News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Cellular Routers?

    Posted on davemmchenry Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Tagged: , ,

    • This topic has 10 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago.
    Viewing 9 reply threads
    • Author
      • #2288610 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        I am a long time reader from back in the days of the beginning of the Langalist.  I have had ATT internet since it was first introduced in our city. Currently we only have copper wiring to our home and it is 45 years old .  AT&T has no intention of laying fiber in my neighborhood so we are stuck at 50 Mbps. Now, while that is pretty fast for most people, we still pay $5o to$75 monthly for the privelage of using it.

        So, I begin searching for internet access  using a cellular link, in other words, getting your internet access from the nearby cell tower.  You can currently do that using your phone mobile data hotspot.  Speeds are not great, but it depends on which G you are using.  Currently it appears that 2G & 3G are available pretty much anywhere and 4G & 5G totally depend on wheither or not you have the right equipment/phone and that the cell tower has been upgraded.

        So, I am currently using T-Mobile/Sprint for my cellular access.  They gave me a “free Galaxy Tab A” and an unlimited data only line for only $35.  How could I refuse?  I am using the tablet exclusively for my modem and my tower only broadcasting 2G/3G but after doing some testing and adjustments, I am currently only able to get at best about 22Mbps which is slightly less than half of what I get with AT&T but it seems to work flawlessly for general internet access, ie, general surfing.  The company assured that my cell tower is currently being upgraded and that by the middle of September I should be consistently 4G/5G and speed of over 100 Mbps.

        I stripped down the tablet of everything I could so that it is just serving as a “modem/router” for now but I would much rather get something more “permanent” which brings me to my question.  Are there any “cellular” routers on the market that would serve as a suitable replacement for the tablet.  My internet search pretty much failed as any references to a “cellular router” only bring up standard routers which require a “wire” to get access to the internet.

        Any ideas Forum people?

      • #2288630 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        Sprint used to offer mobile hot spot “boxes”. These are probably fairly old but try an internet search for “R850 Mobile Hot Spot” and “ZTE Warp Connect”. I think I’ve seen similar devices from other carriers. Don’t know if this is what you’re looking for or not.

      • #2288644 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        I’ve never tried it, but have you looked at Internet Connection Sharing in Windows?

      • #2288652 Reply
        Rick Corbett

        Do a search for mobile broadband router. Amazon show several.

        A possible issue would be if T-Mobile/Sprint expressly forbid you from removing the ‘free’ tablet’s SIM to use in another device.

        Hope this helps…

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2288663 Reply
          AskWoody Lounger

          A possible issue would be if T-Mobile/Sprint expressly forbid you from removing the ‘free’ tablet’s SIM to use in another device.

          Yeah, this can be a bother… also seen a contract that allowed connection sharing and putting the SIM in another personal mobile device but not using it in a dedicated router. (IIRC, had to be able to receive calls and respond to SMS)

          Do a search for mobile broadband router. Amazon show several.

          … and local retailers over here typically have a few models on the shelf.

          These exist from battery-powered pocket models all the way to business-oriented rackmount types.

          And that’s not counting more generic routers that can be fitted with an optional cellular adapter – sometimes with a long cord too. This is the optimal type for certain kinds of installations, actually. (Especially rural locations where you might want the cellular antenna be directional and located on your rooftop, or something.)

      • #2288702 Reply
        Rick Corbett

        local retailers over here typically have a few models on the shelf

        I’ve used one before at a very remote site and, if I remember correctly, the SIM/SIM shoe gets very hot. I have absolutely no idea why*… but something to think about.

        Hope this helps…

        * OK, that’s a lie. I had it explained to me at great length (snore) about ‘radiated energy’ by a geek at the time… but I’m still little the wiser and still not sure if I believe him.

        • #2288785 Reply
          AskWoody Lounger

          I’ve used one before at a very remote site and, if I remember correctly, the SIM/SIM shoe gets very hot.

          That’ll be a feature of that particular model, not a general tendency of broadband routers…

          …but of course in those very small devices that have the SIM slot, broadband antenna and local storage (I have one here with a microsd slot, presents it as read-only – have to detach it to write) all in the space of a regular USB drive… yeah, no surprise it gets hot.

          Another model, tabletop / wallmount with … I think that one had 6 antennas between WiFi and broadband… the base was even surprisingly cool to the touch.

      • #2288778 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        SIM/SIM shoe gets very hot

        Bad heatsink design?

        cheers, Paul

      • #2288788 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        One issue you would probably face is “throttling”, whereby data is de-prioritized above a certain limit.

        T-Mobile/Sprint generally consider any usage over 50 GB/month as heavy data usage and subject to reduced speeds.

        Depending on your personal usage, this may be a problem.

      • #2288807 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Last year when I searched cellular routers I found some using the search term “micro-cell”. Here’s one. Here’s another page specifically discussing AT&T’s former 3G MicroCell.

        When I first moved here I needed AT&T’s former MicroCell to get decent service and it worked pretty good. Since that time they bettered their coverage so I don’t need the MicroCell anymore, and they stopped selling or supporting them. We still have AT&T cellular over unlimited data and text and have been satisfed with it. I have tethered my laptop via AT&T cellular as a backup internet service. Verizon’s not a contender here for service coverage and their (alleged) customer service is abysmal.

        We’re in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the San Francisco Peninsula. Our primary internet feed comes from a separate Comcast cable line for both personal and business data services. An additional cost to AT&T. With a (1 TB?) monthly Comcast lid on data transfers, we pay $75 monthly including their router and my management tweaks to its’ firewalls. I’d only kissed their data lid once, during the time when I first backed up my data to my clouds. 100 Mbps to 300 Mbps downstream, 10-ish Mbps upstream because we’re in the woods. Good enough to automatically back-up or retrieve our most important data into the cloud.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is happening.

      • #2288924 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        I’m in the same situation.  The top choices are pepwave and kuwifi.  They look like a regular router but they have a sim slot.  I’ve heard good things about the netgear nighthawk too.  There are a lot of them.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2289968 Reply

        Dave,I suggest looking at the BR line of Peplink routers

        MAX BR1 Series

        I think the cheapest BR router is $300. In addition, they have the Balance 20X router ($400) that includes a cellular modem, meant as backup for an Ethernet WAN connection. And, it lets you add a second cellular modem.

        Getting these routers to work with a cellphone company will be a challenge. There may be new tech for you to get up to speed on (this was the case for me) and you are likely to find tech support at the cellphone companies barely able to deal with this type of router.

        The public Peplink forum has many experts, so if you need advice, its a great place to ask.

        Personally, I use their Surf SOHO. It has the usual Ethernet WAN but it also supports 3G/4G/LTE devices via a USB port (not with a SIM card). It can also use a WiFi hotspot from a cellphone as its Internet access which is great for backup.


        Get up to speed on router security at

    Viewing 9 reply threads

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Cellular Routers?

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.