Huawei B528s-23a(Vodafone GigaCube) Features and Test

The Huawei-built Vodafone Giga Cube (model number Huawei B528s-23a) is a mobile LTE router that brings Internet-enabled devices in the vicinity to the Internet. As known from the domestic WLAN router, users can use their smartphone, tablet or computer to enter a password into the Giga Cube network and thus connect to the device. The Giga Cube, in turn, connects to the Vodafone LTE mobile network. This is the case with speeds of up to 150 MBit/s on the Internet.

Fast WLAN ac, LTE theoretically with 300 Mbit/s

The Vodafone GigaCube supports the LTE Cat.6 standard  and is therefore theoretically designed for download rates of up to 300 Mbit/s. In the Giga Cube tariff from Vodafone, however, the actual maximum data rate is limited to 150 Mbit/s in the download. In the future, Vodafone should screw the LTE speed up in the tariff and the maximum upload is 50 Mbps.

Thanks to the WLAN specification 802.11 b/g/n/ac, the Giga Cube uses the latest state-of-the-art WLAN technology to provide the best possible data transmission. The transmission in the frequency ranges runs at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The range of the Giga cubes depends, of course, on the local conditions and, for example, on separating walls; In an open environment, LTE routers of this type reach up to 250 meters.

Up to 64 internet-capable devices such as smartphones, tablets or notebooks can be connected to the Giga Cube at the same time via WLAN. Alternatively, a Gigabit LAN port is also available on the back of the device. A TV, a computer or a game console can also be connected to the LTE router via LAN cable.

Surfing only with power supply

For use, the Vodafone Giga Cube is dependent on a permanent power connection. Anyone who wants to be online via the router needs a power supply nearby. At home, in a hotel or in a holiday apartment, this should not be a problem. At the campsite, a power connection is usually also possible. Even if the Giga Cube LTE router does not have a battery, the WLAN from the outlet is nevertheless very flexible.

 

Installation

Installation of the Vodafone Giga Cubes is actually very fast: simply insert valid SIM card into the SIM card slot on the back. Then the Giga Cube is still plugged into the socket. The Giga Cube then automatically dials into the Vodafone mobile network to establish the Internet connection. After that, of course, the used Internet-enabled device must be connected to the LTE router. This is usually done by entering the WLAN password – as is the same as used by the domestic WLAN router.

LTE network Keeping Upgrade

Vodafone has significantly expanded LTE in its mobile network in the last few years and is continuing this expansion on an ongoing basis. The LTE network cover is correspondingly high for Vodafone customers, but there are still areas where no LTE coverage exists. In addition, the maximum possible data rates vary from place to place. Speeds of up to 50 Mbit/s are already available in many places, but higher speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s are more rare. Where no LTE is available, the cube accesses the 3G network (UMTS) or GSM (2G) in an emergency.

All in all, the Internet speed usable with the Vodafone Giga Cube depends on the conditions on site. But even a data rate of 10 Mbit/s and more offers a neat surfing. It is also recommended to set the router for better reception close to the window. Actually, if you use unlocked Vodafone Gigacube or Huawei B528 Cube, you may get much faster speed to 300mbit/s on your own network provider rather than Vodafone.

 

Vodafone GigaCube Test

The Vodafone Gigacube is easy to use. First, the SIM card must be inserted, as soon as the GigaCube is powered, it can then go directly. The Vodafone “WLAN from the socket” is ready. The Internet speed in the Praxistest was quite high. Although we did not reach the maximum possible speed to 150 Mbit/s, the average available is more than 50 Mbps, which is always comfortable Internet surfing. The good LTE network availability in the state capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg does not distort the test result by any means, because Vodafone scores with a high network quality throughout Germany. Currently, more than 90% of the population can use Vodafone LTE.

The LTE network availability fits with the Vodafone GigaCube, in the daily use we had always a very good Internet line available. We also have nothing to complain about in the setup, WLAN-enabled devices can easily be integrated into the home network. This works either by entering a password or by using the WPS button. And Vodafone has also thought of the domestic PC, by means of network cable, the PC can also access internet easily.

