Tag Archives: Mi-Fi

Huawei E5576 portable 4G LTE mifi hotspot router


The E5576 is among the first Cat4 LTE mifi hotspot routers in the market.  The key change from Cat3 LTE is that possible download speeds have increased from 100Mbps to 150Mbps, while the uploads speeds still remain at 50Mbps.  However mobile phones have now moved beyond Cat4 in recent versions, but you will be hard pressed to the stated speeds with you Telco’s.

 Design

The E5576 compared to some 3.75G Huawei portable hotspots is chunky with a 15.5mm thickness, and a 150g weight, and the reason seems to be the inclusion of a higher capacity battery and improved Wi-Fi range.  However it’s still very pocket-able and compact in size.

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The device has a standard SIM (mini SIM) slot, where most phones are now featuring micro SIM or nano SIM’s.  However there are many markets where the Mini SIM is still in use, and Wifi hotspots and dongles tend to retain the mini SIM due to this reason.

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The device also has a built-in MicroSD slot, which can be access by the connecting devices similar to a NAS storage device, the storage is directly accessible if you connect it to a computer.

The device has a WPS button in case you don’t want the hassle of entering a key, or sharing the key but want to provide access to your hotspot to another person.

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The device features a 1.45″ OLED display that provides information of the mode of connectivity, signal strength, the battery percentage, if you have any sms messages, the network connected to, the time and most importantly the amount of data you have downloaded since the device was switched on.  The display is very easy to see both in dark and very brightly lit areas.

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The device also has a port to connect an external antenna if you want to boost the signal strength.

Performance

The important thing is how does it perform.  Testing any device for Internet speeds is not easy, as the only way is to compare against another device at similar time periods on the same network.  What I have done is tested the device in several locations using my telco provider who states their max speeds in burst mode is 40Mbps.

The other impact on this would be the inherent latency and overheads of accessing the device over Wi-Fi and the performance of your Wi-Fi hardware in the phone / desktop you are using to access this device.  To see if this has an impact I have also tried access the device from two devices at similar times.

I have also used several test products, as they all have different test modes.  My preferred tool is speedof.me (a web site) as unlike other tools it does not only test for ultimate speeds but speeds across different file sizes (we don’t always download large chunks of files).   My telco provider Dialog Telcom in Sri Lanka, is considered the fastest in our country, but the speeds offered by them tops at 40Mbps in short bursts, and hence is no way going to top the max capabilities of this device.  The highlight the device provides more than adequate performance, and i have achieved sustain speeds in the 10-15Mbps region when downloading from youtube using JDownloader with 10 streams per download.

Tool

Download Average

Download Max

Upload Average

Upload Max

Latency

Speedof.me

10.2 Mbps

10.2 Mbps

2.8 Mbps

2.9 Mbps

166ms

Speedof.me

18.8 Mbps

19.3 Mbps

12.5 Mbps

12.5 Mbps

158ms

Win8 Network Speed Test Metro app

7.8 Mbps

47.1 Mbps

0.8 Mbps

1.2 Mbps

200ms

SpeedTest.net

24 Mbps

13.1 Mbps

260ms

Battery Performance

The device features a 3000mAh battery. The battery is not removable, which is a strange decision for such a device.  Most personal Wi-Fi hotspots states usage times of 4-6 hours, the E5576 official brags a 10 hour usage time, though I feel this might be 3G usage periods as 4G can be very demanding.

My test for battery usage may  not be very formal, but compared to my last personal hotspot I had (the Huawei R201), the E5576 definitely has superior battery performance even when used in battery drenching 4G LTE mode.  So from an end user perspective I feel over 4-6 hours is easily possible from this device in 4G mode.  However for non-continuous use where i had many devices connecting it for occasional use, i could take it for a day easily.

No fancy capabilities such as wireless charging as yet on this device 🙂 The device comes with a micro USB to USB cable and charger, though you can charge the device through your PC USB port (which is what most would end up doing).

Variants

The E5776 comes in different flavors, as telco’s require some frequencies to be limited so that the device does not work across all regions.  Its important that you see what your local frequencies are, and also the locations you might travel if you are globe trotter and buy the best possible model if you are buying it privately.  The model I have with me is the E5776s-32 which is pure FDD LTE model, while other models also support TDD LTE modes, but have only limited FDD LTE band support.  Further this model is the only one which has a wide 3G band coverage, making it ideal for the globe trotter types.

The information on the  models I have extracted from http://www.store4g.com/huawei-e5776/

Huawei E5776s-22 4G LTE-TDD 2600MHz
4G LTE-FDD 800/1800/2600MHz
3G HSDPA/HSUPA/UMTS/WCDMA 900/2100Mhz
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800 MHz
Huawei E5776s-32 4G LTE CAT4 FDD 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz (LTE B1 B3 B7 B8 B20)
3G HSDPA/HSUPA/UMTS/WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100 MHz (WCDMA B1 B2 B5 B8)
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Huawei E5776s-860 4G LTE-TDD 2300/2600MHz
4G LTE-FDD 2600MHz
3G TD-SCDMA/WCDMA 900/2100mhz
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800 MHz
Huawei E5776s-601 4G LTE-TDD 2300MHz
4G LTE-FDD 1800/2600MHz
3G TD-SCDMA/WCDMA 900/2100mhz
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800 MHz
Huawei E5776s-922 4G LTE-TDD 2300/2600MHz
4G LTE-FDD 1800/2600MHz
3G TD-SCDMA/WCDMA 900/2100mhz

 Administration

The application provides the usual web interface, and the default access URL is 192.168.1.1, with admin/admin being the username and password combination.

The application also has a MOBILE version which is a made to fit for a small screen, but note that the mobile interface has only basic features, and remember to load the desktop mode in your mobile device or you may feel that some options are missing in the device!  For instance you can’t define a new provider (VPN) from the default mobile view.

Areas of improvement

One area I feel that the unit has stepped back is the way you switch off the device.  If you hold the power button for about 5 secs the device shuts down the Wi-Fi, but continues to have its data connection on.  If you press the power button for around 10 secs the device shuts down.

It would have been more preferable if the unit had a separate button to switch Wi-Fi hotspot off, and kept the power button for the purpose of powering off only.  Pressing the power button for 10-secs is a bit tedious, but it has the advantage that the device is unlikely to get switched off by mistake when in a bag or pocket.

Conclusion

If you have a decent data package on your phone, and you do not mind using your phone as a hotspot, such a device is likely to be meaningless.   However if you have several devices, and want to share your data, this is an ideal device, and provides excellent performance, good battery life.  The Huawei range has a much better reputation for reliability over ZTE based on local experiences.