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Best Unlocked 4G LTE Wifi "Router"

Best Unlocked 4G LTE Wifi "Router"

Old Oct 9, 18, 12:36 am
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Best Unlocked 4G LTE Wifi "Router"

Last time I went to Scotland, the woman that owns the house we always stayed in let us use her "Internet with Legs" service from Three UK. It was a Huawei device with a Three SIM card. It worked beautifully, all up and down the eastern coast of Scotland to Aberdeen, and into rural Moral and along Loch Ness.

I would like to buy whatever the best, modern (her's was older) Huawei router that supports as many locales on the globe as possible (with the possible exception of USA since our services are divided between CDMA and GSM).

Is there any particular features or frequencies I should be looking for? Or, can you recommend me a model?
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Old Oct 9, 18, 1:20 am
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Huawei E5788 Cat 16 LTE ?
https://www.4gltemall.com/blog/huawe...spot-unboxing/
Some comparisons https://www.4gltemall.com/blog/tag/huawei-e5788/
https://www.4gltemall.com/4g-wireles...e-hotspot.html

An iPhone 5s or newer also makes a decent backup as they support quite a wide array of LTE bands. There are also androids which are more prepaid local sim global traveler friendly like OnePlus. Some carriers don't allow for sim usage in a mifi or disable hotspot. There might still be a few holdouts which only use dial codes to activate data packages.

https://www.frequencycheck.com/ is handy for checking frequencies used on specific carriers & countries but if I need really want data in a specific place, I'll check the carrier's website for supported LTE bands, coverage maps, and an independent coverage measurement site like OpenSignal or cellmapper.net
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Old Oct 9, 18, 7:29 am
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The CDMA/GSM split stopped really being a thing with the advent of LTE. Verizon and Sprint still operate their legacy 2G/3G CDMA networks, but LTE is LTE.

Personally, I just use my phone to tether as needed. This Huawei one looks nice:
Amazon Amazon
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Old Oct 9, 18, 5:16 pm
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I have this one:
Amazon Amazon
. It worked pretty well in Mexico and seems like it'd do well in Europe too per specs but YMMV elsewhere (though buying the external glass-mounted antenna may help overcome issues to some extent depending on your location).
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Old Oct 9, 18, 8:20 pm
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Some of these devices boast 300Mbps and 150Mbps, but that's just LAN bandwidth isn't it? That is not the maximum speed of the 4G mobile connection?
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Old Oct 9, 18, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
Some of these devices boast 300Mbps and 150Mbps, but that's just LAN bandwidth isn't it? That is not the maximum speed of the 4G mobile connection?
Maximum theoretical speed of the 4G connection, anyway. Whether you get anywhere close to those speeds is going to depend on your location and your selected carrier.
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Old Oct 12, 18, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
The CDMA/GSM split stopped really being a thing with the advent of LTE. Verizon and Sprint still operate their legacy 2G/3G CDMA networks, but LTE is LTE.
Whilst this is true, the problem has now moved (more than before) to the issue of band (frequency) support. This always existed (especially in the GSM world), but it's a bigger problem with LTE when it comes to cross-provider/country support.

Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
Personally, I just use my phone to tether as needed. This Huawei one looks nice: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...SIN=B01NBRW9GU
As an example, AT&T use LTE uses Bands 2, 4, 5 and 12/17 depending on the area. The only cross-over between AT&T and that device is band 5. So whilst this will work on AT&T in some areas, it won't necessarily work everywhere or with great performance depending on the availability of band 5.

T-Mobile use LTE bands 2, 4, and 12, so this device will not work on T-Mobile at all.
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Old Oct 13, 18, 10:34 pm
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Thanks for the info! After sending a few models to a wireless engineer at work, I settled on the E5885Ls-93a, which works in both US (on TMobile) and UK/EU.

Amazon Amazon

It's more important that it work well in the UK, but wanted US support for testing, and for the rare occasion where I can't use my Verizon 4G LTE.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 1:17 am
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I have used a several Netgear models and I have no complaints worth sharing other than finding the external antenna for sale was surprisingly difficult.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 12:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Error 601 View Post
I have used a several Netgear models and I have no complaints worth sharing other than finding the external antenna for sale was surprisingly difficult.
I have this external antenna for mine:
Amazon Amazon
. I don't recall it being particularly hard to find at the time but I think it was also one of the "people who bought this item also bought" items.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 2:40 pm
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When I bought it in early 2017 it was only available on Amazon through third-party sellers. I got IT to order it for me through CDW or someone similar.
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Old Oct 21, 18, 4:47 pm
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I have a Fi which gives me numerous chips and I'm looking for one to put in a device to loan to relatives and close friends. A few years ago, you could loan someone a phone to take abroad. Now, their phones are so customized with their apps that the idea of taking someone else's phone for a trip is about as appealing as wearing someone else's used underwear.
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Old Nov 10, 18, 11:28 am
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An update. I just returned from traveling around Scotland, and England: Nottingham and London.

This dongle was amazing. Very fast Internet and I only had outages in two places: the town of Cullen in Moray, and about 20 minutes of backcountry between Glasgow and Oban.

I used Three as my SIM provider. The three of us ended up going through the 12GB of data (the hotel in Nottingham had terrible wifi) on the 11th day of a 14 day trip. We were fortunate enough to have our friend in Scotland let us use their address and credit card to buy another 7GB. That was the biggest annoyance... not being able to use a US address or credit to buy data.

This was so much easier than getting three separate SIM cards and tethering for computer use.

I returned to the shooting and wildfires (I am in Thousand Oaks), which brings me to my next point. All Internet is down, and Verizon mobile data was useless, and because of this dongle, we have access to the news using the tester T-Mobile SIM card I bought.

Last edited by DataJunkie; Nov 13, 18 at 5:16 pm Reason: Goodness forbid I make a typo.
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Old Nov 10, 18, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
We were fortunate enough to have our friend in Scotland let us use their address and credit card to buy another 7GB. That was the biggest annoyance... not being able to use a US address or credit to buy data.
IIRC you can buy reloads in person from at least WH Smith with a US card (I did at Heathrow, anyway). But yeah, it's annoying not being able to do it online.
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Old Nov 12, 18, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
... and mobile data is useless, [but] we have access to the news using [mobile data].
Um ...?
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