave roof antennas connected for now, they should provide the optimum performance as they have a clear 360 line of sight, but the paddle antennas typically outperform. I hate how the paddle antennas move around so I may 3D print a contraption that goes over top of them to maintain their spacing.
 

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
One experiment I haven't done with the CAT 18 routers such as the AT&T issue with LTE-A is to unplug to the two AUX cellular connections. This may put it back into CAT 6 mode, i.e. take away the 4x4 MIMO and revert to 2X2.
 

CaptainGizmo

RVF Supporter
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
549
Location
SoCal...relax, we're one of the good ones! ;-)
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Newell
RV Model
2020P
RV Length
45
TOW/TOAD
2017 Ford F-150 Raptor w/AF1 Braking
Fulltimer
No
Hey Neal! Frustrating to not ever get consistent results, isn't it!?

Just wanted to say "don't give up on T-Mobile", because I'm in love with them...if nothing else...because their customer service. But, yeah...I know that's not worth anything if the cellular service doesn't work.

So, on that note...T-Mobile usually SMOKES the competition for me and my travels. Right now, we're south of Dallas and T-Mobile 700% faster than AT&T. I'm running the Transit DUO Cat 12 with dual SIMs.

Wish this stuff was easier!

Running them Dual gives T-Mobile a little bump:
Both.png


T-Mobile on its own:
TMO.png


AT&T alone:
ATT.png


As for the paddles...yeah, with 5 of them, I'm super happy mine are staying put. But the front of Transit is hanging over shelf, which allows me to splay the antenna in a 360 degree fashion. I've considered putting a drop of Shoe-Goo just on the swivel if I even need to gently fix them in place. Since they're tightened down, I think that'd work for you as well.

Steve
 

MapNerd

Staff member
RVF Moderator
RVF Supporter
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
1,872
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
I also am using TMobile in a Pepwave Max Transit Duo CAT12. Its kicking AT&T’s tail.

one thing you might try is using a VPN. I have noticed that with AT&T in Priority 1 and T-Mobile disabled, my AT&T speeds on my personal devices are abysmal - sub 2mbps. But, on my corporate devices when I use the corporate VPN, all of a sudden my AT&T speeds jump to 25mbps+. Still not amazing but good enough for most things on 1-3 devices.
 

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
AT&T has been the winner 99% of the time for me. What's bothering me is not maintaining a LTE-A connection. I don't know if this is the Mobley plan getting deprioritized or what.
 

MapNerd

Staff member
RVF Moderator
RVF Supporter
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
1,872
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
Are you band locking?
 

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Are you band locking?
I'm not overriding anything on the device. I've been back and forth on TTL overriding. On that note, I think TTL override is to tell a carrier it's a PHONE and not a hot spot. But all 3 plans I use are hot spot plans so I'm not sure it's going to help me.
 

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
I put AT&T back in Prio 1 and dropped all others to 2 and 3. I guess it's that time of the day, wind speed, sun angle, and moon phase. But she's alive again. Top two are AT&T and 3rd is Verizon. T-Mobile is 10 down at best. This "may" be the behavior of the newer Pepwave MAX Transit CAT 18 in that LTE-A is enabled on-demand and is not always maintained. Maybe it is or was saturating towers? I don't know, WAG! I guess I could ask Peplink or post to their forum (probably a better idea).

speeds.png
 

MapNerd

Staff member
RVF Moderator
RVF Supporter
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
1,872
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
Man I don’t get anything close to those speeds on my CAT12 pepwave
 

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
After posting speeds went back down to like FIVE! Now it's back up to 90. I put TTL 65 back in all three Pepwaves and I'm not fiddling with antennas. I'm leaving this alone, it's just how cellular is and I have to put my time elsewhere. Now...what to do with my 56K modem? Oh sorry, flashback.
 

