Is this Netgear 4G LTE broadband modem worth for RV traveling, vacation homes, or rental cabins? What exactly does it do? And how does it perform? Get up to 150 Mbps for uninterrupted HD streaming, gaming, video calls, and no more waiting for content on smartphones, computers and tablets. We went hands-on Netgear 4G LTE broadband modem review and setup process here.
Specifications – Netgear 4G LTE broadband modem
- Model Number: LB1120 (base model), LB1121(includes PoE), LB2120 (includes 2 ethernet ports)
- # of Connected Devices: 1x via Gigabit Ethernet (no WiFi)
- Supported Networks and Bands: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon (limited support)
4G/LTE: 2, 4, 5, 12/17
3G: HSPA+ 850/1900; UMTS 2, 5
- LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: No
- MIMO Support: 2×2 internal or external
- Control Panel and Default Password:
- Control Panel: http://192.168.5.1
- Default Password: On the product label
- Wi-Fi Technology / Frequencies: None
- Claimed Battery Life: No battery
- Can Be Powered Without a Battery: Yes
- Dimensions: 4.7” x 3.9” x 1.2”
- USB Tethering Support: None – lacks a USB port
- LTE Performance Category: Category 4
(Max Theoretical Speed: 150Mbps Down / 50Mbps Up)
- Cellular Antenna Ports: 2x MIMO / TS9 Connectors
- Other Ports: Gigabit Ethernet (2x for model LB2120)
- SIM Card Type: Micro
There are three versions of the Netgear LTE Modem, with only minor differences between them:
4G LTE Modem (Model LB1120) – The basic model. List price $119.99.
4G LTE Modem with Dual Ethernet Ports (Model LB2120) – This model lacks the ability to be powered over POE, but adds an ethernet WAN port. This second ethernet port is designed to let the LTE Modem sit inline between a traditional DSL or Cable Modem and a home or office router. If the wired internet goes down, the wireless modem can then take over. This is handy for providing backup service to a home or office, but not useful for most mobile installations. List price $159.99.
4G LTE Modem with POE (Model LB1121) – The only difference with this model is that it can be powered over POE (power over Ethernet) as well as via the power jack. If you have a device that has a spare POE port (like a WiFiRagner GoAC), this can let you avoid needing a power supply. List price $139.99.
What is good in Netgear 4G LTE broadband modem?
- Connects directly to a computer or wireless router to give you high-speed 4G LTE internet access
- Secure and high-fast 4G LTE connectivity with 3G/2G fallback
- Add to existing network infrastructure as a broadband failover solution
- Up to 150 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload speeds
- Two connectors available to connect optional 4G/3G antennas for enhanced signal reception
Netgear 4G LTE broadband modem review
This modem can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. Although it’s almost entirely black, there is a polished rim that rounds around the upper part of the housing. On the surface, the Netgear 4G LTE Modem (LB2120) looks pretty simple. It’s a big black box. This particular modem is fairly bare bones, providing a single gigabit Ethernet connection. In between that and the center cap, there is a deep grove that is inlayed. This makes the cover have the appearance of floating above the core, making it an attractive looking device.
On the back, you’ll find two gigabit Ethernet ports. One side, there is connection options for two antennas, which can be useful depending on how much signal strength you need. Rest of them is labelled WAN, and the other LAN. Finally, a power port and switch finish off the rear.
There are large LED indicators on the front. The far-left side shows you that there is power, and the far-right side indicates that there is a network connection. In the center, five bars increase in size, and operate just like the signal bar on your cellphone.
There is a built in antenna, and it’s quite good. If your cellphone works, then the built in antenna will certainly work. This modem supports external antennas. There are two ports on the back. One is designed for 4G, and the other for 3G. They do this because there are small differences between the external antennas, so you can pick the one that works in your area.
Wither you’re using AT&T, T-Mobile, or any other carrier, you can be confident that this modem will work. But if you’re using it internationally, you’ll want to make sure that the frequencies are compatible. As long as you’ve got at least 2 matching frequencies, you should be fine.
How to setup frequencies?
When you tune your FM radio to a different station, you’ll see numbers like 89.9 and 94.4 scroll by. With LTE, frequencies are measured in Mhz. This modem can connect on the 1900, 1700, 850, and 700 Mhz frequencies. For compatibility with some carriers, it can also be tuned to the entire range of frequencies between 1930 and 1990 Mhz. This last one is called the B2 frequencies.
Netgear 4G LTE Modem setup
Step 1 : Install the micro SIM card
To obtain an activated micro SIM (3FF format) card, contact your mobile broadband service provider. If you use a nano SIM (4FF format) card, you must use an adapter. Ensure that power to the modem is off. Remove the SIM card cover on the bottom of the modem. Unlock the SIM card door. Carefully slide the micro SIM card into the slot. Lock the SIM card door, and close the SIM card cover.
