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Three 5G Broadband Hub (Zyxel NR5103E) Disassembly
I’ve checked a good few areas around Cork City and neither Eir or Three are using new spectrum. I partially checked Vodafone but don’t have a netmonster alternative on the iPhone.

Going by this Comreg doc Vodafone have deployed 2.6ghz FDD on 247 sites. I haven’t seen on these sites around Cork City anyway.

I see eir have really taken advantage on b28, deployed on well over 2k sites by now.

I didn't realise how many 2.6GHz licenced sites Vodafone has already.  On the other hand, Vodafone has been so slow with its 3.6GHz roll out that ComReg issued a notification of non-compliance to Vodafone back in December 2022 for not having at least 15 base stations operating the 3.6GHz band in at least 4 counties for the South East Region.  The following is the 3.6GHz roll-out across the operators including Dense Air and Imagine back in May from this ComReg publication:


From my recent testing with Eir, just about every 4G area I came across is also operating the 700MHz band.  So far I haven't encountered any Eir 2.1GHz enabled masts where they turned off band 1 sectors, at least not during the day or times I checked.  Most of the Vodafone masts around our area are 3G only (e.g. Kilcar and Carrick in Co. Donegal have 3G only Vodafone masts) and the few distant masts I pick up are 4G band 20 only.  Most of the Vodafone masts I came across that do operate band 1 such as in Killybegs and Donegal town also operate 5G DSS on that band, so are unlikely switching off sectors as this would also reduce their 5G coverage.
The mast I use seems to keep it going as usual. I think I only seen them turn off B1 once... maybe they only do it on quieter masts. I'd imagine the mast I connect to serves a lot of people giving where it is. The only other thing I noticed before was it being around -104 NR RSRP on N78 instead of say -101 / -102 . B1 is operating all the times I've checked so far (and right now using B3,B1,N78).

The weird thing I noticed now with this router is when I was testing if 5G was working ... the previous strategy of powering off for 15 minutes and re wiring inside wasn't working because now it'll always boot up in LTE-A now no matter what.For some reason the behaviour it usually does decided to change and... I didn't know that so I wasted alot of time re wiring and powering off.

I then discovered now that it will go into 5G on it's own after a while of usage. 2-3 mins usually and I just need to keep an eye on it so that when it does connect I can then just start a ping in cmd and it'll hold all day. Waiting on that routerboard so I can use that 24/7/. Anywhere from 300-370 Mbps and about 20 upload. The perfect device would probably be a mikrotik style dish with a mediatek modem. Then I could potentially run B3,B1,N3,N78. Still a mystery as to why N3 doesn't work and N78 does? Big Grin

The issue with the connection dropping if I heavily download has stabilised alot more it only happened me once yesterday whereas there when I complained about it , it was doing it every time I tried downloading anything over 30mb.
Maybe it was indeed weather related like you said?
I was in Dublin for a few days travelling with a work colleague and also stopped in Galway. I topped up my Vodafone SIM and had my phone set to use the 48 SIM for data to Galway and then the Vodafone SIM to Dublin and checked NetMonster periodically. I see Vodafone has many more band 1 and 3 masts now, most operating 5G DSS on band 1. Three on other hand has less band 1 coverage with my phone mainly showing the two band 3 EARFCNs. It will be interesting to see ComReg's next nationwide drive test to see how Three's band 1 coverage compares to the end of 2022.

I did not encounter any band 7 cell yet on 4G or 5G with Either Vodafone or Three. The last band 7 cell it recorded in its log was when I was in the UK roaming on EE.
I saw a staff post on Three's forum mentioning that this Zyxel NR5103E router will be available on Three's business broadband soon. So it's possible they will make it available to home broadband plans once they use up their inventory of their ZTE routers.

Three currently only lists 4G broadband on its Business broadband section, so it's likely this will be the router they will provide when they offer 5G business broadband. Their 4G business broadband is €25+VAT / month, so it's likely their 5G broadband will be priced similar to their home 5G broadband.
I wonder will it have any differences to the Three UK one. I saw there was one of these available with cell locking functionality but it was out of stock and haven't been able to find it again. It was just a NR5103E without any ISP branding. Would be exactly what I need Big Grin
Three's Zyxel NR5103E page is now live, but shows out of stock for the home version at this time of posting.

I came upon the user manual for the Irish Zyxel NR5103E (PDF link) and from the screenshots they show near the end it looks like it will offer band selection like the UK model as it shows a "Band Auto Selection" toggle. The network modes can be switched between Auto, NR5G-SA, NR5G-NSA/4G and 4G only. This would be important in my case for example where I can pick up a 5G signal, but outside the maximum range. There does not appear to be cell lock, at least not any indication in the screenshots throughout the manual.

So far I haven't come across the unbranded version. The router is available on AliExpress (example), although appears to be the UK Three model that the Chinese merchant managed to get stock of. Big Grin
I found this video and he actually uses this forum for reference at times Big Grin I'd need this model like he has, it has a cellular lock function. From what I understood they have this NR5103E on 3 in sweden and it has the functionality too.
I'd be tempted to get the irish version to see if the firmware behaves any differently. I tried updating in Derry again to B14 but I couldn't manage to get it to work.
If this model has the mediatek modem it'd be the one I'd need to try get a hold of somehow..

The manual pictures seem to be identical to mine.

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