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5G routers, antennae and testing
I saw that Three finally turned on their 5G network.  It's surprising the number of sites that have become live, including Arranmore: Cool
Is there any way we could pick that up ? I'd be interested if it'd work though I doubt it right? And what should I be purchasing if it were possible to do so? Big Grin
At the moment, there are just a handful of 5G routers available, mainly Huawei models.  I have yet to try any 5G phone or router, but presume it will work in much the same way as 4G and earlier, i.e. just set the APN.  Three charges €5/28 days for 5G access on prepay, but still better than Eir and Vodafone that restrict 5G to their expensive bill pay plans. 

These are my quick opinions on the Huawei 5G models available, which support 5G band 78:
Huawei 5G CPE Pro H112-370 - With TS9 antenna ports and the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). Lacks 20+3+3, 20+3+1 and 1+3+3 in 4G+ mode from what I can tell.
Huawei 5G CPE Pro H112-372 - As above, but without Wi-Fi 6 capability or phone port.  Still has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a gigabit LAN port.
Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 H122-373 - No antenna ports!  Can do the above 3CA's in 4G+ mode, but good luck trying that without an antenna... Tongue
Huawei E6878-370 - No antenna ports!  Battery operated router for travel. 
Netgear MR5200 - Not yet released, so unsure about 4G+ capability, but does have antenna ports. Smile

Given how poorly 3.6GHz frequencies penetrate walls and objects, I just don't get why Huawei has decided to drop the antenna ports on its latest CPE Pro 2 model.  Confused  When I first saw the pictures of it, I thought it just had the antenna ports flap edited out of the pictures, but then I saw a user review saying they sent it back as it was unusable on 5G in their house without an outdoor antenna.  Going by what someone pointed out on Boards (visible in Three's page code), it looks like Three will be supplying the Huawei CPE Pro 2 model with their upcoming 5G broadband plan. 

I have since split my home connection over two connections.  I now have my VoIP running over a 48 SIM with my old Huawei B525 router and everything else running over the MikroTik Chateau LTE12 with LTE-Passthrough to a Tenda MW6-3 mesh Wi-Fi acting as the router.  As I still have the link flapping issue, the LTE-Passthrough prevents it breaking downloads when the link flaps and by having my phone over the 48 SIM, I can also download and upload all I want without affecting phone calls.
Now i'm really interested in trying to see if theres a viable way to get 5G to work, I assume theres no mikrotik style dish devices or anything like that yet? Also what about externals antennas and stuff - what would the best possible antenna be for trying to pick up 5G from here?

I had a look at comreg and its now listing imagine LTE as well on the arranmore site which I didn't see before, and extra Three mast saying "NR".
Since im getting like -91 RSRP on band 3 here. What do you think the 5G will be like roughly, if it all? the coverage map seemed pretty good but I've no idea what it'll be like in reality .

Do they only use band 78 for Threes 5G ? I'd really love to get it to work , if it was possible, I'd be willing to buy all the stuff to test it out Big Grin
The activation of Three's 5G network over the weekend has also piqued my interest of connecting to it. I'm quite certain an external antenna will be required to establish any decent connection. I spent some time searching around for 5G routers and there are not many readily available. Séan listed the same ones that I found above and Huawei's router and antenna seem to be the one to go for currently, though they are expensive. It makes sense that 3 will be using Huawei's router when they launch their 5G home broadband plans, but it would be great for someone here to experiment and connect themselves before 3 roll it out officially. Tongue
I suggest keeping an eye on this thread on Boards.  In that particular post I linked, the person mentions that its Huawei H112-370 (mentioned a few posts earlier) is not connecting in 5G mode despite purchasing a 5G add-on and well within 5G coverage.  Hopefully Three is not blocking 5G use in routers like what Three UK did a few years ago with preventing phone SIMs working in routers or tablets.  Although Three chat said they don't have 5G coverage in Monaghan, there certainly is going by the Nperf map, which collects actual reception from its App users:


(02/10/2020, 12:52 AM)Emilia Wrote: I had a look at comreg and its now listing imagine LTE as well on the arranmore site which I didn't see before, and extra Three mast saying "NR".
Since im getting like -91 RSRP on band 3 here. What do you think the 5G will be like roughly, if it all? the coverage map seemed pretty good but I've no idea what it'll be like in reality .

