by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Hi, bit of a technical discussion here. Just wondering what people's thoughts and ideas are on this really specific issue.

 

So here's the background info, I use a 4GEE router for home broadband and currently there are problems with our nearest mast. We can connect to it but it has no connection itself to EE. So whenever our router hits that mast the internet simply doesn't work...............

 

...........UNLESS we are downloading a game in Steam, in which case the connection comes back up and can even be revived if it goes down!!! What I'm guessing here is that something with the way Steam downloads games causes the router to think "I'm gonna need more than one mast here" and perhaps it then connects to some working ones as well as the broken one.

As soon as we pause or stop a Steam download, the internet goes down again. LOL...

 

The particular mast we're having a problem with is named 18022 in the Cellmapper app. We sometimes put our EE SIM card into a phone to check which phone masts we're connecting to and whether or not they have any working internet.

As I mentioned before, 18022 is our nearest one so for literally anything we do on the internet, it pretty much ALWAYS connects to that one. Steam is the exception.

 

So basically I'm just looking for some more technical information about whether my suspicions on this are correct. It could be a useful thing to us if so, maybe keeping a steam connection open in the background at limited speeds will enable us to use the 4GEE internet.

 

Perhaps I can also figure out some other way to get the router to point to another mast, has anyone managed this???

 

Thanks all, feel free to go crazy technical in here as I want to know all the details.

24 REPLIES 24
by Brilliant Contributor
Brilliant Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

@Peter_C one for you I think Smiley Happy

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If you think I helped please feel free to hit the "Star" button below.
by Star Contributor
Star Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Hi Fieldfare,

 

If the site's backhaul has failed completely, you will not be able to connect to the mast at all as the SIM authenticates with the core network. I am unable to find 18022 on Cellmapper, a location would help generally.

 

Most likely scenario is*:

"18022"'s main backhaul has failed and it is using the resilience path which is very constrained -and/or- it's a highly loaded site.

In this case, idle or low usage devices will remain on it if it is a dominant server because it will provide the best experience. However, when they become heavily active, the network knows that neighbours will provide a better experience then and so seek to move the device onto the neighbour site.

 

*based on available information. Having a location would help myself and the wider teams.

by
EE Employee

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Hi and welcome to the community @Fieldfare

 

Just on the back of the information provided by @Peter_C, may I know if this issue has always been present or has it just started?

 

Have you checked the network status checker to see if there is any issues in your area?

 

Many thanks,

 

Lee

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

@Peter_C thanks for the quick response.

 

I believe the actual name of the mast is Selby Golf Course, and my mistake, the number is 18822!!!! NOT 18022!!

 

To answer both you and @Lee_H, this has always been an issue since we started in May. They told us the mast is affected by tree coverage so there's no telling when it'll be working. We have a clear connection to it but the mast itself apparently can't get a connection.

 

Your explanation sounds great, however what I find most interesting is that Steam downloads take a lot of bandwidth. They can be going at 12Mbps or more (whatever we can get basically) and yet a simple file download on its own from a site or a YT stream can just kill it all.

But literally we can be doing anything and it will work as long as there is a Steam download going. Soon as the download stops, we cannot get any internet for any length of time! (maybe 30 secs before it dies).

Does that make sense!?

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

By the way! Not sure if this will help? But here are two screenshots from Cell Mapper. (I have no idea what any of this means lol)

 

This first one is of 18822 when we were connected to it but nothing would load. Said we had 4G.

 

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-20 at 2.09.03 PM.jpeg

 

This second one is of another mast I couldn't actually find on the map but was working fine when we connected to it.

 

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-20 at 2.09.02 PM.jpeg

by Star Contributor
Star Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Ah Selby Golf Course...You're not the first person to experience issues with it. Sites with intermittent backhaul issues can behave a bit on the strange side.

I'll check out your pictures once they are approved.

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

@Peter_C if it'll be faster I just put them on imgur

 

https://imgur.com/a/zzDxvsm

by
EE Employee

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Hi @Fieldfare 

 

I have sent you a private message on here, so I can get some details from you.

 

Thanks,

 

Lee

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

@Peter_C Lots of new info now as I've been testing at home with a mobile phone.

 

First thing's first, I eliminated the router from this equation entirely, so for the tests the SIM card was inside a phone and the phone was set to be a mobile hotspot.

 

So, I connected up my PC and started the Steam downloads - it was going at a very nice 30Mbps or so... checked the phone and it was still connected to the problematic tower, "18822", Selby Golf Course. Eventually the internet stopped working even  though it still showed 4G on the phone, so all I did was turn off mobile data on the phone, turn it back on and it started working perfectly fine again. Still connected to 18822 by the way.

By this point I was able to rule out Steam's downloads keeping the connection "open" so to speak, it still dies with Steam downloads going (might have been a coincidence before or some sort of priority).

 

Anyway I wasn't expecting any of this with 18822, I had no idea that this tower was working well enough to let me download over 1GB of stuff at 30Mbps! Which begs the question, what's actually the problem?! Surely it can't be tree coverage like the support team thought, because wouldn't that break it completely? And why am I able to just reconnect to the mast and have it work again at the full 30Mbps?

It almost looks to me like we're being booted off for downloading so much, but I'm sure that's not the case because the network checker explicitly states that this mast has issues (but I can't figure out what it is).

 

Our download limit is 200GB per month, we're currently nowhere near that because we've been unable to use the SIM, it just keeps cutting out all the time.

 

Once again I've taken some screenshots of Cellmapper so you can see what's going on. They're in imgur so they can be viewed immediately.

 

https://imgur.com/a/pU0Y2Gd

 

I would like some really expert technical advice here as I can't speak to any engineers at EE, and the software support team (bless them) do not have much knowledge about it.

