this post was originally published on the Lollipop Cloud project’s blog.
I use my Lollipop as an access point for my devices to “the outside world,” by tethering my Lollipop to a cell phone. After some recent mobile account upgrades, I finally buckled down to do some serious Lollipop work… and discovered my connection speeds are *abysmal*, at less than 0.5 mbps, with two different phones (an iPhone 5S and an LG K20 Plus) on the T-mobile network.
But when using an iPhone 8 on the Verizon network as a hotspot, the connection speed jumped to 4.5 mbps.
These tests were without a VPN, so I was concerned that Unbound and Pi-hole may have been hindering my speeds. However….
It turned out that my cellular plan only allowed tethering at 3G speeds, even though I was under the impression I’d be getting 4G tethering. (“under the impression” as in “the rep at the store *and* the rep on the phone two days later said as much.” But I digress with my bitterness.)
After more digging, not only is it not transparent that tether speed limits are a thing, but the “unlimited 4G tethering” plan (AKA “One Plus International,” NOT to be confused with “One Plus” plan) had been discontinued on August 10, 2018: about two days after I ran these tests. See this post from the Mobile Internet Resource Center about T-mobile’s plan changes.
I got lucky: Because the changes to my account over the last several weeks were documented in their system before the retirement of the One Plus International plan, T-mobile was able to reinstate the One Plus International plan and now I’m seeing perfectly respectable greater-than-4-mbps tethering speeds.
If you’re using a Lollipop as your primary internet access point and you’re noticing sluggish network speeds, you may consider running some tests to compare your cellular connection to a non-cellular connection (such as home or coffee shop internet), and checking with your mobile plan to determine if you’re being similarly throttled.
For the purposes of troubleshooting this issue, I used speedtest.net‘s Android and iOS apps, and the speedtest-cli (command-line interface), installed directly on my Lollipop with
apt install speedtest-cli. (For my novice friends: After it’s installed, it’s very easy to use: just type
speedtest at the command line and hit enter.)
And if you’re a heavy mobile user on any network(s), the Mobile Internet Resource Center is a wealth of reliable, unbiased information. Some of it is paywalled but I’ve always found plenty of very helpful free information on their site: https://www.rvmobileinternet.com
I hope this helps you avoid similar hassles,