What is the preferred hardware for a 4g home internet service?

Greenfingers

Standard Member
My landline broadband rarely sees download speeds better than 5Mb/s, whereas I can generally get better than 20Mb/s on 4g with EE and 3, and more like 50Mb/s with O2.

I want to see if a 4g connection can provide a fast and reliable enough means of home internet access, to warrant ditching my existing landline.

I would be grateful for any pointers towards recommend hardware configurations. My current set up includes a BT Homehub 6 router and powerline wifi extender, which provides sufficient wifi coverage around the house. 4 devices are also connected to the router via ethernet cable. At some point, I'll probably port my landline phone number to a VoIP service, so need to also consider ATA options.

The Huawei B525 router seems to be popular, so would this be good place to start? Also, can anyone advise whether installing an aerial is likely to improve download speeds?
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Yep, the Huawei is good, or try the TP-Link or D-Link.

I have a TP-Link Archer MR600 that my daughter uses in her uni digs and has brought back with her while she's staying at home. As the 4G is not brilliant on Three around here, I've switched it to wireless router mode with 4G failover, so it uses our Plusnet broadband unless that hits an issue and then it switches over to 4G. At uni, she uses it in 4G only mode and uses about 200Gb per month.

It's got a guest mode that we have set up with QoS, so that her friends can share the connection, but her private network remains separate and has priority over bandwidth. Dead easy to setup and bombproof once running. You can add the TP-Link Mesh products to it and control them all from the same admin page.

If I was buying again, I might have gone with the Huawei, as the 4G+ connection will actually work, while the TP-Link doesn't! Not an issue at home where the signal is poor and at Uni she's still getting 30Mbs, which is more than enough for her.
 

bubs999

Well-known Member
I have a Huawei B525 modem, whilst it is good as a stand alone system, it doesn't have a working bridge mode.
I have switched to an RUT240 modem made by Teltonika, this has a decent working bridge mode.
I have ordered an external antenna, which should be arriving soon.

The issue I have is reception from the service provider. I'm currently with Vodafone and whilst it was good at the start, its gone down hill massively (from 20mb down to about 3mb), Vodafone have blamed it on the lockdown and everyone working from home.

I have tested EE and Three, both give poor signal in the house, but amazingly fast outside (hence the external antenna order)

Do you have good indoor signal?
If you use it for Xbox or PlayStation, you might want to do a bit more research, as not all providers will work well. Vodafone give me Strict Nat or double Nat, EE give me moderate Nat and Three gives me double Nat. This can effect online gaming

Edit - if the external antenna works, I'll be selling the B525 modem with its extra antennas, if interested
 

Greenfingers

Standard Member
Thanks for the info. I read somewhere that the B525 showed better speed and a stronger wifi signal than some of the TP-Link alternatives. Having said that, I'm on a steep learning curve and have little understanding of this technology.

Each specific model seems to have different characteristics. I believe that a cat 6 device with WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 2.4GHz & 5GHz wifi are good features. I also like the idea of being able to plug a home phone directly into the router.
 

Greenfingers

Standard Member
I posted before seeing this:

I have a Huawei B525 modem, whilst it is good as a stand alone system, it doesn't have a working bridge mode.
I have switched to an RUT240 modem made by Teltonika, this has a decent working bridge mode.

Do you have good indoor signal?
Not sure if I need bridge mode or not - is this to connect multiple devices? I anticipate 4 LAN ports may be enough, but could I plug a splitter/switch into one of these for more outputs?

Our indoor signal seems good on O2, but that was tested on my wife's Moto G7 phone, so I wonder if it will be as good using a LTE router.
 

paulombsd

Standard Member
You can check this bad boy as well:
Zyxel AC1200 4G LTE SIM Slot Unlocked Wi-Fi Dual Band Router, UK Plug [LTE4506-v2]


I'm not very satisfied with my hbb speeds, I'm getting 50 Mbps tops while my phone gets 100 Mbps on vodafone 4g LTE...
I think that I'll switch to 4g mbb by September or so as that's when my contract with Sky will end.
 

Greenfingers

Standard Member
Thanks for the help. I have just bought an unlocked B525s on Ebay and will report back on how it performs in a few days time.
 

Greenfingers

Standard Member
The B525s router arrived today and I was full of anticipation when connecting it, only to discover that it is actually locked to the EE network! Maybe it serves me right for being a cheapskate and buying on Ebay, but the seller did describe it as unlocked to all networks!

Anyway, one interesting thing was that with my Plusnet (EE network) SIM, it was only giving me about 10Mb/s download speed, which is about half what I get using my phone. This was in my office area and I didn't try moving upstairs or anything, but it seems clear that my Moto G6 phone downloads data faster, which was a surprise.
 

daneccles

Active Member
It might be worth trying a hard reset with a paperclip in the little hole in the base to clear any previous network settings before writing it off as locked. As for speeds, mine are all over the place as a result of congestion during the current lockdown. A test a few minutes ago got 25mb/s down, a minute later it was more than double that. The B525 does seem to be quite sensitive to location. Also it can sometimes select a band which has better signal strength but might not be the best for speed. LTE Inspecteur (note spelling) is a useful free program for monitoring and selecting mobile bands.
 

