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xenophon
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject: Sprint ##DATA tuning (changing Home Agent)

I've been experimenting with changing the HA Addresses (Home Agent) on the Sprint Novatel card and have noticed performance differences depending on the address. The addresses are apparently assigned based on the region of your account billing address. Some seem to behave slower than others.

Edit/Update: Sprint now defaults the HA to 255.255.255.255. This will ideally select the HA nearest to you when traveling across the country, but it still may not be the fastest path.

If you already get over 1Mbps downloads, this probably won't help much. If consistently below 400Kbps and you have a good signal (-80dBm or better), this might help (though low performance could also be due to load on tower from other users). If you have poor ping times, great signal and not set to an HA near you, this is worth trying, especially for gamers (see "more details" below).

To see/change the HA Address, you must acquire the MSL (Master Service Lock) code from Sprint, also called the Activation code or Alternative Lock. (If you bought from 3gstore, this site, they can send it to you or see this thread.) If you've activated the card yourself when first purchased, the code they gave you to activate is the MSL code. Or you could call the support and tell them you need to activate your card and need the Activation Code. They should give it to you with no issues. They'll ask for your ESN number written on card or the phone number of card which can be found in Device Diag in Connection Manager. They also might ask for your account password. If a rep does not head down that path, hang up and call another.


Once you have the 6-digit MSL/Activation code...

- Run Sprint Connection Manager 3.x (warning, SmartView 1.x manager may have serious issues, use 3.x manager)
- Must be disconnected from EVDO (disable NDIS if using it)
- Move mouse over 'Go' button and leave pointer on top of it
- Type in caps... ##DATA
- (If MSL window does not appear, quit and restart the Connection Manager)
- Enter MSL code
- A window like this should appear for Novatel cards... (or see post further down thread for Sierra or page 16 of thread for Pantech. Also works on Franklin cards.)


Experiment with primary/secondary addresses below but be sure to write down the original address on the card in case you need to go back to it. Update: Or you can do an 'Update Profile' in connection manager and it will set back to defaults. The primary address is first used when connecting. If that fails, it will use the secondary.

On Vision and PowerVision phones, dial ##DATA#. You'll need the MSL code to change the HA address. For phones, just call Sprint and tell them you need to reset the phone.

Here are the addresses of Home Agents around the country. The tools used to determine the location are only about 80% accurate, so these locations may not be exact. Set the HA to one near you (but try others). If traveling, set to the region of your travels.

To allow HA to change automatically depending on location, set primary to...
255.255.255.255 - Changes to nearest HA automatically (more on this later)
(Note: The secondary address must be one of the addresses below.)

To specifically change to a particular HA region...

68.28.49.76 San Jose, CA Area 1
68.28.49.77 San Jose, CA Area 1
(could be Stockton or Sacramento)

68.28.57.76 Anaheim, CA Area 1 (or possibly San Jose, likely LA area)
68.28.57.77 Anaheim, CA Area 7 (or possibly Peoria, AZ, likely LA area)

68.28.81.76 Kansas City, MO Area 2
68.28.81.77 Kansas City, MO Area 2
(could be Omaha)

68.28.89.76 Kansas City, MO Area 2
68.28.89.77 Kansas City, MO Area 2

68.28.113.76 Pennsauken, NJ Area 3
68.28.113.77 Pennsauken, NJ Area 3

68.28.121.76 New York, NY Area 3
68.28.121.77 New York, NY Area 3

68.28.145.76 Chicago, IL Area 4
68.28.145.77 Chicago, IL Area 4

68.28.153.76 Roachdale, IN Area 4
68.28.153.77 Roachdale, IN Area 4

68.28.177.76 Fort Worth, TX Area 5
68.28.177.77 Kansas City, MO Area 5 (possible DNS config issue, likely Ft. Worth)

68.28.185.76 Atlanta, GA Area 5
68.28.185.77 Atlanta, GA Area 5
(speedtest.net says in Houston)

Area 5 typically shows up as the slowest performing on dslreports. Experiment with other nearby regions.

