Cheap Router with LTE/4G, Wifi 2.4/5GHz and Eth-Ports


I'm using dd-wrt and OpenWrt since many years, currently some GL iNet-devices with their own OpenWrt-implementation.

The GL-X750v2 works very reliable with LTE/4G in my caravan, a GL-AR750 is just a second access-point and my GL-AR750S is used as travel router with an Huawei E392u-12 LTE/4G and works more or less okay. Unfortunately it does not connect automaticly to the internet on startup and sometimes it looses the internet-connection, what also needs manual intervention.

I tried to order a Huawei E3372 LTE/4G-stick that should work with OpenWrt, unfortunatly I didn't got an Huawei, but an "brovi 4G USB Dongel E3372-325" with .61-firmware, that is not working with OpenWrt.
So don't know which current LTE/4G or maybe 5G-stick I should get, that works with OpenWrt out of the box.

This in mind, I'm looking for an additional LTE/4G router, that works good with OpenWrt (means easy to install and fully compatible), but should be much less expensive than the GL-AR750 (around 150 EUR), with Wifi 2.4/5 GHz and at least 2 ethernet-ports.

After two days of research, I still have no idea which one I should get, maybe the GL-X750v2 plus an extra ethernet-switch is an expensive but reliable and time-saving solution.

Preferred choice would have been a D-Link DWR-960 rev. A, but only the completely different and fully incompatible rev. B is available in Germany.

The ZTE MF286D would be fine too, but you don't get it in Germany too and I don't know, if the UK-version is 100% compatible in Germany and the rest of the EU and most device are provider-locked, so unlock would be necessary.

The Arcadyan/Astoria/Vodafon Easybox 904 LTE sounds quite okay too, but it seems not to be supported well with OpenWrt and is very old. TP-Link Archer MR200 v1 is quite old too, little memory, but you don't get it anyway.

Abstaining from Wifi 5 GHz, there would be some more choices, the D-Link DWR-921 C3 or the TP-Link TL-MR6400 v4/v5, both good available for reasonable prices, with the D-Link having more flash.

And finally I still have two unused routers that mostly would meet my needs, a Buffalo WZR-600DHP and a TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 v1, but both do not have a LTE/4G-modem. So this would need a compatible LTE/4G usb-stick, I'm not sure, if this combination is 100% reliable when connecting automaticly to the internet and the integration is not that good compared to a router with integrated LTE/4G-modem, for example I can not receive text-messages (SMS).

So any recommendations from your side?

Thanks a lot,

kind regards thg

ZTE MF286D or R, but the D is a lot faster.

so you expect no problem using the router from UK branded for "3 NETWORK"? Should it be an unlocked version or doesn't it make any difference after flashing it with OpenWRT?

Installation needs a cable to the serial port inside the router, as described in the link?

Installation is just following step 1 to 7, so doable?

Thanks thg

You need to buy it unlocked.

Serial is required, and you probably need a CP21xx, other might not work.

Have a look for ZBT WE826-T, plus Quectel EC25, in case Cat 4 is good enough for you. The router is cheap (alibaba), and very well supported, but 2.4GHz only. Modem not the cheapest, but widely used and reliable.

No UK devices are locked these days, regulator requirement.

All three of my mf286d are unlocked.


thanks for all the answers!

So locked or unlocked, that's the question :stuck_out_tongue:

I just will buy it unlocked, it's 10 EUR more expensive, so not that much.

The "CP21xx" is the serial-number I should ask the (re-)seller?

@ reinerotto:
Thanks for the hint, but 5GHz would be quite important and 60-70 EUR is still what I'm willing to pay, including shipping and taxes.

Kind regards thg

Consider Norway if you're going to buy from outside the EU anyway. You'll get a EU power plug :slight_smile:

The MF286Ds originally sold in Norway were not locked in my experience. At least my Telia branded one works fine with a Telenor SIM.

And there are lots of them. Often not advertised specifically as MF286D, so run a more generic search. E.g

and look closer at the ads showing a picture of something looking like a MF286D. For example this one:

Typical price is around NOK 500, which is only EUR 43 now. Postage will be expensive but I beleive it should be EUR 15 or less. Most sellers are probably not prepared for international offers. But it's buyers market. Just make an offer and see

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It refers to the USB TTL.

It's the chip used, it's called CP2102.

FWIW, I believe I used one of my fake FT232R or PL2303 based USB UART modules for the intial install on MF286D. And I have been using a JDY-31 bluetooth UART for permanent console. Haven't noticed any pecularities compared to other UART consoles.

But as always: If you can't get the USB UART connection to work:

  1. verify ground,
  2. verify IO voltages,
  3. swap TX and RX,
  4. switch modules.

My only console problem with the MF286D was that the bootloader will accept any keypress at almost any time as a stop-at-prompt signal. This didn't work very well with the bluetooth module until I disabled the "CONNECTED" string it sent by default on power-on :slight_smile: But that feature only makes the initial installation easier.

Yes, and I remember having some problems soldering the ground pin. Probably mostly because of bad solder equipment and user. But maybe also because of the large ground plane and all the vias close to that pin. You have to heat up a lot of copper there.

But for temporary console during installation only you might want to hold the wires in place. You can probably wind the ground wire around e.g. the USB connector shield or some other ground connection. Then there are just two wires left to hold in place. Shouldn't be a big problem.

I had issues with CHxxx, don't know the exact model ATM, and I've seen recommendations to use CP2xxx.
I see no reason to buy anything else, unless you already own some other USB TTL.

Branded and SIM-locked MF287+ or MF287 Pro can be found for as low as €10,- used. There is a free unlocking procedure, but it involves altering the modem's flash. Mine is running fine for about 6 months now.

okay, so nothing the (re-)seller can tell me.

Quite good soldering eqipment and experience I have, so that no problem and a lot of IoT-devices for testing and hacking too, so connecting to the serial port should not be a problem.

I will order one of the unlocked MF286D, seems to be the most simple an reliable solution.

Will come back if I have it and report.

Thanks a lot, kind regards,


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It's a $5 device, if you have a local Amazon.

…and around 1.30 from the slow boat.

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I just checked my devices, at least I have some Adafruit FT232H which are working great with Linux and because I have experince with them in context with other IoT-devices, I will use them ...

thanks for this advice, but I ordered one via eBay from UK, because they deliver to Germany too and the price is mostly similar!

depends on the use case.

In the planned use case I do not need 5G at all, LTE/4G is absolutely fine.

But indeed, I also was looking for 5G routers, to replace the LTE/4G-router in my caravan and use that instead of buying an other.

The link you posted seems not that bad, sounds interesting, but with 5G it's not available, it's expensive 350 to 550 EUR plus taxes and I have to order it directly in China, what is an absolute no-go for me.

In addition they need 12V/5A, 60 W just for a router, may be it would be acceptable in a house, but not in a caravan, where you have very limited power source.

For this price, probaly I'll find a better one, for the GL.iNet Spitz AX 5G you pay around 570 EUR, it runs OpenWRT already and has a power consumption "less than" 14W.

thanks for this advice,

kind regards,


that's a misconception though, it doesn't.

it runs gl.inet's derivative of openwrt, but you can replace their version with ours.

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well, it's doing what I need, it has Luci and I can install many addons.

And it has a simple and not that bad GUI.

I could do so, but why should I do it? Just "because"?

It runs stable, I get frequently updates and I have all the functionalty I need.

But, if they will stop supporting one of my devices, I will replace it with the normal version of OpenWrt ...

Kind regards, thg