Will 2013 be the year of 4G? Well, if the new Proroute 4G Router is anything to go by then we are in for an exciting year. This compact, industrial grade 4G LTE router offers high speed wireless broadband connectivity and works with the new 4G services offered by EE Everything Everywhere, and will also be compatible with the new 4G LTE services offerings from O2 and Vodafone when they get their 4G licenses grated in the next few months.
The Proroute H685 4G Router is also compatible with 3G services including the high speed 3G HSPA+ and DC-HSPA+ services offered by the existing UK 3G network service providers so it can provide high speed 3G mobile broadband with speeds up to 42Mbps and can start using 4G SIM cards when 4G is rolled out across the UK.
The Proroute H685 4G LTE Router is packed with features and includes high speed N Wireless as well as a LAN Ethernet port for wired connectivity and a WAN Ethernet port so the router can be configured to be used as a 4G Failover Router to provide high speed 4G failover in the event that a wired broadband service, or another 4G service becomes unavailable.
The Proroute 4G Router inlcudes VPN functionality (IPSEC, PPTP) for site to site VPN functionality as well as all the normal firewall, port forwarding and NAT features you would require and priced at just £295.00 + VAT this is already one of the lowest priced, embedded 4G routers available in the UK.
I think that we are all familiar with the terms modem and router and know the difference but just to clear things up it is worth mentioning that the common definition of a 4G Modem is a USB Dongle that holds a mobile data SIM card and plugs into the USB port of a PC or Laptop computer to provide wireless broadband Internet connectivity for a single computer. A router is a device that will enable several or many computers to connect to a single wireless broadband Internet service.
Diffferent Types Of 4G Router.
When you type the search term “4G Router” into google or another search engine you will get plenty of pages displaying many different types of 4G Router. Some of these will be in the price range of £20-60 and other will start at £120 and increase in price to upwards of £500.00. The main difference between these two types of 4G Router is that the first type is just a router with a USB port that you can connect a mobile broadband USB Modem stick and it is the type of wireless broadband modem you connect that determines whether this is a 3G router or 4G router. In fact these types of router should really just be called a router becuase they contain no 4G modem technology and advertising it as a 4G router is blatantly wrong.
The more expensive type of 4G router uses embedded 4G modem technology so you simply insert your SIM card and the router will provide both the internet connection AND the wired and wireless LAN connection for your computers and other networked devices. Becuase this type of embedded 4G router actually contains the 4G technology to provide the connection then this is a true 4G router.
In fact, in the UK the type of 4G that is being rolled out is called LTE (Long Term Evolution). This 4G LTE network is being delivered by Everything Everywhere (EE) which is the new name for the company that owns the largest mobile phone network in the UK comprised of the Orange and T-Mobile networks. Everything Everywhere are using their existing mobile phone base stations to provide this service using their existing 3G license on the 1800Mhz frequency. This means that they can get a jump on their competitors, Vodafone, O2 and Three who will have to wait until the 4G Spectrum auctions which will happen in 2013. The 4G auction is selling off the old analogue television signal spectrum which is why we all had to upgrade our televisions to the new digital television service. There are rumours that Vodafone and O2 will take their case to court to prevent Everything Everywhere from switching on their 4G LTE service becuase of the unfair competitive advantage it will offer them, which is especially unfair becuase the 3G and 4G spectrum licenses are managed by Ofcom, a government body which seems to have jumped the gun in terms of allowing Everything Everywhere to start rolling 4G services out whilst hold back other mobile networks.
Anyway, whatever happens when it comes to 4G LTE Routers you will be pleased to know that there are already several embedded 4G LTE Routers available in the UK, and what’s even better is that they are backwards compatible with existing DCHSPA+ (up to 42Mbps) and HSPA+ (up to 21Mbps) 3G network technologies so you can start using these 4G routers on existing high speed 3G networks and enjoy high speed wireless broadband until you get 4G rolled out in your area. A great example of a best of breed 4G LTE Router is the 2N Speedroute which we have featured elsewhere in this site.
With the recent hype and marketing from Everything Everywhere, recently rebranded as EE and their new 4G network which will be available by Christmas 2012 in 16 UK Cities everybody is asking, What is 4G?
4G is the next generation of high speed mobile internet and can be provided using two types of technology. There is 4G LTE and 4G Wimax 2. Everything Everywhere’s 4GEE network is based on the 4G LTE network technology and will deliver mobile broadband Internet connectivity with estimated average speeds of around 20Mbps.
Of course, if you are using a 4G LTE Smartphone like the iPhone 5 and taking advantage of this high speed 4G LTE network you might not know that your phone is only really capable of using a maximum of around 5Mbps for even the most demanding video download application so 4G Smartphone users will not really see the benefit of 4G LTE Internet.