68.28.241.76 Relay, MD Area 7
68.28.241.77 Relay, MD Area 7
(speedtest.net says in Florida)

68.28.249.76 Atlanta, GA Area 7
68.28.249.77 Atlanta, GA Area 7

New Untested/Unknown. These are pingable but not yet tested.
68.28.16.76/77
68.28.18.76/77
68.28.54.76/77
68.28.62.76/77
68.28.96.76/77
68.28.118.76/77
68.28.126.76/77
68.28.140.76/77
68.28.150.76/77
68.28.158.76/77
68.28.160.76/77
68.28.170.76/77
68.28.182.76/77
68.28.190.76/77
68.28.192.76/77
68.28.205.76/77
68.28.206.76/77
68.28.208.76/77
68.28.220.76/77
68.28.246.76/77
68.28.251.76/77

This is it. There are no other home agents known.

More details:
- When traveling, the HA you are assigned to may cause traffic to bounce twice across country. If you live in NYC and are assigned to a NY HA, but then travel to LA and visit a website in LA, your traffic (worst case scenario) will likely bounce from the LA tower to the NY HA to the LA website back to the NY HA to the LA tower and to your laptop. That's a lot of unnecessary hopping across country. If you have performance problems when traveling, try setting the primary HA to 255.255.255.255 (allowing it to autoset to the nearest HA) or to the region of your travels.

- Gamers. Latency is typically the major factor in online performance. Chances are obstructions between you and the tower and other factors will impact latency more than HA location, but HA still can make a difference. If you know the location of the game server, try pointing the HA near the gaming server, near you or an HA somewhere between. Experiment with many HAs, even those that may not make the most sense. Sometimes poor ping can be related to poor routing paths. Changing the HA allows you to change your route paths.

- Mac/Linux and router users. You must change the HA with Connection Manager in Windows. The settings are stored in the card so when used with non-Windows, the HA setting will still work.

More performance tidbits
Windows Vista users should try this performance update
http://www.evdoforums.com/thread6729.html

When running your speed tests, be sure there are not other things going on that generate traffic, like P2P apps or even spyware. To check, while doing no activity look at the total byte count in the Connection Manager. It shouldn't move very much with no activity. If lots of bytes are flowing, you have something generating traffic in the background and will give false speed test results.

__________________
Here is a quick way to determine your assigned 'area' w/out needing MSL code. This will at least narrow it down to two possible HAs...

http://www.dslreports.com/mspeed?whoami=1&w=

Example:
DNS: area4.spcsdns.net (must be set to Indiana or Illinois)

Another way is to do a traceroute (tracert command in Windows) to some website and compare the path of IP address locations with this tool (only 80% accurate)..
http://www.ipligence.com/geolocation/?lang=en&search#


To better understand regions and how Sprint assigns HAs, please post on this thread your default HAs and state you live in. Dial ##DATA# on most Sprint phones to also check.

To compare your speeds with different HAs...
http://www.sprint.com/speedtest (sprint's test site)
http://www.dslreports.com/stest (coasts)
http://www.everestkc.net/index.php?module=speedtest (midwest)
http://speed.nap.wideopenwest.com (midwest)


To check latency from command line, 'ping www.google.com' or website near you. Lower is better.

Rev0 typically does 180ms-400ms, 130ms is about the lowest.

RevA typically does 100ms-200ms, can be as low as 50-80ms if near tower with few/no obstructions.

Latency can be much higher if you are very far from the tower, have a poor signal, thick or many walls, when below ground or if the HA is set far away.



Warning: Use info at your own risk. Don't change other settings unless you know what you're doing.

Update: Sprint seems to have improved HA bandwidth performance issues by turning off the compression servers. The HA you point to may be a factor if you travel across country but in general, the HA is less of an issue than in the past. Latency/ping times could still be impacted, especially for RevA users. Update2: Many still see bandwidth improvements by experimenting with different HAs.

BTW: This is a CDMA thing, not a Sprint only design, so Home Agents are likely done this way for Verizon and Alltel as well. I've tried to find a way to change Verizon HAs but with no luck.

Note: This post has been updated several times based on new discoveries throughout posts within this thread.


