Relish (Three) Broadband. A 4G Alternative to wired connections in London

Relish Broadband and Hyperoptic Broadband  Now

While everyone goes on about the countryside having poor broadband, it’s here in central London, EC1, that has terrible domestic broadband connections.   Here with BT or Sky the download speeds are never greater than 7mbs down and 700kbs up. There is no fibre here, no Virgin cable. Blocks of flats have real issues.

At last out block may yet get Hyperoptic broadband cabling.   We have this at our other apartment. Although fast is had similar issues.

When Relish Broadband came along offering high speed, up to 50mbs using  a dedicated 4G network in EC1 at only £20 a month unlimited use, I jumped at it.

Alas there is no free lunch.  Here is my list of Relish issues that Relish/Three broadband does not tell you, or is so hidden in small print that you will miss it.   Now that Three have taken over, nothing at all has changed:

  1.  You cannot put the Relsih 4G SIM in any other device than their hub/router (This is in their T&Cs). You cannot for example put in in a 4G dongle.
  2.  The router/hub is locked down. You cannot change much at all.
  3.  The Relish router/hub does offer dynamic IP name assignment with DYNDNS and others, but those will not work unless you buy a fixed IP address!
  4. As above you cannot reach your hub network from the internet because Relish uses CGNAT thus hiding you within their private network. To have normal home broadband you have buy an IP address; that is get the business package.
  5. The router/hub uses Network Translation (NAT) ONLY. The other options are greyed out, so you cannot set it to route the one IP address, and use the router as a modem, which I would much prefer to connect it on to a proper router.
  6. There were sudden drop outs in connection causing pauses. This problem persists but is now much less often after a firmware upgrade.
  7. No IPV6 support.  Does seem to be planned either!
  8. Asynchronous.  Upload speeds very poor, 4MBs 

At first the service was terrible and hardly worked at all, but I stuck with them. To be fair you can send the hub back and cancel the contract at no charge within a month, so you can test it out for free.  The help line advice was just to give up and send it back!  I wanted it to work. After six weeks the poor signal strength shot up and I was getting speeds of up to 60mbs down and 10mbs up. Almost Korean speeds.  During busy times, which here in is during the day, it can fall to as low as 8mbs down and 4Mbs up for short periods. Still, these speeds much better than Sky.  And it is unlimited.

Relish marketing have designed the package to be plug and play. That is all very well, but what REALLY annoys me it that there is no technical information page. It’s take it or leave it attitude.

They describe it as home broadband without wires, but the basic package is not. Their advertising is naughty, especially as there do not give any of the details on their web page of what the service actually is. There is no reason to hide the truth as it is still good value.

The base package is not home broadband as you cannot reach your home from the internet unlike all most wired services, except hyperoptic.  This could lead to other problems with games and any home cloud you have. Relish uses Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT). In effect you are on their private internal network. You do not have a reachable IP address, so dyndns and similar services will not work. This is in effect double NAT. This does not seem to be necessary is IPV6 is coming along allowing everything and everybody to have an IP address. But CGNAT does act as a nasty block from the internet to your home device. Some might like this double firewall.

Hyperoptic are almost as bad as they too use CGNAT  so you cannot teach your 1Gbs router from the internet. So you had to buy the fixed IP4 address.  But at least with them IPV6 is now rolled out, so should not be necessary, but their router is clumsy handling it.  Hyperoptic is fast, low ping and SYNCHRONOUS !   £60pcm for full service and phone.

Hyperoptic today on Rasperrypi:   Download: 167.71 Mbit/s 
Upload: 226.71 Mbit/s

At the start I fought with Relish their terrible help lines, and to their credit they offered me a business IP address, so I can reach my router here. I now pay £30pcm no phone

I wish that these businesses they could have the courage to be more honest on their web pages about the product and give much more technical info.  They to sell their products as if a fridge.  You plug it in and forget.  For a business environment that’s not good enough. 

It’s still good value.  Its working pretty well, usually very fast but had the occasional drop-out, but that issues seems fixed.

Three Broadbnad, Relish is now stable (May 2019) useful and fast enough.  A few times it does drop to 6Mbs which is the TOP speed we get on our Sky/BT lines, but averaged 40Mbs.   Relish/Three still lacks IPv6 support and this is becoming an increasing problem.

Test Relish on Raspberry Pi  Relisj? Three:  Download: 33.08 Mbit/s Upload: 3.83 Mbit/s

I have two connections at at this apartment. Slow Sky (6Mbs), Broadband and Relish.   For me Sky Broadband is now the spare connection (failover) should Relish fail.  This is switch is automatic; The Draytek Vigor 2860 router I have does load balancing and failover.   Sky has IPv6. Three Relish does not. I cannot IPv6 at all use as default routing prefers IPv6, forcing the router to use the slower connection.