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Is the Vodafone Huawei B818 locked to their network?
I'm out of contract with Vodafone 4G, and Eir 5G is supposedly available (rural Donegal). Eircom are offering their modem (same one) at €49 on 12 month contract, which isn't bad, but I'd prefer to use the one i've got if poss.

I've seen the advice in here to get a prepay to test the network, so I'll probably do that.
Sorry if this has been asked before; I couldn't find it on a search.

Thanks for your help Smile
Unfortunately, Vodafone network lock their routers, as with both Three and Eir. From a quick search, it costs around $65-$70 for an unlock code for the B818. From my past experience of unlocking my B525 several years ago, it was not as simple as ordering an unlock code. When I received the code, I had to flash custom third party firmware as instructed, which involved buying a special USB cable and disassembling the router before I could enter the provided code. A Vodafone locked B818 is worth just €36 (or €51 voucher) on WeBuy, so it looks likely there's no cheap way to unlock it. It's certainly worth trying a SIM of another network provider to see whether it is actually unlocked. Big Grin

Eir's 4G router is the B628, which only supports two carrier aggregation.

Just note that most of Eir's 5G coverage across the southern part of Co. Donegal uses just band n3, which spectrum is shared with 4G band 3. For example, their 5G coverage in Mountcharles, Ballyshannon and Bundoran is on band n3. I'm not sure about Letterkenny, but going by a recent ComReg report from September 2021, only Three appeared to be operating on the high capacity band n78 there at the time.

As Eir only aggregates 5G band n3 with a single 4G band (20), you may get slower speed in 5G mode than 4G. I suggest testing a 5G prepay SIM with a 5G phone, running speed tests in 4G and 5G mode. If 5G performs worse or similar, then they are likely using band n3, in which case you'll be better off with the cheaper 4G plan.
Many thanks, Sean.
I'm nearest to Dungloe and only a couple of miles from the mast. Unfortunately, I don't have a 5G phone to test.

It looks like I may as well stick with Vodafone 4G, although contention is so bad that at peak times and Bank Holidays , speeds can go down to 2Mb.

Thanks again. Smile
(20/01/2022, 07:34 PM)brahms Wrote: Many thanks, Sean.
I'm nearest to Dungloe and only a couple of miles from the mast. Unfortunately, I don't have a 5G phone to test.

It looks like I may as well stick with Vodafone 4G, although contention is so bad that at peak times and Bank Holidays , speeds can go down to 2Mb.

Thanks again. Smile

I'm near dungloe aswell , they have N78 on the dungloe site, I remember getting well above 700 Mbps on eir's 5G when testing it on my phone. If you had line of sight to that mast it'd be worth seeing if you'd pick it up.
With Vodafone that slow there, it's certainly worth trying their 4G broadband or at least testing an Eir prepay SIM in your phone (if unlocked) to see how it performs at peak time. I get the impression that Vodafone has a backhaul issue including locally such as Killybegs. I had similar experience when testing a prepay Vodafone SIM back in December. For example, in Killybegs, the speed varied widely between 2Mbps to over 100Mbps with clear line of sight of the mast.

For comparison, during my recent testing with an Eir prepay SIM, I don't recall getting a speed test under 10Mbps anywhere I had good 4G coverage during the 28 day period, until I exceeded the 120GB fair usage allowance near the end. Every speed test in Killybegs was over 40Mbps, including some some speed tests over 100Mbps after 6pm, very different to Vodafone and Three there.

The best way to order is online as this lets way you have a 14 day cooling off period to cancel your contract if it doesn't work out. Being in a 5G area at least means they are using band 3 and I think they are using band 1 also there. Even with their B628 router, I reckon you'll get over 100Mbps as it is capable of aggregating bands 1+3.
Hi folks,

I have a contact who can unlock B818s, most Huawei routers for €50. If that's something that interests others then feel free to reach out, typical turnaround time is 5 to 7 days.

I've used the service myself and works just fine. Hope that's ok to post Sean, if not please remove. Thanks
That's good to know and seems cheaper than the unlocking sites I've come across so far.

CeX currently has around 20 Vodafone locked B818's priced at €85, so would be useful getting a used one considering they're currently priced £239+ on Amazon.
Hi Seán,

Is it worth getting a used B818 and unlocking it or would it be better to purchase a Microtik Chateau LTE 12 instead. Which would be the more superior router in your opinion? I use a hap ac2 for my home router so I'm somewhat familiar with the MicroTik settings. I also saw that Microtik have an LTE 6 hap ac 3 in a similar price point to the chateau, I wonder why they have 2 different lte category routers around the same price point.
The MikroTik Chateau LTE12 has much better configuration and read-out capabilities than the Huawei B818. For example, you can check what bands it's aggregating, the signal readings of the bands simultanously, lock to individual cells (not just bands) and check the SINR readings of each antenna input, useful for adjusting individual polarised antennas. It has all the other functionality of your hap ac2, i.e. same menus and configuration capabilities in addition to an LTE section for configuring the modem.

The Huawei B818 has better 4G carrier aggregation support, e.g. 4x4 MIMO capable across multiple bands and up to 5 carrier aggregation. This means if the mast your connecting to operates 4x4 MIMO on two or more bands, the B818 may perform better depending on the backhaul capacity to the mast. The Chateau LTE12 has 3 carrier aggregation with 2x2 MIMO (e.g. common band 20+1+3 combination or 3+1+1 on Three). With a 4x4 MIMO mast, it can also connect in 4x4 MIMO with one of two carriers, e.g. band 20 (2x2 MIMO) + 3 (4x4 MIMO). On the other hand, both depend on 2 internal antennas with a 4x4 MIMO mast, i.e. 2 external + 2 internal antennas.

For the price, the B818 is hard to beat, particularly if you just plan using it for 4G and little else. This B818 sometimes appears unlocked on CeX (currently as I write this post), so you may be able to get it without having to unlock it. Smile

The only benefit I see with the wAP ac LTE6 is that it's weatherproof and PoE capable. It doesn't have any antenna sockets, so I wouldn't choose this over the Chateau LTE12. Based on being weatherproof, it's probably intended for outdoor events, such as temporary stage set-ups, etc.
OK, good to know, thanks for the info.
I  came across a Vodafone B528. I assumed there would be no problem using a Vodafone X sim in it, but it wouldn't work for me. I was using the correct APN. Is this normal?

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