Support for ZTE MC801A

Hello dear developers,

I recently got my hands on a ZTE MC801A router. It is a quite powerful 5G LTE capable device and I would be nice if it was supported by OpenWRT.
Unfortunately I can’t write code but I’m willing to help to make it happen.

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Qualcomm something ... can't make out the writing in the photos.

Snapdragon X55 modem, same as the Zyxel NR7101.

And what’s the SOC powering the router?

And the wifi and Ethernet chipsets?

No idea I don't own one

Sorry reply was intended for the thread starter

Unfortunately I can’t take it apart but it you know how to tell it without taking it apart it would be nice.

I did a quick search and in many sources the Qualcomm QCA6391 was mentioned.

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What's what the fccid pics were for, if you can make out the writing.

Is there still any interest in this? I got my hands on a ZTE MC801A but I seem to be stuck on exploring the device.

I think I have found the UART on the board (4 solder pads with 2,54 mm in-between some ICs for LAN and the metal shield for the CPU) but I fail to get proper output. No matter the BAUD rate, the output seems to be some garbage with lots of NULLs. In addition, the router seems to refuse starting if the UART dongle is connected to my computer.

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IIRC Snapdragon X55 as well, the router part runs on the modem too. As of now, this will be hard to support.

@thekief are you using CH340-based dongle? It has trouble decoding fast output, switching to a different dongle might. help. Also, ensure to NOT connect VCC from router to UART.

@Leo-PL as for the CPU:

The Zyxel NR7101 is already supported and as mentioned above [1] it also contains the Snapdragon X55. Wouldn't it be possible to start from there? Which kind of problems would you see arise?

As for the UART:
I asked a colleague of mine that is better versed and it seems like a cold solder joint might be a problem as well.
I will also double check on the UART adapter. So far I never had any issues with any for them so I did not have that in mind.

[1] Support for ZTE MC801A - #3 by hecatae

@thekief the Zyxel NR7101 is a Snapdragon X55 modem, but a MT7621 SOC.

The FCCID internal photos do not clearly show what the CPU is for the mc801a

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Keep going, I would love to see an OPENWRT for this device.

I have one that I am unable to update the firmware on. The ZTE software is pretty bad.

There are some simple mod's I've found, using python and javascript to display more info, but this router should truly be let free!

So I looked a bit into it with a friend of mine and it seems like I probably found the UART but cannot access it or get any other useful data out of it. Our guesses are that we

  • either need a debug firmware,
  • need to insert some password,
  • or somehow need to interact with the USB-C port on the bottom

Most likely it is the third option and so far I have not found any infos on this USB port besides some YT videos that do not show more than anybody seems to know at this point.

If you have some ideas let me know, otherwise I really do not know how to progress any further.

I would recommend seeking out USER@555 on 4pda forums, they have created a zte mc801a custom firmware and it enables full ssh and telnet, they also recover bricked units for a cost.

Thanks for the info. I googled this username and some info popped up regarding the custom firmware. Is there any chance you have a link for this at hand?

btw, what is the best way to get in contact with people on 4pda? I've seen the forums sometimes but I do not know if DMs and the like are possible.

I just bought one, hoping to contribute what I can, if anything. Waiting on shipping. I have a CH341a programmer, but know very little beyond flashing a PC bios.

Currently running a gl.inet Spitz V2 for my USA rural internet with a modified iPhone 6s IMEI, outbound VPN, and TTL overwrite.

I can pop off the antenna wires to fully remove the PCB. Is this helpful for identifying what hardware is inside? The metal lids might pop off too.

The shielding will have to come off to identify the hardware. Be aware, getting those shields back in place intact might prove difficult or impossible, do it at your own risk. You might be left with an unusable product.

From the disassembly report I could make out the WiFi chip, not much more. It's a Qualcomm QCA6391-002.