Friday, October 31, 2014

Huawei E5372 4G Hotspot Router

Due to a protracted   (well 3 months so far) bout of terrible unreliability on our home Fibre Internet connection from the provider Swisscom in Switzerland Marcus and Agata have had to think about looking elsewhere for a steady Internet connection.

The problem is made a lot worse by the

a) Exorbitant Internet prices charged by Swisscom here in Switzerland   (over 2000 USD equivalent per year!)

b) The fact that we had to wait over 2 years and battle hard to get the Fibre installed in the first place.

Thus far we are experimenting with using ONLY a 4G Internet connection provided by Orange Switzerland.

And in that connection after much Internet research Marcus selected the Huawei E5372 4G hotspot as the best device in which to test the 4G Orange SIM.  Why?

  • You can buy an unlocked Huawei E5372 in Switzerland for about 80 GBP or about 120 USD.
  • The device can be connected to your PC by wire or project a Wireless Network that you can connect to from your Smartphone or PC
  • Both the 2.4Ghz and 5GHz networks can be broadcast
  • The device has a battery for a few hours of use without Mains power.  Or charge via Micro USB
  • It also has a Micro SD card slot enabling you to store Downloads or data on the device which can be shared out wirelessly or wired
  • It has some aerial sockets and this could boost the already phenomenal performance.
The back just clicks off in the hand revealing access to the SIM slot and the micro SD card slot.  I filled both


 Globe means that Internet connection is made

 Aerial bought on eBay for about 30 GBP

 Aerial connected

Via buttons you can display current Internet IP address and Wifi password and switch between 2.4 and 5 GHz networks

Web Interface
The Huawei has a Web Interface that allows you to setup various parameters from the SSID and password to DMZ and Virtual server settings.   Here are some real screenshots  (click pn an image to view at full resolution).

Web logon screen.  You can setup your custom password obviously.

Main option menu on the left

Setup of Wifi bubble and authorisation

Setup of Virtual server.  Here you see my VOIP testing settings  (they did not yet work!)


Connection to a Router

Now whilst you can use this as a WiFi Hotspot wouldn't it be great to be able to connect it into a PC and use the PC as a Sophos UTM Internet firewall and Gateway?

Well that's one advanced connection but first let's consider another very useful one.   Connection into a Wireless router, in our case a specially chosen Asus RT 56U which has its own powerful WiFi and 4 port Gigabit Hub.

Here are the magic settings that you will require.

Notice it says connected. means all is working via your 4G Huawei.  In my system here the WAN port is unconnected.

The key settings for Orange Switzerland

Further Testing
This post only really talks about the flexibility and speed of the Huawei device.

I'm still doing testing as to how to integrate this hotspot to replace your traditional DSL or Fibre Internet connection.  And indeed whether this works in all situations   (currently not all and I'm waiting on Orange and Swisscom for more information that is not yet forthcoming.... hmmm)

Other Swiss Providers
If possible I'll try a few other Swiss 4G providers to check their speeds and compatibility with VOIP, Virtual server setups etc.

Firewall Compatibility
I'm also going to test it with my Zyxel Zywall USG Hardware firewalls but initial research says that Zyxel only has 3G modem support. Ridiculous!

So I'll publish a post as to the fuller compatibility testing shortly.   


The Huawei E5372 is a fantastically powerful and relatively low priced 4G hotspot

In testing with Orange CH,  4G, Surf Unlimited plan it was able to download tens of Gigabytes per day via an almost 80Mbps download connection. Unbelievable!

Actually the sustained download speed of a Linux 4GB torrent was about 9.1MB/second.

The external aerial did not dramatically improve good signal reception, it merely allows for adequate reception by placing the aerial in a good location if the device is say placed elsewhere  (say in a cupboard with your router)

The Huawei has a flexible Web interface which apart from the lack of any decent Firewall settings is tolerable

Finally it is able to connect to an ASUS Wireless router over the USB interface and thereby form the basis of an entire home Internet Connection Infrastructure.


Kitty Halloween

Kitty Halloween

No doubt at Halloween Marcus and Agata are so scared that our best plan for tonight is to hide in our Bedroom with the lights out.

We may try and protect ourselves from an ocean of children in fancy dress demanding menaces by calling our our kitten defenders....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Berne Motorhome Show Review

This is our 3rd Motorhome Show report for 2014.  Please also look back on our

Dusseldorf Show 2014 report  and
NEC UK 2014 report

as we won't duplicate models reviewed there earlier!

