This build log has been setup to detail my journey of moving away from NBN and not looking back! Hopefully it helps someone else fed up with their NBN connection issues. This log is not about going back and chasing NBN or the provider to assist. I've done all that over and over, and am moving to a 4G wireless based connection now so please, I ask that we keep content in the thread relative. This is still a work in progress but I am looking forward to sparking some conversation around this little project. To define some scope around the project and what I want to archive, I would hope to be able to do everything I have been able to do on my NBN connection, with the added bonus of a much faster download and upload basically. The main usage of my internet activities are: Work, Work, Work Streaming of Netflix, Twitch and Youtube VoIP calls and conferences (this will be interesting given 4G has higher latency and jitter than fixed line connections.) Some gaming (basically only play Star Citizen, but occasionally delve in other things like Deep Rock Galactic, etc.) Special thanks to the people over on whirlpool for all the information and huge threads on this stuff. Bringing it all together has been a challenge but its been great fun learning along the way. The way a good hobby should be! So after much back and forward with my NBN connection, lots of support calls, etc. I have finally had enough of it and decided for me, there must be a better way. I live in the Dandenong ranges in Melbourne. A beautiful, hilly, forest like part of Melbourne. The problem with the hills is there are lots of trees and branches that come down all the time on the phone lines, and our lines are old and decrepit, much like anywhere else really. My connection at home was at best 17D/.3U (ADSL speeds anyone???). This for me was borderline acceptable, and given I work from home, I wanted a faster connection, especially in respect to the upload. I have literally been stuck on these types of speeds for the last 10 years between 3 houses I have owned.....All this is about to change dramatically. Being in the hills has its pros and cons. One of which is line of sight. Its difficult at best to get a good LOS with so many trees and hills around. Luckily, exactly where I am located, I have a clear view through to a cell tower that's approximately 8km away, and a disrupted view of one that's only 950m away. These two towers will be the towers I will primarily be testing against. There has been a lot of R&D involved in this project thus far, but I feel I have a good hold on the tech now and the methods used to get the absolute best connection possible at my place (and yours if you choose to follow this log). The first thing I had to do as part of determining if 4G was a viable option was determine if there were 4G mobile broadband plans available that had a large enough download quota. At the time of writing, the best available options is the Optus $60/200G plan (or no contract $70 month to month). I decided that two of these plans would suffice my data needs month to month, and as Optus allow data sharing across services, this would mean I essentially just buy more data as I need it. For testing and initially, I will be running the one connection in parallel with my flailing NBN connection until its stable, setup, and solid enough to literally cut the cable of my NBN connection. With the availability of a decent 4G MBB (Mobile BroadBand) plan, I moved forward to tower research. This is quite fun/scary as you learn your being irradiated by cell towers you didn't even know existed in your area! This process is a little time consuming, but worthwhile, trust me. STEP 1: The first step in discovering which tower to point your antennas to (assuming your using directional yagi's like I did) is to work out what towers are near you. Do this at oztowers.com.au. Once you have the towers nearby listed, punch each one in that's within say a <10km radius (less is better obviously) into google maps and determine exactly where it is. I also use the app "Aus Phone Towers" to help locate nearby towers and what bands they support, what MIMO setups they have installed etc. This app is priceless, and a must use if you want the most out of a setup like this. If you wander outside and can see a tower, you probably don't need to go any further. If you cant see a tower or know its a fair way away, keep reading STEP 2: The second step is much more time consuming, but the most valuable of all, especially if your in a hilly area. Get a coffee, and a biscuit, as this is going to take some time. Once you know what towers are near by and you have nailed it down to say 3 to 5 towers, you need to map out the topography between you and that tower. You COULD do this on google earth, but a brilliant engineer has built an online tool that's very seldom mentioned, that I discovered when looking for a way to do this. For me this was one of the most important steps to tick off as we have lots of trees and you know...mountains in the way! Head over to http://www.ve2dbe.com/. Register a free account, and use the translator in Chrome if needed . So, this online tool is hugely powerful, and I am certainly not going to explain how to use it, however I will show you the outcome of the reporting I ran against the two potential cell towers to show me which one holds the most viable option for shooting to. In a nutshell, in order to generate a report like the below reports, you need to create a site (locate your home as site 1, cell tower 1 as site 2, etc.), then create a link between the two sites. When doing so, you will need to select the two sites the link will be running between, and also fill in necessary details about antenna strength, etc. If you just want a LOS estimate, you can put anything in for those details. The outcome should give you something like the following: My first cell tower candidate: Clearly I have some earth to mow through here so not the best candidate, even though its only 950 meters away! Lets see what the second tower holds in store for me: HAH! Now we are talking. Almost a perfectly clear run through to that tower, except for a couple of trees at my end I need to shoot through. I can connect to both towers surprisingly.... STEP 3: Deciding on a modem. Boy I do things backwards sometimes. So my little journey started with picking up a Vividwireless Huawei b315 modem off OCAU and plugging in a Yagi to test with. Whilst it worked, and I archived about a 20/8 connection (not even roof mounted!), I had no idea