Staying connected in today’s technology driven era is a must and is fairly easy with the right Internet connection technologies (cellular, WiFi, cable, fiber etc).
However, things can get a bit tricky when you’re looking to use your Wi-Fi enabled devices on the go and especially when you are away from your Home WiFi router which is connected to your Internet Provider (ISP).
If you’d like to stay connected to the Internet seamlessly when out and about, the best way to achieve this is to create a mobile hotspot using a MiFi router (short for mobile Wi-Fi router).
Quick Recommendation List
- NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 (MR1100) – Best Overall in Terms of Features and Connectivity.
- MOFI4500-4GXeLTE-SIM4-COMBO – Runner-up, most sturdy design.
- NETGEAR 4G LTE Broadband Modem – Best to be used as primary Internet Connection with a separate WiFi router.
- Huawei B310s-518 Unlocked 4G LTE CPE – Works great with most USA carriers.
- KuWFi 4G LTE CPE – Very Good for people with low budget.
- Router Alcatel Link Hub 4G LTE – Another good option with low budget. Works worldwide.
Many people use such MiFi routers when the whole family moves away from the House, such as when going camping, in a road-trip, in an RV, during holidays etc.
A MiFi router is equipped with a 4G/LTE SIM card (such as the one in your cell phone) and a Wi-Fi radio interface on the same device.
Therefore, the MiFi router connects to the Internet via the cellular 4G/LTE network and in turn your wifi devices (smartphones, laptops etc) connect to the MiFi router via regular WiFi connection in order to share the 4G/LTE Internet connection (see diagram below).
This range of routers is equipped with a dedicated slot that houses your mobile 4G/LTE data SIM to enable you to connect your devices wherever you get a cellular network signal.
Buying the best 4G/LTE WiFi Router with SIM card slot can be a bit overwhelming, given the multiple options available.
But after diligently checking out this space, and comparing several options alongside, we’ve narrowed down on the 6 best MiFi LTE routers that won’t let you down on the road.
Table of Contents
- #1 NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 4G LTE Router
- #2 Mofi Network MOFI4500 4G/LTE Router
- #3 NETGEAR 4G LTE Broadband Modem (LB1120)
- #4 Huawei B310s-518 4G LTE Wi-Fi Router
- #5 KuWFi 4G LTE CPE WiFi Internet Router
- #6 Router Alcatel Link Hub 4G LTE Unlocked
- Buying Guide for 4G/LTE Router Devices
#1 NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 4G LTE Router
NETGEAR, founded in 1996, is regarded as one of the leading computer networking companies in the world, and the NIGHTHAWK M1 (MR1100) is yet another hit addition to the company’s massive portfolio of products.
It boasts a compact footprint of 4.15 x 4.15 x 0.8 inches, and tips the scales at just 0.53 lbs, making it a joy to carry on the go.
But don’t let its small size fool you, because it delivers top notch performance with ultrafast download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
This means you can enjoy uninterrupted HD streaming, gaming, video calls, and you can say goodbye to buffering content on tablets, smartphones, etc.
Billed as the ultimate travel router, the NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 can provide reliable internet connection for an impressive 20 Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously.
This allows you to share your cellular data connection with friends, family etc when travelling or you can even use it as the main home internet router in rural areas when other fixed-line options (such as cable, DSL, fiber) are not available.
What I like on this model is that the WiFi radio supports dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) so that you can connect even the newest WiFi 802.11AC client devices (smartphones, laptops etc).
Regarding LTE, it supports the newest standards such as Cat. 16 LTE Advanced, 4-band carrier aggregation for faster speeds and also supports 3G/4G/LTE with unlocked hardware for SIM card compatibility with a wide range of mobile providers.
The USB port is really helpful so you can share data and stream personal media from a USB storage drive with connected devices.
The Nighthawk M1 4G LTE router is powered by a 5040 mAh battery, which when fully charged provides all-day use, and can even charge your mobile device.
It is appointed with a large color display and a user-friendly mobile app, from where you can view several functions of the router including mobile signal strength, data usage, and network management.
The Nighthawk M1 4G router can be connected with the NETGEAR mobile app to perform actions such as track data usage, turn off hotspot, view and play media files, and view connected Wi-Fi devices.
Overall, we believe this is the top model in our list for good reasons, with features and capabilities not found in other models.
#2 Mofi Network MOFI4500 4G/LTE Router
The Mofi Network MOFI4500 device slots in at the #2 position on this list of best 4G/LTE SIM card routers for a good reason.
