Improving internet speed

Hello all those who can help with improving internet speeds. I know this has been well covered before and I have tried to read through all the threads but I still don’t know what to do. Here is the little background.

No fibre available, nor ADSL in the hamlet. Set up SFR 4g box yesterday. Got signal and all ok. Connected laptop and phones to wifi. Cannot get wifi signal anywhere in house except kitchen with phones but that is not the problem.

The issue we have is the speed of the internet itself.

It is running at
-111 dBm
Upload about 50
Download about 5 to 10

This was tested with a desktop connected to the box via ethernet.

Neighbours on one side have Free and the other side have Orange. Both have the same issue, so it is not the provider SFR, it’s probably all of them. The previous owner of our house had Orange and upload / download speeds of 1 !?!?!?!? Prehistoric.

We have to work with large files (up to 300 meg) and know this kind of signal strength and upload / download just cannot cope with that. We would be sat at our desks 24 on 24 just waiting.

The question is, of course, what can we do? Please can somebody help and especially if you can use ‘non-tech’ jargon please


When I had that problem I used to drive to the nearest place with a good 4g signal (in Montmorillon you can get 40Mbps up/ 80Mbps down in Place du Maréchal Leclerc, for example) and transfer large files there - onto laptop or phone.

Another alternative would be to install satellite internet - it’s generally at least twice the price and not completely reliable but when it works it should be faster than your present connection.

Is there a workspace hub in local town you can go to? Our has I think it’s called a communication hub where for a small hourly fee you can use their facilities.

Have you thought about satellite? Elon Musk’s StarLink system seems to provide excellent speeds, albeit at a cost. I think I saw an offer recently.

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The current Starlink offer is 199 euros for the equipment and then 40 euros a month for the service.
Still offering a 30 day trial period.


Honestly if you don’t even have ADSL let alone fibre then I’d be looking at Starlink as others have mentioned. Not cheap but you don’t have many (any?) other options.

A received signal level of -111 dBm seems very low to me, although I’m not sure what is typical for a phone. It’s interesting that your upload speeds are so much greater than your download speeds. This suggests that the signal your box is transmitting is good when it arrives at the mast, but the signal from the mast is poor. If your neighbours use 4G as well and have the same issue but with different providers then they are probably using the same mast. In this case it’s possible that the mast may have a fault, as if your transmitted signal gets to the mast OK, it’s signal should get to you just as well if not better.
Just looked up typical signal levels. -90dBm is good, -110dBm is fair to poor and -120dBm is unusable. So, your level of -111dBm should work, which it does, but it could definitely be better.
Edit: Shouldn’t look at the first link in Google :frowning:. More reputable sources suggest that less than -100dBm for 4G is bad and -110dBm is edge of usable range. So you may be on the edge for your received signal.

Current Starlink speeds for me:

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What quota do they give you a month?

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Thanks everyone. I shall talk to my husband and show him your replies.

As he works on client confidential work with banks and mortgage providers, plus others I cannot name, he is not able to go to a community hub or office.

The speeds we are getting and the force de signal are not on a phone they are when a desktop is connected directly to the box via ethernet cable so it is shockingly poor. Unusable really except for email with no attachments.

PeterJ, thanks, I have already loaded the starlink page and will investigate. Think it is our only bet until fibre arrives (early 2024 so say?!?)

Does Starlink have a restriction on usage please? I will look but if you know the answer it will probably be quicker :slight_smile:

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Have you thought about an external aerial for your 4g box, we found it made a massive difference, it’s a cheaper option to try first before going to starlink, also experiment moving the box into different places, sometimes even moving it 6 inches makes a big difference, use the signal indicator and dBm in the app to see.
Use something like the network signal info app on your phone to check different locations first.

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I’m not sure. Their T&Cs state unlimited data on the standard plan, but it looks like they reserve the right to throttle standard users if Priority Users require it. Priority Users get either 1TB, 2TB or 6TB depending on their package.

I’ve only heard of throttling happening in USA though, I’m not aware that it’s been required as much in Europe. @PeterJ presumably you’re on the standard package, have you noticed any throttling ever taking place?

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That would be my first thought. As well as being of better performance in and of itself it will allow placement outside (avoiding reduction in signal as it passes through walls) and can be placed high off the ground where you will have better line of sight to the mast.

Do you konw where the mast is relative to you - three’s a site somewhere where you can look it up but I can’t remember the URL at the moment.

Hi Griffin36, you are right and we have thought of this and I think it might be our first port of call to see if it makes a difference.

Billybutcher, we do know where the mast is as checked before we moved back home. We defo would have a line of sight from house roof or the second barn roof.

It is defo a cheaper option but is it better or are we just wasting time? I do not know. All I know is that OH is going crazily round the bend with it and I need to sort it for him quick as I can.

Any recommendations for external amplifiers to boost the signal. Not the ‘repeteurs’ but an amplifier. Been searching on Amazon but a bit confused as to what would be best

Some people swear by them but they are actually illegal - and from a technical perspective, since digital communication is all about signal to noise level, amplifying a weak, noisy signal gives you a strong very noisy signal which isn’t any better at transmitting data.

Illegal??? How odd. Can’t say I agree with that but sure you know better

Maximum output power in the phone bands is controlled by legislation as it is easy to interfere with other people’s phone signals.

In fact just about *all* use of radio spectrum is controlled by legislation.

Edit: Ok, I might be slightly out of date as far as the UK is concerned - I see one company is saying that they have legal ones but even they note that

So I’ll leave it as “most of them are illegal”

I’ll try and check the position in France unless anyone beats me to it.

You would be much better spending your money on an external aerial as @Griffin36 suggested. If you have a house with stone walls, then this can reduce the signal hugely. If you use an external aerial then a directional aerial will have to be pointed at the 4G mast. If you use an omni-directional aerial, the performance may not be as good as an aligned directionhal aerial, but it may work fine for you.

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Don’t think I’m a party pooper but working in France on line for English clients?
I am sure you have done your homework and everything is above board but best not to disclose on a forum your business activities that anyone can read.

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