Bonding and/or Load Balancing LTE

Kayoss

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
953
Hi all, quick question..

I live in the middle of the Kalahari where my nearest tower is 51km away. So I can pick up HSPA+ on MTN thanks to a signal booster. My MTN LTE contract works on 3G and supports datashare, so I have a few devices connected each with their own sim card but effectively sharing the same data cap. I get on average anywhere between 3mb/s and 8mb/s on each, with occasional drops for whatever reasons however, I noticed that while they each drop from time to time, they don't necessarily always drop together. For what reason I don't know, perhaps one router loses connection to the tower and attempts to regain it, etc. When one router stops, I connect to the next to next and continue (obviously if there should be something wrong with the tower they will all stop working).

I was wondering is I could get a TP-Link R470T+ Load Balancing router and connect each of my LTE routers to this to and in the very least, give me a more consistent connection where I don't have to swap over manually?

Load balancing aside, could I bond these connections to help improve speeds a little too? I wouldn't expect too much gain in this regard given that I can't avoid the fact that I'm limited by distance from the tower irrespective of how many devices I have.

Thanks

/edit - Cap isn't an issue as I get 1tb a month..
 

yogidabear

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
211
I have a few devices connected each with their own sim card
51km is impressive and the signal booster is from MTN or your own? Do only you have access to the booster like on a farm or multiple people in a town? Usually there is a limit to the amount of clients that can connect to a booster so that may be part of the problem.

The LTE routers when they die, do you just leave them and they return to life by themselves? If so then a load balancer like you said could possibly work for you. If not then having a router with more control over the modem and failover would be advisable like these:

You not supposed to get much out of load balancing as if you take the available bandwidth from MTN say 8 megs and connect 2 devices they will split 4 megs each. Thats why failover is more important than load balancing. In reality its not exactly like this, but you shouldn't see much benefit load balancing and might be more hassle than its worth.
 

Kayoss

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
953
51km is impressive and the signal booster is from MTN or your own? Do only you have access to the booster like on a farm or multiple people in a town? Usually there is a limit to the amount of clients that can connect to a booster so that may be part of the problem.

The LTE routers when they die, do you just leave them and they return to life by themselves? If so then a load balancer like you said could possibly work for you. If not then having a router with more control over the modem and failover would be advisable like these:

You not supposed to get much out of load balancing as if you take the available bandwidth from MTN say 8 megs and connect 2 devices they will split 4 megs each. Thats why failover is more important than load balancing. In reality its not exactly like this, but you shouldn't see much benefit load balancing and might be more hassle than its worth.
Thanks!

It's my own signal booster and my devices are the only ones connecting to it. Can only pick up 3G on WCDMA 900MHz. I think the towers are probably setup differently in such remote areas to push distances.

They tend to correct themselves when they do disconnect, so each device goes down for a few minutes several times per day, so I'm forced to connect to the next device which is generally still up and running.

Primary goal is to eliminate the inconvenience of needing to swap connections multiple times per day, so I'm hoping some form of balancing/failover will help to keep a single Wi-Fi connection stable. If bonding would help to improve speeds that would be a huge bonus too!

Technically, the MTN datashare allows me to share the data with up to 20 sim cards, so I can have manyf sources of connectivity, but it obviously won't be feasible to have that many modems/load balancers/etc. and I'm sure the improvements have a diminishing effect.

Interesting, I get the best speeds and strongest connection when using a phone as a hotspot. For some reason my LTE router doesn't quite handle 3G as well as my phone does. The issue being that I can't access and control the phone over it's own hotspot to disable/re-enable mobile data when it does disconnect (this isn't necessary per se as it will reconnect on its own, but it speeds up the process whenever it does disconnect).
 

yogidabear

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
211
I think the towers are probably setup differently in such remote areas to push distances.
For sure in dense areas they have to control the power output so they dont interfere with themselves. Wonder why you get dropped so frequently, and take so long to reconnect. Tower dropping the repeated booster connection, booster dropping the router, router not getting data, and reboots modem. Would be nice to view something on the booster, and try diagnose. You could be better off bypassing the repeater with this for data only https://scoop.co.za/mikrotik-lhg-lte-17dbi-outdoor-cpe-rblhgr-r11e-lte.html

Anyway thats not what you asked.. you cant bond only load balance, and dont know how well the TP-Link will work with detecting the outage quickly, and then restoring after. I would use Mikrotik as I know exactly what it can do, for example https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:Tools/Netwatch In theory the TP-Link will work, but sorry dont know for sure.
 

Kayoss

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
953
For sure in dense areas they have to control the power output so they dont interfere with themselves. Wonder why you get dropped so frequently, and take so long to reconnect. Tower dropping the repeated booster connection, booster dropping the router, router not getting data, and reboots modem. Would be nice to view something on the booster, and try diagnose. You could be better off bypassing the repeater with this for data only https://scoop.co.za/mikrotik-lhg-lte-17dbi-outdoor-cpe-rblhgr-r11e-lte.html
Bought one of these to try and it's terrible. Seems far less capable of picking up signals than the yagi antennas, which is weird as the yagi is 12dB gain and the Mikrotik is 17dB gain. Unless I got a dud, so I'll be returning it to Scoop next week..
 

yogidabear

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
211
Bought one of these to try and it's terrible. Seems far less capable of picking up signals than the yagi antennas, which is weird as the yagi is 12dB gain and the Mikrotik is 17dB gain. Unless I got a dud, so I'll be returning it to Scoop next week..
Ouch very sorry! What RSSI are you getting on the LHG, better than -85? RSRP, better than -110? Like you said the antenna gain is significantly more so not sure why. The beamwidth is less than the yagi so is it aligned 100% using the RSSI / RSRP values?
 

r00igev@@r

Executive Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
6,658
I do bonding but at a business level using SD-WAN software. LTE with its packet loss is a bit of a bugger and causes high usage of the CPE to resolve the out of order packers. So you need a decent processor.
The bonding aggregates the traffic and uses a hub and spoke mechanism - the hub is located in a DC.
Works brilliantly but depends on what you want to spend on the deployment. A single lollipop CPE on the end of a long string will never work well.
 
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