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Old 02-21-2021, 08:01 PM   #1625
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Doc, having a hard time finding the modems on Visible phones. I've gone to the manufacturers website and can't seem to find any of the specs you reference. Since you have much more knowledge than most of us on this subject, and I know you mentioned you might give Visible a try before ditching the "ulimited Verizon plan" we both have, what phone would you get?
Just so you know, I'm currently getting 20mbs to 30mbs on the original free Visible R2. We've had a lot of discussions on this thread about phones and modems. Try what you have first. If that isn't enough for you, worry about buying something better. My cheap R2 is enough for streaming everything and online computer work. If you need the absolute blistering top speed possible squeaking out an additional 2mb a second, then pay more and Visible may not be the best option.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:39 AM   #1626
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Is there a posted specification for what modems work best with Verizon somewhere? And what modem(s) and features are required for maximum speed?

For example the ZTE A7 Prime I use for streaming says it has an
LTE CAT 4 modem with
UMTS, EDGE,GPRS,HSPA+,LTE
Wifi Speed b, g, n
Bluetooth 4.2
The ZTE didnít list any bands
At the moment, itís running about 8.4 Mb/s on speedtest.net Ė which is GOOD for this phone. It frequently runs at around 2 Mb/s when things are even slightly busy.

The other phone, a Motorola G7 says
LTE CAT7
LTE Bands 12,25,26,28,38,41,66
UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, HSPA+,LTE, EV-DO A
Wifi Speed a, b, g, n
The G7 is currently running about 16.5 down and 3.5 upload, which is about what it usually does when things arenít very busy.

EITHER phone will buffer regularly streaming TV at 480p in the evening. So, as I say anytime people ask Ė Visible mostly works, most of the time. But itís reasonably cost effective if youíre in a party.

The question I have is how many additional hundred dollars is required for a phone that will get a RELIABLE extra 5 Mb/s? 10 Mb/s? 15 Mb/s?
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:45 AM   #1627
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Just so you know, I'm currently getting 20mbs to 30mbs on the original free Visible R2. We've had a lot of discussions on this thread about phones and modems. Try what you have first. If that isn't enough for you, worry about buying something better. My cheap R2 is enough for streaming everything and online computer work. If you need the absolute blistering top speed possible squeaking out an additional 2mb a second, then pay more and Visible may not be the best option.
Have you seen any data caps with using it on a hotspot?
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:20 AM   #1628
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So easy to get swamped in this topic 7 was disappointed to see the thread's 'old' origin.

I seek an RV + Home solution; not demanding the latest tech/ fastest speeds. Stuck with DSL(sole alternative-cable) I was pleased with Jetpack's trial month, which got costly thereafter. I run the mediocre ROKU Ultra at home, a lesser model in the RV. DSL is unlimited, hence I've no clue of data consumption.

We're very PT RVers, currently w/Sprint phones; not under consideration as solution. My cell is a Moto G5 Plus which might serve as hotspot, tho it may solely work on Sprint (Jail break?). Frankly, I'd be okay with a flip phone as my cell! While hardly new to computer tech, this area is alien to my dino-brain; see line 1.

Please offer whatever, to assist in getting up to speed in a solution amid the fast-moving options, thanks.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:39 PM   #1629
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Is there a posted specification for what modems work best with Verizon somewhere? And what modem(s) and features are required for maximum speed?
Since Verizon hasn't significantly changed/added spectrum recently then virtually all units support all the necessary LTE bands (as opposed to T-Mobile for example which has added a lot of spectrum un recent years so an older phone may or may not be able to take advantage.) That leaves modem capability and that is pretty straightforward in that a higher category modem is better. What isn't straightforward is how much better and that will vary with location. For example, advanced channel aggregation doesn't do you any good if you can only receive one LTE band 13 in a a rural location, etc. But when conditions stack up in the right direction a more advanced modem chipset can (as in maybe, possibly, sometimes) result in 2-3x faster speeds.

