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A family member is moving into a new home soon, and for various reasons I've recommended that they purchase a 4G router instead of continuing to use landline broadband:

  • Mobile data is insanely cheap- the provider that I've suggested they use have an offer on PAYG (Pay As You Go [prepay]) that gives completely unlimited data as long as the SIM card is topped up £10 every 14 days;
  • Using 4G is cheaper than landline broadband- £20/month for 4G or £24/month for landline broadband;
  • I've measured the 4G speed from within a house visit, and the speed I got was 90 Megabits/s. The maximum speed on the £24/month landline broadband is ~16 Megabits/s. I've already confirmed with the mobile provider that purchasing a SIM card on a PAYG package and using it exclusively for 4G Internet does not violate any of their terms.;
  • The cost of the 4G router would be earned back in two-three years

I've been searching for a 4G router for them to use, but however most seem to be portable routers.

There are a couple of home 4G routers that I've found:

The idea of replacing home broadband with 4G hasn't caught on yet, possibly because in many countries landline broadband is faster than 4G.

I'm currently leaning towards the Huawei router, but are there any others which are better? I use a Huawei smartphone so I know they are a reliable brand.

Some requirements:

  • Should be readily available- no 'oh look, someone wants to browse a website, let's connect to 4G';
  • Should have the ability to wall-mount, or alternatively attach a 4G signal booster aerial;
  • Should be suited to home networking (don't want a portable router);
  • Be at least Wireless N, if not Wireless AC
  • Not portable- Portable 'MiFi' routers often have a very low WiFi signal range. This device will be used in a home, in place of a standard WiFi broadband router.
  • Should have at least two LAN ports, preferably the standard four.
  • This question is being discussed on Meta. – AStopher Nov 7 '15 at 12:22
  • There is actually a docking station available for the portable MiFi router that was initially recommended. It is wall-mountable, includes a five port gigabit switch, and has 2 built in external antennae to extend the Wi-Fi range. There may be others like this, though they may not have the same processing power as something designed only for home use, and they may ultimately cost more once you buy the dock. – JTL Nov 10 '15 at 18:38
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    You should make sure that your £20 / month plan is actually really unlimited, as some providers (at least where I live) often have a "fair usage policy" or similar which means that they can cut you off or slow it down if you go over a certain amount of usage, despite being advertised as unlimited. – JonasCz - Reinstate Monica Dec 25 '15 at 17:56
  • @JonasCz Yes, it really is unlimited. – AStopher Dec 25 '15 at 18:01
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I'd go with a standard home router with the following constraints:

  • supported by OpenWRT.
  • comes with at least one USB port.

then plug a USB-4G dongle into it. See http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/recipes/3gdongle for some info about how to configure OpenWRT for that kind of use.

Which specific router to use will depend on what other features you want it to provide, but if you want a particular recommendation, you could start with the TL-WDR4300, which is reasonably powerful, not too expensive, and fully supported.

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    Do you have any specific model to recommend? – AStopher Nov 18 '15 at 16:04
  • I've used Huwaei hg556 routers for a long time, and they have worked great for me (both with OpenWrt and Stock FW) and can be picked up dirt cheap on ebay. Quite old though, does support WiFi n, but otherwise not the fastest. Not sure about 4g usb dongle support. (@cybermonkey) – JonasCz - Reinstate Monica Dec 25 '15 at 18:00
  • According to wiki.openwrt.org/toh/huawei/hg556a, the ADSL and VoIP part aren't supported under OpenWRT, but the rest (including USB) is, so that should work as well (as long as you don't need the ADSL part). – Stefan Dec 28 '15 at 16:21
  • I have used WD my net n600 and TP Link WDR4300, paired with Huawei E398 or even better Huawei E3372. As long as there is powered hub between them and Openwrt on the router - no probs at all. Plus, you can always yank out the modem and take it on the go when you need to. – Agent_L Feb 19 '16 at 11:35

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