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ZTE MC801A Review

dabigm

ULTIMATE Member
Today I received my ZTE MC801A purchased for around £250 on Amazon shipped by a company called Sotel in Germany. The package took 3 days and arrived via Fedex with no additional import/customs charges.

TLDR; Speed:

5b59cd28-02b7-46f5-8a7d-08336111407c.png


and for comparison, after the testing I ran a test with ONLY my Huawei CPE Pro 2 so just a few minutes later, and on the same speedtest server

12739392536.png


Upload was better, but due to the nature of mobile internet, I don't know if this is due to the Huawei maybe being better, or if it was just down to 3's network when I tested it. I will be running more tests as time goes on and i'll let you know.

Images:
zte-mc801a.jpg
zte-mc801a-2.jpg




They were even kind enough to stick this horrible adaptor on the end of the power supply.
abc.jpg

Which I immediately decided not to use, and opted for the power supply from an old EE router which has a massive long cable on it, and is the same voltage/amperage (12V , 1.5 A if anyone is wondering)

Mine appeared to be running T-Mobile firmware. Not sure if this is good or bad. But bridge mode works as expected:


bridge-mode.png


Menus

menu1.png


menu2.png

Hidden menus:
menu3.png


and my favourite hidden menu

menu5.png



menu6.png



menu7.png



It has WiFi 6 , and that gives me full speed, but I don't use it. I have my two 5G modems hooked up to a managed Zyxel 10G switch that gives each 5G modem a VLAN and then trunks them down to my router downstairs over 1 Cat5e cable (running at 10Gig just fine lol)

I can also confirm the above hidden menus/locking bands does work. There is an SMS feature too if you need to be able to read messages sent to the SIM. I can also confirm the two antennae connectors are TS9 and my Panorama antenna fits in there just fine.

Overall, very impressive unit, and for me , where I live it's on par with the king of 5G routers the CPE Pro 2 but it costs like half the amount.

I will be doing some more tests, but if anyone wants to know something about it, feel free to ask.

And lastly to give you all a giggle, here they are in their natural habitat (don't judge, it works)
P_20220209_181857.jpg


The ZTE is the smaller white thing on the left. Initially I tried it in the same place as the CPE Pro 2 because that was the best spot I found for that, but it did not give as good results. Presumably because of the antennae ? Not sure, but where it is now gets between 500-600 mbit so it seems to be about as good as it gets (the best i've seen on the CPE Pro 2 is 700)



17 Feb Updates:

Still going strong. I was asked to give power consumption figures by someone in a PM. I think others might want to know so i'm adding it here.

Modem idle (no WiFi) : 1 - 1.5W (fluctuates), LEDs off: (1.1-1.2W)
Downloading (1 client, wired), 3W
Modem idle (WiFi on) : 3W.
Downloading (1 client, wifi), 5.2W
 
Last edited:

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
@dabigm judging by the pictures you're in a new-ish build, how hot does it get in that loft in summer, has it been a problem so far?
 

Msh

Pro Member
Looks like a good value device so far! If up to 500mbps it performs the same then I consider that a win.

I have actually started data collection of the CPE Pro 2 to compare to that random Chinese thing when it comes :D

And lastly to give you all a giggle, here they are in their natural habitat (don't judge, it works)
That looks totally fine to me honestly! I have a townhouse and use the "loft" area in the side of the room to shove a some equipment (including 5G), I assure you it's messier than that :D

purchased for around £250
Did this include all taxes? How long did it take to arrive from order?
 

Blu3fire

Pro Member
I'd certainly be interested to see some off-peak speed tests for the upload consistency vs the CPE Pro 2, as I actually had the ZTE in my shopping basket at Amazon and was going to ask on here if anyone had one, so you've answered that already.

How does one access the hidden menu's?
 