If you want, the GigaCube can assign its own network name. After the first time the internet browser is started, the login area for the GigaCube user interface is automatically activated. Here you should also assign your own password directly. After this is done, the current data volume can be viewed here. This is possible on the smartphone or tablet alternatively also by app.

A great advantage of the GigaCube is the flexible use. This allowed us to put the LTE router into operation practically anywhere, only one power supply must be available on site. In the house or apartment it is recommended to place the GigaCube at the place with the best net quality.

 

Summary

Vodafone Gigacube is a good home router needing a power supply when working. It supports fast wireless surfing speed while the Ethernet cable connection is also possible for PC. The Gigacube is easy to setup and connect; management via APP or web interface is possible. If you are considering changing the DSL router, you may consider the Huawei B528 or Vodafone Gigacube for network upgrade with much faster speed.

Vodafone GigaCube (Huawei B528) In First Test

Last month, Vodafone has presented the GigaCube for a package of routers and mobile phone rates. The router is the Huawei B528, which is also without Vodafone branding. Only the outer packaging carries the design of the telecommunication service provider. The GigaCube itself has the manufacturer Huawei’s logo and there is no indication of Vodafone. Now we have the opportunity to have closer look at the GigaCube router.

Not suitable for mobile use

The Vodafone GigaCube is 105 x 105 x 181 millimeters in size. The body is not in small size, so you may not take it in hand like Huawei E5787 mobile WiFi hotspots. For this reason alone, the GigaCube is not suitable for mobile use, but it’s cool for the weekend house, the caravan, the hotel room or the apartment. In addition, there is no inserted battery or replacable battery in the Huawei B528 GigaCube. Instead, the unit is powered only by the included power supply.

As an alternative to WLAN, a notebook can also be connected to the router via a network cable. Such a cable is included with the GigaCube. The connector is located on the back of the device. There is also the socket with which the power supply is connected to the mobile hotspot. Under one flap there are also jacks, via which external antennas can be connected to the GigaCube. The connection for a VoIP telephone, which is also located on the back of the router, has been deactivated according to Vodafone specifications. We could not test this so far.

On the front, we can see not only the on/off switch and the WPS button, but also four light-emitting diodes. These indicate whether the B528 GigaCube is powered, whether the WLAN hotspot is available and whether the LAN port is being used. The fourth LED indicates whether the router is connected to the mobile network.

 

Easy Setup

The GigaCube can be configured via a connected computer, a smartphone or a tablet. The Internet address to configure the router is giga.cube, user need enter it in the Internet browser. The default password for the web front-end is located on the bottom of the router. Here is also the SSID and WLAN password specified. In addition, the SIM card (micro SIM format) slot is located on the underside.

 

After the SIM card is inserted directly and the GigaCube is switched on, the LED for the mobile radio reception is initially red. Reason: The SIM PIN must be entered via the web-based menu if the PIN search on the SIM card has not been switched off, which is at least partly the case with the operator cards defined for the GigaCube. After this, the initial setting can be made. A personalized SSID can be assigned, which can be connected with a special password.

On page 2, you can read about the function in the configuration menu, and to what extent, the GigaCube also allows the use of SIM cards from other networks. During the initial setup, the access data for the router menu can also be adjusted. In addition to own WLAN data for the hotspot on 2.4 GHz, the individualization for 5 GHz is also integrated. The settings can be changed subsequently. Furthermore, the user can decide whether to operate parallel to 2.4 and 5 GHz or only on one of these frequency ranges. In principle, the WLAN function can also be switched off completely if, for example, only a device via a network cable is connected to the router for the Internet access.

 

SIM free & Unlocked

We have also used a SIM card from other network provider such as O2, which has worked smoothly in the GigaCube. Say: The Vodafone GigaCube router was not equipped with a SIM lock or Netlock and it can be used with any operator cards. The access data for foreign networks may not be recognized automatically.

To do this, a new profile must only be created in the Connection Setup – Profile Management menu.

