What are the features that make the best 4G LTE routers? It starts with faster speeds, allowing for high-speed internet connectivity similar to what you’d expect from an Ethernet broadband connection. Next, a great 4G Wi-Fi router should allow you to configure a wireless LAN with enough bandwidth for multiple wireless devices. Finally, the best 4G/5G routers will have user-friendly control and access interfaces so that you can easily set up your network preferences.
This connection may be expensive, but an LTE router may be an excellent choice for professionals who frequently need to move their Wi-Fi network to different site locations. Film productions and field research teams might save time using a mobile broadband connection and 4G/5G router. 4G/5G home internet also makes sense in areas where fiber-optic connections are unavailable since today’s 5G service may offer faster connections than older wired internet.
Keep reading to learn more about the best routers out there and how you can choose the best 4G LTE router for your needs.
Top 4G LTE Router
#1 Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Router
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is easy to operate and has long battery life. It also supports up to 20 connected devices.
- Can support up to 20 connected devices
- Long 24-hour battery life
- Very easy to operate
- May frustrate users who wish to unlock it
This Netgear Nighthawk router is a Dual-band frequency router that runs on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies and boasts a data transfer rate of 150 Mb per second. Its 5040 mAh battery can keep it running for up to 24 hours on a single charge, and it also comes with added features such as content filtering to block access to certain sites, scheduling to limit the time spent browsing, and device blocking to restrict certain users. Unfortunately, some previous users have reported having a hard time getting it unlocked.
The router also comes with a colored LCD on its top casing that indicates the number of connected devices, the strength of the WiFi network, and the remaining battery life. Its screen display size is about 2.4 inches, and the router can support up to 20 connected devices at once. It is also pretty easy to operate and allows for both USB and Ethernet connections.
#2 Novatel T1114 4G LTE Broadband Router
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a voice plan and supports up to 10 different connections. It also has an LCD display for users to monitor its connection status and other information.
- Connects up to 10 devices
- Great voice plan
- Has two external ports for antenna connection
- Can only be used with Verizon Wireless
This Novatel 4G LTE Broadband router is an excellent choice for anyone prioritizing high-speed internet connectivity. Operating on the 2.4 GHz radio frequency, it has touch navigation keys for easy operation. It has a unique feature where users can connect their cable phones and make calls without the need for expert installation. However, this can only be used with Verizon Wireless and no other Internet providers.
This router features two external antenna ports on its rear, where one is for voice, and the other is for data. Users might opt to connect to one or both ports to improve the signal for both and enjoy its internet and voice service. Its easy-to-use software interface will allow users to keep track of data use, monitor signal strength, and confirm the number of connected devices.
#3 Dionlink AC1200 Dualband Unlocked 4G LTE Modem Router
Award: BEST FOR MULTIPLE CONNECTIONS
WHY WE LIKE IT: It supports up to 32 simultaneous connections and has a long 300-meter range. It also has multiple Ethernet ports on its rear.
- Long 300 meter range
- Supports up to 32 different connections
- No setup required
- Does not indicate signal strength
The Diolink AC1200 is a dual-band frequency router that supports download speeds of up to 150 Mbps. It is pretty easy to use and has a range of up to 300 square meters. This long-range is possible thanks to its use of 6 different antennas. On its rear, the router also has four different Ethernet ports and a SIM card slot that will only fit a standard SIM. It can also be set up with different carriers, but some users reported being disappointed that the router does not indicate signal strength.
The router can also sustain upload speeds of up to 50 Mbps and wireless transfer rates of up to 1200 Mbps. It does not require any setup or installation process since all users have to do is put a SIM card inside and connect its power adapter.
#4 MOFITNETWORK MOFI4500-4GXeLTE Router
Award: BEST FOR BUILD QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has excellent build quality and is compact for convenient placement. It also has a mini-sim port and impressive Ethernet connectivity.
- Great build quality
- Four ethernet ports
- Compact and lightweight
- No mention of exact number of supported devices
Launched in 2015, the Mofi 4500 is described by the manufacturer as a high-performance business-class router that offers a local WiFi network and an Ethernet LAN network. It has excellent build quality and supports tethering through a hotspot or USB modem for users who would like to share their connection, which can be convenient if it’s used as a small business router. On the rear, it has four ethernet connections and one USB port, however, the manufacturer has not specified how many simultaneously connected devices it can support.
This particular router is the combo version of its SIM 4 and SIM 7 variants, and it comes with a paddle antenna for extended connectivity. Weighing only 1.5 pounds, the router is pretty light and will deliver WiFi speeds of up to 300 Mbps. It has one mini-sim port and comes with a 110v AC adapter to connect it to a power source.
#5 Yeacomm YF-P21-Black 4G LTE CPE Router
Award: BEST FOR EXPANDED CONNECTIVITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It supports two types of Ethernet connections and has a USB port for expanded connectivity. It also supports up to 32 connected devices.