The real benefits of 4G LTE are the high speed mobile broadband speeds available to computer users, whether in the home or business a 4G LTE Modem will provide a high speed mobile broadband connection that rivals traditional fixed broadband lines. However the limitations of a single 4G LTE modem are obvious that it will only connect to a single PC which is not ideal becuase most homes and businesses will want to share their high speed 4G Internet service with several computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, games consoles, central heating monitors, CCTV security systems and even modern televisions have built in internet connectivity.
This requirement to connect multiple devices to the 4G network will lead many users wanting to use a 4G LTE Router and leading 3G Router Supplier, Westlake Communications are already stocking the latest 4G LTE Routers which you can insert your 4G SIM card into the SIM slot and enjoy high speed 4G wireless broadband services with both wired and wireless LAN connections.
Products like the 2N Speedroute 4G Router are the ideal choice for both home and business use and will work on the new 4G LTE Networks as well as being backwards compatible with existing 3G networks such as DC-HSPA+ (up to 42Mbps), HSPA+ (up to 21Mbps), HSPA (up to 7.2Mbps) and even the slower EDGE and GRPS technologies. The 2N Speedroute also features a telephone port and VoIP settings within the router so you can configure the router to connect to your VoIP service provider and make and receive calls using a standard analogue telephone making the use of 4G VoIP convenient and simple and providing a real alternative to your traditional fixed telephone line and broadband service.
The 2N Speedroute is available from the dedicated 4G Router Store or by calling Westlake Communications on 0800 298 8011.
The Ovation™ MC998D Wireless Broadband USB modem is a compact HSPA+ device that can provide download speeds of up to 28.8 Mbps† and upload speeds of up to 5.76 Mbps. With 850, 1900 and 2100MHz HSPA+/UMTS bands and Quad Band GPRS/EDGE, the MC998D operates virtually anywhere in the world with its multiple network capability.
Ovation™ MC998D HSPA+ Modem
The MC998D is equipped with the intuitive MobiLink™ 3 Connection Manager software which includes an auto-installation feature for Windows and Mac computers. Simply plug the device into your PC, notebook or
Ultra Mobile PC and the software will automatically install, giving you the freedom to connect to the internet from almost anywhere.
Ultra Fast Mobile Broadband Speeds
With peak download speeds of 28.8 Mbps and upload speeds of 5.76 Mbps, surfing and e-mailing have never been faster.
Advanced Antenna Technology
Ovation™ MC998D comes equipped with “multiple input multiple output” (MIMO) and diversity antenna technologies to maximize data throughput and operating range.
One Product for both Business and Consumers
With its leading edge technology and its innovative sleek style, the MC998D suits both consumers and business professionals alike. Its’ versatility makes it perfect for use in the office, at home and while traveling.
Ovation™ MC998D is equipped with an integrated microSDHC™ slot to provide flexible memory storage and file transfer options while on the go.
This is a great looking, feature rich 4G modem ideal for the mobile broadband user who wants fast 4G mobile broadband to download video, graphics and music so if you want to download the Lady GaGa Artpop Album or watch the latest youtube video on the go then the Ovation MV998D HSPA+ Modem could be the 4G modem choice for you.
The Sierra Wireless Aircard 319U is the next generation of 4G Modem from this leading mobile broadband technology manufacturer.
The Aircard 319U uses DC HSPA+ Modem technology to deliver super fast mobile broadband with download speeds up to 42Mbps. The Dual Channel HSPA+ modem technology combined with Sierra Wireless know-how has delivered a product that is cutting edge but quick and simple to use and if you have access to an DC-HSPA+ network then this is an idea choice of 4G Modem to get you connected.
ALL-IN-ONE SPEED, FREEDOM AND CONVENIENCE
Experience blazing speeds and avoid multiple Internet charges from hotels and Wi-Fi services. Get more mobility, better support, and manage costs more effectively through a single provider. Quad-band UMTS support also means you can access the Internet and communicate while traveling globally.
The swiveling USB connector lets you position the modem in multiple ways. Whether it’s a vertical or horizontal USB port, or an area with limited desk space, the modem fl ips up or alongside your laptop to stay out of the way and be less susceptible to damage. Its robust design is built to last on the go.
READY TO SURF IN SECONDS
The AirCard 319U 4G Dongle comes with enhanced plug and play installation which means you are ready to surf in seconds. There’s no need for a software CD, and the AirCard 319U is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
SIMPLE TO USE
Sierra Wireless AirCard Watcher™ software makes life simple. Get online fast and in a single click. Automatic fi rmware and software updates ensure you always enjoy the fastest, most reliable experience. As well, data tracking abilities help you manage Internet usage so you continuously maximize your monthly data plan.
DEPEND ON SIERRA WIRELESS
Sierra Wireless has specialized in wireless technologies for more than 17 years and delivers products with a proven track record of reliability. Emergency service organizations and businesses with mobile fi eld staff depend on Sierra Wireless modems more often than any other brand.
