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






 Booting



 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!)


DMZ ZOne







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.   


Conclusions

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.


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