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Poor Broadband Speeds


New customer here [5 days now]. Cautiously signed up only for 30 day contract SIM only Broadband package after reading a lot of complaints about the internet speeds that seem to have went down the hill in the last 1-2 months.


I gotta say that the service is unusable. I'm on Western Road in Cork City [2nd floor apartment], having a clear line of site to one of the masts with 5 bars signal on my 4G LTE router, and getting only 0.2-0.7 Mbit/s in the afternoon/evening, until around midnight when things very slowly start improving by going up to 1-2Mbit/s.


In the morning I've seen speeds of around 15-20 Mbit/s which isn't that bad tbh, then during the day around 1-2Mbit/s and afternoon and evening back to almost no service at all - can't load "SpeedTest" web page properly to even test for speed, crazy. Is it really possible that the contention is so bad that there's just no bandwidth to serve all the people on this network?

I mean this is the City Center where one might expect to have a better service due to more masts supporting more people, no?


Note that I've tried all different locations for the router throughout the apartment, around all the windows and all different APN settigs like "3internet", "", "3ireland" and "", but none of this makes any difference. Any suggestions for any of the other fields? To me the ok speed in the morning, worse during the day, and terrible in the evening only seems to point to contention. Not getting any luck with 3G either. Note that I'm also not using WiFi on my router - it's completely turned off as I'm using a direct ethernet cable connection to my pc, so nothing to investigate there either.


This seems inadequate for a normal usage, let alone some streaming, gaming etc [as advertised]. Any way signal can be boosted on the masts, or this is it?
In no way one can justify paying €30 per month for almost non-existent service. Is there anything the Tech Team can do in this regard? I'm willing to give it a go for another week, but at this point a 14 day return option might be better option instead of "trying it out" for a month or two for €30-€60.


Any help greatly appreciated as I would really like to see this working, even with lower, but consistent speeds of at least 4Mbit/s in the evenings. Thx!

Re: Poor Broadband Speeds


Are you sure when you switch to 3 G that you select manual then 3G and then back to auto? When I did that I started getting consistent 8+ speeds in evening? Also there is a 5ghz option with new modem. Did you get the new modem ? 

I am not a Three employee. I'm just a little helper Smiley Happy
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Re: Poor Broadband Speeds


After going though these and other forums before going with, I've found out that the provided router from them doesn't support the Bridge mode [missing in firmware I believe], and I needed this for work as I have another Router for my home network. Hence, I had to do a lot of research beforehand and got myself an industrial grade router, that tbh has everything I need and much much more. It also had the latest firmware update from Jan 2019, so I've applied that as well. Note that all the testing I did was with that 4G LTE router and laptop connected via ethernet cable directly to it. But since I was able to see speeds of up to 20Mbit/s off-peak, it doesn't point to any issues with the router.


I can select manually different "Service mode" options for 2G/3G/4G/Automatic and even separate Network Frequency Bands. Maybe I'll re-visit 3G options again and do some further testing as I would be ok with consistent 8+ speed. Again, recommendations from other posts about moving to 3G might make a negative impact there as well. Still, worth a try. 


On the other hand, It would be nice if we could get an answer as to what's happening with 4G, is it just contention and we just have to deal with it, and/or will there be any improvements in the near future, or will it just get worse. I'm sure a lot of customers would not be happy with that reply as after all we are paying for the fast 4G Broadband.

But from what I saw the network seems to have normal-ish 4G speeds off-peak.

Re: Poor Broadband Speeds

3 Community Manager

@3newcomer  Thanks for sharing this information here. The speeds you've mentioned getting in the evening are not ideal speeds so what I'd like to do is check out your service. Before we do that, you mentioned wanting to try the 3G option when you notice the 4G speeds drop so what we can do is hold off until you get a chance to change the frequency settings. I'll reach out to you again on Friday morning if this suits you? 

Re: Poor Broadband Speeds


Thanks @Three_Rachel for getting in touch. Last night around midnight on 4G I didn't get more then 0.5Mbit/s, and a quick check this morning showed 18Mbit/s. I'll do a bunch more testing this evening and will update the thread as soon as I get a chance.


