What to consider when buying an LTE router

Bradley Prior

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What to consider when buying an LTE router

When signing up to an LTE data contract with one of South Africa's leading mobile networks, if you are not planning on using the SIM card in your smartphone, you will need an LTE router to access your monthly data subscription.

Some packages come with a free router, while others allow you to choose a router for an additional fee.
 

cavedog

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What's the point of purchasing a 300/50 Mb/s when networks only gives you ~30Mb/s on a good moment?
That is where most people go wrong. It's not about the router max but rather the technology it supports. MIMO and CA is probably the most important factor that going to increase speeds and the entry level B315 does not support it.

The B618 on Telkom with 2CC and 4x4 mimo and connected to a tower that supports those technology the speeds can be pretty decent. On my B315 at the same place connected to the same tower maxes out at 40Mbps.

 

Arthur

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As an aside, I recently got a Verizon (Inseego, formerly Novatel) MiFi 8800L while in the US. Amazing little device and first gigabit-capable mobile hotspot device. It supports four channel carrier aggregation, LAA, and 4x4 MIMO. Popped in a Telkom SIM. Works great. Pulls down at around 65 Mb/s from the local Telkom tower.
 

system32

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Any decent LTE phone can double up as a router.
I use a 3 year "old" OnePlus 3 (Snapdragon 820) a backup LTE router.
 

Swa

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No point in purchasing a new 4G modem when 5G is a month or two away.
 

ProAsm

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@cavedog.
Regarding the 4x4 MIMO, no providers in Africa transceive LTE on 4 channels, they can barely afford 1 channel.
The 4x4 MIMO on the B618 refers to it's internal WIFI and not the LTE transmission.
Many sales companies are using all sorts of terms these days to sell their products.
I recently read an advert on a B618 now using QAM on uploads, lol almost all LTE routers use QAM as it improves the extreme low power upload of the router to reach the tower.
You must have a problem with your B315 if it can only achieve 50% of what the B618 can achieve based on 4G and not 4G+.
I find on LTE (4G) my B315 is on par with my B525 (up to 90 Mbps) except when the B525 switches to 4G+ then it is about 30% faster than the B315.
I also get very high speeds in early mornings but during peak times it slows down a lot these days as congestion sets in :(
Actually here is a nice comparison chart between the B525 and B618, so in SA all you will ever need is a B525 :)

https://www.4gltemall.com/blog/huawei-b525-vs-b618-4g-router/
 

Dan C

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That is where most people go wrong. It's not about the router max but rather the technology it supports. MIMO and CA is probably the most important factor that going to increase speeds and the entry level B315 does not support it.

The B618 on Telkom with 2CC and 4x4 mimo and connected to a tower that supports those technology the speeds can be pretty decent. On my B315 at the same place connected to the same tower maxes out at 40Mbps.

Pfft my Teclast tablet is faster than that with a hotspot.
 

MirageF1

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No point in purchasing a new 4G modem when 5G is a month or two away.
Kak. In reality years away practically...except for a few hotspots in congested city centres.
Loads of places even in CT don't even have 3g signal never mind LTE....outlying remote areas even worse.
Just because the technology is available doesn't mean you/we/they are getting it anytime soon.

It's barely launched in UK...
 

Swa

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Kak. In reality years away practically...except for a few hotspots in congested city centres.
Loads of places even in CT don't even have 3g signal never mind LTE....outlying remote areas even worse.
No reason to buy a 4G one even if you don't have 5G yet. And looking at the rollout of 4G and LTE it will be a year at most before most areas have some form of 5G.
 

cavedog

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@cavedog.
Regarding the 4x4 MIMO, no providers in Africa transceive LTE on 4 channels, they can barely afford 1 channel.
The 4x4 MIMO on the B618 refers to it's internal WIFI and not the LTE transmission.
Many sales companies are using all sorts of terms these days to sell their products.
I recently read an advert on a B618 now using QAM on uploads, lol almost all LTE routers use QAM as it improves the extreme low power upload of the router to reach the tower.
You must have a problem with your B315 if it can only achieve 50% of what the B618 can achieve based on 4G and not 4G+.
I find on LTE (4G) my B315 is on par with my B525 (up to 90 Mbps) except when the B525 switches to 4G+ then it is about 30% faster than the B315.
I also get very high speeds in early mornings but during peak times it slows down a lot these days as congestion sets in :(
Actually here is a nice comparison chart between the B525 and B618, so in SA all you will ever need is a B525 :)

https://www.4gltemall.com/blog/huawei-b525-vs-b618-4g-router/
First of all I do not have proof of 4x4 mimo BUT Telkom and Rain run 4x4 mimo and some cases massive mimo setups on their towers especially on their TDD bands. You will see this is especially true for Telkom which uses the flat rectangular sector antennas. Look at the cables at the bottom. It would give an indication of the towers 4x4 mimo capabilities. Very interesting. This is where Samsung s8,s9,s10 and upwards devices and B618 Cat18 and higher would support both 2cc and 4x4 mimo. If you aggregate a band with 2x2 mimo with a band with 4x4 mimo the mimo mode will fall down to 2x2. I do not know if each device has enough radios to support it or if there is a minimum standard to meet I would need to research more on that.

I know for a FACT that Telkom broadcasts LTE on 3 frequencies and 2 bocks of spectrum on the one. Band 1 - 5MHz x 2 FDD, Band 3 - 10MHz x 2 FDD, Band 40 - 20MHz x 2 non-contiguous. Telkom aggregated B1+B3 and B40+B40.

4x4 mimo or massive mimo on LTE has a theoretical max higher than say 2x2 mimo with 2 carrier aggregation. 4x4 mimo squeezes every bit of bandwidth from that tower so much more efficient than say a 2 carrier aggregation that will likely see a higher peak on a speedtest.

I'm using Telkom and Rain networks as examples as they both operate both FDD and TDD bands on LTE and aggregate them and implement mimo on them. One very interesting statement from Rain to me is that the more cats the better even if the lte combinations aren't supported the chipset has been improved. Better chipset means better carrier aggregation performance. Telkom with their 2x 20MHz spectrum in Band 40 is the perfect example of how the latest chipset is SO efficient at aggregating the two spectrum blocks giving great performance.
 

cavedog

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So you have to choose between a 5G modem or a 4G one that will be outdated in a few months? Which one?
I do not believe we are near 5G yet I mean Cat20 LTE only just recently started showing in the S10. I don't think the world will move on to 5G just yet. Coverage will be an issue
 
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