Most notably, this model allows you to connect to several LTE bands with a single SIM card. This type of connectivity results in faster speed and provides you with the best signal connection possible.
The MOFI4500 features LTE-advanced (also called LTE2) and carrier aggregation support, which allows it to work at a whopping 3x faster speeds than the previous generation of LTE.
According to the manufacturer, the router is fully certified and compatible with T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and AT&T in USA cellular mobile networks. However, it will actually work on all cellular mobile providers in North America and many other around the world.
It weighs just 12 ounces, and measures 4.3 x 3.4 x 1.2 inches, making it highly portable and easy to take with you in your laptop or travel bag.
Adding to this, it is tucked away neatly into a rugged enterprise-grade metal enclosure, which protects it from damage when out and about.
This router by Mofi is equipped with four LAN ports, which allows you to connect also Ethernet wired devices such as a Desktop PC, Laptop, a gaming console etc.
Furthermore, this model comes with four SMA-connectors to connect external antennas ((2 x WiFi; 2 x 4G LTE antennas), and a USB port, making it easy to connect devices such as a USB HDD drive or printer, and allow users to access these devices wirelessly.
The Mofi MOFI4500 LTE router features wireless repeater mode aka wireless range extender, which takes the existing signal from an existing router and rebroadcasts it to create a second network.
This LTE router by Mofi offers impressive max 300 Mbps download speeds, and up to 50 Mbps upload speeds, and comes with 2 x WiFi antennas and 2 x 4G/LTE antennas with enhanced cellular performance for better reception and range.
Keep in mind that the SIM card slot is for large SIMs (2FF) so you might need an adapter if you have micro or nano SIM size.
#3 NETGEAR 4G LTE Broadband Modem (LB1120)
This device has only a cellular radio interface (4G/LTE) with no WiFi interface. Therefore you will need to connect this modem to a regular WiFi router (using a wired connection) in order to access the cellular Internet connection from your WiFi home clients.
This is not a disadvantage in my opinion because a separate dedicate WiFi router can be more effective and powerful rather than having the wifi functionality on the same device as the LTE router.
The best use case of this device is for people living in a rural area or home that receives poor broadband connectivity. If this is the case, the NETGEAR 4G LTE Broadband Modem is perhaps a great option for you to be used as your primary Internet connection.
It is designed to be connected with your Wi-Fi router as we’ve mentioned above and share your connection with all your wireless and wired devices.
Once loaded with a SIM card, the NETGEAR 4G LTE Broadband Modem allows you to use LTE as your primary internet connection for super fast 4G/LTE download speeds of up to 150 Mbps.
Adding to this, this modem by NETGEAR is unlocked with regards to SIM card compatibility, thus it can accept all SIM cards (micro size) and works with AT&T, T-mobile and Verizon (limited bands).
It offers secure 4G LTE connectivity with 3G fallback and features a Gigabit Ethernet port for pass through connections and for connecting to an existing WiFi router.
It operates in either router mode or bridge mode. In bridge mode you must connect the modem to a WiFi router in order to share the LTE connection with your home wifi devices (via the WiFi router).
This model is easy to setup and manage right from a browser-based web UI plus it is much cheaper than the previous two devices in this article. If you already have a WiFi router, this LTE modem is a great choice.
#4 Huawei B310s-518 4G LTE Wi-Fi Router
The Huawei B310s-518 slots in at the #4 position on this list of best 4G routers but still it is a great option with unlocked GSM functionality.
For starters, it arrives in an unlocked state, meaning it can accept a SIM from any GSM carrier. Further, it is compatible with several American mobile network bands including 3G UMTS and 4G LTE and renders speeds of 150 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload.
When installed properly, this Huawei model supports up to 32 WiFi users simultaneously and provides very good Wi-Fi reception of up to 250 meters away.
Adding to this, it measures a compact 7 x 1.5 x 5 inches, weighs 1.3 lbs, and automatically connects to the best network available.
It offers complete control over software upgrades, wherein you can restore the software to its previous iteration by simply holding down the WPS and Power buttons located at the back of the device.
The B310s-518 4G LTE router accepts a standard SIM card and is equipped with one LAN port to connect a compatible wired device. When unboxed, you get the router, two antennas, 110-220v power adapter, plug adapter, and a detailed user guide.
Overall, this device works great with most USA cellular providers (except Verizon Sprint Net10 or Any CDMA Carrier).
#5 KuWFi 4G LTE CPE WiFi Internet Router
The KuWFi 4G LTE Wi-Fi router rings in with a rich set of features, some of which aren’t seen in higher priced models, starting with its ability to provide high-speed internet to up to 32 users.
