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Netgear Aircard AC785 4G Hotspot Review

Netgear new mobile router "AirCard AC785" that corresponds to the 3G/LTE was released months ago. It’s a upgraded model from Netgear aircard 762s and with a new design, the aircard 785 looks fashion and cool.




So, let's look at the product. Body size, 109.9mm (length) × 68.9mm (width) × 14.6mm (height), weight has become 127g, as a 4G mobile router, the Aircard 785s is easy to take in a pocket. The device is in black color. Although it has a simple structure, the designed accent triangle piano black so as to surround the front of the display, and fine irregularities is placed on the surface; it receives a quite elaborate impression.  




Buttons and connectors are listed on a side surface, the navigation buttons to be used to select the setting items on top of the power button and micro USB ports for charging & PC connection and two antennas connectors at the lower port are provided. Attention, but the antenna port is to show up by sliding.




If you want to use the network from the Netgear aircard 785s, a SIM card needs to be inserted by removing the back of the cover. Open the cover, and remove the battery of 2000mAh, but there is no Micro SIM slot, only SIM card slot shows up.




Netgear aircard AC785s supports 4G LTE frequency bands (800/850/900/1800/2100/2600MHz) and 3G HSPA+ bands (800/850/1700/2100MHz), it can be used with many network providers in Europe and Asia. Unlike the mobile router that is provided by the operators, the aircard 785s could be used with any operators. Actual usage is not very difficult. But it is necessary to do the setting called "APN" in accordance with the network operators; it can be set from a PC or smart phone.




  In the case of the PC, Aircard 785s can be set using the browser, but if you want to configure from the smartphone, you need download the Netgear Aircard App first from the Google Play or App Store.   By the way, the AirCard app is also available Windows Phone version. Once you have the app installed, you are ready for connection to the AirCard AC785. After the power is turned on, connect the smartphone in the wireless LAN using such as WPS. After connection, when you start the AirCard app, it is possible to do the settings in the "APN" of the "Network".





2.4GHz connection is standard

Using the wireless LAN function to connect a smartphone or PC, the maximum speed will be 300Mbps in 2 x 2 MIMO support of IEEE802.11n. In the standard, user can switch the 2.4GHz to 5GHz, and the AC785S can also be switched to the simultaneous use of the 2.4GHz/5GHz.    


The feature that allows this simultaneous use is the very unique features of this product. In a typical mobile router, there is a case to switch the 2.4GHz or 5GHz exclusively, in this Aircard 785s, both the two bands can be used at the same time. Therefore, even if the number of connection is increasingly, by distributing the terminal connected to the 2.4GHz and 5 GHz, it is possible to disperse the traffic. In the setting from the main display, the 2.4GHz / 5GHz both use the same SSID, it can be set individually by using the Setup screen to be the "main Wi-Fi" and "secondary Wi-Fi".  



However, I want to note one is the limit of the 5GHz band. In this netgear AC785S, the channels of the 5GHz band has become a W52 of 36/40/44/48, this band is prohibited outdoors (outdoor of available W56). If you want to use indoors at home or conference room, you can take advantage of the 5GHz band in full.  


Further, in the Aircard 785, in order to extend the operating time on battery, the standard radio wave output of the wireless LAN is set low. For battery life, it was subjected to a test of 7 hours 24 minutes in a row. The battery capacity is 2000mAh large and as a mobile router, the measured result of more than 7 hours is not bad, but decent. In default, the brightness of the screen is set to "bright", and the screen could be set to blink the entire surface of the LED during the communication is enabled. By adjusting these settings, it would also be possible to extend a little more working time of the netgear AC785S.  




Affordable mobile router

The Netgear mobile router "AirCard AC785" is with a reasonable price, and with a solid basic design, a bargain impression. Considering the growing needs that want to use in a variety of equipment such as a PC or a tablet, it’s likely to say that Netgear aircard 785 is quite easy-to-use. Some customers may say that their smartphone can also work like a 4G mobile router, that’s right, many smartphones have the same functions, but considering the power consumption when activating the Hotspot function, an extra mobile pocket router may be necessary in most cases.  


Actually, Netgear has also presented many new 4G mobile hotspots with high level, such as LTE Cat6 Mobile Hotspot Netgear Aircard 790 and Latest LTE Cat11 mobile hotspot Netgear Aircard 810s. If you prefer to the latest units with future-proof, you can consider the Aircard 790s or Aircard 810s.  


LTE Cat6 CPE ZTE MF286 VS Huawei E5186

With the evolution of the wireless network technology, more and more network providers are trying to upgrade their LTE network to LTE cat6 advanced, so more and more users demand LTE terminals to support the latest LTE advanced networks. Even though, very few user equipments can meet the demand.




We had introduced the world’s the fist LTE Category 6 router Huawei E5186, now we get the new LTE Cat6 gateway ZTE MF286. As ZTE’s first LTE Category 6 router, the MF286 has many functions, even the appearance/interfaces design similar to LTE CPE E5186, but it also many special features. Today, we will have a check the difference between the two 4G LTE Routers.






The ZTE MF286 and Huawei E5186 both looks like a common stationary wireless home router, front indicators to show wireless connection status (Power, Wifi, Phone, 3G/4G, Battery, Signal), side gridding design to heat radiating, and interfaces (4 x RJ45 ports for WAN/LAN, 2 x RJ11 ports for VoLTE and telephone, 1 x USB port for storage and power adapter plug). And there are two connectors for external antenna in the two routers but the connectors are covered by a small cap in case dust and water. And the WPS button and reset hole line together. Of course, there is one SIM card slot in the two routers.    