Do they only use band 78 for Threes 5G ?  I'd really love to get it to work , if it was possible, I'd be willing to buy all the stuff to test it out Big Grin
I reckon you'll pick up 5G with your current LPDA-92 antennae.  They do cover the 3.6GHz band, although with just 2dB gain going by Poynting's gain graph.  You can get a narrow band 3.6GHz antenna such as Huawei's AF9E that provides 14dBi gain.  The only concern I have with using a narrow band antenna is whether Three supports standalone 5G, i.e. uses 5G for the uplink.  The more common non-standalone (NSA) connection involves using 4G for the uplink. 

I'm not sure how well a 3.6GHz narrow band antenna will upload on the lower 4G frequencies, particularly given that Three's 4G band 3 operates at half the frequency, i.e. 1.8GHz.  Basically, you could end up with 500+Mbps download speeds with <10Mbps upload if it gets a poor uplink connection on band 3.  On the other hand, if your current LPDA-92 picks up sufficient 5G signal, you'll get the same upload speed as present with them.

That MikroTik LHG 4G dish you have has 21dBi gain on the 3.6GHz band, just that its modem only supports 4G.  So if MikroTik develops one with a 5G module, I've no doubt it will give a great 5G connection there, especially since that dish concentrates bands 1 and 3, unlike the 5G antenna.  I'm tempted to hold off of any router purchase until MikroTik releases such a dish as it will get rid of a lot of clutter from our loft.

In the meantime, I suggest holding off of any router purchase until someone confirms that a Three prepay SIM works in 5G mode in a router.
Just to update, that person mentions that the router works in 5G mode at another address, so probably does not have a strong enough signal at home. I wouldn't be surprised if it works with an outdoor antenna, but goes to show the stupid decision Huawei made to do away with the antenna ports on the newer CPE Pro 2 model.
Let me know if you see anything at all worth while buying to test it out, is the AF9E my best bet for getting the strongest signal of it atm? I tried googling for some but it's bringing up 5 Ghz wifi antennas all the time, dont think thats the right thing Big Grin Couldn't really find any routers either Cry

I'd even just get something in the meantime for the sake of testing, I assume the router they're talking about on boards has no external antenna ports like above? I had a look on mikrotik too and didnt see any mention of anything 5G except for the stupid wifi dishes. They wouldn't work right?

What about that imagine LTE, what are they like? what are they providing? is it also 5G or is it something different... I have no idea about them really.
The Huawei AF9E and the Low Cost Mobile 5G 15dBi antennae are the two highest gain antennae that I've come across so far for the 3.6GHz 5G band.  Of these two, I would likely go for the Low Cost Mobile one and a pair of SMA to TS9 adapters to attach the leads (the Huawei H112-370 and H112-372 both have TS9 antenna sockets).

Based on my experience with TS9 connectors, these push on connectors are not durable, e.g. tug on the cables excessively (e.g. tripping over them Smile ) will likely break the TS9 ends.  With SMA to TS9 adapters, you can easily replace the adapters.  With the Huawei AF9E antenna, if the TS9 ends get damaged, it's going to be a right pain getting two new TS9 ends crimped on. 

One more piece of positive news is that Three appears to be operating 5G standalone.  In these speed tests posted on Boards, the first result shown has an upload of 122Mbps.  To date, I have not seen a 4G upload speed higher than 70Mbps on the Three network, so that looks like the upload was carried over 5G.  It would also seem about right assuming a 4:1 download to upload time slot ratio.  (Correction: NSA can aggregate uplink on 4G+5G)

The Huawei 5G CPE Pro (without the '2') has two external antenna ports.  However, the newer Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 has no external antenna ports, so definitely avoid that.  If you come across any other 5G routers, check that it supports band 78.  If it doesn't mention, there's a good chance that it's actually just a 4G router and the '5G' refers to 802.11ac Wi-Fi.  For example, you will often see the Netgear MR1100 and M2 being described as '4G / 5G', where the 5G refers to the Wi-Fi.