Re: Poor Broadband Speeds


Ok, so since I'm not using the Huawei B525, which I presume most people do, here are the Mobile Network related settings that I have on my router:

Service Mode: 2G only, 3G only, 4G (LTE) only, Automatic

Connection Method: Automatic, Manual [GSM900, GSM1800, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100, LTE B1, LTE B3, LTE B5, LTE B7, LTE B8, LTE B20]


4G - No luck here in my area as I've only seen up to 25Mbps early in the morning so far and that quickly drops to ~0.5-1Mbps during the day and stays the same, especially in the evening, so unfortunately I can't use it. Note that from all the LTE bands only 'LTE B3' and 'LTE B20' seem to work and connect accordingly, but the speed issues are the same.


3G - This seems to mostly work for me, i.e. it's usable, since I do get pretty consistent speeds of about ~8Mbps on 'WDCMA 2100' band and I haven't seen it drop under 6Mbps yet.

What I did found strange is that for some reason I can only connect to 3G by manually selecting the 4G 'LTE B1' and 'LTE B5' bands for the "Connection Method" and leaving the "Service Mode" on 'Automatic' - this usually connects me to either WCDMA 900 or WCDMA 2100. Not sure is this specific to my router or it's how the network is setup. In other words, if I leave "Service Method" on "Automatic" and select any of '3G only' for "Service Mode" I can't connect to 3G at all. It would be interesting to know do the users with B525 also get the same result.


From my testing I've also noticed that if I get connected to 'WCDMA 900', the speed is ~1.5-2Mbps, so if using 3G make sure you're connected to 'WCDMA 2100'. Another thing is that APN name absolutely has an impact as well, as even with "3G WDCMA 2100" if I use anything other then '' [even omitting the '.ie' part] my speed also drops to just ~2Mbps.


So, if you're experiencing the same issues as me and can't reliably use 4G, try 3G and make sure you connect to 'WCDMA 2100' and use '' for "APN" setting.
This is not ideal, and definitely not a solution - more of a workaround to be honest, but it will have to do for now and maybe things improve down the road.
Too bad there's no cheaper 3G Only Broadband plan.


Now before I get flamed for being somewhat ok with the current results I'm getting, bear in mind that I've just recently joined and haven't even experienced the good days/speeds with 4G. There's still no clear answer as to what's causing the issues with 4G, but by the looks of it, it must be the Contention with many more new customers, more downloads and probably just much more streaming in general. Note that this probably doesn't include just customers, as if I'm not mistaken both Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile are using the network.
I'll also take the blame for this one as I was a cable broadband customer with 200Mbps+ speeds for the last 10 years, but due to the change in my circumstances, I had to switch and this seemed like the best option for me, for now. Rgds!

Re: Poor Broadband Speeds


6 months have past so I guess this is a good time to update this post as I've somehow managed to survive on 3G, but for the last 5 days this too has gone downhill. The signal has dropped significantly since Thursday [22.08.2019] and is not recovering at all [Cork City, Western Road]. 


In all this time, the signal drop has happened on occasion, but that would only last for a day or two, before going back up. Note that I have had a full signal with 5 bars [-51dBm] on my router since the start with 4-6 mbps on 3G after finding the best location for it. Now I'm stuck with 2-3 bars and between -79 and -83 dBm with speeds 1.1-1.7 mbps. You can't imagine how much grief I'm getting from my teenage son Smiley Sad


I was really hopeful things might improve over time, but after still seeing a bunch of similar posts about poor mobile broadband and 3G/4G speeds, it's clear nothing is improving. It would be nice to get some more details on upgrades that are apparently happening all the time. By now, it's obvious that the infrastructure just can't cope with the number of users, so all we see is bouncing the issue around by lowering the signal at one place just to boost it somewhere else [for whoever complains atm].


I saw a similar post from yesterday about the same for the West Cork - are there any works/upgrades happening in the Cork City that we're not aware of?


Important detail that I have left out [that others might find useful] is that in the whole 6 months with being with Three, I've never had usable 4G speeds/service - I would check it once or twice a week and the speed is always ONLY ~0.5 mbps, so really disappointed here.

Re: Poor Broadband Speeds

[ Edited ]

@3newcomer If you give the full address it might be easier for the mods to check? I saw that post for west cork but there are likely several masts so need to narrow it down a bit.

I am not a Three employee. I'm just a little helper Smiley Happy

Re: Poor Broadband Speeds

3 Moderator

@3newcomer Just checking in with you; how's your service today? Have you seen any improvement? Like @Mac_n_cheese mentioned, perhaps send me a PM with your full address so I can check the masts in your area. 

Re: Poor Broadband Speeds


No changes, PM sent.


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