Any other VK hams having trouble with using SmartLink on Telstra Mobile Broadband?

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 10 months ago
  • Answered
I'm having a ball with SmartSDR V2.0.19 and my remotely located 6700 using Win7 PC, Maestro and SmartSDR for iOS clients, with one annoying exception - Telstra, Australia's largest 4G Network Provider, terminates the connection after PRECISELY 2 minutes. This only occurs when I am using a 3G or 4G connection via my iPad or iPhone. I have turned off the iPad Autolock. I have no problem using my home Wi-Fi or any other WiFi connection.

After spending over an hour with one of their Telstra's Technicians today, she finally conceded that the problem IS occurring and is being caused by the Telstra Network, so it would be of great assistance to me to know if any other VK Ham are having a similar problem, so that I can increase the pressure for Telstra to do something about it.

Any other suggestions would be very much appreciated.

73 Winston VK7WH
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes

Posted 10 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Andrew Russell

Andrew Russell

  • 260 Posts
  • 33 Reply Likes
G'day Winston,
Me too.
But as its a work phone I haven't pushed it apart from testing. Works well for 2mins.
Need better WiFi away from home as well.
Andrew VK5CV
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Thanks Andrew, I was certain that it the problem was not restricted to me. I'll keep you posted on any progress I have.
Winston
Photo of VK6SJ

VK6SJ

  • 5 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Hi Winston,

I’ve been demonstrating the Flex at Ham events in Perth and Melbourne so far using a 4G Telstra wi-fi modem and not had any issues with Smartlink.
What I have found is if you don’t have 1.5Mb upload speed from the radio to the network it doesn’t work so well. Not to say that Telstra isn’t the issue. I’m using Optus to demonstrate the IPhone and iPad apps with no issues ever (except it’s not so safe when driving).
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Thanks for the input Steve. Have you, or can you try connecting using the marvellous DL8MRE SDR for iOS app directly from an iPad or iPhone using a Telstra SIM card? I haven't tried connecting through a Telstra wiFi modem, but I will do so. With regard to upload speed I have plenty, around 30 Mb/s. Also, it does work at most public WiFi nodes, such as McDonald's.
Also, it's nice to know that I can move to Optus if Telstra cannot find a solution.

Thanks again Winston
Photo of Wayne VK4ACN

Wayne VK4ACN

  • 129 Posts
  • 20 Reply Likes
Im using Virgin who run on optus network and not a problem, so far
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Thanks Wayne, that's reassuring to know. I'm reluctant to move Carriers because of Telstra's more extensive coverage in Tasmania however if they can't resolve the issue I will.

73 Winston
Photo of Mike - ZL1MRC

Mike - ZL1MRC

  • 55 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
Hello, I had the same problem with Vodafone here in NZ.  The issue that they have is there broadband and 4G data connections share the same private NAT scheme, therefore no data can pass between the networks.  
I used a VPN client as a work around and now have connectivity. 

73
Mike - ZL1MRC
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Thanks Mike. Are running the hidemyass software on a pc at your Flex 6xxx server location as well as on the client iPad/iPhone?
Photo of Mike - ZL1MRC

Mike - ZL1MRC

  • 55 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
HI. I am running it only on my iPhone. I have not tried any others however there is a few listed in the App Store.
73 Mike
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
"HI. I am running it only on my iPhone. I have not tried any others however there is a few listed in the App Store."
That's interesting Mike. I'll sign up for a month and give it a try and post the results.

Many tnx

Winston
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Bloody marvellous Mike. I signed up for a month. Simple process and setup. Works like a treat. No 120 sec timeout with Telstra anymore, although I will continue lobbying Telstra to sort out this rediculous situation in which they seem totally disinterested in taking my money. I don't see why I have to pay money to a private company in order to get the service I am already paying Telstra over $250 a month for.

Thank you again Mike, Tony Tim and all the others who have helped with information.

One last request - I'm off to the US next Month to spend Christmas with my daughter who is currently living in Hawaii. Any suggestions as to the best carrier in HI to purchase a prepaid data sim?

Thanks de Winston VK7WH
Photo of Mike - ZL1MRC

Mike - ZL1MRC

  • 55 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
Hi Winston, excellent news!  I had a QSO with Dan N4GNR using Smartlink from a Cafe.  5/9 all the way!!
73 Mike.
Photo of Tony Taddeo

Tony Taddeo

  • 60 Posts
  • 28 Reply Likes
Hi Guys

I can confirm I also have the same problem, the reason I don't use Smartlink when remoting, but rather a VPN back to the network running my radio, which also provides access to antenna switching, amplifier and rotator.

Telstra uses a NATing service for mobile users, which stops passing incomming traffic if there is no outgoing activity on a port for some time, in this case 2 minutes. 

If you are a business user, you can get a direct internet connection with a real IP address on your mobile devices by using the APN 'telstra.extranet' (without the quotes) rather than 'telstra.wap'. To do this you need have the additional (free) profile GPTEXB3 added to your service.

The way to do this is to ring Telstra Business Faults on 132999, go through to mobile phone faults and let them know your need a profile added to your service to obtain a direct internet IP address. They will ask you why, and I suggest you say 'I need it for a VPN service that will only work with a direct internet IP address'. Trying to contact Telstra to have the service added in another manner will be futile (smile).

You then need to add the new APN to your phone.  In my case an iPhone 7. Settings ->mobile data->Mobile Data Options->Mobile Data->Network. As I had a recent overseas trip this year and used an overseas SIM, I can only set the APN for the Personal Hotspot without doing a network reset, which I am not doing at this stage as it will also loose my VPN and Wifi settings. 

I can confirm that if I hotspot my iPad to my mobile using the telstra.extranet APN the 2 minute disconnect does not occur using SmartLink. You can check you have a real internet IP address by typing 'whats my IP' in a google search. - Good luck!

As a suggestion, Flexradio could modify how Smartlink works to ensure that there are regular (less than every 2 minutes) keep alive packets on all SmartLink ports to keep these connections active.

Tony
VK5TT
(Edited)
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Wow Tony, that really pinpoints the problem directly to Telstra. The problem I have is that I had to let go my Telstra Business Account some years ago after I retired as, in order to receive a part pension, I had to cancel the business ABN number and I cannot get a Business Account without an ABN number.

About three years ago, before I had a WiFi Bridge connection to Fibre at the remote site, my son setup a "telstra.extranet" Service Fixed IP Account for me on his business account. This worked well however I let this lapse as soon as I connected to fibre because of the excessive data costs. While I could do the same thing again, it would not only be a messy arrangement, it would be very expensive for what would amount to only occasional use.

I think I need to talk to Telstra again

Thanks again for your very helpful comments

Regards and 73

Winston
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Tim, any thoughts on Tony's suggestions?
Photo of Tim - W4TME

Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

  • 9148 Posts
  • 3467 Reply Likes
If the radio is connected, UDP (VITA-49) traffic is passing continuously (1.5 Mbps for a single panadapter and slice).  There is keepalive process on the TCP control channel where packets are sent every several seconds once the connection with the radio is established.  If we do not receive them from the radio for 15 seconds, the connection between the radio and the client is dropped.
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Thanks Tom
Photo of Winston VK7WH

Winston VK7WH

  • 247 Posts
  • 42 Reply Likes
Sorry Tim, my fat fingers

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.