Indeed the 5GHz Wi-Fi band is a right pain also when trying to find a 5G antenna, especially with so many sellers shortening '5GHz' to '5G'.  A 5GHz Wi-Fi antenna will not work (or perform poorly) as 5G operates on 3.3 to 3.8GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi operates at a much higher frequency range of 5.0 to 5.8GHz. 

Despite all the hype Imagine did on being 5G Ready and operating on 3.6GHz frequencies, they are still LTE based.  If you do a network search with your MikroTik LHG, Imagine will probably show up as a 4G network in the list.  Their equipment requires engineer installation and they also have full control over their equipment without user access, i.e. they no longer provide login details for their router and don't provide login details for their LTE terminal either.  They are also discrete on their traffic shaping policies, e.g. go over a certain usage threshold in a day, which varies from location to location and you're throttled for the rest of the day.  Go over their 1TB monthly allowance twice and you're permanently throttled for lifeSick

(I split these 5G posts from the original 4G testing thread.)
Finally some of my old stuff I had from testing vodafone becoming useful  I have those female SMA - TS9 adapters (2x) because the time I was going to try Vodafone I assumed they were going to give me that router with the TS9 ports so at least thats something.

I hope I'm able to pick it up, I think I'll get that narrow band antenna for my best chance of getting signal, as for routers , do three offer any of those ones with TS9 ports?, I can live without the 4G support since i'd imagine 5G in itself would just be better overall and its easy to swap over the routers if I happen to need it ( of course if the router comes with it then even better) .

I guess it makes sense now why the 4G has improved so much. They must've upgraded all the backhaul for the 5G because I can download updates to call of duty warzone at 100-200 Mbps at any time of day ever since band 1 and upgraded band 3 cells were added. But theres still that traffic shaping/prioritising going on.

I'll ordered the antenna now as I'm  extremely eager to test.  Will probably ending up buying a lot more things in trying to get it to work simply chasing better internet.
I'd always like  to get the best possible setup. I do the same with my PC. Pre-ordered the RTX 3090 and I'll either get one of AMD's flagship zen 3 CPU's or wait for intel's new CPU line up release and re build. Stuck with an overclocked 5.1 Ghz 9900k for now Tongue  I could open an antenna/router shop myself with all the stuff I have Big Grin

As for some other stuff I found, looks like 5G is going to be really expensive        It looks like an upcoming router similar to mikrotik routers that are outdoor , minus the dish and just a panel antenna instead.

It also lists the MR5200 netgear router for pre order "60 days" but also very expensive :

And the rest of the known 5G routers:  

When googling that cpe pro, it looks like Three is about to launch 5G broadband plans at least looking at their website, it lists this but its not actually live yet. 

[Image: CeUJe1e.png]

Edit:  Still not sure what router to buy , they're pretty expensive so just want to double check what do you think is best? The Huawei 5G CPE Pro?  Or is it better to wait on something? I ordered the antenna anyway so may as well at least try. If it is that router, where should I buy it?
Those other 5G routers sure are expensive!  I was anticipating seeing figures like €400-€500 or the dollar equivalent, not $799+.  I don't get what makes them so expensive other than short supply driving up the price.   It reminds me of webcams earlier in the year where low end Logitech's that typically sold for around €30 before March reached €100 to €150.

If you really want to buy one right now, I still suggest going for the Huawei 5G CPE Pro if you can get hold of one.  I reckon the others will crash in price once production picks up as it does not make sense having 5G phones starting around £250 and 5G routers costing triple that.  