What Interesting is the possibility to set up a VPN directly on the Huawei B528 router. The WLAN channels can be selected manually. These are automatically assigned by default. The user interface is very similar to Huawei’s other mobile hotspots. The WLAN range is significantly higher than the Huawei E5776 mobile hotspot, which we had tested for comparison.

 

Fast Wireless Internet Connection

The GigaCube supports speeds of up to 300 MBit/s in the downstream via LTE, especially on the LTE-Advanced networks. Also Internet connections can be established with the router via UMTS/HSPA and GPRS/EDGE. In the first test, the Huawei B528 sold by Vodafone GigaCube left a good impression. The setup is intuitively possible (can be seen from the fact that the access data for the 5 GHz, WLAN area must be adjusted later) and the WiFi range is quite comparable to that of a FRITZ! Box 7490, which we had tested at the same Place.

 

The Vodafone GigaCube could serve as a DSL replacement, but less suitable for the more extensive file exchange and intensive streaming. Exciting is the possibility to use any SIM card. Thus, the Huawei B528 GigaCube can also be bought at the comparatively low price from www.4gltemall.com, for example on a holiday abroad, where the GigaCube tariff is not available, can also be used with a local SIM card. And there is newer model Huawei B618 LTE CPE Cube available now, which supports higher level LTE networks.

 

Vodafone GigaCube (Huawei B528) LTE Router Review

At the end of April 2017, Vodafone launched a new LTE CPE called “GigaCube”. Like Vodafone other 4G router, the new router GigaCube also comes from Huawei and the factory model number is B528. The Huawei B528 has a modern LTE modem with CAT6 with support of WLAN hotspot and Gigabit LAN. Today we will show what the router can do and its specifications.

Features and characteristics of Vodafone GigaCube
Manufacturer and type: Huawei B528s-23a
Chipset: HiSilicon Balong 722
LTE category: LTE CAT6 (300 MBit/s)
Download rate up to: 300 MBit
Upload rate up to: 50 MBit
Supported LTE bands 800, 900, 1500, 1800, 2100, 2600 (FDD),
and 2600 MHz(TDD)
Downwards compatible with: GSM, EDGE, HSDPA, DC-HSPA+
Support for LTE-Advanced: Yes
MIMO Support: Yes, 2×2 MIMO
Connection for external antenna: Yes
Network | LAN & WLAN
LAN Ports: 1 x GBit port
WLAN Standards: 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz)
5 GHz WLAN Support: Yes
Encryption: WPS/WPA/WPA2
WLAN Hotspot Function: Yes, up to 64 users
Others
Telephony VOIP via RJ11 port (eg SIP)
Others
WAN port Yes
IPv6 Dual Stack Yes
Battery pack: No
Dimension: 105 x 90 x 181 mm at 366 g
USB: No
Memory Card Expansion: No
Release: April 2017
Price: From 1 € with Vodafone Cube tariff
available at: »Vodafone and www.4gltemall.com
Information
Quick start guide: » Download (PDF)
Detailed manual: not yet available

 

 

LTE CAT 6 modem

 

The Vodafone GigaCube router, also named Huawei B528s-23a, internally has a modern HiSilicon modem (Balong 722) which supports LTE category 6. In principle, the wireless connection can reach up to 300 MBit/s fast. In the upload, a maximum of 50 MBit/s can be achieved. The chip also supports the most important LTE bands for use in Europe. In detail, the LTE Bands includes band 1, 3, 7, 8, 20 and 32. If the LTE reception is not given, the GigaCube router can also switch to GMS or UMTS/HSDPA. Abroad, Vodafone excludes the use anyway! So you must get the unlocked Vodafone GigaCube if you want to use it abroad.

WLAN function with the GigaCube router

 

The GigaCube also provide the WLAN module supporting up to WLAN ac, so that wireless LAN with gigabit speed is also possible. The hotspot can bring up to 64 devices on the Internet simultaneously. On this point, the B528 is really powerful than its predecessor Huawei E5180 and E5170.