- Good connectivity options
- Features a built-in VPN client
- Supports up to 32 connected devices
- Antennas do not improve connectivity
The Yeacomm 4G LTE router comes with a Sim Card slot, as well as two RJ11 ports (connecting telephone sets) and two RJ45 ports (connecting computers or other network elements) for a total of four Ethernet ports. The router also has one USB port and comes with two 6.6-inch antennas for expanded reach. It has a blue LED display that has indicators for its battery level, signal strength, WLAN, and WiFi connectivity on its front. It is pretty compact, however, some have complained that its antennas do not do much to improve connectivity, so essentially it can be used without.
The router will support up to 32 connected devices and also offers frequency band locking for a more stable connection. When connected to a reliable ISP, users should be able to enjoy download speeds of up to 150 Mbps, and since it also comes with a built-in VPN client, users are assured that their connection is private and encrypted.
#6 Cudy AC1200 Dual Band Unlocked 4G LTE Modem Router
Award: BEST FOR REMOTE CONNECTIONS
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has the features that make it ideal for users who need to connect to different networks remotely.
- Great features for remote connectivity
- Built in VPN clients
- Not locked to any network
- No USB port
The Cudy AC1200 dual-band 4G LTE router comes ready for use on any network and boasts a data transfer rate of up to 150 Mbps and an upload speed of up to 50 Mbps on cellular. It has provisions for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi bands, which stretches its download speeds to 300 Mbps and 867 Mbps, respectively. Getting it to work is pretty easy, as all users will have to do is insert the SIM card into the router and type in a PIN to establish a connection. The router comes with four fixed antennas and four ethernet ports, however, it does not have a USB port.
For added network security, the router also comes with built-in VPN clients, allowing it to connect to a VPN server to encrypt network data. This is key, especially for users who want to do things like connecting to their home network from a different network. It also allows users to bind their home IP address to a custom domain name so that they’re able to enjoy the privileges of using a specific IP address for seamless remote connections.
Beginner’s Guide to 4G LTE Routers
What Are 4G LTE Routers?
5G/4G LTE routers are more than just mobile hotspots and they’re certainly different than the leading travel routers. They combine the features of a home Wi-Fi router with the mobile Wi-Fi capability of a tethered phone or personal hotspot. Given a strong enough over-the-air data signal, the latest 4G LTE routers can offer speeds comparable to what you get with wired routers or even strong VPN routers. Unlike mobile device hotspots, 4G routers offer full networking capability, allowing multiple devices and users. They may also have features like parental controls, mobile traffic monitoring, and guest network options.
4G LTE Routers vs Routers in General
4G LTE Routers perform a similar function to regular routers, except they utilize a cellular signal instead of a wired cable connection or fiber-optic internet hook up. Unlike typical home wireless routers, 4G routers can be plug-in mains-powered units or portable units with their own battery power.
Like other routers, most come with one or more ethernet ports for wired connections. Internet speed varies according to the type of router, the number of users on connected devices, and the signal quality.
Unlike cable or fiber-optic routers, a mobile router or 4G LTE version’s maximum speeds depend on the strength of the 4G data signal. These units have the advantage of being able to be set up in different locations. The caveat is that you must be in clear range of a high-quality cell tower with 4G and 5G capability to get the fastest upload speed and download speeds.
How 4G LTE Routers Work
Like a home internet router and a mobile hotspot, a 4G LTE router provides internet connections to one or more devices over a wireless LAN (Local Area Network.) However, a mobile router works a little differently.
A 4G LTE Wi-Fi router takes a 4G cellular signal and converts it into a range of Wi-Fi signal channels. Unlike a simple USB dongle or mobile phone hotspot, a true 4G LTE router can support multiple device internet access. Like an ethernet-powered router, a good 4G LTE router can support broadband internet speeds.
Why Should You Buy a New 4G LTE Router?
A modern 4G/LTE router offers more freedom in terms of where you can set up a WiFi network. Compared to a typical home cable connection using a wired LAN port, a mobile Wi-Fi router gives you the option of taking your whole network with you wherever you need to go, as long as there is adequate 4G/5G signal strength.
Mobile Wi-Fi routers also have advantages over mobile hotspot devices. Unlike a typical cellular hotspot, a modern 100+ Mbps mobile Wi-Fi router allows for broadband-like download speeds. Although it depends on your service provider, a portable WiFi router lets you use more advanced security features on your Wi-Fi network. For example, few, if any, mobile device hotspots enable VPN or guest network access.
If you frequently need to move from your home office to an office space in the field, such as for film production, a good mobile router with 4G LTE service can allow you to seamlessly move your whole wireless LAN without having to waste time reconfiguring the network at each location.
A 4G Wi-Fi router may also be a great idea if you need strong Wi-Fi connections in parts of a house or building that lack easy access to fiber-optic or cable terminals. Many mobile routers also come with ethernet or other wired network ports.