For example, the Huawei B818 4G cost around £320 back in June, which seemed rather expensive for a 4G+ router despite the Cat19 capability.  Once some mobile broadband providers  started offering it (Eir and Vodafone), the price came well down a few months later. I remember seeing it around £180 not that long ago, but has since gone up to around £220.

I'm still going to hold off for a while and will probably get a 5G phone first.  I'm currently eyeing the Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro 5G.  I'm currently well out side any 5G coverage, so don't really want to spend a small fortune on a 5G router only for it to lose most of its value by the time 5G is available here. 

That a good find on Google.  I don't think Three releases Google indexed those placeholder pages.  I saw one more, the HUAWEI 5G CPE H312-371.  This is Huawei's outdoor PoE powered equivalent to the Zyxel NR7101 you linked to.  I'm curious to see what Three will charge for the router and monthly plan for these.  

I like your PC Cool I never had water cooling in any PC I built and my current PC is just a prebuilt HP Z240. It has an i7 7700K CPU and a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD, but otherwise nothing special about the rest of the spec. I mainly just use it for technical stuff, so the main things I'm after are decent processing speed, speakers and image quality (monitor is a BenQ PD2700U 4K).

I finally had my first experience using Discord to access Big Clive's server (Technical Family).  It must be over 10 years that I last used any sort of web chat.  I quickly learned that a voice channel does not work like text chat.  Tongue   I thought these had voice recordings, only to hear "Hello.... Hello, ... " and realising that clicking one instantly starts a voice chat with anyone else on the voice channel and I had no microphone handy.  Whoops....
Do you have any idea when Three will release their broadband plans? It'd be easier to get the router that way, I can't seem to find it anywhere except for chinese sellers which I'd rather avoid since it's so far away and would take ages to arrive. I'll keep looking but struggling so far.
My best guess is that Three is waiting on the shipment its Huawei 5G routers before it makes the 5G broadband plans available. Otherwise it doesn't really make sense delaying them with their 5G service already live. Another possibility is that they are probably monitoring the network stability first with 5G handset users.

I generally avoid the Chinese sellers where possible for anything high priced unless it is sold customs pre-cleared. Besides the hassle with customs duty, it is also a right pain trying to get a product sent back for RMA, particularly the shipping cost to China of anything bulky, the waiting time and possibly further hassle with customs when they send back the repaired product.

My last purchase directly from China was a Tecsun PL-880 radio, mainly for its FM sensitivity. I can pick up Galway Bay FM (96.8MHz, clear but in mono) in the front garden and occasionally Clare FM on 96.4MHz and Kerry FM on 97.0MHz on a good day. If only Tecsun made routers. Smile
My antenna is due to come tomorrow but yeah I literally can't find the cpe pro/anything else  anywhere  that isn't china, or I'm just looking in the wrong places, I really want to test it Big Grin Patiently waiting on Three's site too. The thing i'm worried about is functionality , as in being able to select 5G only mode, specific bands and stuff. Will there be something similar to carrier aggregation on 5G at any point here? If thats a thing on 5G.

I'm afraid of not picking it up or something since I am quite far away from Arranmore. I wonder how similar is it's propagation compared to band 3 and 1. If it's able to come as far as they can then I should theoretically pick it up with the narrow band antenna hopefully. The island is really high up, alot more than expected. 

Only info I could find on it was this: 
"n78 coverage is naturally limited by the propagation characteristics of the higher frequencies, however the effect has in some ways been mitigated by advanced processing techniques such as massive MIMO, beam-forming, and beam-tracking. Observed propagation has been reported to be similar to early B3 (1800 MHz) 4G networks. The shorter wavelength does have the advantage of making 5G's complex antenna technologies (such as 128T128R) more compact and hence more feasible to deploy" 

[Image: ySsMRZ6.png]
I'm also considering buying the Huawei CPE Pro, seems to be the router to go for currently. Too bad it's quite expensive. I'm unsure if I'll buy it right now since I'm uncertain if I'll get 5G coverage without an antenna, which will just add on to the already hefty cost. Would I be able to use a non-Huawei 5G antenna with the CPE Pro?