how to make it faster, if MIMO was supported on this modem, and what the hell carrier aggregation was. If you don't know what these things are, have a google, and come back . This is where things started to become addictive....I set out on the whirlpool forum and noted that there was a large movement for this kind of stuff. I quickly learnt that whilst the B315 modem could be sufficient, if I didn't have a great Optus carrier signal on 2300mhz, I wouldn't really be getting great speeds. Turns out this was exactly the case, and a turning point in my R&D. I then set out to find a much better modem, and discovered the Netgear AC800s. Its a CAT9 (now CAT 11 supposedly with new model) modem that support triple CA. I was pretty excited to get it hooked up, and by this stage had mounted my test MIMO panel antenna and 9dbi Yagi on the roof. Whilst up there I did note that I got better speeds when the antenna was pointed in certain directions (towards the towers obviously). This confirmed that a directional antenna would work best for my setup. Unfortunately, this modem just didn't perform for me, and no matter what I set on it (band locking), I wan unable to break about 40 down, and 15 up. I tinkered with this modem and band settings for a solid week, and then decided because it didn't have an Ethernet port, it really wasn't suitable for my needs anyway (I have a Cisco WLC driving my wireless at home so no need for built in modem wireless ). I went back to the drawing board and noted on Whirlpool that there was a bunch of people using the Telstra NetGear Nighthawk M1100 on Optus. WHHAAAAA??? At first I was confused about how this might work, but on further research I noted that the device was not carrier locked, and the only thing it was missing was the 2300mhz band, of which was of no use to me where I live anyway! If you haven't heard of this 4GX modem, your in for a treat. Its basically the bees knees of 4G modems. 4 x MIMO, 2 x external antenna ports, all day battery, CAT16, Ethernet port. Enough said. Its fast. Really fast. I managed to snag one for $100 delivered (CHEAP I KNOW!) and began testing. Well....finally I had found a modem that was suitable for my needs, and worked a treat. Using a standard panel antenna (not MIMO), and not mounted on my roof, I was able to archive 45/15. Wowzers. On the roof it was over 50/20. Now I am getting somewhere! If you don't need 2300mhz, just skip my R&D steps and by a NH M1100 please . STEP 4: Band locking What I did note is that I needed to lock the bands on the Nighthawk M1 to provide the most stable, consistent speeds. To do this you need to connect to the device via the USB connection (cannot Telnet over wireless), port 5510, IP 192.168.1.1, and administer the following commands to have the bands turn up in the GUI so you can test each one and combinations separately: AT!BAND=3,"700 1800",0000000000000000,0000000008000004,0000000000000000 AT!BAND=4,"700 2600",0000000000000000,0000000008000040,0000000000000000 AT!BAND=5,"1800 2600",0000000000000000,0000000000000044,0000000000000000 AT!BAND=6,"700 Only",0000000000000000,0000000008000000,0000000000000000 AT!BAND=7,"1800 Only",0000000000000000,0000000000000004,0000000000000000 AT!BAND=8,"2600 Only",0000000000000000,0000000000000040,0000000000000000 Once entered, I was able to enter the gui, select the first option, Speedtest 3 times, run an average, then move on to the second band, third, etc, etc. My best combination is actually 700/1800. Everything else is at least half as fast. Your mileage may vary but this part is crucial to fine tuning for your area/tower/environment. STEP 4.5: Pointing towards the cell towers If you don't have an antenna yet to test with, you kinda need one if you want the most out of a setup like this. Borrow one or buy a cheap, but reputable one as you will really need to know if using a directional antenna is for you. Remember earlier I said locate the cell towers in google maps? There was good reason for this. This step involved me downloading an app called "Compass Map" on android. This allows you to set a marker on the map (the potential cell tower), and point to it from your home location. It make aligning the antenna a breeze! Don't so this by eye unless you can actually see the tower. STEP 5: Mounting the NH Why would I want to mount the NH all the way up a mast? Why not just run antenna leads to it whilst it resides in my roof cavity. Well, this is where things get interesting, and somewhat unexplored. Some people have reported SLOWER speeds when plugging in external antennas. Now this could be because they are using a cheap and nasty antenna, or for another reason. My experience is the opposite. My signal strength and speed is greatly enhanced by a MIMO antenna as proven with the test panel MIMO I currently have mounted on the roof mast. After much discussion on the Whirlpool forum, I basically discovered that the NH must be mounted on the mast, and could not be housed in the roof space as I originally intended. I had speed issues when placing the NH in the roof (metal roof so that figures really). This was proved by testing the modem on my roof with the external antenna, and then placing the device in my roof space and connecting the antenna leads. My speeds became horrible when this was done. Pickup the device and go back up on the roof with it, and my speeds were amazing again. I tested with and without the antennas, and they definitely improve speeds (triple the upload at least). I also noted that CA wasn't occurring when the device was inside the roof space. After all that testing, and following in the shoes of Ranger over on Whirlpool, I decided that mounting the NH on the mast was the best way to ensure the best signal all the time, and so the NH mast box is born...we'll get to that in a minute. Where is the project at now? At this stage I now know what cell tower/towers I am pointing to, I know I need directional antennas, I know MIMO improves my upload speeds, and I know what modem/bands work best for me. Its at this stage my/your R&D is basically done and I personally felt comfortable buying some antennas, after comparing notes with the guys at onwireless.com.au. I decided to go big or go home. Its hilly, I have trees around, so the best option as agreed with the onwireless guys were the 14dbi MIMO yagis as seen here: http://onwireless.com.au/14dbi-4gx-4g-3g-all-band-700-2700mhz-mimo-antenna.html One of their premium kits, but also one of the best for my environment. Stay tuned for updates as the project evolves. Cheers!