Last edited by xenophon on Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:53 pm; edited 88 times in total
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horsessmellfunny
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject:

Just call up tier 2 tech support and ask for the MSL code? Seems easy enough. If they ask, jsut ttell them I am 'experimenting'? Or tell them the truth about what we are trying here. I will prob. wind up getting into a technical discussion with the rep. Why not. O wait, I am not on EVDO here. I guess I need to wait. grr
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xenophon
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Posts: 2033

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject:

I would be interesting if this could be a way to hack the Sprint image compression. If this is a standard proxy address and you point to some other non-filtering proxy, I wonder if it would remove Sprint compression?
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xenophon
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject:

To get the MSL code from Sprint, call Tier 2 support (866.818.1944 - can be long wait) and tell them you need to activate the card and you need the activation code. This seems to work best.

If you bought the card from this site, they can give you the code.


Last edited by xenophon on Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:23 am; edited 4 times in total
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horsessmellfunny
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject:

haha way to play the system. I never would have thought of that. I doubt tthis wil make a difference since I am on 1xRTT while I am at home. I have been looking for a way to boost up the speed a bit. I never really understood how in a small town, like the one 10 mines from me, I can only pul about 500-600kbps. The population is under 50,000. Most of which has Verizon!
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xenophon
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:14 pm    Post subject:

Another possible application is to have the secondary address in a different area from the other. If Sprint ever has downtime in one area, it may help failover to a proxy in an entirely different region. It depends on the form of downtime but in some cases, it may be useful.


BTW, this can also be done on PowerVision phones by dialing ##DATA. Some phones don't require the MSL code to access.
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xenophon
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:44 pm    Post subject:

More info...

It's easy to find a whole slew of servers by pinging servers in this range...

68 . 28. 1-255 . 76-77

Try addresses with the best ping time.

Others that performed well for me...
68.28.89.77
68.28.49.76


Last edited by xenophon on Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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xenophon
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 1:38 pm    Post subject:

Well this is interesting. Last night I set the HA primary/secondary addresses to all 0's to see if it would configure an address itself. It did not and connecting to network failed. So I did an Update Profile in the Connection Manager and presto, it automatically set the HA addresses.

You apparently get a different HA address based on location and this may impact your performance. So if traveling, try testing performance before and after an update profile and see if there is a difference. On phones, you can see if it changed by dialing ##DATA. Unfortunately for data cards, you need to get ahold of the MSL code to check the HA Address. Optionally, you can experiment with addresses as listed in previous posts.

I did very little testing so I'm not certain of this info. Will validate when traveling to Florida and Vegas in next few weeks.
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xenophon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:16 am    Post subject:

OK, did some traceroute testing and found some interesting things. Some HAs are faster than others no matter the location of you from the HA site. I found where the HAs are located and did some testing on each.

There are other factors such as the load on your tower but the consistent changes of HA address clearly point it is also likely a factor. I'm apparently on a tower that can go over 1Mbps so here are some results...

Tests done at various times over a week
68.28.241.76/77 North Carolina 700-800K+ often, >1Mbps at times, consistently <400K at others
68.28.249.76/77 Atlanta >1Mbps often, mornings <1Mbps
68.28.153.76/77 Stockton, CA? >1Mbps
68.28.145.76 Chicago 700-800Kbps at times
68.28.177.76/77 Ft. Worth
68.28.89.7677 Omaha >1Mbps
68.28.81.76/77 Kansas City >1Mbps
68.28.185.76/77 Kansas City >1Mbps
68.28.113.76 Pennsylvania <800Kbps
68.28.113.77 Pennsylvania 700K-1Mbps
68.28.57.76/77 San Jose? <400Kbps often; appears to fluctuate depending on time of day
68.28.49.76/77 West Coast 300-800Kbps ***Not great in morning
68.28.121.76/77 NYC 400-1Mbps ***Not often great depending on time of day

These may perform differently depending on time of day.

Am looking for more...

I'll be in Tampa and Vegas in next few weeks and will see if location of testing makes a difference.

Update: Added more KC and NYC nodes. Added Ft. Worth.


