Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

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dc608
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 21, 2020 2:13 pm

Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by dc608 » Thu May 21, 2020 2:28 pm

I've lived with lousy internet long enough. Verizon DSL is the best I can do where I live. To augment that, the local library rents a hotspot to us, t-mobile "unlimited." I have no idea what the actual deal is, since I rent it from them. But it's the best internet source in our house. It only covers one room, though, so we're always carrying it to where the need is greatest.

I'm beginning my researches, and am so happy to have found this site! I'm tending in the direction of the Mofi 4500, either the SIM4 or the SIM7 version. I'm not THAT far from the tower. About 2 miles. And I sit on top of a hill, so I think I have a decent situation to put up an antenna. I actually think I may be able to pull a decent signal from t-mobile with just the better antennae on the Mofi unit...but only time and actually buying the thing will tell.

Before I go and throw money at this, I'm looking for any advice that others may have. My uneducated plan A is to buy one of the devices listed above and pull the SIM from the library's hotspot and see if that SIM will work. Does this plan have any chance of success? Since I have done nothing yet, I could completely revise this plan based on the input of clever and experienced people. So, please, tell me what my best options are. I can provide additional details as needed.

Didneywhorl
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:37 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by Didneywhorl » Thu May 21, 2020 6:41 pm

If you get good T-mobile service, I would go with the Calyx Institute deal. You get a Mifi8000 and an entire year of truly unlimited internet for $600. You can test it out for $175, that pays for 3 months. It is technically a donation, and the internet service is a donation reward level.

Hopefully you also have great Sprint service nearby, but the device will pickup Tmobile signals for people. It's no guarantee, but it is a great service I've used for over 2 years on Sprint towers. I do have a friend that verified his unit picked up T mobile towers as well.

You can always get a real deal home router later. The hotspot device is basically free.

Note, the MOFI is not worth the money.
LTE noob, for sure. Learning though.

dc608
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 21, 2020 2:13 pm

Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by dc608 » Fri May 22, 2020 10:16 am

Sadly, Sprint signal is nil here. I couldn't gamble $600 on a solution that depends on Sprint, and that seems to be their only carrier. Is there a merger coming? Because I could look into it if it becomes a t-mobile thing.

Actually, the t-mobile signal is borderline here, but I am pretty confident I can bring it up to acceptable with an external antenna. My BEST signal here at the house comes from Verizon and AT&T. I was hoping to use a device, either the Mofi or other, that had better antennae and just test my setup with the t-mobile SIM that I have in my possession, and then look for a permanent solution with Verizon or AT&T. If you don't like the Mofi, what devices do you recommend that are configurable for different carriers?

Didneywhorl
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:37 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by Didneywhorl » Fri May 22, 2020 12:30 pm

The build yourself units can use all 4 carriers SIMs.

The MOFI4500 is just a $60 ZBT WE826 LTE router with either a Quectel EC25AF cat4 modem (SIM7) or a Sierra Wireless MC7455 cat6 modem (SIM4) inside. Then their own customized firmware and their name painted on the cover. You are mostly paying for their customized firmware. You can build it yourself and use free firmware for about $200-$250.

The MOFI is a turnkey product that is mosly setup for you, just pop in a SIM and change the APN. Honestly building one isnt much harder. I would charge about what they charge to build one for people, but in the case of the we826 and a low cat modem, its not hard at all to build. Its just a matter of time, money, and confidence.

The we826/MOFI is also limited to about 85Mbps, including pc to pc on their LAN ports, as they are not gigabit LAN ports.

Sprint was finally officially purchased by T-mobile and is already gaining access to T-mobile cellular bands as they merge their assets. T-mobile branded service isnt gaining access to Sprint bands just yet. The Sprint name is going away.

I personally like the WG3526P with at least a cat12 modem, like the Quectel EM12G. Sierra Wireless also has cat 12 modems. I really like the cat16 and higher, as they support 4 antennas for 4x mimo antenna operation. I personally use a Quectel EM20G (category/cat20) and a Telit LM960A18 (cat18) modem, as well as my old trusty Sierra Wireless MC7455. The Telit is one of the few that can use every single major US LTE band including B71.

Antennas are very important to me. I prefer flat panel directional antennas. They arent cheap, but they are worth it. They seem to be more forgiving when aiming, than log periods and yagis, I'm told.
LTE noob, for sure. Learning though.

dc608
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 21, 2020 2:13 pm

Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by dc608 » Fri May 22, 2020 4:26 pm

Been reading all day and I came across your build. Router inside antenna. Slick!

