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Rain Recommended LTE/LTE-A Routers

CataclysmZA

Expert Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
3,975
#1
This thread serves as the semi-official list of routers that rain and/or rain-fixed networks support. Some things you need to take into account:

  • rain currently runs on the B3 1800MHz and B38 2600MHz bands qualifying as LTE. Your router/mobile phone needs to support one of these
  • most consumer routers available in South Africa at the moment cannot aggregate bands B3 and B38 (which would mean it supports the Cat5 standard to meet LTE-A reference standard)
  • There are a handful of MiFi devices and phones that do support carrier aggregation (confirmed working on a Samsung Galaxy S8)
  • rain-fixed networks support only a handful of routers for now
  • 4x4 MIMO works on the C38 band, giving you faster throughput
  • External antennas are recommended in most cases unless you're close to the tower
Peak Time Throttling:

rain's options currently are limited to post-paid data at R50 per gigabyte, and a R250 per month bundle which gives you uncapped internet between 11PM at night and 6PM in the evening. The network currently is shaped for all users, even rain-fixed, between 6PM and 11PM (Netflix time). This is expected to change, so there's nothing you're doing wrong if you run into this issue. It'll likely change as rain develops their network profile and user data history to see how they can improve the peak time shaping to suit all uses, including 4K streaming for Netflix and YouTube.

Router Choices:

Currently, and at launch, rain works well with Huawei's two most popular routers:

  • Huawei B315
  • Huawei B618
rain's choice of ZTE routers is a little odd, being that they're in limited stock and do not receive timely firmware updates. As a side note, checking the device support pages for all these routers does not reveal whether they are patched to close the Krack security loophole. The TP-Link MR200 is also a supported router on the rain mobile and rain-fixed networks, and may be the better choice for experienced/power users who want more control.

There is also the positively ugly B2338, which is more expensive but might support carrier aggregation in the future on bands B38/40/41/42/43. The B2338 might be an option for those of you who don't want to invest in an external antenna - you can just sommer plak this thing outside on a mount and run an Ethernet cable into a wired network in your home. There also is the B2388-168, which might be capable of carrier aggregation over bands B3 and 38, but this is unconfirmed.

Alternatively:

Huawei's E5885 is a MiFi with an enormous battery bank, support for Cat6, AND includes a 100Mbps Ethernet port. Hook it up to any router or wired network, and it will act as a DHCP server for that network. This can be turned off (presumably). Afrihost sells these with local warranty support. It does not support rain-fixed networks, nor is there an accessible SMA plug for an antenna.

For Power Users:

Most consumer LTE routers will work on rain's mobile network (not rain-fixed), and for the power users out there you might be interested in routers which support the installation of alternative firmware like OpenWRT/LEDE. Keep in mind that projects like LEDE are not supported by the OEM, and the ways to get these alternative firmwares installed almost always require some technical know-how and skills.

Also open for consideration is the Tomato project, which supports the following routers. Advanced Tomato is an extension of the Tomato project which aims to enhance and rewrite the WebGUI. You will need to use USB modems, however.

USB Modem Support:

When it comes to USB-based devices, however, things are much easier. OpenWRT/LEDE, Tomato, and DD-WRT generally have support for 4G LTE dongles over USB, and there are some Cat5 and Cat6 dongles available on the market, as evidenced by this exhaustive list of supported modems on DD-WRT. Support for most of these modems is still a work in progress, but the majority of them do work.

Modems that support Cat5 and Cat6 include:

  • Vodafone Huawei E5786, E5788
  • Netgear AC790S, AC791S/L, AC810S, AC815S
  • Sierra Wireless EM7430, EM7455, EM7455, MC7430, MC7455
  • Dell 5811e
As a reminder, if a modem or router supports at least Cat5 LTE, it will perform carrier aggregation as expected over two supported bands. Most consumer routers which have USB LTE support won't support all of the available chipsets out there, so there is a risk to going this route without testing things beforehand.

Ideal Network Configuration:

There are several ways of going about this, and you'll have to pick which one suits you best.

A) Use a supported 4G LTE router with/without external antennas
B) Use a supported 4G LTE router with/without external antennas connected to a second router which handles multiple WAN connections for switching to ADSL
C) Use a supported 4G LTE router with/without external antennas connected to a second router which handles multiple WAN connections for load balancing
D) Use a 4G LTE router with/without external antennas running third-party firmware
E) Use a router running third-party firmware to connect a 4G LTE USB dongle (antenna support depending)
F) Use a router running first-party firmware to connect a 4G LTE USB dongle (antenna support depending)
G) Use a Huawei E5885 connected via Ethernet to a second router or wired switch
 
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phly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2013
Messages
459
#2
Not to rain on your parade but I think you may need to be abit clear as Rain has already stated the ONLY routers they approve of to be used on their FIXED LTE network (about 6 or so in total) whereas for their MOBILE LTE any 4G capable router/MIFI/phone will work as long as one is in coverage.
 

