How does WiFi speed affect battery life?
Test and experience report on MagentaMobil Speedbox
Router and tariff in the test
In February 2019, Deutsche Telekom launched a new tariff called “MagentaMobil Speedbox”. This promises high-speed Internet and WLAN for "everywhere" via LTE. Up to 300 Mbit / s to take with you, so to speak. But what does the obligatory WLAN router do and how does the Speedbox tariff perform in practice? We have of course extensively tested the offer for you!
1. Concept: What does “MagentaMobil Speedbox” offer?
Admittedly, the concept behind the offer is not entirely new. Vodafone launched a very similar tariff with the name "Gigacube" for the first time two years earlier. What both have in common is that broadband access can be used nationwide. As if you could take the DSL access with you. Because the included Wifi LTE router supplies all devices with internet if required. Simply supply the router with power and off you go - no matter where you are. Therefore, apartments or houses can also be supplied with high-performance access that are not connected via a fixed network, i.e. (V) DSL, cable or FTTH. The supply takes place via radio, more precisely LTE.
2. What can the router do?
The basis for the tariff is the Speedbox router of the same name. It should actually be called Speedbox 5, as Telekom added the 4th generation to its range at the end of 2018. As the manufacturer of the cube-shaped router, Huawei is once again responsible. Incidentally, the full device name is B529s-23a - a somewhat older model, but ideally tailored for the Speedbox tariff. It has a CAT6-capable LTE modem (up to 300 Mbit / s) and supports the most common 4G bands at 800, 900, 1500, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz. If LTE is not available at the current location, he switches to 3G or 2G. WLAN ac (Wifi 5), two ports (TS-9) for external antennas and a gigabit LAN connection round off the overall technical picture positively. Thanks to the battery, the Speedbox even has an autonomous power supply for approx. 4 hours, which is useful e.g. when camping. We have compiled all the key technical data for the B529s for you here.
3. MagentaMobil Speedbox: tariffs, services and costs
Deutsche Telekom offers two versions of the “Magenta-Mobil Speedbox”. Both have a monthly data volume of 100 GB. As already indicated, the fastest possible data rate, thanks to LTE-Max, is 300 Mbit / s in the LTE network. The difference only relates to the billing. With “Speedbox Flex”, the basic fee is only charged in the month in which the router is used. In return, the one-time costs increase significantly. Instead of 1 euro, plus 39.95 € deployment price, the Flex version requires 99.95 € + deployment price. The basic fee also increases by € 5 per month.
|comparison||Speedbox regular||Speedbox Flex|
|LTE data rate up to||300 Mbit||300 Mbit|
|data volume||100 GB||100 GB|
|Billing||per month||when used per month|
|running time||24 Months||24 Months|
|Deployment price||39.95 €||39.95 €|
|Router price||1 €||99.95 €|
|price per month||39.95 €||44.95 € (per month of use)|
|«Click here for the offers»|
4. Order: This is how it works!
The easiest and fastest way to order the tariff is here at www.telekom.de/speedbox. All you have to do is choose the variant you want (flex or normal). You will then be asked whether the package should be sent to your home or to the nearest Telekom shop. You then have the choice between Postident and Video Ident. If you order on the PC without a webcam, the former is advisable. We chose Postident, which was actually even more convenient. Because on delivery you only have to show your ID or passport, that's enough. There is an extra trip to the post office with a form Not necessary. The disadvantage - you have to be at home for the delivery or pick it up at the post office the following day. There are three payment options available - direct debit, credit card or PayPal. Now just a delivery address and let's go! The package was delivered after just 3 days.
5. Scope of delivery and unboxing
In addition to the router, the package also contains the SIM card and PUK / PIN. We started by unpacking the Speedbox router, which is packed in a visually appealing box. As usual, the scope of delivery includes the power supply unit, an approx. 1.5 meter long LAN cable and a mini manual.
6. Design, first impression and connections
There are no surprises when it comes to the scope of delivery, but everything makes a valuable impression! The design of the Speedbox router is immediately convincing, although this is of course a matter of taste. But the cube shape, the red (glowing) decorative stripe and the matt black look extremely harmonious. A router that you don't necessarily have to hide behind the bookshelf. The GigaCube router, on the other hand, is less attractive and significantly larger! The edge lengths are only 11-13 cm each and the total weight is a moderate 700 grams. Nevertheless, it is of course not a mini hotspot for the vest pocket. The focus is clearly on stationary operation - therefore it is best to be "quasi-stationary".
On the front under the red decorative strip (lights up red in the dark) three info LEDs and two buttons have been installed. The mode LED codes the cellular standard currently in use. Cyan stands for LTE, blue indicates 3G and yellow indicates a 2G network. If the LED is red, there is no cellular connection or there is a problem with the SIM or cellular settings.
This is followed by the LAN LED which indicates an existing Ethernet connection (LAN) with green. Finally, the WiFi LED (WiFi active / inactive) follows. The power button is used, of course, to switch the Speedbox on and off. The last button has a lamp symbol. This means that the lighting can be optionally deactivated if it bothers you or you want to save power in battery mode.
