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4G and 5G routers to avoid for external antenna use
In what appears to be Huawei trying to cut manufacturing costs, many of its new mains powered routers are doing away with ports that you typically expect to find on mobile broadband routers, such as multiple Ethernet ports for Ethernet devices, signal strength LEDs, antenna ports for improving reception in fringe reception areas and usually a telephone port for VoIP.

Some may have noticed that the recent Huawei routers now only have one or two Ethernet ports, such as the B528 (one port) and the B818 (two ports).  Even the number of signal bars dropped from 5 to 3 or just 1 in the case of its 5G routers.  A few have also done away with the phone port.  These cut backs are straight forward to workaround, e.g. use a network switch to connect more Ethernet devices, use the web interface to see the signal bars and a separate VoIP adapter or dedicated VoIP phone for your VoIP phone provider.

With many Huawei's 5G routers, they have done away with the antenna ports! Confused

In Ireland, all three networks operate 5G on the 3.6GHz band (5G band 78) that was previously licenced out to fixed wireless operators and point-to-point links.  4G operates on the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands.  The higher the frequency, the worse its penetration capability.  This is the main reason mobile operators use the 800MHz band extensively in rural areas as it penetrates concrete much better than the 1800MHz band. 

With the poor penetration capability of the 1800MHz band, there is no doubt that most people in rural areas will only have outdoor coverage on the 3.6GHz 5G band.  Modern building insulation materials make it even more likely to depend on an outdoor antenna as the signals cannot pass through foil-backed insulation or even glass windows due to the energy efficient coatings applied.  The plastic window frames are generally the only places now where the signal can get through. 

Huawei 4G routers with only one antenna port:
  • Huawei B311 series
  • Huawei 4G Router 2s
Huawei 5G routers without antenna ports:
  • Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 (H122-373)
  • Huawei 5G Mobile WiFi (E6878-870)
  • Huawei 5G Mobile WiFi Pro (E6878-370)
  • Huawei 5G CPE Win *
Note: Routers marked with a * are intended to be mounted outdoors to overcome the issue with walls, modern glass or insulation blocking the signal.  However, these still require an adequate outdoor 5G signal and are best mounted high up.  

For anyone that comes across any other 5G routers without antenna ports, please let me know or mention below and I add them to this post.
Hi Sean,

I noticed performance issues on the Huawei 4G B525s-23a also.

Example: Eir post pay SIM in B525 connected to external antenna directed to same tower resulted in about half the download rate of a TPLINK MR200. 

TPLINK 42mbps
B525 23mbps

It's worth checking another router if you can to determine baseline results.

There is no CA on either that I can determine.

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