CataclysmZA

Expert Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
3,975
#3
Not to rain on your parade but I think you may need to be abit clear as Rain has already stated the ONLY routers they approve of to be used on their FIXED LTE network (about 6 or so in total) whereas for their MOBILE LTE any 4G capable router/MIFI/phone will work as long as one is in coverage.
Yes, but the user experience with any of these is what's in question. I've seen some threads that suggest the Huawei stuff is good, but largely neutered. The MR200 looks like a decent pick, but no-ones discussing it. And I barely see anything about ZTE, their update policy, or of they've even paid attention to Krack updates.
 

phly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2013
Messages
459
#4
I can only speak for the fixed LTE network on Huawei b618-22d - my user experience has been that it works as expected, no issues. If there is a power outage and power decides to come back the router automatically powers up too. No need to walk to it and switch it on.

Its fast. Have seen speeds of up to 52Mbps - thats about 6Mb/s if i'm not mistaken according to google. It's future proof - claims speeds of up to 600Mbps and word on the street is there is a possibility of using it with fibre. So thats a plus. With regards to rain network (afrihost in this case), there are very few disconnections if any and even when it happens I am back up and running in under 3mins. Since i got my package in November last year, I haven't had to call customer care to complain.

Router boots up fast. In 15 seconds or less I am online and surfing. To sum it all up, I've been pleased so far and I am online all day everyday.
 
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
45
#5
I can only speak for the fixed LTE network on Huawei b618-22d - my user experience has been that it works as expected, no issues. If there is a power outage and power decides to come back the router automatically powers up too. No need to walk to it and switch it on.

Its fast. Have seen speeds of up to 52Mbps - thats about 6Mb/s if i'm not mistaken according to google. It's future proof - claims speeds of up to 600Mbps and word on the street is there is a possibility of using it with fibre. So thats a plus. With regards to rain network (afrihost in this case), there are very few disconnections if any and even when it happens I am back up and running in under 3mins. Since i got my package in November last year, I haven't had to call customer care to complain.

Router boots up fast. In 15 seconds or less I am online and surfing. To sum it all up, I've been pleased so far and I am online all day everyday.
have you pinged yourself ?? into the router from a outside internet network
the only thing i care about is latency into the router and to joburg data centers
 

phly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2013
Messages
459
#6
have you pinged yourself ?? into the router from a outside internet network
the only thing i care about is latency into the router and to joburg data centers
I actually haven't done that. How do I go about doing this on a Mac?
 

dotcat

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2005
Messages
512
#11
So for rain can we get the definitive differences between the b315-916 and the B618-22. As rain does not do CA and both models support 2600MHZ where does the benefits of the b618 come in?
[MENTION=41956]cavedog[/MENTION] - you are the resident expert - perhaps you can shed some light?

Thanks.
 

cavedog

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
10,630
#12
So for rain can we get the definitive differences between the b315-916 and the B618-22. As rain does not do CA and both models support 2600MHZ where does the benefits of the b618 come in?
[MENTION=41956]cavedog[/MENTION] - you are the resident expert - perhaps you can shed some light?

Thanks.

[MENTION=12429]dotcat[/MENTION]

So there are some interesting differences between the two and the way the network works.

Rain runs on Band 3 and Band 38/41. They are also running 4x4 mimo on most towers where the antennas allow.

The B315 supports 2x2 mimo and the B618 supports 4x4 mimo. Neither can aggregate b3 and b38/41.

When you aggregate b3 and b38/41 then by default the mimo changes from 4x4 mimo to 2x2 mimo. So carrier aggregation is benificial when one band gets congested but the other one is relatively quiet then combining the 2 bands into one connection can really speed things up.

That said though if the band is not congested a 4x4 mimo capable router would give you better performance that a 2x2 mimo router.To explain mimo in a very easy to understand way think of mimo as a download manager. When you download with a single thread you get x speed. when you increase it to 2 threads you get better speed and when you increase the threads to 4 then you get more speed. Mimo works in a similar way. It creates multiple connections to the tower to get the best possible speed. Theoretically a 4x4 mimo on band 38/41 should exceed the speeds of b3 and b38/41 carrier aggregation but that is theoretically and obviously excludes other factors like actual signal strength, noise and congestions.

