OpenWrt support for Zyxel LTE5398-M904

So I would have do downgrade to v8, and then go with the v12, yes?
Anyway, until the downgrade from v12 is available (for any potential problems), and v11 from the LBR20 causing no issues, I think I will stick to it for the time being.

Yes. Hopefully @rcatech will get more from ZyXEL.


btw: I think that the issue is related to Zyxel router firmware, not to Quectel LTE module firmware (so OpenWrt will be the final solution)


Something to try (at your own risk) if anyone is interested in dual boot:

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Nice! Did it continue from where it left off each time I wonder? Or perhaps you didn’t see. I wonder if the upgrade process has some kind of initial transfer before the flash, and reboots during initial transfer don’t matter? Just speculating.

I did see it and it was continuing each time, not starting from scratch. At first I thought the modem was triggering the entire router reboot even though I didn't understand how that would be possible under OpenWrt, but then I realized it was watchcat and that pings were failing while the modem was updating. Afterwards I read in some Quectel document that it's by design, but not sure for which model the document was applicable to. I definitely won't try that again :slight_smile:

Btw, I also played around with trying to do upload the update file with picocom instead of OTA and I think it should be possible as well, I just didn't fully test it - it's a lot simpler OTA.

Very interesting. What’s your take on OpenWrt vs OEM Zyxel firmware I wonder?

It has been observed here:

that for the Zyxel NR7101, the OEM firmware offers higher bandwidth (for those with sufficiently close and capable cell towers).

And Zyxel have also rendered IP passthrough super straightforward. I don’t think setting up IP passthrough in OpenWrt is particularly straightforward.

I’m curious about how Zyxel manage ISP disconnections, since that was a challenge in OpenWrt, albeit the ModemManager hack works quite well.

very, very bad

because with the OEM firmware sometimes I actually have to restart the entire router to restore connectivity

Ah good to know. I also read a bad report on the Zyxel support forums about that. Is that even with later releases?

Since I'm preparing to install Openwrt, I'm not worried about OEM firmware updates for now

On Italian forums, people who have tried versions later than the one I found installed are still complaining about problems with unexpected disconnections

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Some tools, drivers and specs from Quectel

EP06 tools and drivers by Quectel [1.3gb]

Do you have the latest firmware updater tools and drivers? They are quite important for a proper, and “peace of mind” successfully update process.
If you want, I can share with you my drivers and tools, even my device being a EP06-E, drivers and tools are mostly “commonly shared” by the “E” devices…


I can confirm the instructions in the wiki page work like a charm:

After receiving the router, I upgraded both the device firmware and the modem firmware, then installed OpenWrt's recovery, from the original config. page, using the "admin" user (using the password I had set during the initial configuration). Then I could access the device using SSH, and install the sysupgrade image.

Many thanks for your work.


Does anybody know the reason why the "node" package is not available for this platform? I cannot install it using "opkg", and I cannot find it in the repositories...

The package depends on @HAS_FPU (aka "fpu" feature flag) which the ramips target lacks:

The reason is documented in

OUCH! This hurts hard!

One of the uses I had intended for this device was to run some node code on it... looks like I will have to find an alternative plan.

Thanks for the info!

I feel like switching to OpenWRT with my zyxel. To those already running it:
Are you loosing something apart from voip when switching to OpenWRT? Can you still choose different modem options (band aggregation, cell lock etc) on OpenWRT? Which model firmware would you recommend v12 or v13? I currently have v08.

Just a quick word of advice to anyone following the guide - you need to be able to connect to the device via wired ethernet before you can login via ssh after installing the recovery snapshot as there is no wifi at this stage.

This caught me out because my main network router is on so I couldn't just plug it in to that and my MacBook Pro doesn't have an ethernet port - so I am now trying to figure out how to finish setting this up without having to disconnect my entire network :wink:

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Plug the ZyXEL into your existing router and manually configure IP on your mac's wifi - I think this would be the quickest way. But don't leave it like that for too long otherwise some other clients may switch to the ZyXEL :slight_smile:

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I changed the default IP in /etc/config/network to via ssh (with the Router plugged in to my dock for my Mac Studio) so now I am able to make all the changes I need (such as installing LUCI).

Now I just have figure out the best way of setting this up as backup LTE network for when my fibre goes down.

Currently I have:
Fibre modem (WAN) > UniFi Security Gateway (DHCP Server for LAN)
UniFi Security Gateway > Main Switch
Main Switch > multiple other switches > network devices

I currently have the Zyxel Router connected to one of the Switches and its LAN IP is managed through the USG.

I am guessing I will have to put the Zyxel between the Fibre Modem and the USG and then somehow figure out how to monitor if the connection on the Fibre modem goes down and if it does switch to the LTE gateway - but I haven't got to figuring out how to do that yet.

I presume I will have to manage DHCP from the Zyxel or is it possible to put it in passthrough mode (still allowing the LAN IPs to be managed through the USG)? Just trying to figure out the least labour intensive way of doing this as I have about 35 devices on my LAN all with static IPs and I dont want to have to set them all up again on the Zyxel if I can continue to use the USG for DHCP purposes.

No the issue is my Unifi Security Gateway (which is my firewall and DHCP server) is on and OpenWRT defaults to the same IP - so I needed to change the IP address on the OpenWRT router before I could connect to it - WiFi is disabled by default when you install OpenWRT so I couldn't connect to it via WiFi.

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