Yesterday Apple announced their October event, it's expected the new iPhone will have 5G. Here's hoping that it will pressure carriers and manufacturers alike to ramp up production of 5G devices. Smile
When googling for the CPE pro there was a lot of not so great reviews as well, about 4G performance mostly by the looks of it.  I think you can use any kind of antenna as long as you have TS9 adapters if your antenna terminates to SMA or something since the external antenna ports on the CPE Pro are TS9. I ordered a narrow band one 2 days ago from lowcostmobile on Amazon but still haven't decided what router to get to test it out.

I still cant find anywhere to get a router to test it with, if anyone else finds anything more local than china, would be nice Big Grin 

Edit: The 15dbi 5G Panel antenna arrived but I'm not able to test it with any router sadly:
That's correct for the antenna, you can use any brand or model of antenna as long as it covers 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz. It does not need to mention 5G, but does need two leads for MIMO. Avoid any antenna that says WIMAX as these only have a single lead and cover a narrower range such as 3.5GHz to 3.6GHz.

(07/10/2020, 01:45 PM)Emilia Wrote: Edit: The 15dbi 5G Panel antenna arrived but I'm not able to test it with any router sadly:
At least you have the antenna now Smile I can imagine when the 5G routers are back in stock that the antennae will be sold out.

The next day the weather is dry, I suggest testing it on 4G to see how well it uploads on bands 1 and 3. This way if 5G operates non-standalone (where it uploads on 4G), it will give an idea of what your upload performance will be like.

The negative reviews of the CPE Pro on 4G seems to match I came across about its 4G carrier aggregation capabilities. Going by the cacombo's page it is unable to aggregate 1+3+3 or 20+3+3, which even the Mikrotik Chateau can. The CPE Pro 2 can aggregate 1+3+3 and 20+3+3.

The CPE Pro 2 will also be able to aggregate up to 200MHz of 5G bandwidth, however, I'm not sure if or when ComReg will release and auction off any further spectrum for 5G. In addition to band 78, the CPE Pro 2 supports 5G bands 77 (as band 78, but covers 3.3GHz to 4.2GHz) and band 79 (4.4GHz to 5GHz). Both the CPE Pro and CPE Pro 2 should give the equivalent speed on the Irish networks, ignoring the antenna ports.

Whenever Three the Huawei 5G models available, I would go for the outdoor Huawei CPE WIN (Three's second blank 5G router placeholder page). The CPE Pro 2's lack of antenna ports will effectively render it unusable on 5G in most rural areas apart from those living right next to a 5G mast. Then again, it's also quite likely someone will create a mod kit to add external antennae ports to the CPE Pro 2. Wink
Since I was so impatient Big Grin I found a UK website after 2 hours of crawling the web to find a seller that was somewhat local , they also have a 14 days returns policy so I can test it out and return it if it doesn't work which is perfect. I had a look at the CPE Win but it doesn't appear to have external antennas? According to the specs I could find, it's listed a 5.5 dBi gain and omni directional. I'd imagine that would be worse for my use case since I am so far away. The external antenna I bought is apparently 15 dBi and directional. It should be better right?

I ordered this from here 
Edit: Sent email asking about delivery and apparently it wasn't even in stock. Might try and get it cancelled and get on ebay from a UK seller.

I went with the h112-372 because it appears to support more bands under the spec sheet I found , the h112-370 is the one all the ISP's are providing , it has WiFi 6 whereas the 372 doesn't. What does that really entail though?, is it only better wifi speed/range?  372 does support more of the bands  (in the hope it supports 3+3+1 etc because it was not listed on cacombos. Only the 370 is listed there. So couldn't find any info to confirm. 