Technical specifications


The two routers can work well with FDD & TDD LTE networks. As wireless gateways for LTE Cat6, they both could achieve download speed to 300mbps and upload speed to 50mbps on LTE FDD networks. And the download speed could reach 112Mbps on TD-LTE networks. If LTE network is not available, they can automatically switch to 3G UMTS/WCDMA network or 2G GSM networks. And the peak download speed on 3G network is 42Mbps.




ZTE MF286 and Huawei E5186 4G Router both could support the IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with dual bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz). Up to 64 devices could connect to the MF286 and E5186 LTE CPE respectively. And they both support VoLTE function, which is required and practical on the LTE Advanced network. The management of the two routers can be done via the web UI. Users can do personal settings for Ethernet, WLAN, VoIP, Security, Port Forwarding, MAC/LAN IP filter, DHCP, DMZ, SIP ALG, UPnP, NAT settings etc in web UI.   But we can also see the difference between the two similar 4G Router:

  1. The chipset of the Huawei E5186 is Huawei own Hisilicon Kirin while ZTE MF286 is based on Qualcomm chipset Qualcomm WTR3925 (28nm process) and Qualcomm MDM9230 (20nm process)
  2. There is no battery in Huawei E5186, it can only work when connect to power adapter. However, the ZTE MF286 has built-in battery with 3000mAh capacity, which can support a conference call for up to 4 hours.



The two points should be the key difference between the two routers. Below are the details comparisons for the two routers on features and specifications for reference:  


Model ZTE MF286 Huawei E5186
Type Stationary & Portable Router Stationary router
Category LTE Cat6 LTE Cat6
4G Speed * LTE-FDD DL 300Mbps/UL 50Mbps * TD-FDD DL 220Mbps/UL 10Mbps * LTE-FDD DL 300Mbps/UL 50Mbps * TD-FDD DL 220Mbps/UL 10Mbps
3G Speed DC-HSPA+ DL up to 43.2Mbps DC-HSPA+ DL up to 43.2Mbps
WiFi IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac(2.4GHz and 5GHz) IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac(2.4GHz and 5GHz)
MIMO Yes Yes
Max users 64 64
Interfaces 2 x RJ11 + 4 x RJ45 + 1 x USB + 1 x SIM slot + 1 x Power plug + 2 x connectors for antennas 2 x RJ11 + 4 x RJ45 + 1 x USB + 1 x SIM slot + 1 x Power plug + 2 x connectors for antennas
Battery Yes, 3000mAh No
VoLTE Yes Yes
Other features CSFB, HD Voice, Web UI, IPV6, WPS Firewall, CS Voice, VoIP, VoLTE, TR069 Remote Management, HTTP Online Upgrade, QoS, USB Share, UPnP, IPV6, DLNA, Fax, Print, VPN
Dimensions  180 × 170 × 30 mm 190 mm × 200 mm × 32 mm



If you like the two LTE Cat6 routers, welcome to check .  


ZTE MF286 4G LTE Cat6 Wireless Router Review

With the development of LTE network technology, more and more network providers are trying to upgrade the network to LTE advanced with carrier aggregation. Then more and more users are demanding for LTE Cat6 equipments so as to achieve possible fast downlink and uplink speed. Finally, ZTE presents its first LTE category 6 wireless router since Huawei had its LTE cat6 router E5186 and E5175 on sale for long time.




Built-in battery for Mobile Use


ZTE MF286 looks similar to the traditional wireless home router, but in this new router, ZTE had designed a built-in battery so that users can not only use the MF286 as a stationary router at home, but also take the MF286 router outdoor for mobile use. With the 3000 mAh battery, ZTE MF286 can support a conference call for up to 4 hours or share a 4G network for up to 3 hours. It can’t be taken in a pocket like ZTE MF970 LTE Cat6 MiFi, but it’s useful for multiple devices’ network support.  




High-speed 4G Connection


Like the Huawei 4G LTE Cat6 routers, ZTE MF286 can achieve peak download speed to 300Mbps and upload speed to 50mbps on LTE networks. The speed is almost the double of the current speed on LTE Cat4. If user downloads a movie of 1GB, it may only take few seconds on this speed. ZTE MF286 Router can achieve this due to the Qualcomm WTR3925 RF transceiver chipset based on the 28 nm process with the Qualcomm MDM9230 modem based on the 20 nm process. The new chipsets perform better and consume less power than its predecessors.  


Dual-band WiFi and support for 802.11ac


Compare with the current home routers, ZTE MF286 CPE has almost the highest level to support WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and 3 x 3 multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology with three spatial streams for maximum performance. It operates on both 2.4 GHz with great wall-penetration capabilities and 5 GHz with a lower chance of picking up interference. The powerful gadget also supports gigabit wired connections so that it is possible to copy files over a LAN at a speed higher than 80 MB/s.   In the test, ZTE MF286 proves to have good signal coverage; it can cover an office larger than 500 square meters. The signal attenuation is not obvious even at a point far from the device. Internet surfing is smooth, even in a meeting room separated by glass doors.




High-Definition VoLTE Call


Conference calls are an indispensible part of business interactions. As a standard feature for high-end wireless routers, ZTE MF286 supports advanced VoLTE voice calls. You can connect it to a telephone or a conference hands-free telephone system to get a much better call quality than regular telephone calls.  


With 4 RJ-45 Ethernet ports, there is a USB port which connects a USB disk to share pictures, files or videos among the users on the same WiFi network. As ZTE’s first 4G LTE Cat6 router, the MF286 Router has many selling points which are practical for users. But Huawei E5186 has been on the market almost one year ahead of ZTE MF286, we can’t tell whether the MF286 will gain the trust from customers even though Huawei E5186 CPE doesn’t have the battery.