Step 2 : Power up the modem.
To provide power to the modem through the power adapter, which is required for the LTE Modem 1120 but an option for the LTE Modem 1121, do the following:
a. Connect the power adapter to the modem and plug it into an electrical outlet.
b. Press the power On/Off button on the modem.
c. Wait for the Power LED to light green, which might take several minutes.
Step 3: Establish connection between modem and router
To connect the modem to a router or other device that provides Power over Ethernet (PoE), which is an option for the LTE Modem 1121 only, connect one end of an Ethernet cable to the Gigabit Ethernet port on the modem. Connect the other end of the Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on the PoE power source equipment (PSE). Press the power On/Off button on the modem. Wait for the Power LED to light green, which might take several minutes.
Step 4 : Configure APN
- Launch a web browser from a device that is connected to the modem. The device can be a computer that is directly connected to the modem or a client from a router that is connected to the modem.
- In the address field of your web browser, enter http://192.168.5.1.
- In the Sign In field, enter the modem password and click the Sign In button. The default password is password (case-sensitive).
- Select Settings > Mobile > APN.
- To add a custom APN profile, click the Add button.
- Enter the settings for the new APN profile and click the Save button.
You have successfully configured an APN for your 4G LTE Modem.
Netgear 4G LTE Modem setup Verizon
I decided to try the modem myself, and I can assure you it most definitely can work on the Verizon network. Here are the steps I took…
1) First, I wanted to confirm what 4G LTE band on the Verizon network I connect to in my area. I recommend this step, since I assume different areas connect on different Verizon bands. On an iPhone you can check which band you’re connected to by doing the following:
Dial the following to enter Field Test Mode: *3001#12345#*
Select Serving Cell Info
Where it says “Freq_Band_Ind” will be the band you’re connected to.
I confirmed that I connect to Verizon 4G LTE on band #4. This device supports the following bands: Bands 2, 4, 5, and 12. Verizon is on 2, 4, 13. So I suppose if you connect to Verizon on band 13, this device is not for you. If you connect on 2 or 4, you should be fine.
Netgear 4G LTE broadband modem Performance review
LTE devices can vary in speed. 3G has it’s specific speeds, and 4G has it’s specifics. But hardware developers knew that if we kept counting up Gs, it would become too confusing for consumers. This modem is a category 4 LTE device, which is technically the 4th generation of LTE. Had we kept counting upwards, we’d now be on 8G.
This technology allows for a maximum download speed of 150 Mbps, and a maximum upload speed of 50 Mbps. Most modern carriers are using Category 4 LTE, but the bandwidth is usually capped below this limit. On T-Mobile, we’re seeing 34Mbps down and about 17 Mbps up. This is actual transfer speed, not theoretical. If you live in a dense urban environment, you’ll probably see higher speeds. But if you live in the sticks, it could be lower.
Netgear 4G LTE broadband modem customer review
Great concept, but limited support on Verizon
I purchased the Netgear LB-1120 to replace a Verizon MiFi “Home and Phone” LTE router that had died. Verizon has discontinued that device and I needed a 4G LTE modem for internet service at a site where there are no other alternatives. (No cable, no DSL service available) This device supports LTE bands 2.4.5. and 12. Verizon uses 2,4,5, and 13. Luckily, the towers in my area do not use band 13 – so this was not an issue. Another caveat is that Verizon does not recognize the manufacturer code in the IMEI, so you cannot activate new service on this device. You must install a SIM that has been pre-activated on Verizon’s network. This was not a problem as I took apart the old MiFi unit and swapped the SIM card and it worked perfectly.
For a new activation, I simply activated the SIM on a spare iPhone and then inserted it into the LB1120. (you’ll need a SIM adapter to go from the nano SIM to a micro SIM) The text notifications for data caps does not work on Verizon either, but works on AT&T networks. Would have been nice, but not a deal breaker. If you plan on putting a SIM with an unlimited plan in this unit, think again – as the data you use will show up as “tethered data”, which on my plan, has a 15GB cap before they throttle it to 600Kbps. There are workarounds to this, but I won’t get into them for obvious reasons. Just search “Set windows TTL 65 netsh” and read. 😉 To determine if your cell tower is on a supported band, just Dial *3001#12345#* and press the Call button. This will launch the Field Test Mode app on an iPhone. You can then see what band your cell tower is using, along with a lot of other technical information.
This modem does not have WiFi built in, so if you need WiFi capability, you’ll need to purchase, configure and hook up a wireless router. In my cases, we did not need WiFi, so this was not an issue. If Netgear would install a radio capable of utilizing all the 4G LTE bands in the US, and make it so that it can send SMS texts through Verizon, they would have a 5 star winner. Other alternatives to the LB1120 are available from Cradlepoint and Peplink, but cost hundreds more. So for the price point, this one is it.By ITGuy, Reviewer at Best Buy
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