The Wee Bear

ULTIMATE Member
At least it gets 3G unlike the CPE Pro 2, it collapses when I'm forced onto the awful H+.:rolleyes:☺️
I get the dreaded red light of doom when that happens.:cry:
 

The Wee Bear

ULTIMATE Member
Err, 3G is H (HSPA) or H+ (HSDPA)
Well whatever it is Gavin, the router never has any data throughput, I think I do remember once I got a blue light on H+ but can't remember if it worked or not, last time it gave me a red light.

Sometimes I get no light at all.:rolleyes:

Let's just do away with H+ alltogether thank you.☺️
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Well whatever it is Gavin, the router never has any data throughput, I think I do remember once I got a blue light on H+ but can't remember if it worked or not, last time it gave me a red light.

Sometimes I get no light at all.:rolleyes:

Let's just do away with H+ alltogether thank you.☺️
H+ Is all i have to go off sometimes, it can be quite useful, but i'd much rather 4G!!!!!!

Let's keep them both for now :D
 

The Wee Bear

ULTIMATE Member
H+ Is all i have to go off sometimes, it can be quite useful, but i'd much rather 4G!!!!!!

Let's keep them both for now :D
Absolutely, I have to tether my tablet off my phone when they think I've been bad and due a spell of H+

I could put my router sim in my tablet, but I can never be bothered taking the sim out of the router.:rolleyes:
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Absolutely, I have to tether my tablet off my phone when they think I've been bad and due a spell of H+

I could put my router sim in my tablet, but I can never be bothered taking the sim out of the router.:rolleyes:
My B535 is in the loft so the sim never comes out that now, it gets me a comfy 140 meg on 4G+, I do want to get a 5G CPE when i can afford it as my phone receives 700mbps on 5G in the same location.
 

The Wee Bear

ULTIMATE Member
My B535 is in the loft so the sim never comes out that now, it gets me a comfy 140 meg on 4G+, I do want to get a 5G CPE when i can afford it as my phone receives 700mbps on 5G in the same location.
You'll have to get rid of that old junky antique S20 thing and get the S22 Ultra Bubbles.

I went mad yesterday and preordered the Galaxy Tab 8 Ultra 5G.
Couldn't resist with the Tab7 trade in and free cover keyboard, oh and a years worth of Disney+ which I already have.:rolleyes:

Will have to eat grass for a while now, no more of that lovely food stuff for me.:cry:

(Unwanted scraps welcome) 😁
 

dabigm

ULTIMATE Member
@dabigm judging by the pictures you're in a new-ish build, how hot does it get in that loft in summer, has it been a problem so far?

Hottest i've measured up there was about 38C. My solar inverter is up there, as well as some other electronics. None of them have exploded yet.
 

dabigm

ULTIMATE Member
Looks like a good value device so far! If up to 500mbps it performs the same then I consider that a win.

I have actually started data collection of the CPE Pro 2 to compare to that random Chinese thing when it comes :D


That looks totally fine to me honestly! I have a townhouse and use the "loft" area in the side of the room to shove a some equipment (including 5G), I assure you it's messier than that :D


Did this include all taxes? How long did it take to arrive from order?

All taxes included, and about 3 days.
I'd certainly be interested to see some off-peak speed tests for the upload consistency vs the CPE Pro 2, as I actually had the ZTE in my shopping basket at Amazon and was going to ask on here if anyone had one, so you've answered that already.

How does one access the hidden menu's?
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
You'll have to get rid of that old junky antique S20 thing and get the S22 Ultra Bubbles.

I went mad yesterday and preordered the Galaxy Tab 8 Ultra 5G.
Couldn't resist with the Tab7 trade in and free cover keyboard, oh and a years worth of Disney+ which I already have.:rolleyes:

Will have to eat grass for a while now, no more of that lovely food stuff for me.:cry:

(Unwanted scraps welcome) 😁
bloody hell, only just got me S20+!!! it'll still be sticking round for a while longer :D ;)
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Yeah, just kidding, it looks amazing but my Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite 5G is still serving me well, so it can wait for a lottery win. 😁
yeah it's a great phone for how much I got it for. It's a refurb one, it's pristine condition though and it hasn't a scratch on it. It was £360, a lot more stomachable than £1k when it first came out 😦
 
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