Getting reliable speeds out of Visible probably has much more to do with tower loading and any resultant deprioritization than anything else (assuming that you have a good Verizon signal to begin with of course), and unfortunately it's impossible to predict that. FWIW the legends of massive and constant 'deprioritization' aren't really accurate in my experience. I have a Visible personal phone and a work phone on a native Verizon business plans and more often than not speeds are very similar. But maybe 10% of the time the Visible phone is noticeably slower, impossible for me to resolve exactly why or when it will occur.

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Have you seen any data caps with using it on a hotspot?
Once again... Visible. has. no. data. cap. on. phone. or. hotspot, although there is a sometimes-enforced speed limit of 5 mbps on hotspot. And as you've read Visible is subject to deprioritization at any time, which can further limit speed. 'Subject to' doesn't mean always and you may or may not experience it in a meaningful way, but the potential is there from the first byte per month to the last.

Because of the variability Visible discussions always include endless 'Visible doesn't work' and 'Visible works great for me!' commentary, most of which is well-meaning but also useless to any given individual. You pretty much just have to try it yourself and see what your own experience will be, but due to the low cost of the service that's pretty easy to do. You will probably find (and should expect) some limitations vs. native plans offering less data at 3x the cost, and it's ultimately up to the individual to determine their own threshold of cost-effectiveness.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:25 PM   #1630
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Oddly, it appears my Verizon tower - as far as I know we only have one in range is right over there, down the hill, about 2 blocks away. And with Visible I've never gotten over 3 bars, often 2 bars. And speeds, of course, vary all over the map. I've occasionally hit 25 MB/s, and more often hit effective ZERO. There may be a number there but it's something like 250 Kb/s, so it's effectively zero.


Unfortunately, in the absence of any reasonable way to verify that a massive increase in outlay for a cell phone that costs $1200 (or whatever asinine amount they're charging these days), because it has a GREAT camera I'll never use, doesn't seem like an idea I'd be able to sell the domestic associate.



Yes, there are lots of "wow, it's great" and "it never works", which is why I always say "It mostly works, most of the time." It's almost never great, it's sometimes dreadful and unusable, and most of the time it's adequate as long as you don't have to do anything significant... It gets a lot more interesting when you have to install a piece of software and download a 1.3 GB installation file. And check and see it's downloading at 270Kb/s... And it fails 3 or 4 times before it manages to stay connected for the 40 minutes or so required to get the file.


In your answer to IdahoBen, you were talking CELL PHONE hotspot, right? Visible hasn't lost their collective mind and allowed us to legally connect to fer-real hotspots have they? 'Cause I've still got a really expensive, Nighthawk M1 paperweight sitting here.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:32 PM   #1631
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Oddly, it appears my Verizon tower - as far as I know we only have one in range is right over there, down the hill, about 2 blocks away. And with Visible I've never gotten over 3 bars, often 2 bars.
That would make me seriously suspect whether Verizon is really on that tower. Even if any deprioritization is present that shouldn't have any effect on signal strength, which should be rather strong if only two blocks away.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:09 AM   #1632
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If I recall, I used an app of some sort on the computer to show the Verizon towers around here. There was this one it says is downtown and another couple that were about 8 or so miles from here. After that they were all farther away.


And FWIW, with the ancient Galaxy S5 cell phones we used with Verizon, we always had 4-5 bars here at home and download speeds were typically in the 30-35 Mb/s range... And, of course, the ATT hotspot was always at least that fast back before OTRMobile totally screwed the pooch.


I've never actually watched the phone to see if as we drive somewhere the signal strength changes, so I don't know if we're in some minuscule pocket of badness in this large, bright red, LTE area, but that was the excuse Visible used for why speeds are mediocre - we're in a "poor reception 'pocket'". Which I still think is pure cattle excrement, but once they've decreed that it's not their problem, they pretty much write it off...