Compared to older mobile routers, the current generation of 4G/ 5G mobile internet routers allow for much-improved connection speeds, with high-end models currently approaching gigabit ethernet speeds over a suitable 5G network.
Is a 4G LTE Router Worth Buying?
- Mobile Office: If you need to move an office setup frequently from one location to another, an excellent mobile 4G LTE router may reduce interruptions to your workflow. With a mobile wireless network, you won’t have to reconfigure your LAN settings each time you set up at a new location.
- Limited Cable Access: A 5GHz Wi-Fi router can also add convenience and enable easier WiFi setup in cases where you don’t have access to local high-speed internet cable. If your building doesn’t have a wired gigabit ethernet cable connection but does get good cell reception, you can use a 5G/4G LTE router and network carrier plan to substitute for wired broadband.
- Temporary/ Backup Wi-Fi System: A dedicated 4G/5G router can act as a backup if your fiber-optic or cable internet goes down. This can be especially useful if you work from home on time-sensitive or critical projects.
- Online gaming and Live-streaming Uses: Some households may want to consider a separate 4G LTE wireless LAN to preserve the land-line internet connection for high-bandwidth or essential purposes. This allows for internet browsing on laptops and mobile devices without interrupting or slowing down streaming or large file uploads.
Why a 4G LTE Router May Not Be For You:
- Using a mobile USB modem or hot spot: While a mobile hotspot from a phone or simple USB “dongle” allows basic internet access on a PC or laptop, a mobile phone’s wireless hotspot has many limitations compared to the latest 4G LTE routers. 4G routers allow you to configure a true wireless LAN with custom firewall settings and provide a much stronger Wi-Fi signal
- Security concerns: While you may wonder if a mobile router can handle a secured network, the latest high-performance 4G and 5G LTE routers run the Wi-Fi 5 or 802.11ac protocol, which provides the same advanced features as most wired high-speed internet connections. That said, it’s also a good idea to know how to block an IP address from a router to beef up your security.
- Setup complexity: If the technical aspects of setting up a mobile wireless network seem daunting, today’s portable and home 4G routers make the process much easier. In many cases, mobile routers are more user-friendly to set up than typical ISP-issued routers. Some units come with a full-color display screen.
How Long Will a 4G LTE Router Last?
The average router lasts about five years in residential applications. However, many customers frequently replace their routers to upgrade to the latest wireless technology. A 4G/5G router packs most of the same hardware as a cable router, with the addition of a sim card slot and a 4G/5G cellular antenna. These devices, produced in mass quantities and heavily tested, shouldn’t compromise the router’s lifespan. Nothing should compromise any router’s lifespan, even if you’re connecting two WiFi routers together wirelessly. The only thing that can truly ruin a router is a power surge.
As with other routers, like the GL iNET GL E750, you can boost their longevity by keeping your LTE/ 5G LAN hardware safe from liquid spills and accidental drops and by choosing a spot that’s free from excess moisture, heat, and humidity. For example, a router that has to be installed near a water heater or exhaust vent may wear out sooner due to heat and corrosion.
For the most “future-proof” mobile router options, you might want to consider models that offer 5G-ready external antennas and enough processing power to support Tri-band Wi-Fi. The next generation of LTE routers is starting to incorporate Wi-Fi 6 functionality.
How to Choose the Best 4G LTE Router
To pick the best 4G router for your use case, consider a few key factors. For example, you’ll want to decide where to keep the router and whether you’re looking for a residential or office backup or a traveling wireless network solution. The next step may be to find out what the highest-quality wireless signal in your area can offer. If you have 5G coverage, then this expands your options for over-the-air Wi-Fi.
4G LTE Router Key Factors
1. Do You Need a Fully Portable Router?
If you’re looking for a truly portable Wi-Fi network that you can take on the road and set up just about anywhere there’s a radio signal, you might want to consider a 4G router with a rechargeable battery. For adequate battery life between charges, we recommend at least a 4,000 MAh battery.
2. What Devices Do You Need to Connect?
The types of wireless devices you want to connect can help determine which 4G wireless router is the best for you. For devices like gaming consoles and streaming boxes, you might want at least a dual-band router that supports 5GHz band Wi-Fi connectivity.
3. What Kind of Cellular Network Do You Have?
While a 4G/5G router may advertise 1Gbps speed capability, the actual speeds for file transfers and streaming depend on the cellular connection and signal strength. For example, if you don’t have 5G coverage, a 5G router won’t offer increased speed over a 4G router. If cell coverage is limited in your home, but you get a strong signal outdoors, you may want to consider adding an outdoor antenna to boost the router’s range.
4. Do You Need Advanced Setup Features?
Some mobile and home 4G routers offer additional networking features such as VPN capability, parental controls, and guest network access. You can find some of the finest VoIP routers and routers with parental controls on our roundup lists. Additionally, some routers also come with a companion app that lets you change settings or monitor internet traffic. These features help set 4G Wi-Fi routers apart from simpler mobile hotspot devices.