 

Soooo if you can help with this I'd be extremely grateful.

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Yet another update, EE tell me there's a crane moving around due to construction work and this is what keeps cutting off the connection?! This was what the engineers notes said. Sorta makes sense, would explain why when we reconnect we can use an unblocked cell until it gets blocked by the crane again... and I guess all of them eventually get blocked at random times.

 

What do you make of this? Does it sound technically accurate please?

by
EE Employee

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Hi @Fieldfare,

 

There is an issue under investigation in the Selby golf course area, which can be verified using our network status checker.

 

Many thanks,

 

Lee

 

 

by Star Contributor
Star Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

I have come across similar problems before. It's why sites have resilient backhaul wherever possible!

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Ok I'm getting a bit frustrated now. This isn't a crane issue at all.... how do I know this? Well for one I went down to the site, there isn't construction work or cranes or anything at all. Not for miles, I even asked my local group if there was such a thing going on in the area and no, there just isn't.
Secondly cranes and construction work doesn't go on in the middle of the night or in the early morning....

 

So EE have told me about a crane issue which is probably about another mast, NOT my mast. I don't blame support because I know they don't have any technical expertise. They didn't fully understand that I used my SIM card in another device and had the exact same issues (they offered to reset the router for me.......)

 

Now I am extremely suspicious. Am I being disconnected due to the amount of data I am downloading?! Have they implemented some sort of cut off system on this mast? Because that is "exactly" how it behaves.

 

1. Connect SIM card to a device

2. Receive full 4G connection

3. Start using internet at high rate

4. Internet stops connecting

5. Take out SIM card, put it back in

6. Receive full 4G connection

7. Start using internet at high rate

8. Internet stops connecting

 

etc. etc. basically I can use the internet all I want if I'm prepared to keep reconnecting to EE every time. How can this be an issue with the mast or the cells if they are able to provide me full internet access whenever I connect to them? They obviously work, it just feels like I am being forcibly disconnected from them now.

 

Can someone PLEASE answer me on a technical level. I've posted screenshots of cellmapper, I have seen around 7 cells in that list at one time and four or five of them appear and reappear a lot but ultimately there are always cells there. What are they doing?? What is the problem? If I don't have any technical answers about it I can only assume EE have put something in place to cut off anyone using a high load on that mast, but why?

by Grand Master
Grand Master

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

@Fieldfare.  This is a public forum and no one here can answer specific questions about a specific mast on a technical level.   You’ll need to speak with Tech2 via calling customer services. 

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

@Chris_B I'm sorry, people here on this forum have asked me for technical info about cells and masts in the past using cellmapper apps etc. to figure out what's going on.

As this is a public forum I figured anyone technical could join in and have a look, that's why I posted my screenshots. I also wanted advice on the behaviour of the mast, I'm sure people with experience could give opinions on that too... to help me narrow it all down. Thought that's what discussion forums were for.

 

Tech2 can't help me, they do not use the phones directly. I can only speak with Level 1 and they do not have technical knowledge.

 

At this point I think I have enough info to deduce that this mast is over capacity and has to load shed in order to cope with any usage. This isn't to do with EE, it's probably BT Openreach and their infrastructure. As this is a tiny mast serving only villages it'll probably not get upgraded any time soon. 

 

What I'll do is see if I can get hold of BT instead and maybe someone there can tell me if the infrastructure has capacity problems.

by Star Contributor
Star Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Unfortunately, as I am not EE high level networks staff, I do not have access to backhaul route diagrams and such. Additionally, the lack of imagery of the mast due to its location makes deducing a route difficult. The crane could be 10s of miles away. There is relatively little submitted data on cellmapper for your area. This makes establishing what is going on even more difficult.

EE will not hampering your performance through usage. Persinally, I have put 10s of GBs over the network in short and also sustained periods on the network over the years and had no issues. They very much have the policy that you have paid for it and can use it hoe you wish, along as it's legal etc.

I find it challenging to believe that the site is congested due to usage and that will not produce behaviour like you have described.

I will try and find out EE's ID for the site so you can directly ask customer service about it. Certainly I have not had issues asking specific questions previously.
by Grand Master
Grand Master

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

@Fieldfare  Pubic forum that is a peer to peer community.  The EE  forum staff have to get the information from you to pass  it to the relevant people within EE but you can do this yourself by calling customer services.  

 

Anyone else asking is just a customer like you.   

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

@Peter_C

 

Thank you again for the reply.

 

It isn't a crane, a crane won't be blocking it in the middle of the night for just a second before I reconnect. I can pull out the SIM card and put it back in and I'm back online immediately.

 

I'm glad EE aren't hampering the performance but the way the connection behaves is exactly like that. I didn't so much believe it as I wanted people to understand how it behaves, with the disconnection on high capacity downloads and sudden perfectly fine connection as soon as I reconnect the SIM.

 

I hope you're right about the congestion although I was hinted at it being BT Openreach's infrastructure in the past by customer services. They mean the hard wired part, not the radio transmissions (as I always still have an open connection to the tower even when the internet doesn't work).

 

Good luck, I appreciate you asking them for me directly. I've tried believe me, they will have countless notes on the system about me and I personally didn't want to have to bother them again because they don't seem to know...

 

Ps. does this help? https://www.mastdata.com/0/address/address.aspx?AdID=101183

 

https://imgur.com/a/LgJ3WiK

 

by Fieldfare Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Dead mast problems resolved with Steam downloads lol

Someone here is helping me with my issue and I am trying to reply but it keeps being deleted or marked as spam. Why?? If I'm not allowed to link to imgur or mastdata.com then please tell me so I can take that out of the post!!!

 

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