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Goto 5G router?
#1
Hi everyone,

Can anyone recommend any 5g routers that others go with?

I have my mind on below three but can't really make the decision on which one is better.
  • Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 (H122-373)
  • Huawei 5G CPE 5 (H155-381)
  • ZTE MC801A
I also considered ZTE MC7010 but the prices are wild on eBay and can't seem to find anything locally in Ireland.

Not sure if this information helps, my Google Pixel 8 Pro using Speedtest by Ookla app gets;
  • 800-950mbps download.
  • 50-80mbps upload.
Cloudflare speedtest;
  • 400-500mbps download.
  • 40-60mbps upload.

Thanks in advance.
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#2
Of these, I would consider the ZTE for its better signal reporting and band locking capabilities, however, this will depend on whether it is an OEM or has a mobile operator customised GUI with these features locked out.

The Zyxel NR5103E Three UK model is also worth considering. These are network unlocked despite the Three branding and includes band locking capability and detailed signal read outs even with Three's custom GUI. It also has 4 antenna sockets that cover all the 4G and 5G bands, which means you can easily an antenna later on. The Huawei routers have no antenna ports and am not fully sure about the ZTE MC801A's antenna port capabilities other than it can improve the signal on 5G band n78.

I am surprised CeX has not added the Zyxel NR5103E to its Irish listings yet now that Three Ireland provides this router on some mobile broadband plans. Most eBay listings are in the UK, so you will likely need to pay customs charges unless you can get it delivered somewhere in Northern Ireland.
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#3
(20/03/2024, 12:03 AM)Seán Wrote: Of these, I would consider the ZTE for its better signal reporting and band locking capabilities, however, this will depend on whether it is an OEM or has a mobile operator customised GUI with these features locked out. 

The Zyxel NR5103E Three UK model is also worth considering.  These are network unlocked despite the Three branding and includes band locking capability and detailed signal read outs even with Three's custom GUI.  It also has 4 antenna sockets that cover all the 4G and 5G bands, which means you can easily an antenna later on.  The Huawei routers have no antenna ports and am not fully sure about the ZTE MC801A's antenna port capabilities other than it can improve the signal on 5G band n78. 

I am surprised CeX has not added the Zyxel NR5103E to its Irish listings yet now that Three Ireland provides this router on some mobile broadband plans.  Most eBay listings are in the UK, so you will likely need to pay customs charges unless you can get it delivered somewhere in Northern Ireland.

Thanks for the information Seán.

I haven't heard of ZYXEL NR5103E and really like the idea of the having the option to add internal or external antennas. Even with custom duty it seems to be close to what Cex wants for Huawei CPE 5.


Do you have any opinions on the Zyxel NR5103EV2? Is it any better?
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#4
Technically the NR5103E (V1) is better as it has a 2.5Gb Ethernet port (plus a 1GB port) and has 4 antenna ports. This means you can potentially get over 1Gbps with a 2.5Gb Ethernet adapter if there is enough bandwidth available on the mast.

The NR5103EV2 has just two antenna ports. These ports do cover both 4G and 5G unlike most other 5G routers, however, you would need to perform an internal modification to connect all 4 antenna connections on the modem to a 4x4 MIMO antenna.

While it is possible to also modify the Huawei and ZyXEL routers to add external antennas, its modems have 6 to 8 modem ports (I think 10 for the Huawei 5G CPE 5) which would make it impractical due to the number of antennas and coaxial cable runs.
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#5
Sean,do you know if NR5103E on external antenna will cover lte+5g n3 band? It seems promising ,plus 2nd hand on ebay is not very expensive
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#6
Thanks again Seán.

Went ahead and purchased a ZYXEL NR5103E. Will update once it's delivered and setup. 

Hoping it will replace my ancient Archer MR600 V1 4G router. If I can quadruple my download speeds I will be very satisfied.