7. Battery and mobility properties
As already indicated, the Speedbox router has an integrated battery with at least 3000 mAh. This corresponds roughly to the capacity of an average smartphone and, according to the manufacturer, is sufficient for autonomous operation of up to 4 hours. It is charged via the regular power supply connection and not via USB, for example. Extended operation using a standard power bank for smartphones is therefore unfortunately not possible.
8. Connectivity & external antenna
Fortunately, the Speedbox has two TS9 antenna sockets, so that additional antennas can be connected in poor reception conditions. This is often necessary, especially when camping.
Another button with two arrows is located on the back directly under the antenna sockets. This is the WPS button. In addition, the box only offers the LAN connection and the power port.
9. Test: Does the SIM card really only work in the Speedbox router?
According to Telekom, the tariff or the SIM card from MagentaMobil Speedbox unfortunately works exclusively in the router supplied. So there is a kind of router compulsion! The whole thing is done via IMEI fetching. Therefore it is checked whether the IMEI - a kind of hardware fingerprint - is on the list of "allowed" routers. If not, no connection will be established. We have therefore made the counter-check whether this is actually the case. A smartphone (LG G6), the Speedbox 4 and a FritzBox 6890 were tested. In fact, no data connection could be established in any of the end devices. We also tested all known Telekom APNs, but without success! So there is no loophole, you absolutely need the Speedbox Router!
10. LTE reception in the test & speed check
At this point, we usually test how safe the included router is compared to other end devices. But due to the router restriction, this is not possible at least with the MagentaMobil Speedbox SIM. In order to be able to evaluate the Speedbox at least in terms of reception quality, we used a prepaid data tariff in the telecommunications network and let the Speedbox compete against the somewhat more modern FritzBox 6890.
First of all, the Speedbox was equipped with the tariff's own SIM. Incidentally, the reception in the telecommunications network is not quite optimal here. So one could speak of conditions suitable for everyday use, such as those found in many places. With RSRP the router showed a less than optimal -97 dBm. The RSRQ was -4 dBm, the SINR was 17 dBm. With LTEWatch we changed the frequency manually to 2600 MHz beforehand, the same applies later to the FritzBox 6890. This way we made sure that we are always in the same radio cell. A speed test showed a download rate of around 55 Mbit at 35.4 Mbit upstream. The countercheck with Speedtest.net was almost identical with 57.2 and 34.9 Mbit.
Next we wanted to compare the receiving lines of the two routers directly, for which the Telekom prepaid SIM was used. The RSRP was again between -97 and -95 dBm, the RSRQ also remained the same at -4 dBm. As expected, nothing has changed as a result of the SIM swap alone. Two speed tests confirmed similar results between around 50 and 55 Mbit downstream and 32 to 35 Mbit upstream. As expected, the values are comparable, so that we can now do the cross-check with the Fritzbox.
At the FB 6890 we determined -98 dBm and -9 dBm RSRQ (SINR 16), also in the 2600 MHz radio cell. Again, quite similar values, apart from the poorer RSRQ. The modem of the Fritzbox, however, gets a lot more out of the somewhat poorer values. In two speed tests, the download rate was between 76 and 77 Mbit each. Only the upload disappointed with 16 Mbit, an effect that we also noticed in the FritzBox test.
Conclusion: Telekom's Speedbox delivers a passable result. Despite the less than ideal conditions and the significantly lower price and narrower dimensions. Compared to the Fritzbox, the download performance was a bit lower in our test, but the box shines when uploading. With additional antennas, far better performance can also be achieved.
11. WLAN in the test
The Speedbox's WLAN module masters the fast, modern Wifi 5 standard, better known as 802.11ac or WLAN ac. So, enough power to supply all end devices with fast Internet even with the best LTE reception conditions.
But how good is the box in comparison, for example to the FritzBox 6890? To do this, we determined the signal strength for each router at four specified points in the office and the surrounding area. Measurement point a) is in the same room as the router and there is a line of sight at a distance of 3 meters. Point b) is about 8 meters away, separated by a door. Measurement point c) is exactly 1 floor above a) and d) also one floor higher with a load-bearing wall in between. A typical task for the WLAN modem like in a single family house. We used an LG G6 with the Wifi Analyzer app for the measurement. Both devices were operated on the 5 GHz band with WLAN AC - each via channel 44.
|WLAN test||Measuring point a)||Measuring point b)||Measuring point c)||Measuring point d)|
|Fritz box 6890||-40 dBm||-70 dBm||-62 dBm||-62 dBm|
|Speedbox (B529s-23a)||-49 dBm||-70 dBm||-55 dBm||-68 dBm|
The FritzBox scores at close range, while the Speedbox does an excellent job when penetrating a ceiling to the 1st floor. The other measuring ranges are many of the same or similar, so that the Huawei router does very well here. Supplying a house / holiday home with a garden should therefore be possible without any problems, provided that the router is positioned centrally.
