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DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

j0e_schmo
I'm Here A Lot

Hi,

I'm a new Rogers Mobile Internet subscriber and recently setup a ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub for my cottage. I quickly found out that my internet was dropping frequently for long periods (e.g. 20+mins). I soon realized the issue was with the DNS servers being assigned to the Hub when it attaches/connects to the LTE network. From a Windows laptop when I do 'nslookup' for several FQDNs, I get no responses/timeouts. If I configure nslookup or my laptop (IPv4 protocol settings) to use a public DNS (e.g. Cloudfare 1.1.1.1 or Google 8.8.8.8) it works find and my internet throughput is still quite good. Sometimes if a reset (power cycle) the hub, its DNS service will work again.

 

I've googled and check these forums archives and see similar DNS issues from many years back, often concluding the Rogers DNS servers for the PDN (wireless packet data network) are not stable and perhaps at capacity. I don't know how DNS servers are assigned to my hub (I generally connect to LTE network) when it connects to the PDN, other than via a tunneled PPP session (to P-GW?). My pre-configured APN name on the Hub is lteinternet.apn. However, my Hub does now show the assigned DNS servers (or let you manually configure them) and any client devices connecting to the Hub get a local 192.168.0.1 (GW IP of Hub) assigned via DHCP as the Hub is acting as a DNS proxy/relay.

 

The strange thing is my Brother has the same Hub and mobility plan with Rogers and his internet has been working fine for over 2 weeks now (since he got it). His cottage is only 150ft away from mine so we are connected to the same cell tower. When I brought my Hub to my home residence (2 hrs away), I get the same intermittent problem. I've been on the phone at least 4 times with Rogers tech support and they have little clue about what I'm talking about. One agent said I'd have to escalate my ticket to the wireless "networking" team, but the last agent simply is shipping me a replacement Hub (which I *really* don't think will resolve the issue).

 

The only thing I can think of as to why it works for my Brother is his Hub is assigned a cell number from a different area code (GTA) so perhaps he is assigned a different DNS and P-GW (possibly via subscriber profile in HSS?).

 

While I can configure certain devices such as laptops to go to a public DNS, this isn't a workable solution and many device (e.g. smartphones, IoT devices) don't allow such manual configurations (or easily). I thought of setting up my own wifi router, but not sure that would work since there is no "bridge mode" in the Rogers firmware version (while there is in the Telus version).

 

Any help/suggestions from someone with experience in this area would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thx

JS

 

***Edited Labels***

8 REPLIES 8

Re: DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

RogersRob
Moderator
Moderator

Hello @j0e_schmo,

 

Thank you for the detailed post and welcome to the Rogers Community Forums.

We would also like to thank you for the troubleshooting you have done so far. It is certainly crucial to stay connected, especially during these unprecedented times. While waiting on the replacement Hub, you can try setting up your own WiFi router even though the bridge option is not available. Other Community members have reported good results with external router; please check out this post.

 

Let us know if it helps.

 

Regards,

RogersRob.

Re: DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

@RogersRob - thanks for the response and info/link.

I was hoping to provide an update to my posting sooner, but I forgot my replacement Hub at my cottage last W-E and didn't get much of a chance to try it out (was working on a reno project). Now that I'm back, unfortunately (as I expected) I have the same intermittent DNS issues with my replacement Hub. In fact I am writing this update from my Win Laptop using an open DNS (Cloudfare 1.1.1.1). Note this issue isn't specific to my laptop, it is also occuring on smartphones.


I will try to configure an external wifi router (despite lack of bridge mode support), assuming I can find one that allows me to configure a static DNS server. I suspect both the wifi and Hub will be DHCP servers (unless I can disable DHCP on the hub and assign the wifi router a static IP in the 192.168.0.1/24 range). I will in the meantime try to contact the "networking" team at Rogers as I find this totally unacceptable and can't believe this seems isolated to my service/subscription (otherwise I'd expect there'd be more awareness and postings about this). I also need to act fast as I have less than a week to return my replacement Hub (within the 14 day return policy).

 

I am also considering cancelling my service and trying another mobile Internet provider. However, the Rogers price points for 50GB/mo (summer) and 2GB/mo (off-peak) are better than Bell. Telus offers very good price points for this data usage, but for some strange reason their website states their service is not available at my location - a further neighbour has Bell (works great) and I thought they shared towers.