- Innovative swivel hinge reducing risk of damage
- Quad band UMTS for global roaming
- Watcher software is plug & play installtion – no additional software required
- Connect at speeds of up to 42 Mbps
- Robust swiveling USB design makes it easy for you to work in tight spaces
- At first insertion, be surfing in less than 60 seconds
- Easy connectivity with AirCard Watcher Software
- Proven reliability and performance from Sierra Wireless
The Sierra Wireless Aircard DC HSPA+ Modem will be available in the UK in October 2012.
The ZTE MF80 is the next generation of DC HSPA+ Router offering download speeds up to 42Mbps. The ZTE MF80 is a wireless hotspot router that enables up to 10 wireless devices to share a single high speed mobile broadband connection.
Unfortunately we do not yet have the new DC HSPA+ network in the UK yet so if you are tempted to buy the ZTE MF80 then you will just have to put up with normal HSPA (up to 7.2Mbps) or if your local cell site has been upgraded to HSPA+ (many three.co.uk sites across the UK and other carriers in large cities) then you can enjoy up to 21Mbps download speeds. O2 have announced that they will be rolling out DC HSPA+ connectivity late 2012 but this will initially be only in central London and I imagine that other networks will follow suit to take advantage of the low cost of upgrading their networks to compete with 4G networks that will require new infrastructure for LTE technologies so they can compete with the new diverse range of wireless connectivity services. Of course what we really need from any 3G, 4G or LTE service is unlimited usage of the bandwidth whether it is 7.2Mbps, 14.4Mbps, 21Mbps or 42Mbps in order to complete with normal wired broadband services because at the moment the unlimited data plans only apply to use in a smart phone, whereas what we all want is the ability to select a wireless plan that we can use in our homes and share with all our devices, without the expensive and measly data plans currently available.
Would I buy the ZTE MF80?
Yes I would – it has a great battery life, up to 10 wireless connections and will enable me to use the higher speed DC HSPA+ networks as and when they become available. I think in the long term I would prefer to stick with HSPA+ technology rather than switch to LTE where customer equipment choice will be limited and dictated to us by the emerging LTE network providers and there is the question of LTE compatibility of equipment with different LTE networks around the world whereas HSPA+ and DC HSPA+ technology is pretty much standard becuase it is based on existing tried and tested mobile phone networks.
The new Huawei E355 is a 21Mbps Dongle that works like a normal high speed 4G modem that you plug into the USB port of your PC or Laptop but the Huawei E355 4G USB Modem includes WiFi so you can connect up to 5 wireless devices. This means that when you plug the Huawei E355 4G Modem into your laptop or a USB power supply you can share high speed mobile broadband with all of your wireless devices using the high speed N wireless connection provided inside the unit.
Huawei E355 Features
Connect up to 5 WiFi enabled devices at the same time
Works with external power adapter, unlimited working time
Friendly user interface
Huawei E355 Specification
- WLAN: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
- HSPA+ data service of up to 21.6 Mbps*
- HSUPA data service of up to 5.76 Mbps*
- microSD Card Slot (up to 32GB)
- Equalizer and receive diversity
- Data and SMS Service
- Depending on the state of network and environment
- Windows XP SP2/SP3, Windows Vista SP1/SP2, Windows 7
- Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 with latest upgrades
- Your computer’s hardware system should meet the recommended requirements for the installed version of OS
- Display resolution: 800 x 600 or above
- Standard USB Interface
Infinity Wireless (previously LM Technologies) has announced the launch of their new 4G Modem, the IW-021 which is a 21Mbps Modem providing up to 21Mbps download speed and up to 5.76Mbps upload speed.
This 4G modem also incorporates built-in WiFi so that you can easily share your mobile broadband connection with up to six users. This means that the new IW021 HSPA+ Modem can now be used as a travel router so you can share your mobile broadband with multiple devices so you can connect your laptop, smartphone and tablet to high speed HSPA+ mobile broadband with this easy to use 4G Modem.
The cutting edge IW-021 is a plug & play USB 3G modem that’s quick to install and simple to use. The software automatically installs itself and within seconds of it being plugged in you can start working straight away anywhere in the world. The IW-021 also allows you to connect to virtually any mobile network in the world thanks to its quad band GSM & Dual band UMTS support and SIM-unlocked allowing use of any mobile operators 2G and 3G networks SIM Card.
Infinity Wireless has developed Multi-Fi technology which allows 5 or more Wi-Fi enabled devices to share the internet connection from a master device which has 3G or 4G internet access. The technology is unique in the mobile broadband computing market as it enables laptops and PC’s to act as mobile Wi-Fi access points.