12. Installation and initial setup
Installation is pretty straightforward. Nevertheless, we want to provide initial help with the initial setup, because the devil is in the details. All we need is the router including the power supply unit and the welcome letter supplied, which contains a SIM card and PIN / PUK.
Activation: If you have chosen Postident when ordering, is no extra activation required. Even if the purchase is made via the Telekom shop on site. Otherwise, please follow the instructions here at www.telekom.de/sim-aktivierung
11.1 Insert SIM card
First carefully remove the SIM card from the plastic card. We need the medium size, ie "Micro-SIM".
Now we open the narrow slot on the bottom of the Speedbox labeled "SIM Card Reset". Insert the SIM with the notch to the top right, as shown in the following picture. The SIM must snap into place with a soft "click".
11.2 Connect via LAN
If a PC or laptop is to be brought into the Internet, we recommend using the enclosed network cable. As soon as the network connection is established, you can access the Speedbox on the browser. We explain how in the next but one section. First of all, start-up help for the connection via Wifi.
11.3 Connect via WiFi
To connect an end device to the Internet via WiFi for the first time, proceed as follows. After inserting the SIM, please connect the box to the mains or start it in battery mode. As soon as the WiFi LED lights up green, the first device, e.g. a smartphone, can be connected. You will find the name of the WLAN network and password on the underside of the Speedbox. If the hardware to be connected supports WLAN at 5 GHz, we recommend choosing the SSID (WLAN name) with the suffix -5G-.
If the end devices support WPS, the connection is of course even faster. Press and hold the WPS button on the router for at least 3 seconds, then activate WPS on the target device, and the connection will be established automatically.
In our test, however, the "Mode" LED was lit from the start red. The reason: the router initiates the SIM card the first time with the release of the cellular PIN (welcome letter). To do this, we first have to go to the router menu (see next section).
11.4 Setting up the Speedbox for the first time & activation
As soon as the connection via LAN or WiFi is established, the router can also be accessed directly for further settings, for example the antennas (internal / external), the preferred wireless standard or changing the WiFi password (recommended).
But first we have to activate the SIM. To do this, simply start the Internet browser and enter http://192.168.8.1 in the address bar. You will then be redirected to the start screen. The first time you access the router password (bottom of the device), the four-digit mobile pin is also requested. The message then appears that the SIM will be activated and the Speedbox will restart - this can take a good 2 minutes and the (W) LAN connection is temporarily disconnected.
If the SIM has been activated correctly and you have a Flex tariff the browser redirects to the following menu. The Speedbox Flex Pass is required here posted manually. But this has the advantage that you don't immediately pay 44.95 € per month if you accidentally switch on the router after a few months of non-use. With Vodafone's Gigacube, a monthly fee is billed directly with the first byte in the Flex tariff.
On the other hand, runtime customers without the flex option are connected directly to the Internet, enter e.g. www.lte-offer.info in the address line to test.
12. Software & handling
As usual, Huawei's router menu is functional and simple. The start page provides an overview of the connection strength and the radio standard used.
Additional information on the data volume used, the connection time or the IP is displayed. The menu also contains setting options for the cellular connection (e.g. when using other SIM cards), VPN, DHCP and the topic of security.
13. Find the best location for the Speedbox
Due to the fact that the internet connection is realized by radio, the choice of the location is usually decisive for the achievable data rate and stability. In principle, a space close to a window is considered ideal. If possible on higher floors, provided you have your own home. To find the perfect location, you can display the exact reception values. Stored in the menu item "System" -> "Device information". The RSRQ, RSRP and signal-to-noise ratio are recorded here. Monitoring is much more convenient and more accurate (as it is constantly updated) with our LTEWatch tool. This means that all important parameters can be tracked in real time. This is how you can quickly find the place with the best reception!
14. Monitor the data volume
MagentaMobil Speedbox offers enough data volume with 100 GB, but this is not enough for forever, especially if you use YouTube or Netflix a lot. Therefore, it makes sense to monitor the consumption regularly. The monthly and daily consumption is logged by the router and serves as a guide. Much more precise (and binding), however, is the query via www.pass.telekom.de.
15. Limitations: What is not possible with the Speedbox tariff?
In addition to the router requirement, there are three other restrictions that you should be aware of, although of course they do not affect every user. We have discussed in detail what these are here.
Is the manual also available online?
The German version of the manual is unfortunately not yet available for download from Telekom. But the counterpart from Austria from T-Mobile. Except for tariff-specific information, both are identical. »Download manual PDF
Further information»LTE guide for the home
»Guide to improving reception with LTE
»Carry out an LTE speed test
»Tools: Optimizing LTE for the home
»Order the Magenta Mobil Speedbox
»Internet without DSL - is that possible?
careful research. However, we do not give any guarantee for correctness and completeness! © LTE-Anbieter.info
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