[SOLVED!] Losing constant Internet connection on Mofi 4500?

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[SOLVED!] Losing constant Internet connection on Mofi 4500?

Post by Apologetic »

I tried many things, including:
-- Three different AT&T network providers and plans, using multiple APNs
-- Tried Verizon and T-Mobile network plans, and had no problems, confirming the issue was AT&T (but signal strength wasn't strong enough on those to stick with them)
-- Another Mofi router, and another non-Mofi router. Many threads on Reddit make clear this issue has nothing to do with Mofi, and people are having it with AT&T on many devices.
-- A half dozen different configurations/firmware installs on the Mofi

In the end, going through a VPN saved us. Once we installed VPN software on our primary devices (we used NordVPN, more on them in a moment), everything just worked. No more lost Internet connections, ever. And even though the VPN software was only installed on our connected computers, phones and tablets, the many other devices on the network that weren't going through the VPN -- Apple TV, a zillion smart home devices, more -- continued to hum along just fine, without ever triggering the need to reset the Mofi router.

My best guess is that at some point, some sort of traffic/device limit was being triggered with AT&T and it was disabling HTTP traffic. But I really don't know, and for now, I really don't care. Everything finally works great.

NordVPN (www.nordvpn.com) was incredibly easy to set up, and they seem to offer great deals (in the end, paid about $80 for three years). That allows for six simultaneous connected devices. Though again, we only put the VPN on our heavy-use devices, like our laptops and iPads. Technically, you can install NordVPN (or other VPNs) at the router level, and the Mofi 4500 makes this incredibly easy to do with built-in setup for NordVPN. But there was a huge performance hit doing it that way, as the Mofi just isn't strong enough to process the VPN encryption. Enabling the VPN on Mofi dropped our speeds by about 80%. Enabling it on the device level we see truly NO drop in speed.

I did briefly buy a souped up ASUS router from FlashRouters (www.flashrouters.com), with a massive processor and built-in custom firmware for various VPNs, including Nord. It worked great, and speeds were much faster, but in the end I found the router unwieldy and couldn't get it to play as nicely with our Orbi wifi. I ended up returning it. The people at FlashRouters were fantastic and I would highly recommend them. If you install the VPN at the router level, obviously everything is much simpler in terms of connected devices -- and that only counts as one device.

We've only run into two quirks with using the VPN: Some web sites (including Google every once in awhile) will occasionally force you to do one of those I-am-not-a-robot captchas, as the VPN traffic triggers something or other on their end. And, more frustrating, Bank of America's website and mobile app cannot be accessed through NordVPN. This is a known issue, apparently BofA blocks a lot of VPN traffic. So when we log into banking we do have to temporarily disable the VPN on the device we're using, which again the Nord software makes super easy.

The final point I'd mention is that if you go down the Reddit rabbit hole on NordVPN you'll see that they had some sort of compromising issue in the not-too-distant-past, and some people who are using VPNs for hyper anonymity don't like them for that reason. But (a) Nord claims they've fixed all that and (b) I'm just using it to get my Internet to work, not launder drug cartel money.

So, there you go. Not so much a fix as a workaround, but it really does work, and now we're back humming along with fast speeds and no router resets at all. Good luck.
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