Is the new Cradlepoint IBR900 the best 4G router for rural broadband?
Well, on the upside it has the latest CAT6 4G Module to provide super fast 4G connectivity and it also includes 802.11AC high speed WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet port so you can create a high speed wired and wireless network to connect all your devices and because it is a router designed for remote management and monitoring it will provide a reliable connection to the 4G network.
On the downside it is priced at £806.00 + VAT (£967.20) so is an expensive bit of hardware and the web interface is better suited to the more technically capable of users and includes many features you will probably never use. However, there are some users that will pay top dollar to get the ‘best’ of everything and whilst the IBR900 4G router certainly does appear to be at the expensive end of things it’s main features for rural broadband are matched by the Huawei E5186 4G router which also includes CAT6 4G module, 802.11AC WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet ports which means that the only extra ‘real’ feature would be the ping reboot / keep alive feature found on these types of M2M router. This keep alive feature means that when your router gets disconnected by the mobile network it will reboot and re-establish the connection. This does not mean you get 100% uptime, because the router first needs to be disconnected by the mobile network and it may be 10-20 minutes before the router will reboot. These M2M type routers need this feature because they tend to be installed in remote locations so there is nobody there to turn the router off and on, which is effectively what the ping reboot feature is doing.
So – if you cant be bothered to turn your router off and on a couple of times a month if it gets disconnected by the mobile network and you are willing to spend an extra £600.00 for a router with a ping reboot facility then the IBR900 4G router is for you. If you don’t mind switching off and on your router a couple of times a month when it gets disconnected then save yourself over half a grand and opt for the E5186 4G router instead.
And of course if you just want the best 4G router based upon price then this will be a suitable piece to add to your collection.
Another point to remember is that these high end M2M 4G routers are generally used for business applications so the support can be slow and cumbersome and will usually always be via an online portal – you won’t find somebody at the end of a phone line willing to spend hours on the phone to educate you about local area networks and how to use your computer so if you are not computer network literate then a simpler plug and play type router would be a better solution.