- Self diagnostics and self repair
- Process top ups for PAYG contract via the connection manager
- Display real-time server based adverts direct to the connection manager
- Multi languages installation
- Global APN list updated daily
LM Technologies is a leading manufacturer of 3G Modem and 4G Modem devices. After a recent management buyout, LM Technologies is now Infinity Wireless.
The first new product available from Infinity Wireless will be the IW-021 which is a 21Mbps Modem. The IW-021 USB 4G Modem will work like a normal 4G modem, insert it into your PC or laptop and connect effortlessly to the internet but the IW021 comes with Mi-Finity which turns the IW-021 4G USB Modem into a WiFi hotspot so that up to 5 users can share the same 4G connection. This means that the Infinity Wireless IW-021 4G Modem can be used as a wireless hotspot which means that you no longer need to carry around an extra 3G router or Travel router to plug your USB modem into in order to share your 3G mobile broadband.
First of all, lets clarify what we mean by 4G Modem and 4G Router.
We classify a 4G Modem as a USB device that connects directly to the USB port a a PC to provide 3G connectivity to the internet for the PC that it is connected to.
We call a 4G Router as a router that connects multiple PC’s or devices using wired (Ethernet) and Wireless (WiFi) connections and the 4G technology is embedded inside the router. There are many manufacturers on non embedded routers with a USB port that you then need to connect a 4G Modem in order to turn the basic router into a 4G Router. For the purposes of this comparison we will deal with this type of router within the general contect of the report as required.
4G Modem vs 4G Router
A 4G Modem using HSPA+ technology and connected to a HSPA+ Network such as three mobile in the UK will deliver mobile broadband internet speeds in the region of 14mbps. The fastest download speed we achieved using a 4G Modem (Option ICON 711 21Mbps Modem) was 14.2Mpbs in a good location about 50m away from the mast. This is great and using a 4G USB modem connected to a PC or Laptop will provide high speed mobile broadband internet connectivity for that single PC. Of course if you want to share this connection you could connect the USB 4G Modem into the USB port of a router that supports 4G USB Modem connectivity and share your connection. In doing so this will provide a low cost solution for users that have received their HSPA+ Modem with their SIM card becuase they are only paying for the cost of the additional router which is generally in the £40 – £90 price mark. However if you need to purchase a 4G USB Modem and a compatible router then the price will rise dramatically. The typical cost of a 4G USB Modem is around £90 – £120 and when you add the cost of a router then this brings the typical price up to around £140.00
This all sounds like a good solution for the 4G USB Modem and a compatible router to share the connection, however if you are attempting to use your 4G USB modem in a location with a poor network signal then your options are more limited compared to a 4G Router becuase you would probably want to connect a 3G Antenna to your modem to help improve signal reception. Many 4G Modems do not have an external antenna connection and those that do, will have a small antenna connector, typically TS9 or CRC9 puch in type connectors that require an antenna adapter and any additional in-line adapters will redude the effectiveness of using a high gain 3G external antenna.
This is where using an embedded 4G Router comes into it’s own. An embedded 4G Router will typically have a robust screw type antenna connector (usually SMA) and will not require an antenna adapter. an embedded 4G router will also not have compatibility issues with the 4G USB Modem that is sometimes encountered when using a combination of 4G Modem and USB Router.
The biggest advantage of using an embedded 4G Router, especially when it comes to applications that require a reliable connection is the ability of embedded 4G Routers to stay connected to the 4G network. A USB 4G Modem is typically designed to connect to a single PC or laptop and as such is regularly powered on and off so users might not notice so much the inconvenience of the 4G network provider disconnecting the 4G network connection. Users of 4G modems installed in the USB port of a router might notice the problem of being disconnected more often becuase they tend to leave the router and USB modem permanently on becuase it is being shared by several users. Many users of a router and 4G modem combination regularly have to reboot the router to get the 4G modem to reconnect. In an office or home environment this is probably just a small inconvenience, but when the 4G mobile broadband connection os being used at a remote location for an M2M (Machine to Machine) application such as remote connection to a CCTV DVR over 4G then this can be quite a problem becuase a 200 mile round trip to reboot a router so it will reconnect to the 4G network is very expensive and frustrating. This is where most 4G embedded routers win hands down becuase the manufacturers recognise the fact that the 4G networks disconnect devices and they build into the router services that will provide a reliable and permanent 4G network connection. Some of the ways that 4G Router manufacturers provide this is a Ping Reboot feature that pings an IP address on the internet at set intervals and if the router does not receive a response it will assume it has been disconnected from the 4G Network and will automatically reboot and re-establish the 4G network connection. Some 4G router manufacturers go a step further and will include additional features, for example, the Zalip CDG561WE 21Mbps Router includes the ability for the owner to send an SMS message to reboot the router, providing an extra layer of functionality to ensure peace of mind for companies that want a high speed, reliable 4G router for their remote access and monitoring application.