Today we take a look at the Huawei B315 4G Router. This router has been around for a few years now and is still a popular, entry level 4G router for home and office use.
It provides the basic’s for a rural 4G mobile broadband installation.
- 4 x 10/100 Fast Ethernet Ports
- 802.11n WiFi with connectivity for 32 users
- 2 x SMA Antenna ports for connection of external antenna
- CAT4 LTE 4G Modem for good 4G connection speeds.
The B315 router uses a standard size SIM Card and is a reliable router to suit the majority of home users.
You can see on the rear of the router the power connector, the 4 x Ethernet Ports, A USB slot for connection of a printer for example and an RJ11 Telephone port that will allow you to plug in a standard BT Telephone (we recommend using an RJ11 to BT adapter with capacitor) and you can then make and receive calls. These calls would use up any inclusive minutes on your SIM plan if you have any but very few people will actually use the phone feature.
On the left hand side is the SIM card cover and you can also see to the right hand side of the SIM slot a large panel which you remove to get access to the external antenna connectors. These are SMA Female connectors for MAIN and AUX antenna connections – this means that you can connect an outdoor 4G Antenna like the Fullband MIMORAD and put the antenna in a location where you have a better 4G signal.
If you are using an external 4G antenna then on most versions of the B315 software you can configure the router to use the built-in internal 4G antennas or set the router to use either one or both external antenna ports (MAIN and AUX). We recommend using a MIMO antenna and configuring the B315 to use both external antenna ports. After all, the reason that you are using the router with an external antenna is going to be because you don’t have a good signal where you position the router, but have a much better signal where you locate the external 4G antenna so you may as well invest in a quality MIMO antenna.
Whilst the Huawei B315 is a solid, reliable home and office 4G router you could do alot better spending an extra £30.00 and purchasing the newer Huawei E5186 4G Router which offers faster 4G with the latest CAR6 LTE module, Gigabit Ethernet Ports and superfast 802.11ac WiFi.
Is the new Cradlepoint IBR900 the best 4G router for rural broadband?
Well, on the upside it has the latest CAT6 4G Module to provide super fast 4G connectivity and it also includes 802.11AC high speed WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet port so you can create a high speed wired and wireless network to connect all your devices and because it is a router designed for remote management and monitoring it will provide a reliable connection to the 4G network.
On the downside it is priced at £806.00 + VAT (£967.20) so is an expensive bit of hardware and the web interface is better suited to the more technically capable of users and includes many features you will probably never use. However, there are some users that will pay top dollar to get the ‘best’ of everything and whilst the IBR900 4G router certainly does appear to be at the expensive end of things it’s main features for rural broadband are matched by the Huawei E5186 4G router which also includes CAT6 4G module, 802.11AC WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet ports which means that the only extra ‘real’ feature would be the ping reboot / keep alive feature found on these types of M2M router. This keep alive feature means that when your router gets disconnected by the mobile network it will reboot and re-establish the connection. This does not mean you get 100% uptime, because the router first needs to be disconnected by the mobile network and it may be 10-20 minutes before the router will reboot. These M2M type routers need this feature because they tend to be installed in remote locations so there is nobody there to turn the router off and on, which is effectively what the ping reboot feature is doing.
So – if you cant be bothered to turn your router off and on a couple of times a month if it gets disconnected by the mobile network and you are willing to spend an extra £600.00 for a router with a ping reboot facility then the IBR900 4G router is for you. If you don’t mind switching off and on your router a couple of times a month when it gets disconnected then save yourself over half a grand and opt for the E5186 4G router instead.
And of course if you just want the best 4G router based upon price then this will be a suitable piece to add to your collection.
Another point to remember is that these high end M2M 4G routers are generally used for business applications so the support can be slow and cumbersome and will usually always be via an online portal – you won’t find somebody at the end of a phone line willing to spend hours on the phone to educate you about local area networks and how to use your computer so if you are not computer network literate then a simpler plug and play type router would be a better solution.
This is a review of the Huawei E5186 4G Router with a view to understand it’s suitability for use as a rural 4G mobile broadband solution.
For rural broadband there are usually a few essentials when considering a 4G router. If we take a look at the rear of the E5186 4G router we can see that it has two x antenna connectors – these are SMA connectors and are for the connection of external 4G antennas. This means that if you don’t have a good signal indoors, but your have a good 4G signal outdoors then you can install an outdoor 4G Antenna.
But don’t just buy this router and automatically assume that you will need an external 4G antenna because Huawei have installed an upgraded 4G antenna inside the E5186 router casing which in many cases will provide a suitable 4G signal. In our tests when compared to the Huawei B315 the 4G reception was excellent and usually 15-20% better with the built-in antennas.
In addition to the excellent antennas, the E5186 uses the latest CAT6 4G Module which provides the fastest 4G speeds, dependant upon your choice of mobile network, distance to basestation and of course how many people sharing that mobile phone mast, but again in tests using the same EE 4G SIM card we saw a consistent 10-15% increase in download and upload speeds in the same location compared to the B315 4G router which uses a CAT4 4G Module.
The other important factor is the high speed WiFi provided with the E5186 router – is has the latest high speed 802.11ac WiFi so provides high speed and long range WiFi so your wireless devices get faster speeds between the device and the router and can also connect from further away.
So the three main things that rural 4G broadband customers desire are included with this impressive router.
- High speed CAT6 4G Module
- High Speed, Long Range 802.11ac WiFi
- External Antenna Connectors for use with 4G Antenna
The E5186 also includes Gigabit speed Ethernet ports so you can create a high speed wired network and has a USB port for the connection of a USB printer.
If you want to replace your telephone line completely then the E5186 4G router also features an RJ11 socket into which you can plug a standard analogue telephone to make and receive calls via your mobile phone SIM card – these calls will use up your 4G SIM card ‘minutes’ just like a normal mobile phone call – it does not use VoIP so your will need to ensure that your SIM card is suitable for also making mobile phone calls if you want to use this feature. We also recommend using an RJ11 to BT adaptor with a built-in capacitor if you want to connect your standard BT type analogue telephone.
We do not recommend trying to use VoIP services with your 4G router.
The only downside to the E5186 is the position of the antenna connectors on the rear of the router – if you are using external outdoor 4G antennas then the cables stick out of the rear of the router so you usually need to fix your router down so it does not fall over, but otherwise the router provides high speed 4G coupled with high speed wired and wireless connectivity for all of your devices.