Kcmusa

Just Idling Around
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
41
Location
Stafford, va
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Forest river
RV Model
Silverback
RV Length
37
i have been reading much on cellular modems. Currently use an old Mobley and visible phone plan with a small router to teather. Bought a web boost years ago and set it up at times for a signal. Now I want something better. Browsing the 5G store I thought maybe just the pepwave cat 4 max transit to test and see how it would work for me. Then my other side says get something more modern like the max transit cat 18 so I would not be obsolete. Then I read issues with getting sims to work from verizon, at&t can be an issue to use with the newer routers.
i do not have the unlock code for my Mobley, not sure how hard that would be to obtain.
for others out here, what is your experience with the newer routers and compatibility with the major carriers.
 

docj

RVF Supporter
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Messages
100
RV Year
2000
RV Make
Beaver
RV Model
Patriot Thunder Princeton
RV Length
40
TOW/TOAD
2014 CR-V
Fulltimer
Yes
With all due respect, there's no particular reason why it would be any more difficult to get a SIM to work in a more advanced modem than in your Mobley. Most of the issues you read about are related to modem settings and/or to resellers and carriers failing to activate SIMs as they claim. My Inseego 5G M2000 hotspots have Category 22 modems and are no more finicky to operate than my old Jetpack 7730L with its Category 8 modem.

What you're losing out on with your Mobley are all the benefits of advanced features such as carrier aggregation which can provide significant speed enhancement and performance improvement.
 

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
It's really simple, the answer is stop worrying about something working or not. It WILL work. Get the latest and greatest that you can afford and your SIM will work. If for some reason it didn't work, ask here first, if we can't help, return it. It will work.
 

tj90241

Newbie
Joined
Jul 4, 2021
Messages
1
Does the Pepwave UI allow you to lock bands, and have you tried locking bands which perform best at a particular site?

I think the Pepwave uses the LM960 (Cat18 model) based on what I have seen... that being said, I have the LM940 (Cat11 rendition in a Turris Omnia) in my parents' RV and was able to get MUCH more consistent performance out of it when band locking to the best bands at any particular site. So much so, that I wrote a python script which runs speedtest.net on each band in isolation and then programs the modem with the set of bands which perform within 33% (?) of the "best' band (leveraging CA).

Without the band locking approach, I observed that we would be unable to go from streaming video (NFL game on Youtube TV) to being able to do so interrupted. Though with a limited sample size, I have no idea if it's fools gold (working around a flaky tower), or is a genuine issue with the firmware/LTE solutions that can be worked around by band locking.
 

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
You can choose your bands but you’d need to know which ones. I tried it once and it didn’t work well. Back to auto.
 

Kcmusa

Just Idling Around
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
41
Location
Stafford, va
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Forest river
RV Model
Silverback
RV Length
37
Picking up the pepwave max transit cat 12. Got the AA&T sim but it was a runaround with Different stores to get the 100gig plan. Looking forward to trying the visible sim it it. Have the att sim In the iPad now.

 

tetranz

Just Idling Around
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
18
I guess it's a bit late to learn this after running around several stores but you should be able to buy the AT&T 100 GB for $55 online using this form AT&T Prepaid Activation Portal
You just need an unused AT&T prepaid SIM starting with 89 which you can get from Amazon or many other places such as Walmart, Best Buy etc.

It depends if the form recognizes your IMEI. It didn't recognize my Pepwave MAX BR1 MK2 when I got the plan just over a month ago so I had to go to a store but they seem to have improved the database of IMEIs since then because it does recognize it now.
 
Last edited:

Kcmusa

Just Idling Around
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
41
Location
Stafford, va
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Forest river
RV Model
Silverback
RV Length
37
The first store I went to said they could not find a 100gig $55 plan. Tried to sell me the 40gig $85 plan. Called att. Got 3 transfers, nothing. Hit another att store, bingo. Sad it took all that to get the plan on their site
 

Neal

Staff member
RVF Administrator
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
6,528
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Cellular stores are ALWAYS a hassle. Not sure if this is their intention or simply the fact that the big cell companies don't keep these independent providers in the know. You can walk into a store, as I did, and ask for a plan they don't even know they have. I had to use their computer and find it for them, then after pulling teeth I walked out with a SIM regardless if my IMEI is recognized or not, it wasn't.
 
Top