Last updated: August 10, 2021
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You want a reliable and fast high-speed internet connection for all your devices? Regardless of whether you are at home, on holiday in your holiday home or driving around in your caravan? Then an LTE router is just the thing for you. But what is an LTE router and what does LTE actually stand for? What do I need to consider before buying an LTE router and what buying criteria help me here?

In our big LTE router test 2022 we answer these and other questions. You will also receive detailed background information on the topic of LTE routers. All this will help you find the right LTE router for you.




Summary

  • LTE routers are part of the fourth generation (4G) mobile phone standard and can provide access to high-speed internet from anywhere. They provide you with a data speed of 150 Mbps, but there are also models that provide you with a speed of 500 Mbps to 600 Mbps.
  • Basically, you have the choice between stationary LTE routers for at home and mobile LTE routers for on the road. The mobile LTE routers have an integrated battery that enables mobile use.
  • Unlike conventional routers, you don't need a landline or cable connection to use the LTE router. You only need a SIM card from an LTE mobile phone provider, which you then insert into your LTE router.

The Best LTE Router: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an LTS router

What is an LTE router?

The LTE router is a WLAN router that allows you to set up a high-speed internet connection. Compared to conventional DSL routers, however, neither a telephone line nor a cable connection is required for this. The Internet connection is established via the LTE mobile network, for which a SIM card is used. This makes it possible to set up the LTE router anywhere in the house.

With an LTE router, it is possible to set up a 4G LTE mobile radio connection via a SIM card. The bandwidth of the data transmission starts at 150 MBit per second.

Some LTE routers have an integrated battery that enables mobile use from anywhere. With an LTE router, it is possible to set up a 4G internet connection from anywhere -where the mobile network is accessible.

How much does an LTE router cost?

There is a wide range of different LTE routers on the market. Most LTE mobile operators sell their own LTE routers and offer them for sale or rent. So you have the option of buying an LTE router directly or renting one directly from a mobile phone provider.

Depending on which you choose, prices for the purchase of the LTE router will be incurred. Another criterion that influences the price of an LTE router is the number of functions it contains. As a rule, the more functions the LTE router offers, the more expensive the price.

Depending on the model, the cost of buying an LTE router ranges from 15 euros to 400 euros. For particularly fancy models, the purchase costs even rise into the four-digit range.

Most mobile phone providers offer their LTE routers in a package with a mobile phone tariff. Depending on the tariff, there may be a one-time fee of 1 euro or a monthly basic fee for renting the LTE router. As a rule, however, the router must be returned to the contract partner at the end of the contract period.

LTE Router-1

Stationary LTE routers can be set up anywhere. To transmit and receive the LTE mobile signal better, many LTE routers have antennas.
(Source: unsplash.com / Misha Feshchak)

What should I look for when buying an LTE router?

The market offers a variety of different LTE routers that differ not only in type, manufacturer and features. Before you decide on an LTE router, there are the following aspects that you should definitely look at before buying:

Aspect Explanation
Mobile plan compatibility Make sure the LTE router is enabled and not blocked for your desired LTE mobile provider. You should also make sure that the LTE router and your LTE mobile tariff offer the same transmission speed.
Speed As a rule, the LTE router offers a transmission speed of 150 MBit/s up to 300 MBit/s.
Network coverage LTE coverage within Germany is not available everywhere, so before buying an LTE router you should check which LTE mobile network providers are suitable for your area of use and which router is compatible with this provider.
Encryption To prevent unauthorised access to your LTE router or network, you should make sure which encryption protocol is supported by the LTE router. As a rule, WEP, WPA and WPA2 are available, whereby WEP is no longer considered secure and WPA2 is the most secure standard.

Where can I buy an LTE router?

You can buy LTE routers at various places. Depending on the model you choose, the LTE router is available in electronics stores, in the branch of the mobile phone provider or online.

Below we give you a brief overview of the shopping channels for LTE routers:

Shopping channel Description
Electronics retailer Here you can compare LTE routers from different providers directly with each other and take advantage of expert advice. Usually, the selection of different LTE routers is limited and you will only find the latest models here. Saturn and Media Markt are among the larger consumer electronics stores.
Branch of the mobile phone provider Here you will find the range of LTE routers of the respective mobile phone provider and receive direct advice on the LTE router and corresponding LTE mobile phone tariffs. However, a direct comparison with other LTE routers is not possible. The largest LTE mobile providers with LTE routers are Telekom, Vodafone and O2.
Online purchase The use of the internet offers you almost unlimited possibilities to compare different LTE routers with each other. However, there is no possibility of personal expert advice. Amazon is at the top of the list of online purchase options.

Which LTE router providers are there?

The selection of LTE routers is large, as is the number of providers. To give you a rough overview, here is a list of the providers that have established themselves on the market for LTE routers with various models:

  • AVM (Fritzbox)
  • Huawei
  • Netgear
  • O2 (Telefonica)
  • P-Link
  • Telecom
  • Vodafone

Telekom, Vodafone and O2 are the three major LTE mobile providers in Germany. Telekom offers a network coverage of over 90%, Vodafone can serve with a network coverage of 84% and O2 follows with 80% network coverage.

Decision: What types of LTE routers are there and which is the right one for you?

The range of different LTE routers is large. You will find many different models with different functions on the market. However, the following two types can be distinguished:

  • Stationary LTE Router
  • Mobile LTE Router

What distinguishes a stationary LTE router and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A stationary LTE router is intended for use in a fixed location, usually your own home. It is not tied to a fixed place within this location and can be placed as desired. For its power supply, it only needs a socket in its vicinity. The stationary LTE router is primarily used to replace a weak or missing DSL network in order to be able to use high-speed internet from home.

