3.5 star rating

Netgear MBR624GU 3G Mobile Broadband Wireless Router Review

$129.99
Pros: Compact and light design; Compatible with a wide range of USB modems; Convenient onoff switch; ;
Cons: 802.11g only; Mediocre range;
The Verdict: This light and affordable router is a good choice for business users in the field.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Share that mobile broadband connection on the go—and the pricey monthly subscription—without breaking a sweat. That’s the main selling point of the Netgear MBR624GU 3G Mobile Broadband Wireless Router, a compact and highly portable single-antenna router. Designed for workers in the field, the $129 Netgear MBR624GU lets you share a 3G connection at a construction site, satellite office, special events, in a hotel room, or even in the car (if you spring for the $24.99 universal car power adapter). It uses outdated 802.11g wireless and has limited range, but for its price, this router gets the job done.

Article Continued Below

Setup and Design

At 6.9 x 4.7 x 1.1 inches, the MBR624GU is roughly the size of your hand. Its compact size and metallic silver design are business-friendly but not exactly trendy or attention-grabbing.

To start using the device, you just plug in a 3G USB card either directly into the MBR624GU or by using an included USB docking station. Netgear said the router will support up to 64 users simultaneously, but it recommends 20 to 25 users or less for optimum results.

Compared with the D-Link DIR-450 3G Mobile Router, which requires configuring your EV-DO card with the device, the MBR624GU took just a few seconds to set up and start using. It supports most USB devices made by Novatel and Sierra Wireless, such as the Sprint U720 we tested, and models from AT&T and Verizon Wireless, such as the Compass 855. You can’t use a PC Card or ExpressCard for 3G access, but that’s not as big an issue, since USB modems are the hottest sellers.

The MBR624GU is also designed to be eco-friendly: a convenient on/off switch lets you power down the device when it’s not in use. Like most routers, this one includes four Ethernet ports.

Test Results

The speed of Internet access depends greatly on where you use the device (indoors or close to a window), and in which city—it will work better in a large metropolis like New York City. On our tests in a more remote area of Minneapolis, EV-DO access ran about 400 to 600 Kbps. The main point, though, is not exceptional speed, but the ability for a group of laptop users to connect to the Internet using just one mobile broadband adapter. However, the Netgear MBR624GU also lets you share files between laptops or stream media files to a set-top box such as the Logitech Squeezebox Boom.

Because the Netgear MBR624GU uses 802.11b/g and has only one small antenna, access speed over Wi-Fi is extremely slow compared to newer 802.11n models. From 5 feet, the MBR624GU managed only about 16 Mbps and wouldn’t connect beyond about 100 feet.

Because the MBR624GU runs slowly, it won’t work for video streaming in a conference room. In a test with the Logitech Squeezebox Boom connected over 802.11g, an uncompressed MP3 from Bruce Springsteen’s latest album would sometimes stutter and pause. That said, the MBR624GU does include some nifty Quality of Service features. For example, you can rank services such as Skype and World of Warcraft so that they are given priority. In a World of Warcraft test over 3G, we noticed very little latency during a chaotic battle using a Gateway MD7826U notebook.

Netgear also included plenty of security options with the MBR624GU, designed to ensure that business users are protected while using the device in public places. The MBR624GU supports WPA2-PSK, for example—which provides hackerproof encryption.

Verdict

For $129, the Netgear MBR624GU 3G Mobile Broadband Wireless Router is a good buy. For groups of business workers, the router pays for itself many times over if only one employee has a 3G card but several need to connect to the Internet at once. The Wi-Fi connection speed and coverage area weren’t as good as the Kyocera KR2 Mobile Router ($249), but that router is twice as expensive. With its easy setup, and quality of service and security features, we recommend the Netgear MBR624GU for highly mobile teams of workers.

Tags: Netgear MBR624GU 3G Mobile Broadband Wireless Router, Netgear, Placeshifting, TiVo, Wi-Fi, business, reviews

Technical Specifications
Netgear MBR624GU 3G Mobile Broadband Wireless Router
http://www.netgear.com


VPN SupportVPN Pass-through/Multi-sessions
PortsUSB; ethernet
Supported Protocols802.11b/g
Security FeaturesWPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WEP, WPA-802.1x, WPA2-802.1x Setup (WPS) - PIN & PBC, Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) VPN Pass-through/Multi-sessions PPTP/L2TP/IPSec
Warranty/SupportOne-year limited
Size6.9 x 4.7 x 1.1 inches
Weight11.2 ounces
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE