MTN fixed-LTE – Here’s why you need an approved router

Customers who use one of MTN’s fixed-LTE products will require an approved router.

Axxess and Afrihost recently announced a range of fixed-LTE packages that run on MTN’s network. MTN-owned ISP Supersonic also offers a range of fixed-LTE products.

Unlike Telkom’s LTE offering, MTN’s fixed-LTE products are tower-locked and require specific supported routers.

Many MyBroadband readers have asked why MTN only accepts these routers and why devices like the popular Huawei B315 are not supported.

MyBroadband asked MTN about the criteria it uses to determine whether a router is suitable for its network.

Executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN South Africa Jacqui O’Sullivan stated that the implementation of superior LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology in MTN’s network is the reason behind its selection of approved routers.

“Our LTE network was dimensioned and upgraded to be LTE-A, focused at providing better fixed connectivity for customers,” O’Sullivan said.

“Therefore, to benefit and experience the LTE-A upgrades and available network capacity, customers will require a compatible router.”

Why LTE-A routers are better

Last year, MWEB got into trouble over its advertising of the Huawei B315 as an LTE-A product.

The ISP eventually withdrew the advertisement, as this router is not defined as a Category 6 or higher device, as stipulated by the standards of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

3GPP is responsible for the standards which define the capabilities of networks and devices. In 3GPP Release 8, categories 1 to 5 were established for LTE (Long Term Evolution) equipment.

Category 6 and higher equipment, which includes newer routers and cellphones, support LTE-Advanced technology.

LTE-Advanced offers faster and more reliable network capabilities than LTE, with the primary difference being that LTE-A supports carrier aggregation.

This feature allows devices to combine the bandwidth of a network that is spread over different frequency bands.

Other important technologies to consider include support for 4×4 multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) and Quadrature Amplitude Modification (QAM), both of which can improve connectivity speeds and reliability.

MTN’s approved routers

MTN’s fixed-LTE network supports three Category 6 routers, the Huawei B525, Huawei B612, and ZTE MF286, and one Category 11 router, the Huawei B618.

O’Sullivan said that these routers complement MTN’s network capabilities with regards to its LTE-A technology.

“The LTE-A/Cat6+ routers enjoy better speed (and hence capacity) due to their compatibility with MTN’s rollout of Higher Order Carrier aggregation and features such as 4×4 MIMO and 256QAM,” she said.

The result should be that MTN and Supersonic’s fixed-LTE solutions offer superior speeds when used in conjunction with one of these routers.

O’Sullivan also noted that other routers that are rated Category 6 or above will be compatible with MTN’s Made for Home fixed-LTE plans.

Now read: MTN vs Telkom – Fixed-LTE showdown

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MTN fixed-LTE – Here’s why you need an approved router