[Image: HVCEwNA.png]
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#7
(21/03/2024, 08:22 AM)Krauziak Wrote: Sean,do you know if NR5103E on external antenna will cover lte+5g n3 band? It seems promising ,plus 2nd hand on ebay is not very expensive
The 4 external antenna ports connect all 4 antenna ports on the modem, which means they cover all 4G and 5G band combinations that the modem is capable of. You will need all 4 antenna connections connected to boost both 4G and 5G bands even with 2x2 MIMO as the modem uses two ports as the main MIMO pair for 4G and the other two ports for 5G. You can either use two 2x2 MIMO antennas or a 4x4 MIMO antenna.
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#8
Hey anyone viewing this,
I got the NR5103E router yesterday, played around with it for a bit, got it working with my TP-Link MR600 via IP Passthrough, most likely will upgrade the MR600 to something newer as I only get max 350mbps on that router via WiFi standing next to it, as I move further away it starts to drop 200,100 and so on. Still plenty of bandwidth for mobile devices but it would be nice to have that extra bandwidth in case of some big download that might be required on a laptop etc.
NR5103E without IP Passthrough to MR600 was getting anywhere from 500 to 800mbps on it's on WiFi 6.
NR5103E connected via IP passthrough to MR600 and then via Ethernet cable to my desktop results in same speeds I get with WiFi 6 more or less. This was night time run, I'm yet to see busy hours speeds hoping it's not going tank to 4G speeds.
[Image: C4uloOr.png]
Very satisfied with the router seems to do it's job well without any hiccups yet at least and definitely a big upgrade from 4G speeds I was getting.
But I was wondering on a few things during my setup process.
  • Is there anyway to have both of the routers WiFi working while still being able to connect to devices that might be connected via Ethernet cable on another router?
Example:
Desktop system is connected to the MR600 via Ethernet cable and another device is connected to the NR5103E router via WiFi, I would like to remote into the desktop computer with the device that's connected to the NR5103E.
Before I enabled IP passthrough, I had both of the routers connected together and I guess they behaved as two separate NATs, the problem I had is their gateway and IP wouldn't get on the same subnet, I'm not network guy I could be completely using wrong terms here, the subnet was set on both to 255.255.225.0, but then when it came to IP and gateway one would be on 192.168.0.1 and the other 192.168.1.1 and if I switch one to the other then the other would switch. The problem with that is then the device that's connected to the other router is invisible to the a device connect to the second router.
Is it possible to have them working the way I'm trying to describe?
  • Is band locking important or leaving it in auto is fine? I seem to be using b1,b3,b20 and n78
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#9
That is a great improvement, particularly if the speeds and ping hold up during peak time.

To get both the NR5103E and the MR600 on the same subnet, the MR600 needs to function as a Wi-Fi access point only rather than as a router. With most Wi-Fi routers including old ISP routers to repurpose as a Wi-Fi access point, this usually involves disabling the DHCP feature on the router, changing the IP address to be within the subnet of the main router and connecting any LAN port to the LAN port of the main router.

You can try this as follows:
  1. Turn off the IP passthrough on the NR5103E so it handles the routing.
  2. On the NR5103E, go into Network setting -> Home Networking -> LAN Setup and change its DHCP range to start at x.x.x.10, e.g. 192.168.1.10.
  3. Disconnect the Ethernet cable between the NR5103E and MR600
  4. On the MR600, go into Advanced (top menu) -> Network (left menu) -> LAN Settings.
  5. Change the IP address to end in x.x.x.2 on the same subnet as the NR5103E, e.g. 192.168.1.2
  6. Clear the DHCP Enable check box, then click Save.
  7. Connect the Ethernet cable from the NR5103E to a LAN port on the NR5103E. Leave the WAN port empty.

With that speed I wouldn't worry about band locking unless you notice it dropping the 5G n78 band, such as if it's connecting to another mast or changing to a lower frequency 5G band that has far less bandwidth, e.g. n1, n3, etc.
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