Advantages
  • Can be set up anywhere in the house
  • Large selection of models
  • Not tied to a battery life
  • Usually with telephone system connection
Disadvantages
  • Can only be used at home
  • Often monthly internet package

What distinguishes a mobile LTE router and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The mobile LTE router is usually smaller and handier than the stationary LTE router and has a built-in battery that is charged via an external power cable. The integrated battery makes mobile use of the LTE router possible and you can access the LTE mobile network from anywhere.

Advantages
  • Enables use from anywhere
  • Compact
  • Can be used as a power bank depending on the equipment
Disadvantages
  • Limited battery life
  • Manageable range of functions
  • Usually without LAN ports

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate LTE routers

In this section we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate LTE routers. This will help you decide on the right LTE router.

In the following, we will discuss these factors:

Compatibility with your mobile operator

Consider the compatibility with your mobile operator in terms of the same maximum possible data transfer rate and SIM card usage.

Before choosing an LTE router, check the compatibility with your chosen mobile operator. Does the LTE router allow you to use the SIM card of your mobile phone provider or does it contain a corresponding SIM block? If you do not want to commit to a mobile phone provider, it is recommended that you buy an LTE router without a SIM block. This is then compatible with every mobile phone provider.

You should also make sure that the transmission speeds offered by both devices match. If your LTE mobile phone tariff offers the use of an LTE Cat.6 speed, it is no use if your LTE router is only compatible with LTE Cat.4.

Speed

There is a different bandwidth of data transmission in the mobile network. The generation of the LTE mobile network manages a data transmission of 150 MBit/s. This category is also called LTE Cat.4. This category is also called LTE Cat.4. LTE Advance is used for a bandwidth of up to 300 MBit/s. The fastest devices achieve a speed of up to 300 MBit/s. The fastest devices achieve a speed of up to 600 MBit/s. The following table shows the different LTE Cat types and their bandwidth:

LTE Cat type bandwidth
LTE Cat. 3 up to 100 MBit/s
LTE Cat.4 up to 150 MBit/s
LTE Cat.6 up to 300 MBit/s
LTE Cat.11 up to 600 MBit/s
LTE Cat.16 up to 1,000 MBit/s

Encryption

As already mentioned, LTE routers support different encryption protocols depending on the model. These help you to protect your private data by blocking unwanted access to your router and your network.

When setting up the LTE router, you must set a password for WLAN use and the encryption protocol to be used. As a rule, you can choose between the WEP, WPA and WPA2 standards for your encryption protocol, which we explain in more detail below:

  • WEP: The WEP standard is the oldest encryption protocol and stands for "Wired Equivalent Privacy". WEP is no longer considered a secure encryption for a WLAN network because it has already been hacked by hackers.
  • WAP: The abbreviation of WAP stands for "Wi-Fi Protected Access" and is considered secure. You can therefore use the standard WPA without hesitation.
  • WAP2: WPA2 is a new and improved version of the WPA standard and uses the AES ("Advanced Encryption Standards") standard, which is considered very secure. WAP2 is therefore the most secure encryption option. If your LTE router has WPA2, you should select this standard for your encryption protocol.

Currently, there are also LTE routers that combine the WPA and WPA2 standards, as there are many older devices that are only compatible with the WEP and WPA standards.

LTE Router-2

With an LTE router, you can provide various devices with an LTE high-speed internet connection. To protect yourself from unwanted access, you should make sure that your LTE router supports the encryption protocols WEP, WPA and WPA2.
. (Source: unsplash.com / Marvin Meyer)

Number of ports

If you want to connect several devices at the same time to your LTE router directly via LAN, you should look at how many LAN ports the LTE router has. As a rule, most stationary LTE routers have at least one or more LAN ports. By using LAN ports, you can achieve a faster and interference-free transmission rate.

Depending on your needs, you should also check whether the LTE router has a UBS port. This gives you the option of connecting a printer or scanner directly.

LTE Router-3

Most LTE routers have one or more LAN ports. This allows you to connect devices directly via LAN cable and ensures fast and interference-free transmission
(Source: 123rf.com / Adamowicz)

Facts worth knowing about LTE routers

What does LTE actually stand for?

The abbreviation LTE stands for "Long Term Evolution" and describes a mobile phone standard of the fourth generation (4G). LTE starts with a bandwidth of up to 150 MBit/s (LTE Cat.4). From a speed of 300 MBit/s, one speaks of LTE Advance.

How does an LTE router actually work?

An LTE router is active within the LTE mobile network and serves as a transmitting and receiving station. Using a WLAN or Bluetooth connection, several devices can be connected to the LTE router and use a high-speed internet connection.

An LTE mobile phone tariff is required to use the LTE router. The SIM card of the mobile phone provider is then inserted into the LTE router. The LTE router is then connected to a computer and the Internet access data is set up.

What accessories are recommended for LTE routers?

Currently, there is not yet 100% LTE network coverage in Germany, which means that there are regions with poor LTE reception. If your LTE router does not have its own antenna and you do not have good LTE reception, it is recommended that you connect an external LTE external antenna to your LTE router.

If you still want to use a landline, a DECT telephone system can be an advantage. A USB port is also recommended if you want to connect a printer, for example.

Photo source: Adamowicz/ 123rf.com

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