 

Other characteristics

Fortunately, there are two antenna ports on the back of the GigaCube router. According to Vodafone, the focus is on use in the stationary and in remote areas. This means you can use the router both at home as a DSL replacement or just traveling as a mobile Internet connection. Mobile use is officially excluded. Thanks to the antenna connections, the reception strength ​​can also be improved in remote areas via external LTE antenna.  The B528 also does not have an information display, but only 4 Info-LEDs on the front. These give the user the most important back-ups, such as signal strength.

The only annoyance with the GigaCube router is that it was dispensed with even a battery. Thus, a permanent, stationary power supply is required. Also the GigaCube missed an SD card slot or USB port. Telephone is not possible by the way.

 

 

Conclusion

Based on the Huawei B528, Vodafone offers a powerful, modern router for its GigaCube. The model is practical and comes without much fault. Only the missing battery is annoying. We would do the performance test once we get the GigaCube in hand, keep close eye on www.4gltemall.com if you are interested in Vodafone GigaCube or Huawei B528 LTE Cube.

 

Vodafone GigaCube – Huawei B528 LTE Router Released

A few days ago, Vodafone has officially presented the GigaCube to public with data tariff plan. The Vodafone GigaCube comes from the Chinese manufacturer huawei and the original model is Huawei B528. As the successor to Huawei E5180 Router, the Huawei B528 LTE router follows the design of E5180 cube but different in details. Of course, the technical features are upgraded as the technology develops. Technically, the Huawei B528 can reach speeds of up to 300 Mbps in the downlink (LTE Cat6), but Vodafone limits the GigaCube data rate to 150 MBit/s.



Huawei B528 Specifications

The Huawei B528 has not been sold in Germany; Vodafone is the first network operator to offer the router here. The focus is clearly on the case design in smart white plastic. But technically, the router is quite up-to-date thanks to the LTE Cat6 modem, Gigabit Ethernet and WLAN ac as the following data sheet shows.

Huawei B528s-23a LTE Router
Dimensions  105 x 105 x 181 mm
Chipset  HiSilicon Balong 722
Mobile communications LTE Cat6 (300/50 Mbit / s), UMTS with DC-HSPA +, GSM / EDGE
Frequency bands  LTE FDD: B1, B3, B7, B8, B20, B32. LTE TDD: B38
Connection Interfaces 1x Gigabit LAN (RJ45), 1x RJ11 (VoIP), 2x external antenna, MicroSIM slot
WLAN standard  IEEE 802.11b / g / n / ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz, 2 x 2 MIMO), up to 867 Mbps
Package Content  Huawei B528, power supply, RJ45 LAN cable, quick start guide

What interesting is that the Web Interface is probably not from Vodafone, but in the original Huawei design. The Voice over IP telephone function with the RJ11 connection should function basically, that user could use the Huawei B528 to call over the LTE network with the Vodafone GigaCube data tariff. For more practical performance, here you should wait for first user reports.

First router for LTE Band 32 (1500MHz)

Very interesting in the data sheet is also the indication that the Huawei B528 supports the LTE band 32. This is the frequency range around 1500 Megaherz. Vodafone had bought the radio spectrum in 2015 in this area and could use the tape in the future as a “supplementary downlink” to increase the capacity in the LTE network. Currently, Band 32 has not been used in Germany and there are also hardly any end-user devices supporting LTE 1500 or Band 32. The same is true for LTE Band 38, also this is so far not used in Vodafone, but is supported by the Huawei B528.

Even if the Huawei B528 router can theoretically achieve download speed up to 300 MBit/s and the Vodafone network offers even up to 500 MBit/s in the downlink in some places: the GigaCube, as customized Huawei B528 LTE router,  allows a maximum of 150 MBit/s in the downlink. Actually, Huawei had provided another LTE Cat6 router named Huawei E5186 or Vodafone B4000, which can also reach peak download speed to 300mbps. If you can’t wait the availability of GigaCube B528, you may consider Huawei E5186 OR Vodafone B4000.