Question Stability(ping spikes, packet loss) of personal/private mobile hotspots

Dec 1, 2021
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Hello,

I only have spectrum at this apartment where I live in NY. In the 4 years that I've been here, I've never had a problem with my internet until recently. Pinging something like google on cmd would show frequent packet loss and ping spikes.

Spectrum sent 2 technicians who, after 3 hours of poking around, could not find the cause and stated the issue must lie in the construction of the building.

I believe a personal mobile hotspot plan is my only option. I am concerned about stability as I understand mobile hotspots, regardless of whether it is a standalone device or on a smartphone, is generally used short-term, for a few hours during a layover or something similar.

Has anyone had any personal experiences and can tell me of the stability of mobile hotspots? Currently with the only ISP available to me, I see spikes of 3k-5k and anywhere from 5%-10% packet loss over 10 minutes of continuous pining using ping -t.

Best,
Julius
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hello,

I only have spectrum at this apartment where I live in NY. In the 4 years that I've been here, I've never had a problem with my internet until recently. Pinging something like google on cmd would show frequent packet loss and ping spikes.

Spectrum sent 2 technicians who, after 3 hours of poking around, could not find the cause and stated the issue must lie in the construction of the building.

I believe a personal mobile hotspot plan is my only option. I am concerned about stability as I understand mobile hotspots, regardless of whether it is a standalone device or on a smartphone, is generally used short-term, for a few hours during a layover or something similar.

Has anyone had any personal experiences and can tell me of the stability of mobile hotspots? Currently with the only ISP available to me, I see spikes of 3k-5k and anywhere from 5%-10% packet loss over 10 minutes of continuous pining using ping -t.

Best,
Julius
their statements could be accurate. I would start by seeing if the modem statistics are available to you. If you have a discrete modem, they are usually available at 192.168.100.1
Look at the values presented and read this article -- https://www.speedguide.net/faq/what-cable-modem-signal-levels-are-considered-good-78
to see if you have a problem.
 
Dec 1, 2021
4
0
10
0
their statements could be accurate. I would start by seeing if the modem statistics are available to you. If you have a discrete modem, they are usually available at 192.168.100.1
Look at the values presented and read this article -- https://www.speedguide.net/faq/what-cable-modem-signal-levels-are-considered-good-78
to see if you have a problem.
Hello,

The technicians used some sort of device to connect the coax cable running through the apartment unit and confirmed with me there were problems with the signal using the same units shown in the article. They mentioned my modem was not the issue, it was the wiring and perhaps the cable itself but with the way the building was constructed(and in their words, it was "weird"), they do not have access to change the "switcher".

I'm not well versed with city policies and don't know if those utility poles are bought out by spectrum so I don't know how I would switch to a different ISP if both T-Mobile and Verizon are telling me I am outside their coverage area. I still don't see a solution outside of switching to a personal hotspot.

If I move in the future, there is no guarantee this problem won't arise again. I would need permission to tear down walls and will most definitely pay for it all myself.

If a personal hotspot is my only option, do you know if it's stable enough for online gaming? Of course I understand wired connections are great, but apparently there's nothing I can do to fix the faulty cables in this particular situation.

Best,
Julius
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hello,

The technicians used some sort of device to connect the coax cable running through the apartment unit and confirmed with me there were problems with the signal using the same units shown in the article. They mentioned my modem was not the issue, it was the wiring and perhaps the cable itself but with the way the building was constructed(and in their words, it was "weird"), they do not have access to change the "switcher".

I'm not well versed with city policies and don't know if those utility poles are bought out by spectrum so I don't know how I would switch to a different ISP if both T-Mobile and Verizon are telling me I am outside their coverage area. I still don't see a solution outside of switching to a personal hotspot.

If I move in the future, there is no guarantee this problem won't arise again. I would need permission to tear down walls and will most definitely pay for it all myself.

If a personal hotspot is my only option, do you know if it's stable enough for online gaming? Of course I understand wired connections are great, but apparently there's nothing I can do to fix the faulty cables in this particular situation.

Best,
Julius
Unlike a single family house, where you are usually the owner and may be able to run new coax, a large apartment building is beyond your control. If you have poor signal to your modem, there is very little you can do.
 
You are not going to be happy with using personal hotspots and gaming. You now have 2 wireless signals in most cases. The first is the normal wifi issue where interference from your neighbors causes lag spikes in games. You also have the second which is the connection to the cell tower this is also very hit and miss. It depends how strong a signal you get and how many other devices are connected. It can change during different parts of the day depending on how many cars are nearby.

I would push building management to fix the cabling. It likely is something very simple like a loose connection to a splitter or maybe the end of cable is damaged. The ISP tend to blindly crimp new ends on cables when they see problems and can get to the cabling.
It is very rare for it to be the wire itself someplace behind a wall. Maybe offer to pay part of the cost to bring in a person to fix this, it will be likely less than you are going to spend on the hotspot equipment along with the large monthly charges you might find since there are few that have unlimited data for a fixed price.

Apartments are starting to figure out that good internet is almost as important as how many bedrooms a place has when they try to attract new tenants. Not sure if you are in a position you can realistically threaten to move over this issue, depends on how the renal market is near you.

Although not likely a valid option unless you happen to have a balcony that faces north. You are in starlinks coverage area. Although you will still get small spikes when it hands off between satellites it is going to be better than a cellar hotspot.
 
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Another option which I normally don't recommend anymore is can you get DSL. This is delivered via telephone lines. Most older buildings still have telephone connections in most rooms. Not sure which provider offers phone service but most are one of the many parts of ATT.

This will be very slow compared to a cable modem but it will likely be stable. Most online games only need 500kbits/sec. The downloading and patching will be where you see the difference. For other stuff it will be more or less the same, maybe you can't watch netflix at 4k if the dsl is too slow but many of the DSL connections are getting better.
 

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