It certainly seems like I'd get a lot more bang for my buck if I build my own. I'm SO glad my researches led me here. I've looked over the tutorials and it looks like I could do it. No worse than building a computer, and I did that already. It even worked!

It looks like (correct me if I got this wrong) I could put an EM7565 into a WG3526 and I could probably test the unit with the SIM card from my current hotspot and either keep using that SIM if it works in there, or find a suitable plan on AT&T or Verizon. If I need a better antenna, I could add that later.

Is there an advantage to using the EM12G over the EM7565? Anything over cat 12 would have to be a future upgrade for me.

Didneywhorl
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:37 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by Didneywhorl » Sat May 23, 2020 12:57 am

dc608 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:26 pm
Been reading all day and I came across your build. Router inside antenna. Slick!

It certainly seems like I'd get a lot more bang for my buck if I build my own. I'm SO glad my researches led me here. I've looked over the tutorials and it looks like I could do it. No worse than building a computer, and I did that already. It even worked!
This stuff is fun, and pretty simple!
dc608 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:26 pm
It looks like (correct me if I got this wrong) I could put an EM7565 into a WG3526....
Yep! Just need an adapter. The EM modems are M.2 Key B form factor. The LTE routers like the WG3526 only have an mPCIe slot. I prefer using a usb3 to m.2 adapter and plugging the usb3 cable into the usb3 port on the front of the router, but it's not necessary. You can use a mpcie to m.2 key B adapter directly in the router. The exception to this rule is the Telit LM960A18 modem, it is in an mPCIe form factor.
dc608 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:26 pm
Is there an advantage to using the EM12G over the EM7565? Anything over cat 12 would have to be a future upgrade for me.
I just like the Quectels much much better than Sierras. Different reasons.
LTE noob, for sure. Learning though.

gscheb
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:37 am

Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by gscheb » Sat May 23, 2020 9:01 am

Didneywhorl wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 12:57 am
The exception to this rule is the Telit LM960A18 modem, it is in an mPCIe form factor.
Telit LM960A18 isn't at ltefix store. Do you know where to look for it? Was going to compare to em20-g. Never used Telit but know it has band 71.

Didneywhorl
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:37 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by Didneywhorl » Sat May 23, 2020 2:19 pm

I gotchu

https://www.semiconductorstore.com/cart ... uct=100408

Best price found

LM960A18 is mpcie, cat18, uses basically all bands, and can run in both usb3 or usb2 modes

Also has official firmware for all major carriers, including generic. Though the generic kinda sucks for some reason
LTE noob, for sure. Learning though.

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BillA
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Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by BillA » Sat May 23, 2020 7:46 pm

Didneywhorl wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 2:19 pm
I gotchu

https://www.semiconductorstore.com/cart ... uct=100408

Best price found

LM960A18 is mpcie, cat18, uses basically all bands, and can run in both usb3 or usb2 modes

Also has official firmware for all major carriers, including generic. Though the generic kinda sucks for some reason

I'm debating between a Telit LM960 and the Quectel EM20.... while I like Quectel in general, I'm leaning more towards the Telit for two reasons, no M.2 to mPCIe adapter needed (though no big deal), but most importantly for that elusive band 71 on Tmobile. What's the max speeds you have gotten so far on both (and which carrier)?

Didneywhorl
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:37 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Mofi 4500 and existing T-mobile hotspot SIM?

Post by Didneywhorl » Sun May 24, 2020 1:31 pm

BillA wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:46 pm
I'm debating between a Telit LM960 and the Quectel EM20.... while I like Quectel in general, I'm leaning more towards the Telit for two reasons, no M.2 to mPCIe adapter needed (though no big deal), but most importantly for that elusive band 71 on Tmobile. What's the max speeds you have gotten so far on both (and which carrier)?
I've gotten my tower max here, this far, on both cards. 300Mbps on quad antennas. The Telit is cool, but I still like the EM20 a bit more. The biggest issue with the EM20, is it is kind of in development limbo at Quectel.

I've tested on Tmo and Sprint only so far with these two

The Telit is a straight mpcie, but every router I've found only uses the LM960 in usb2.0 mode when using the on board mpcie slot, including the WG3526. The mpcie slot is on the usb2 serial bus. For 99.9% of the people, that isn't a big deal. I'm weird.

The Telit also cannot, yet, be .... masked. ;) They keep that secret locked away. The Telit DOES, though, have multiple official firmware images on board like Sierra modems. The Quectel has no official firmware images. The Telit generic firmware kinda sucks for me, I cant get it to do CA. Prob user error.

The Telit is a badass modem, I just have liked the EM20 a bit more, so far.
LTE noob, for sure. Learning though.

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