Burstner Travel Van 690

  • 690 model has a twin bed which we don't like.  But we tested it and shorter people can sleep together  transversely.  And the advantages of the 690 are:
  • Immense amount of storage space.  Absolutely gargantuan!
  • Special Features listed here
  • 220 cm width

Travel Van Outside

Garage easily large enough for 2 road bicycles

Twin beds, but you can sleep transverly.   The advantage of the 690 is that it has a lot more storage space vs the double bed 590

Tall fridge.  Common on many 2015 motorhomes.  Not deep but looks effective.

Bucket loads of cupboard space

Flick the lever and rotate the sink and mirror to the right to use shower

Travel Van Inside

Dethleffs Globus

  • Thin and low Motorhome
  • Only 262 cm high because there is no double floor, its based instead on Fiat Lowframe chassis
  • You can specify a special Low Garage option for more space there
  • We think the I15 (Integrated A class model 15)  is the best since it has a large garage for 2 bicycles
  • We believe the front bed can be removed but it just provides a space an no extra cupboards
  • At the show only the I1 was on show and not the I15 that we would have wanted, nevertheless photos of I1 below

Bathroom has the sink on a vertical board which rotates over the toilet to reveal a full shower area.

 The I1 is very petite and feels a little claustrophobic

Multiple different variants are possible T are traditional Coachbuilds whereas I are Integrated versions  (i.e. no passenger door and coach like front panoramic window)

You can specify a Low AL-KO garage option, but the vehicle itself is based on the Fiat low chassis version not a full AL-KO chassis vehicle

So the Berne show was very informative and we are very glad we made the effort to attend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NEC Motorhome Show Review

Yes, We are getting serious!  Our second Motorhome show of this year in our quest for the perfect European Camper Van/ Motorhome.

Don't forget our existing review of the Dusseldorf Motorhome show

Our weekend journey to England took us to the NEC Exhitibition Centre and a chance to also catch up and meet friends who we wish we could keep in touch with more often.

There is lots to see, so what interesting finds did we uncover?

(Note, we'll try not to repeat motorhomes covered in the Dusseldorf posting)

Carthago Compactline 138

  • One of the very few motorhomes with a thin width.  This is 212 cms wide only  (plus mirrors)
  • A class home i.e. Coach front and drop down bed 
  • AL-KO low frame
  • Beautiful inside
  • Generous garage for 2 bicycles
  • Based on a Fiat chassis
  • 180 BHP motor is an option
  • The 138 has a double bed there are other members in the family e.g longer vehicle with 2 single beds etc.

  • Possibly the best ever Van Conversion
  • Quality of construction and Workmanship was excellent
  • Alde piped water heating
  • 6 metre van only for double bed  (6.4 metre has 2 singles)
  • Space behind the bed for 2 bicycles, well possibly
  • Quite pricey

 Fiat Cab base

Washroom is a wetroom with cupboards and place and drying rack upper left

Simple decent kitchen.  Classy and Elegant. Optionally fridge can be mounted at waist height with a cupboard underneath instead.

View to the back

Bed folds horizontally so you can never walk thru the van to the back.  But with it folded you can sit on it like a big settee.

Unusually professional ALDE heading

Chic yet sophisticated electronics.  Can program heating time on and off

50 cms from panel to back of van.   Just wider than a single road race bicycle handlebars

78cms from base to bottom of bed.   Remove your seat and front bicycle wheel and maybe it is going to fit

With the bed in upright position from back of van

Westfalia Columbus  (apologies for 90 degrees rotation!)

Rapido V56 Van Conversion

  • 6 metre van conversion
  • Some unique layout, noticeably V56
  • V56 link
  • Small longitundional bed allows for a side wash-room
  • Not sure where the bicycles would go!
  • Lots of kitchen cupboard space
  • Large tall fridge freezer
  • Most cupboard space of any van conversion seen so far

Innovative small bed allows for side washroom

 Cupboard space!

 Up front traditional Fiat Cab

Extra seating and more storage

Good simple kitchen with lots of cabinet space

50 cm wide floor area to put 2 bicycles in ... hmmm

Wingamm Oasi 610 GL

  • We completely missed this in the show, finding it in the car park where we accosted the very helpful salesman!
  • They also do a Citi Suite Van which we did not see
  • Unique Monocoque design supposed to be rattle free and warm but we don't know it s reliability
  • The Oasi 610 GL whilst being a little wide at 220cm has an amazing set of features.
  • The bunk beds at back can be removed for extra garage storage.
  • Googling Wingamm reveals very little both in terms of vehicles, owners or experiences.

Carthago Motorhomes
NEC Show Guide