Will wired net really be irrelevant with 5G?

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Mobile, home, office, or even portable routers (MiFis) that share mobilnets are not new to the market at all, and these devices can be found in the offer of service providers, but until now the technology has not allowed wireless access to a wired access can be replaced and replaced in all respects. Even though we are not yet fully there today, with the advent of 5G, the huge capacity and flexible architecture already available, the field of fixed-wireless access (FWA) has gained a new meaning. Huawei's most powerful 5G router, the rather stumbled-named “5G CPE Pro 2”, coupled with a dedicated service provider, can shake the position of even faster wired broadband access as early as the dawn of the 5G era.

NIX WIRE

Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 has been released as a second-generation device, its predecessor, the 5G CPE Pro, debuted last February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The new generation device differs from its predecessor in three essential respects: On the one hand, instead of four, it is now able to establish a connection in eleven 5G frequency bands, thus covering practically the entire band range below 6 GHz. In parallel, the new model supports carrier aggregation, so the theoretical maximum bandwidth for the downstream has jumped from 1.65 Gbps to 3.6 Gbps. Finally, the Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 also has a new Wi-Fi controller on board, which also supports the latest Wi-Fi6 technology. The soul of the new device, however, remained Huawei's multi-mode chip, Balong 5000, announced earlier last year.

Looking at the design of the device, it seems that routers are slowly becoming true of the mobile phone market, which has long been a misconception. new under the sun: Huawei’s 5G router with its columnar shape seems to be just a fragmented replica of the Apple Airport Extreme, although there are differences here and there. This makes the box much more suitable for most home or office fixtures, and the four LEDs on the front can even be turned off to make its presence even less intrusive.

The fact that the device is already based on the FWA philosophy is well demonstrated. that on the back there are only two wired GbE ports on home / small office routers, one of which can be used as a wired WAN port – at least according to the inscription on it, because as we connected our cable modem, the router's interface froze rigidly and he was no longer willing to cooperate. But why a wired WAN port if there are gigabits in the air?

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The back of the router also has a power connector and a telephone socket, the latter in principle allows converged service providers to extend their fixed telephone service to 5G. herd. The SIM slot is at the bottom of the router, the 5G CPE Pro 2 not surprisingly receives nanoSIM. There is also a power button and a reset microswitch. With this, the range of connectors and expansion options is exhausted, so there is no USB port for media and printer sharing, and no SD card slot for network storage. An external antenna cannot be connected to our model, but the router has a variant with an antenna connector, and Huawei also sells an outdoor antenna in case the walls become too much of an obstacle to the signal.

CONTROL CENTER [19659] Setting up the Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 is child's play, after inserting the SIM card, you essentially only need to look for a nearby socket for the power supply, and the router is ready for use in less than a minute. The LEDs on the front panel provide information on the establishment of mobile network connections, in addition to a cozy blue light on the lower edge of the router in case you have any doubts as to whether the device is switched on. For the first commissioning, a smartphone is enough to install Huawei's own control application, from which the installation process can be easily conducted.

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The device already offers roughly the basic router features found in all other, more commercial wired Wi-Fi6 routers, by the way, if you want to configure and access certain network and security settings. that is, no one should expect sophisticated DPI-based traffic analysis and filtering, QoS settings, or even a VPN server function, but there is a basic parental control module, guest network, VPN client mode and DDNS support, although the router cannot be managed with a mobile phone.

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So the strength of the Huawei 5G router is not the administrative interface, but rather the Balong 5000 chipset, which also received active cooling, the small fan is barely noticeable in case of continuous radio traffic. rumbling – but this experience has shown that in an average office, home environment it is not disturbing at all (according to the manufacturer, the noise level is 30 dB). So the 5G CPE Pro 2 flashes its true knowledge where a 5G network connection is available, luckily the CountingNews office is in that place, so we put in a telecom SIM with 5G-capable service at the start and started chasing gigabits.

Before anyone forgets about speedtest.net, or even NMHH's broadband meter page, broadband.net, it's worth testing exactly where the router might be, since it's not at all certain that the old next to a wired router, the rack cabinet has the best signal strength. In the pioneering 3.6G band of 3.6 GHz currently widely used by service providers, including Telekom, signal loss indoors can be very significant depending on the material and number of walls, fortunately the router helps us to find the right location on a dedicated measurement surface. , which outlines the buying characteristics at different points in the apartment or office.

HALF GIGABIT IN THE AIR

We have found no information on the gain of the antennas built into the Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2, but experience has shown that this is not the case. within the office, reception was basically constant, which is a good signal for both the device and Telekom's radio network capabilities. With the router, of course, we performed dozens of 5G speed tests over both Wi-Fi and Ethernet network connections, the results of which typically ranged from 250 to 500 Mbps in the download direction and a constant 30 Mbps in the upload direction, depending on the period. Although this lags far behind the theoretical maximum throughput of the 5G network used, 1 Gbps, considering the characteristics of the frequency band, this is a particularly good result, and in the case of a 4G connection, these prove to be practically unattainable prospects.

Network bandwidth In our experience, its limit is primarily determined by the capabilities of the clients connected via Wi-Fi and the distance between the device and the clients (and the number of walls and ceilings between them). Huawei's 5G CPE Pro 2 Wi-Fi radio called “Gigahome” doesn't measure outstanding performance in this area, and the 5 and 2.4 GHz signal levels are exactly the same as the reference TP-Link Archer C7 v4.0 -s router. Wireless LAN coverage can be increased in a mesh system, Huawei calls it Link +, although it refers to it as HiLink Mesh on the website, adding that the router will only know the 802.11s standard with a later software update.

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Overall, supported by the right service, the Huawei 5G CPE Pro 2 offers an extremely strong package for those who want to get rid of wires, although the system is not (yet) an alternative to state-of-the-art optical access, HFC, especially xDSL-based connections are technologically already now, at the dawn of the 5G era, can be triggered by it. There may be two barriers to the widespread and rapid spread of the device and technology: One is the cost of entry, which is € 450 in the lower voice for the Huawei 5G router, and the other is infinite capacity in the 5G for mobile networks, which is cautious for understandable reasons.

However, foreign (German and English) examples show that such a poisonous CPE also has a place on the market, and there will always be one or two operators in the market for which there will be a wired technology provider. , to provide fixed internet access via 5G. In Hungary, such an operator is clearly Telenor, which does not have a fixed foot, but Vodafone, which builds a user base in the old primary districts of the competition, may find it easier to give such a router to a subscriber instead of digging in the streets or pulling over aerial cables.

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