4G modem purchase suggestion

I'm in the market for a 4G dongle and after a few days researching the matter, I concluded the Huawei e3372 is the one to get.
But, from what I understand, ideally one should use it in stick mode, which is not usually available by default.

I read, among other sources, this thread by @mojifax which made me more hopeful.

So, if I were to buy one of those, should I prefer the -153 or the -320 version? Or yet something else?


the (probably) older e3276 should work too.

Interesting. Does it always come in stick mode by default? And would the rooter firmware be of any use connected to a router?

I'm open to tinkering, but I would rather avoid using the "shorting to ground using a needle" trick if possible.

Stick is a relic left over from the days of ancient Huawei modems, it’s high time to forget about them.
If you're looking for advise, you need to clearly define your requirements.

Basically I need a backup LTE connection without any NAT/Firewall than those possibly used by the ISP.
And I would like to have the public address on my local interface.
Do you see a way around stick mode?

You need to decide what else do you need from your modem, for example:

  • form-factor
  • bands supported
  • carrier aggregation support
  • antenna connectors
  • communication protocols supported

Getting a public address is carrier/contract dependant.

if you don't mind the extra power required, get a ZTE MF286R or 286D, they're dirty cheap in EU, used, and can be flashed with openwrt.

The R can probably be had for less than 25€, add another 10€ for the D - it's faster.

MF286D works great in bridge mode with Nordic firmware, that is a good option for backup connection, assuming all the necessary bands/combos are there. There is no need to flash it with OpenWrt.

A dongle would be good.

I don't know. Where could I find out what I need for the carrier I have in mind?

Those would be welcome. I understand the two Huawei models mentioned here both have connectors.

I do realise that. I assume to be able to obtain it.

I have too many boxes already! :wink:
Anyway those prices look good, but not what I found here.


I noticed, did a search myself.
the 286R can still be found for around ~30€, is some countries, the 286D too, but I guess it depends on where you're located.

@AndrewZ I looked up those details you asked: apparently my prospective carrier would use bands 1, 3, 7, 20 and 32 for downlink. Carrier aggregation should also be supported.
Regarding the protocols, could please give an example?


Abovementioned MF286D will do the job.
A few other options with B32 support - you will need an adapter for these modems:

  • old good Quectel EP06-E, mPCIe, 2CA Downlink
  • Fibocom NL952-EAU-10, M.2(NGFF), 4CA Downlink

Bands 1,3,7,20 are typically supported by all modern modems designed for EMEA region. B20 is not commonly used due to its bandwidth limitations. B32 support is rare.

Thanks. Just so I understand, do you think a Huawei dongle would offer a much lower performance?

The 286D is probably ~3x faster than the dongle.

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I'm not thinking about Huawei for years :wink:
If you have B32 available, I suggest getting the modem with this band supported.

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There's one thing with the 286D: most of the 2nd hand models I can find in my country have some kind of carrier-lock, or better carrier-blacklist against the very network I wished to use. Is this an IMEI thing or would it be eliminated by a new firmware?

are you sure they are carrier locked, not just carrier branded ?

the 286D with Nordic fw, @AndrewZ mentioned earlier, is probably Telia/T.Plus branded.

Yes, they say so explicitly. Apparently the original owners never bothered to ask the carrier to unblacklist the IMEI on their network.
And I suspect the open ones might have had the IMEI tinkered with, which would be even worse for me.

I saw a few ZTE mf297d offers, but that model is apparently completely unsupported by openwrt.

Will ponder things a bit, thanks for now.

According to the openwrt wiki page, that model does not support VoLTE: is it on account of some missing binary blob?


No, it says that VoLTE is a device feature not currently supported in OpenWrt.

AFAIK, the modem is directly controlling the fxs ports on this router, and we just don't know how to configure it. Can't see any reason it shouldn't be possible. But someone would have to care enough to figure it out. And it'll probably be operator specific.

Not exactly sure why you bring VoLTE into this. Was that something you were planning to use the e3372 dongle for?