So, as I always say, Visible mostly works, most of the time. And it's reasonably cost effective. The real test will be if we get to travel this year and see how well Visible works on the road.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:35 AM   #1633
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I've never actually watched the phone to see if as we drive somewhere the signal strength changes, so I don't know if we're in some minuscule pocket of badness in this large, bright red, LTE area, but that was the excuse Visible used for why speeds are mediocre - we're in a "poor reception 'pocket'". Which I still think is pure cattle excrement, but once they've decreed that it's not their problem, they pretty much write it off...
With all due respect, usable cell phone signals vary over a range of more than 50 decibels (dB). Since the decibel is a logarithmic unit of measure that means that the actual signal can vary over a range of more than 100,000. Although a modern phone can cope this that enormous difference it does perform better if the signal is stronger rather than being extremely weak.

If you are interested in learning more about cellular signal strength, on an Android phone try downloading the app "Network Cell Info Lite" which will display the actual signal strength in dB. The bars at on your phone's screen were never intended to be more than a qualitative measure of the signal strength; they are of little use with respect to truly understanding what your situation is.

What you'll find if you investigate is that cell signals do vary significantly even in areas where supposedly there is "high quality" 4G service. There are ups and downs of signal strength as you travel through an area. And there really are, occasionally, pockets of rather poor reception in an area of otherwise good service.
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Old 02-24-2021, 09:13 AM   #1634
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The other number to look at is RSRQ where Q = Quality. I don't remember how it's calculated but it considers several factors in addition to signal strength to produce some sort of overall quality number. You can see that on Network Cell Info Lite too.

I've seen situations with reasonably good signal strength but not good RSRQ.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:55 AM   #1635
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Just so you know, I'm currently getting 20mbs to 30mbs on the original free Visible R2. We've had a lot of discussions on this thread about phones and modems. Try what you have first. If that isn't enough for you, worry about buying something better. My cheap R2 is enough for streaming everything and online computer work. If you need the absolute blistering top speed possible squeaking out an additional 2mb a second, then pay more and Visible may not be the best option.

Visible has imposed their 5MBPS speed cap on their phone hotspots and I am finding this to be the case on the phone when tethered also. The phones speed will reach 15 to 20 MBPS at our current location, but that is ONLY on the phone. So how are you getting 20 to 30 MBPS other than directly on the phone? Chuck
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Old 02-24-2021, 09:49 PM   #1636
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Visible has imposed their 5MBPS speed cap on their phone hotspots and I am finding this to be the case on the phone when tethered also. The phones speed will reach 15 to 20 MBPS at our current location, but that is ONLY on the phone. So how are you getting 20 to 30 MBPS other than directly on the phone? Chuck
I know you don't want to hear this but this is a common topic and has been discussed several times in this thread alone.

But for a quick summary... cellular carriers have several techniques at their disposal to tell whether the data you are using is from the phone or a tethered device. One of the more common methods is to examine the TTL (time-to-live) data in each IP packet that among other things can be used to tell how many devices the packet has transited (the TTL number is de-incremented every time it passes through a network element.) So... since the original TTL figure for the phone is known it can easily be resolved if the packet started out somewhere other than the phone. The way around this is to program a router to spoof the TTL figure in such a sway as to make it appear that the traffic is originating on the phone, even though it actually originated further out. And since when this is done the data appears to have been consumed on the phone the carrier doesn't know to throttle it. This is not the only method used to discover a tethered device but it seems to be the one that Visible is using... for now.

Specific instructions are dependent on the router being used so the best way to find out which equipment to use and how to program it can be found via a Google search, or again this has been covered earlier in the thread for some common routers such as the GL-iNet.
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Old 02-25-2021, 02:15 PM   #1637
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In getting the phone ready to set up and taking the advise to not allow updates, I followed the directions to try and get into the Developer Mode. I tap the build 7 times and I get a notification that says, OK, your now a Developer. But nothing changes as far as options and there is no option to turn off updates. I have the auto updates turned off in the settings but not finding it anywhere else. The is Visible's ZTE Blade A3 their cheap phone. So is this going to be an issue once everything is set up. I'm waiting for the new router to arrive. Right now I'm using a TP Travel router that only allows connection via wifi. Chuck
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Old 02-26-2021, 05:20 AM   #1638
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You will find it at the bottom of settings and can click on it now that you opened access to developer mode.
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