CradlePoint router may be first step towards freeing yourself from your cable company

Every summer I make 3 or 4 visits to my parents’ cottage in Wisconsin. It’s not quite roughing it but it’s close. For starters, there is no air conditioning, no telephone line, no good television reception and no Internet access. I know, some of you are laughing right now at my mention of how “rough” life is because of no telephone, television or Internet but hey, there are certain things a techie gets accustomed to over time!

A year ago, we solved the television problem by getting DIRECTV installed. There was no need to install a phone line because the telephone problem was solved by everyone having their own cell phone. That leaves just air conditioning and Internet.

Which one do you think I decided to take on next?

If you guessed air conditioning, you can stop reading now. On the other hand, if you guessed Internet then you know me pretty well. Keep reading.

Thanks to modern technology, there are actually several solutions to the Internet problem:

  • Call the cable or phone company and have them run a dedicated line to the cottage.
  • Use a MiFi device to broadcast a Wi-Fi connection.
  • Use the mobile hotspot feature on my smartphone.

My preference would be the first option on the list above mainly because it’s the most reliable. But it also involves the most work to get installed so we haven’t done it yet.

That leaves some version of Wi-Fi generated by a MiFi device or smartphone. These work pretty good and I would recommend them in most cases. I say most because recently I was given a CradlePoint Mobile Broadband Router to try out and it has a few advantages over MiFi and mobile hotspots.


CradlePoint Mobile Broadband Route

Before I get to the advantages though, let me give you a quick overview on what the CradlePoint router is. Basically, it’s the same wireless router you have in your house (think of that box with the little antennae on it and the blinking lights). But instead of connecting to a hard-wired Internet connection, it connects to a USB mobile broadband device from your cellular company (ex: Verizon Wireless).

CradlePoint advantages

Ok, now on to the advantages. For starters, it’s a full-fledged router. I don’t want to get too technical but just know there’s a lot more configuration you can do with a router than you can with a MiFi or mobile hotspot device.

It can also handle a boatload more connections. Most MiFi and mobile hotspots are limited to 5-10 connections. The Cradlepoint theoretically should be able to handle a couple hundred connections although you better have a pretty darn good data plan to support that many connections.

The Cradlepoint also has wired ports so your device (think desktop computer) doesn’t have to be Wi-Fi enabled to connect to the router. Just connect an Ethernet patch cable from your computer to the device and you’re in business.

And finally, because the Cradlepoint router and mobile device are independent, you technically can use the router with any mobile carrier that supports a USB mobile connection.

Business applications

Admittedly, the CradlePoint router wasn’t designed with the consumer in mind. It’s designed for small businesses, both as their primary Internet connection and as a failover when a business’s primary Internet connection fails. Heck, it can even load balance between the two if you want.

It’s also priced for businesses. If I had to pay for everything I tested, I probably wouldn’t. But I didn’t think too many of you reading this cared about all of that stuff so I decided to show you how it can be used in a residential setting. For me, the CradlePoint might be the first step towards freeing yourself from the cable or phone company for Internet service.

If you have any questions about the CradlePoint Mobile Broadband Router, leave a comment and ask away. I’m sure others have the same questions and will benefit from my answer.

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7 Comments

  1. Donna Winsted

    AT&T;U-Verse is ripping me off and it has the exclusive rights to TV & internet here in my apartment complex! Do you think the CradlePoint would make up for the AT&T;costs in the long run (how much is it?). Do I have to have a smart phone to use one?
    Thanks!
    :D

    • Patric Welch

      Donna, in your situation you would probably be better off just getting a MiFi device or using the mobile hotspot feature of your phone if you have it. Make sure to compare costs first though. I think the CradlePoint would be too expensive and is better suited for multiple connections.

      • Donna Winsted

        Thanks, Patric – I’ll definitely look into the MiFi. I don’t have a smart phone.

  2. Mike Kleibrink

    We live out in the country and can’t get cable or high speed Internet. Initially, we used a Verizon hot spot, but the link to my desktop was too week to use it with VPN for my work. We installed Satellite Internet service, but the speed is less than desirable, especially for remote connection to my work computers, so I use my Thunderbolt hot spot. It works great. also, it is with me when I go on the road and need to use my laptop. Never have to worry about getting a hotel that has reliable wifi.

    Fortunately, I am grandfathered into an unlimited data plan with Verizon. I average 12MB a month since I work from home. The only downside is that it kills batteries on my Thunderbolt. I’ve had it 6 months and already need to replace the battery, but that is a small price to pay for efficient service.

  3. millie davis

    we have some land out in he country – but can’t reception to use my laptop – what do you recommend that i buy so that i can use my laptop (all i use my laptop to to goggle and to see my e-mail. CAN YOU REOMMEND A GOOD ROUTER

    • Patric Welch

      Millie, sorry for the late response, I didn’t catch your comment until now. If you live out in the country your only option is probably going to be getting a USB cellular device for your laptop or a Mi-Fi device. Either way you will have to pay a cellular company for your connection. If you can’t get cellular service, you might be out of luck.

  4. Tony Burton

    Recenty, we decided to give iWispr a try. iWispr is a wide-area wireless Internet service that has a range of speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 10 Mbps. I have to admit, I was skeptical, so I was glad to see that they only have a three-month contract. We opted for the 6 Mbps service, and wow! I have been SO impressed. I’m getting between 5.9 and 6.4 Mbps every time I test it, and my upload speed is consistently over 900 Kbps.

    I don’t know if iWispr is available where you are, but there may be a similar service. The pricing is competitive, and installation is quick (although it has to be installed by a tech.) AND there is NO cap on the amount of data you use… they don’t even throttle. We have been VERY pleased.