This device is a combo LTE and WiFi device meaning that it offers Internet connectivity via the cellular mobile LTE network and then shares this connection via its WiFi interface with the local client devices.
Adding to this, it can work in 4G LTE cellular networks in several different countries including the USA, Canada, Mexico and many central America countries.
It is equipped with a 4 LAN interfaces, which allows you to connect other devices as well such as laptops, gaming consoles, NAS etc.
The KuWFi 4G LTE router is easy to install, where all you need to do is install a compatible SIM card, and enjoy uninterrupted Internet connectivity.
It features Wi-Fi repeater mode, making it easy to connect it with other networks, and is an ideal choice for surveillance cameras, office networks and areas with poor DSL connectivity.
This model can accommodate Micro SIM cards and offers blistering speeds of up to 300 Mbps over Wi-Fi, and 150 Mbps when connected with 4G LTE. This router by KuWFi measures 11.1 x 9.8 x 1.5 inches, and weighs 1.35 lbs, making it easy to carry and setup anywhere you see fit.
This is a budget option (much cheaper than the previous high-end models in this list) so it’s ideal for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money.
#6 Router Alcatel Link Hub 4G LTE Unlocked
At the #6 position on this list of best 4G LTE routers is none other than the Alcatel Link Hub – a budget device that supports a wide range of worldwide bands and networks (USA, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America etc). It does not work however on any CDMA carrier.
It offers superior LTE download speeds, and Wi-Fi coverage of up to an amazing max 250 meters away, making it a great choice for home and office.
Adding to this, the Alcatel Link Hub router allows you to connect up to 32 Wi-Fi client devices, and two LAN wired devices, so you experience unmatched connectivity for the whole family.
This 4G LTE model measures 5 x 5 x 1 inches, weighs 1.15 lbs, and can be installed easily by both novice and tech centric users. Keep in mind that the instructions are in Spanish but you can switch the User Management Interface to English for setting it up.
It works well with several US carriers including T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, and provides excellent reception, sometimes even without the two antennas.
The Alcatel Link Hub router accepts Micro SIM card and comes with everything you need to get started including a power adapter, USB cable, and two antennas.
Buying Guide for 4G/LTE Router Devices
Types of 4G/LTE Routers
As you might have noticed in this article, there are various types of mobile routers. The only thing they have in common is that all types include a SIM slot in order to insert a cellular network SIM card for connecting to the mobile provider for Internet access.
That is, all types of such devices provide Internet access via the cellular/mobile network.
Some types include also WiFi interface so that you can connect your wireless home devices to the router.
Let’s see the 3 major types of 4G routers:
- Combo devices with 4G/LTE and WiFi: These types include both a SIM slot for connecting to the mobile network and also a WiFi interface for allowing home clients (smartphones, laptops etc) to connect to the same router box for sharing the cellular interface.
- Only 4G/LTE : This type (like the NETGEAR 4G LTE Broadband Modem) include only a 4G interface without WiFi. They are cheaper than the combo types above but you will need to have a separate WiFi router device in the house in order to provide access to your home gadgets.
- USB Dongle: This is for individual use, for one computer. You just connect the device in your laptop’s USB port and you get data Internet access to the 4G network via the dongle (it has a SIM card inside).
Locked vs Unlocked Devices
A locked 4G device can work only on one specific cellular network (e.g only on AT&T or T-Mobile for example).
On the other hand, unlocked devices can accept SIM cards and work with any cellular network provider.
Although technically you can unlock a locked device, this requires some technical skills and we don’t recommend it. We suggest buying an unlocked router from the very beginning.
SIM Card Size
When buying a router, you need to know what size of SIM card slot is equipped. Is it a Micro-SIM, nano-SIM etc. Fortunately there are SIM card adapters in the market that you can buy and insert any size of card in the router.
How many devices you want to support
As you might have noticed, each model states how many devices (approximately) it can support. This number means how many home wireless devices (smartphones, laptops etc) will be using the router. This number can range between 10 to around 30 devices.
Please note that 4G routers are not like the other standard WiFi routers which can provide hundreds of Mbps of Internet bandwidth (via cable or fiber connections).
The cellular network is not capable (yet) to provide such high bandwidths (although this will change with the introduction of 5G).
So keep in mind that if you are planning to be streaming HD or 4K movies, playing demanding online games etc, the 4G/LTE router might not be able to provide such a high bandwidth. However, for regular Internet access and browsing it will be more than enough.
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