Last edited by xenophon on Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:57 pm; edited 10 times in total
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horsessmellfunny
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:10 pm    Post subject:

Well check this out:

This is what popped up when I typed ##DATA and entered in the lock code that I was given when I originally got the card. There are all sorts of neat things to play with. Which I am not of course. I also didnt see an option for the HA adresses. I am probably in a totally different screen. Plus I am using an AC 580.
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xenophon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:20 pm    Post subject:

Hmmm.. so it is radically different for S620 vs 580 cards. Try ##MSL and ##DEBUG.

Keep in mind that this isn't confirmed info. Loads will likely be different at different times of the day. The patterns are there but it would take several days of testing and in different locations to confirm if HA makes a difference. Which I intend to do in other cities in next few weeks. Smile
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horsessmellfunny
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 3:58 pm    Post subject:

Hmm yea, I am willing to do testing myself. I love doing this kinda stuff. I will try the other two ##MSL and 3#debug. I dont have an MSL number directly from Sprint. I have that lock code I recieved fro mthe original rep. Once I get my booster antenna, I wil ltry those other HA Addy's since I ma on 1xRTT at home and it doesnt seem to make a difference.
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xenophon
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject:

Found this info on Home Agent. It's for 1xRTT and might be different for EVDo but not likely.

http://www.tek.com/Measurement/App_Notes/2F_16904/eng/2FW_16904_0.pdf


Quote:

The Home Agent

The Home Agent (HA) supports seamless data roaming into other
networks that support 1xRTT. The HA provides an anchor IP address
for the mobile and forwards any mobile-bound traffic to the appropriate
network for delivery to the handset. It also maintains user registration, redirects packets to the PDSN and (optionally) tunnels
securely to the PDSN. Lastly, the HA supports dynamic assignment
of users from the AAA and (again optionally) assigns dynamic
home addresses.

.....

To understand tunnel router loops, imagine a subscriber surfing the
Web (WWW) with a laptop connected to a cdma2000 handset.
Packets addressed to go to a specific HTTP proxy are routed (after
passing through the PCF) from the PDSN/FA (Foreign Agent) to the
Home Agent (HA) for de-tunneling.

With certain incorrect internal routing configurations, packets destined
for Port 80 WWW are not de-tunnelled by the HA. Instead, they
are sent back downstream toward the PDSN/FA. As a result, multiple
packets travel on the same network segment with the same packet
ID, wasting precious bandwidth—and not reaching the intended destination.


HA is apparently not itself a proxy unless that is how Sprint implemented it... or the HA likely forwards the handset to a proxy (in the case of Sprint, the proxy that performs image compression). Load balancing should be factored but if all servers in its route table are busy, pointing to one HA may have different performance than another HA.

Testing some of the HAs above, it seems to change by time of day for a few. Most are capable of consistently >1Mbps at any time, others appear to fluctuate. That is based on only two days of tests though...
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horsessmellfunny
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:21 pm    Post subject:

Well, I found the HA Address change screen for the AC 580. Here you go
This is the first screen. Here is the second:

Ok, so while I was in this screen, I had some fun. Well, sorta. I changed my HA Address. Unfortunately, I am on 1xRTT. Changing these addresses didnt really do anything. I changed the HA's to: 68.28.89.76/77

I did a quick tracert to see if that stuck, here is my current IP: 68.28.185.69

This is north of CO Springs, and north of Monument. Interesting how this worked out. I also changed a different setting, but it didnt really do anything. Since I have more options then the S620, I have some playgin around to do. However, alot of these settings I wont touch. They are kinda scary lol.

This is the screen I came up with when I did ##DEBUG
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xenophon
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:06 am    Post subject:

Good you found a way to change HA on 580 card as well.

The HA addresses you have are interesting. The ones that end in .12 don't work at all for me. They may only be for 580 cards. Or maybe you have a bogus entry and it skips to the next one. I think you said it now takes longer to connect to network, this may be why. Would be interesting to do an Update Data Profile in Connection Manager and see if it changes those numbers. Or try chaning yourself so the two below are the first entries.

The last two ending in .76 do work...
68.28.185.76 and 77 route through Georgia
68.28.177.76 and 77 route through Ft. Worth


Last edited by xenophon on Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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