 

Thanks for any help and guidance,

-JS

Re: DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

Don_Ca
I'm a Reliable Contributor
I can confirm this is a problem. I am having the same problem. New hub bought two weeks ago, sometimes works ok others not. I have also determined it is the DNS. Of course the firmware is locked down and we cannot change it, a basic troubleshooting measure. I have a range extender I will be adding to the network and I will use the DHCP on it to hand out proper Cloudfare DNS servers.

Re: DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

Sorry to hear you have been experiencing the same problem as I *was*. After my last post (two weeks ago), I contacted Rogers support again and insisted on a case opened to their "networking" team. A case was opened and I was told I'd be contacted within 24hrs. Later (8hrs) that day I received an automated text message saying they have been "unable to identify and issue at this time" and to contact Rogers tech support (web page) with case number if I still have an issue. I wasn't impressed as I expected a call back to discuss with someone knowledge in the back-end network who could at least confirm the DNS servers I was assigned and possibly how they were assigned (e.g. subscriber profile/mobile number). I was also expecting they'd have access to core network logs or possiibly some "Rogers Only" tools on my Hub.

However, the strange (suspicious) thing, is I never had an issue since, albeit this was only the past two weekends of use (with full WFH last Fri). I have purchased a spare cheap ($) wireless router (Dlink AC750) which seems to work fine without bridge mode (and overlapping DHCP pool). I configured a static DNS but not sure it is being used as the layman's on-line help tip suggests it is for when there is no DNS (e.g. DHCP option) from the WAN. Hopefully that is not the case as static should always override network parms,

In any event, be persistent with Rogers support and escalate to the networking team. I'm still surprised it seems we are the only two on the Internet who have reported this issue and first/second level tech support don't seem to acknowledge it.

Re: DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

Don_Ca
I'm a Reliable Contributor
I have added an extender that is doing most of the DHCP and it is handing out a proper DNS and seems ok now. This is still a failure on the part of the ZTE and should be fixed.

Re: DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

I think it is a failure on Rogers part to assign you a an unstable or overcapacity DNS server (or perhaps an easy way to throttle during network congestion). ZTE are no doubt building to Service Provider market requirements who prefer dumb/locked down devices so we can only alter basic configuration settings. There are no logging or troubleshooting tools available to users (perhaps to Rogers remotely). An older ZTE MF28B model (circa 2017) offered by Rogers apparently supported static DNS (https://setuprouter.com/router/zte/mf28b-rogers/dns.htm) so why would would they remove it from a latest flagship mobile internet device ( as mobile internet service is taking off) unless compelled to from their customers (Service Providers).

 

To see this at play, there is a ZTE FCC filing with a user manual that shows support for "bridge mode" - see page 12 of https://fccid.io/SRQ-MF279T/User-Manual/User-manual-3649318. Note this manual has "Telus" in it...perhaps they provided FCC an early Telus version as an example. There is also an AT&T filing for same device and AT&T manual that doesn't have this option. Neither do the Rogers and Telus versions which are provided by ZTE: https://www.ztedevices.com/ca/product/mf279t/

 

 

Re: DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

Well thank you for some insight.... been struggling with the same issues on my two new work laptops.

 

We’ve had the lake crib on a Rogers hub for 10 years, wifi cameras, thermostats, iPads , tv’s phones etc.

 

few months ago my laptop would basically lock up the hub/router after NUMEROUS calls to support show start off with you’re over your data limit, from reboot, pull the battery etc. To the point whereas a level two tech support convinced me to purchase a new $250 hub.......... same results.

 

I ordered StarLink today and will have two Rogers hubs available for a good bottle of wine 🙂 each..lol

 

Re: DNS Dropouts On ZTE MF279T Rocket Hub

Sorry to hear about your bad experience - I think Starlink will be a game changer (albeit pricey for cottagers like me).

My wifi router which as been going off to a public DNS (bypassing Rocker Hub DNS) has resolved the issues for me. However, I'm not happy that such a premium services needs such a workaround (at additional cost). Note that after I got a ticket opened with the Rogers "networking" team who sent me an automated text within 24hrs stating there was no issue, the problem was mysteriously resolved. However, when I downgraded to the $60/mo plan in the fall, it came back (so I suspect something got 'reset' back to a shoddy DNS service/profile) - but luckily my Wifi router does the trick.  I'm surprised more people aren't reporting this issue (for me it was constant over weeks/months)...perhaps it is related to my home area service profile (my Rocket Hub is assigned a 343 area code which is in the Ottawa area, but my hub/cottage is on lake Ontario close to Kingston)

 

I may explore Bell since my cell phone is with them and perhaps I can get a cell plan with unlimited data (but capped speeds after X GBs) and share it with a Bell mobile internet device (but they probably won't allow sharing with such a device)

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