That is why you see people on the B618 forcing b 38/41 they will see speeds of 80Mbps+

Also take note that when you plug an external antenna into the B618 you are essentially downgrading it from a 4x4 mimo internal antenna to a 2x2 external mimo antenna. It would explain why people see increased speedtest result when using internal antenna with weaker signal stats compared to stronger signal stats with 2x2 external antenna.


So here is where we stand.

4x4 mimo on the B618 will be better than the 2x2 mimo from the B315. I have tested it and there is a speed difference.
B3 + B38/41 carrier aggregation is more beneficial if one or both bands are congested.
4x4 mimo will not do much if the band is congested then ca might be a better option
Using an external 2x2 mimo antenna on a B618 essentially downgrades it to the same a b315 with external.


Hope this post helps you.

The same will apply to Telkom LTE-A. Since Telkom is also running 4x4 mimo and massive mimo will the carrier aggregation be better than say band 40 on it's own with 4x4 mimo. Very interesting indeed. I need to to more tests to see how this plays out. Watch this space. :)
 

dotcat

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2005
Messages
512
#13
[MENTION=12429]dotcat[/MENTION]

So there are some interesting differences between the two and the way the network works.

Rain runs on Band 3 and Band 38/41. They are also running 4x4 mimo on most towers where the antennas allow.

The B315 supports 2x2 mimo and the B618 supports 4x4 mimo. Neither can aggregate b3 and b38/41.

When you aggregate b3 and b38/41 then by default the mimo changes from 4x4 mimo to 2x2 mimo. So carrier aggregation is benificial when one band gets congested but the other one is relatively quiet then combining the 2 bands into one connection can really speed things up.

That said though if the band is not congested a 4x4 mimo capable router would give you better performance that a 2x2 mimo router.To explain mimo in a very easy to understand way think of mimo as a download manager. When you download with a single thread you get x speed. when you increase it to 2 threads you get better speed and when you increase the threads to 4 then you get more speed. Mimo works in a similar way. It creates multiple connections to the tower to get the best possible speed. Theoretically a 4x4 mimo on band 38/41 should exceed the speeds of b3 and b38/41 carrier aggregation but that is theoretically and obviously excludes other factors like actual signal strength, noise and congestions.

That is why you see people on the B618 forcing b 38/41 they will see speeds of 80Mbps+

Also take note that when you plug an external antenna into the B618 you are essentially downgrading it from a 4x4 mimo internal antenna to a 2x2 external mimo antenna. It would explain why people see increased speedtest result when using internal antenna with weaker signal stats compared to stronger signal stats with 2x2 external antenna.


So here is where we stand.

4x4 mimo on the B618 will be better than the 2x2 mimo from the B315. I have tested it and there is a speed difference.
B3 + B38/41 carrier aggregation is more beneficial if one or both bands are congested.
4x4 mimo will not do much if the band is congested then ca might be a better option
Using an external 2x2 mimo antenna on a B618 essentially downgrades it to the same a b315 with external.


Hope this post helps you.

The same will apply to Telkom LTE-A. Since Telkom is also running 4x4 mimo and massive mimo will the carrier aggregation be better than say band 40 on it's own with 4x4 mimo. Very interesting indeed. I need to to more tests to see how this plays out. Watch this space. :)
Thanks very much! Lots of good info.
 

Yuu

Expert Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
4,939
#17
Thanks for the reply.

I will give Telkom a try, and if that don't work well, i'll give Rain a try. For Rain which one is ideal ?
B618-65D cause it supports both Rain & Telkom* whereas the B618-22d only works on Rain.

*Telkom uses 1800Mhz [both models do but only Telkom LTE] but also 2300Mhz [only 65D] which will give you upto LTE-A in a supported area for Telkom.
 

The_Traveller

Expert Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2008
Messages
1,892
#18
B618-65D cause it supports both Rain & Telkom* whereas the B618-22d only works on Rain.

*Telkom uses 1800Mhz [both models do but only Telkom LTE] but also 2300Mhz [only 65D] which will give you upto LTE-A in a supported area for Telkom.
Thanks bud, much appreciated.
 

Leno

Senior Member
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
726
#20
B618-65D cause it supports both Rain & Telkom* whereas the B618-22d only works on Rain.

*Telkom uses 1800Mhz [both models do but only Telkom LTE] but also 2300Mhz [only 65D] which will give you upto LTE-A in a supported area for Telkom.
From the specs dont both models support Rain & Telkom on 1800Mhz

22d Rain & Telkom 1800Mhz (FDD 1800) + Rain 2600Mhz (TDD 2600)

65d Rain & Telkom 1800Mhz (FDD 1800) + Telkom 2300Mhz (TDD 2300)

https://www.4gltemall.com/huawei-b618-lte-cat11-router.html

Edit: sorry now I see what you were saying, NM :)
 
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