UK Three Failure Firmware Update for New 5G Hub Router

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Some customers on Three UK’s unlimited 5G Home Broadband Packages, especially those who recently joined and received the latest ZTE MC801A-based 5G Hub Router (here), reported connectivity issues and severe drops in broadband speed. The problem seems to come from a buggy firmware update.

According to Three customers, who have been busy posting in a related topic on our discussion forumthe problem seems to have started in the early hours of the morning of Sunday May 8 – after the operator started releasing a new firmware update for the 5G hub (version: BD_FRH3GMC801AV1.0.0B07). Experiences may vary, as not everyone will always receive these updates at the same time.

Customers who received this update began to notice a significant drop in mobile broadband speeds, as well as unusual connectivity issues (for example, the connection signal seems to constantly oscillate between 5G, 4G+, and 4G every few seconds). The Carrier Aggregation (CA) feature to combine multiple mobile bands was turning on and off the same way, which is likely related to the first issue.

Sample customer complaint 1 (dandring)

“Since Sunday I have had terrible connection and speeds. It constantly switches from 5G to 4G+ to 4G (every few seconds) switching between all 3 states. CA status keeps changing from CA active to NO CA to CA inactive. Not sure if this is relevant?

The only thing I can see that has changed since Sunday is an automatic firmware update at 2:30am, and I’ve had issues ever since. I have tried the device in every window now and it’s the same everywhere.

Sample Customer Complaint 2 (craigh)

“Same problem. Yesterday (May 9) the router switched from 5G to 4G+ to 4G every few seconds; speed was 4Mbps/1Mbps while typical speed was previously 320Mbps/60Mbps.

This morning (May 10) the homepage of the router says 5G, but as the poster above, the advanced settings show no 5G connection. Speed ​​now 60Mbps/4Mbps.

Sample Customer Complaint 3 (Barns)

“I have the same problem here. ZTE 5G Hub connected well but only gets about 4 Mbps downloads. Was 400+ Mbps until this morning. Looks like the hub did an update early this morning (3am or so), I suspect the problem started then.

Also seeing the “Certificate Authority status keeps changing from active CA to NO CA to inactive CA” I don’t know if that’s relevant, I don’t know what it is.

Direct line of sight to the 5G mast a few 100 yards away so not a signal issue I don’t think (and has always been very fast and stable so far, a few months since I got the thing ).

Customer feedback indicates that Three’s front-line support team initially blamed the issue on network congestion issues, while others were told the issue had been resolved last night. Service speeds improved on Tuesday, but are still much lower than they were, and routers no longer seem to connect to 5G (i.e. stuck on 4G/4G+) is a bit of a problem, given that the Hub is sold as part of a 5G package.

A Three UK spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We are aware of an issue affecting 5G service for a small number of customers with a ZTE MC801A router. 4G service remains unaffected. We are working to resolve the issue and apologize for any inconvenience caused to customers.

Unfortunately, there is currently no indication when the patch will be ready, but hopefully it won’t take too long. In the meantime, we suspect that Three may have paused firmware updates for the router, at least until the patched firmware is ready for release (one person on older firmware said he doesn’t seem to be a newer version available).

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