Greenfingers

Standard Member
Yes, I did try a hard reset, but to no avail. It's definitely locked to EE, because it works with an EE sim and nothing else. O2 is by far the best 4g connection we get, so unless I can get it to work with an O2 sim card, then it's not worth having.

I phoned EE to ask if they could give me the unlock code and they said that they would if it was a mobile phone, but they won't do it for routers! They also confirmed it was an EE supplied router, so I have been trawling the web looking for a way to get the code, but don't trust a lot of the sites I found. It also seems that a lot of these websites can't get the code for the B525s. Mine is the B525s-23a (which apparently can be used in bridge mode). Anyway, I'd be grateful if anyone could advise how to get it unlocked or how much it costs.
 

PRESSTOG

Well-known Member
No help with unlocking, but with regards speeds

the 525s seems to lock onto the 800Mhz band as its a stronger signal but slower speed.

If you have the full firmware go into settings and turn off the 800Mhz band and force it on the 1800Mhz band, you should see the speed at least triple.

If you dont have the full open firmware you can still change it with a PC Program called LTEINSPECTUER. but its a bit more og a faff that way.

On 800Mhz my 525 tops out at 12Mbps download and 1800 its pulling 70to80Mbps all day.

Mine was unlocked rom Ebay (German TMobile Branded), and the firmware allows you to set bands but no bridge mode on it.
MAP1.jpg
 

daneccles

Active Member
@PRESSTOG, mine has later firmware than yours (dated 2018) and it would appear to be not as good with band selection unavailable so I use LTE Inspecteur. It's not that much of a problem as settings remain intact when turning the router off and on, and only a hard reset loses them. Signal strength on the 800mhz band here is low so it never gets selected automatically. If LTE Inspector is set to 'auto' for band selection it can selects 1800mhz or 2100mhz as signal strength of the two bands are similar. Typical download speeds are about 2mb/s, 40-65mb/s and 25-35mb/s for the three bands respectively so it makes sense to lock to 1800mhz. I don't lock to LTE/4G as that would prevent me using the phone feature. It switches to 3G when using the phone and back to 4G when the call finishes.
 

Greenfingers

Standard Member
I found a great solution which may be of interest to anyone looking for a cheap LTE router:-

Three are doing a deal at the moment, where you get a Huawei B535 router if you sign up to a 12 month unlimited data contract. You can also sign up to a 30 day rolling contract for £30/ month and pay £29 upfront for the router, which is what I did. If you cancel after a month, this effectively means you get the router and a month's unlimited data for just £59!

The router I got also appears to be unlocked.
 

jimmy27

Standard Member
@Greenfingers, does your B535 have bridge mode? (I believe it's under Advanced > Security > Bridge Mode if there). Mine doesn't with Software 10.0.1.1 (H191SP4C983), but I've heard some have it with Software 10.0.1.1 (H191SP3C801).
 

daneccles

Active Member
The B535 lacks a phone socket. The B525 and the later B715 both have an RG11 socket that will accept a standard DECT phone so if you buy an all-in sim only contract you get phone calls thrown in and you can ditch the landline completely. My B525 has the bridge mode option but I've never used it.
 

jimmy27

Standard Member
After some more digging it turns out there are 2 models of B535 - the B535-232 that is standard with a 3 contract, and the B535-235 which has bridge mode and also an RJ11 port. I've just had one delivered and can confirm it has the bridge mode setting (it's under Advanced -> Router -> Bridge Mode) and also a VOIP page - Software version 10.0.2.1(H195SP2C983), though weirdly they both have the same Hardware version WL1B535M even though there are hardware differences.
 

paulombsd

Standard Member
Hey guys, btw, did you know that you can try some mikrotik routers with LTE capabilities as well?
I'm eager to buy one and test it out.
 

jimmy27

Standard Member
hi @jimmy27,

Where did you get the B535-235?

have you successfully got Bridge Mode working on your set up?

I have the same 232 as you with 10.0.1.1 (H191SP4C983)
Hey, I got mine off eBay. Bridge mode works great. What's pretty good is that it also responds on it's management IP address so you can still point LTE H-Monitor at it.

I looked at mikrotik but they were limited to CAT4 at the time, they seem to have newer models out now, but at a good premium over the B232.
 

paulombsd

Standard Member
Hey, I got mine off eBay. Bridge mode works great. What's pretty good is that it also responds on it's management IP address so you can still point LTE H-Monitor at it.

I looked at mikrotik but they were limited to CAT4 at the time, they seem to have newer models out now, but at a good premium over the B232.
I'm interested on the Chateau LTE12 from mikrotik and I'm waiting for a real 5G contender at this moment.
I can get decent speeds on my 5G phone...unfortunately, 5G routers are way too bloody expensive right now...
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: New TVs, Samsung Q800T Soundbar review, IFA latest, Movie and AV News, B+W Brad Pitt

Trending threads

Top Bottom