Do you think there will be any way to lock bands/ force 5G mode etc with this new router? Upon googling the 372 there was some more positive reviews, I saw one specific review saying it improved their 4G speed compared to the B525 they had. I was checking all the other amazons and found the router on the german amazon. Was about to order just before I found the UK seller. Hopefully I'll get it on friday, if not probably monday. Eager to test it. Shame it cost me 650 euro to find out including the antenna Tongue

On a second note, tonight I got kicked off the internet and it said no signal on my B525 but my LHG 4G was connected with -89 RSRP on band 3. So after rebooting it/ factory resetting it because it was persisting. Nothing would work. I swapped to 3G and it says "Profile invalid". My instant thought was that they are doing something about using the phone sim in broadband devices. So I tried changing the apn to and it worked? It also would say "no signal" when I had the 3internet apn on 4G , but 3G signal would show up but it would say profile invalid.  To further test, I used the mikrotik default apn - "internet" and it also brought back the 4G signal and let me connect. But if I change the apn to 3internet - the 4G signal will disappear and say "no signal" and 3G wont connect with the same error. Idk really odd. I'll try it again in the morning. Any idea why that would be?
That's a bummer about being out of stock after all that searching. Confused  

Your 15dBi antenna should pull in additional signal over the 5.5dB internal antenna of the Huawei CPE Win.  Indeed, the CPE Win appears to lack antenna ports, however, of the two Huawei 5G routers Three appear to be launching soon, if I had to choose, I would go with the CPE Win instead of the CPE Pro 2.

For Wi-Fi 6, you will need Wi-Fi 6 capable devices to connect in that mode, much like needing 802.11a/ac support to connect to the 5GHz band.  However, it has much greater Wi-Fi coverage and performance than 802.11ac, particularly with multiple devices on the network. 

I'm not sure about band locking on the CPE Pro models, but reckon it will be possible for the 4G bands. However, I don't you will be able to force 5G.  I think it needs to negotiate the connection with the network in 4G mode before the network hands over to 5G mode.  I remember when Vodafone and Eir were like this when they first launched 4G.  The phone or router had to connect in 3G mode first before the network would provide 4G access.  If it was forced in 4G-only mode, it would endlessly show "No signal".

The Three network had issues overnight.  Going by the Down Detector website, there were a spike of reports between 1am and 3am.  My MikroTik Chateau router had several outages logged also, one lasting about 40 minutes.  It is configured with the 3internet APN.  I was asleep. Smile
Okay so I asked anyway and they actually got their stock probably late yesterday , was assuming they'd make me wait for ages like I am with my pre-order 3090. Router shipped today and they gave me a UPS tracking number and its due for Tuesday. I went into this "change delivery day/reschedule delivery day" options in the UPS email with the tracking stuff and monday was listed so I picked that... I hope it doesn't end up making it take longer Big Grin but it was worth a try hopefully. If it comes Monday even better.

I wonder at what power they'll broadcasting the 5G as in how far it will reach , I can get -99 to -98 RSRP on band 1 with my LPDA 92's (which dont even work properly). And slightly better on band 3 , -94 to -95 RSRP ish. The LHG 4G mikrotik router gets like -88 RSRP on band 3. Wish there was something that high gain for 5G. Or is that I antenna I got going to perform better than the LPDA's because of the narrow range of frequency it supports? Hopefully mikrotik will make something.

Looking at the 4G and 5G coverage map for Three, My house or a good bit of area surrounding it, isnt apparently covered at all , not even outdoor coverage on 4G. The 5G coverages extends basically as far as what the 4G gets to.. So Im hoping I pick it up. Since coverage map isn't really very accurate since I think my current 5 bars is more than usable Big Grin

Do I need a new SIM card or anything, or can I just plug the sim from my B525 into my CPE pro when I get it? I'll also compare the 4G and check if they 372 model can do 3+3 +1 or stuff like that. Thats the reason I went with the 372 over the 370 in the hope it has more capability in that regard considering it supports extra 5G bands, but probably end up not being the case. I assume that means the CPE pro is capable of like triple CA like the chateau if it supports the bands ?
Does N78 band combine with the current 4G bands for speed? or is it only operating in N78 exclusively?

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