Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) review – how to set external antenna?

Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) review
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Simply insert a Nano SIM card from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or others to get Internet speeds up to 1.2Gbps. Excludes Sprint legacy network.. Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) covers up to 2,000 sq. ft. and 20 devices with up to 2.2Gbps WiFi speed. Expand coverage up to 2,000 sq. ft. with additional satellites (sold separately). It provides high-speed Internet for rural homes where Internet service is weak or unavailable. Can also be used as a backup if your existing Internet service fails. Reveal more in Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) review.

Pros & Cons – Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20)

Pros

  • 4G and regular internet
  • Simple to set up
  • Reliable Wi-Fi
  • Works with existing Orbi Wi-Fi satellites

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • No Wi-Fi 6 version

Specifications – Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20)

  • Model: LBR20
  • Cellular Modem Specs:
    • LTE Performance Category: Category 18
  • (Max Theoretical Speed: 1.2 Gbps Down / 150 Mbps Up)
  • MIMO Support: Yes – 4×4 Internal
  • Cellular Antenna Ports: 2xSMA
  • SIM Slots: 1 – Nano
  • Carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint
    • LTE Bands: 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 25, 26, 29, 30, 41, 66, 71
    • 3G Bands: 1, 4, 5
    • LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: Yes
  • Wi-Fi Router:
    • Wi-Fi Support: AC2200 Simultaneous Tri-band WiFiRadio 1: 400Mbps @ 2.4GHz: Supports 256-QAM
  • Radio 2: 866Mbps @ 5GHz: Supports 256-QAM
  • Radio 3: 866Mbps @ 5GHz: Supports 256-QAM
  • Wi-Fi Antennas: Internal only
  • # of Connected Devices: 25
    • Control Panel and Default Password:
      Control Panel: 192.168.1.1 or orbilogin.com or routerlogin.net
      Default Password: “password”
    • Wi-Fi as WAN: No
  • Cellular Tethering via USB: No USB port
  • Ethernet Ports:
    • Two (2) 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports -One (1) WAN/LAN & one (1) LAN
  • Other Ports: None
  • Special Features: App control, voice control, Failover, Mesh compatible, Circle Parental Control
  • Power Source: 12V/2.5A (includes AC power adapter)
  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 3.1 x 8.9in / 1.75lbs
  • Outdoor Rated: No
  • Retail Price: $399.99

Compare Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) vs LBR20

LBR20LBR20 + RBS20
Configuration1 Router with 4G LTE Modem Built-In1 Router with 4G LTE Modem Built-In + 1 Whole Home, Tri-Band WiFi Satellite Extender
Ideal UsePrimary or backup Internet connection, ideal for rural areas with no/weak Internet service or for vacation homesPrimary or backup Internet connection, ideal for rural areas with no/weak Internet service or for vacation homes. Orbi Satellite extends WiFi coverage corner-to-corner in medium and large size homes
Modem Built-In4G LTE, 1.2 Gbps4G LTE, 1.2 Gbps
Cellular Service CompatibilityAT&T, T-Mobile, VerizonAT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon
# of Ethernet Ports1 WAN/LAN + 1 LAN (Gigabit)1 WAN/LAN + 3 LAN (Gigabit)
WiFi Speed2.2 Gbps, AC22002.2 Gbps, AC2200
Coverage2,000 sq. ft.4,000 sq. ft.
# of Devicesup to 25up to 50
Tri-Band Dedicated BackhaulYesYes
Orbi Mesh Satellite CompatibilityRBS50, RBS50Y, RBS40, RBS40V, RBS20, and RBW30RBS50, RBS50Y, RBS40, RBS40V, RBS20, and RBW30

Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) review

Design

Externally, the LBR20 looks much like other products in the range: a curved white box that is taller than it is wide. It’s fairly unobtrusive as far as mesh systems go, and you won’t find it too hard to place it somewhere.

Ports

Around the back, the setup is different to most Orbi routers. Here, you get just two Gigabit Ethernet ports. If you use traditional broadband, then only one is available for external devices, so you’ll definitely want to invest in an external switch. If you use 4G only, then you can use both Ethernet ports for connecting to the internet. An LTE antenna is built in, although you can connect up to two external antennas if you’re struggling to get a good connection.

Compatible

What makes the LBR20 different from the rest of other ORbi routers is the fact it has a built-in CAT18 cellular modem that has the Internet speeds up to 1.2Gbps. On the back of the router, you’ll find a NanoSIM slot that works with major mobile carriers. In other words, the LBR20 is an unlocked device — it’s not tied to a specific provider.

Bandwidth

As the LBR20 product name hints, the Orbi 4G LTE is based on the RBK20 system – the more entry-level Orbi – rather than the higher-end RBK50. Although you get the same front-facing 400Mbps 2.4GHz and 866Mbps 5GHz networks for clients, the dedicated backhaul Wi-Fi runs at 866Mbps, rather than the faster 1733Mbps connection of the higher-end system.

Speed

Testing in my home using RBK20 satellites, I saw speeds of 286Mbps at close range, 208Mbps on the first floor and 149.67Mbps on the second floor. These are fast and reliable speeds; but the larger RBK50 did better. You can mix and match satellites and, as already mentioned, use Ethernet to improve connection speeds.

Coverage

According to Netgear, the 4G LTE option provides mobile broadband speeds of up to 1.2Gbps, with the Orbi router providing Wi-Fi coverage for areas up to 1,500 square feet (139 square metres), so its mobile connectivity can also be used to set up an extensive Wi-Fi network in a location that doesn’t have access to a conventional wired network. However, the Orbi 4G LTE isn’t designed as a portable hotspot as it requires mains power.  

App

From the app, you can view who’s connected to your router, turn on the guest network, and change Wi-Fi details. There are even Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa skills to let you control your guest network with your voice or be sent the current Wi-Fi details.

Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) review app
Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) review

Also included is Circle parental control, which lets you create profiles for members of your home, grouping together each person’s devices. You can then apply web-filtering rules to those devices, defining the types of websites and content that each person can view. With Circle, you can block internet access for each person individually. Basic control is available for free, but if you want to set bedtimes, time limits and more, you’ll need to fork out a monthly fee of £4.49.

Netgear Armor is baked in, which provides security on and off the network via client software. It will scan and find problems with outdated equipment, too, suggesting firmware updates for old hardware. Armor is powered by Bitdefender and costs £59.99 a year once the free 30-day trial has expired.

More advance features are found in the Netgear web portal, which you can access from any computer’s web browser. From there you can access port forwarding, change wireless channels and turn on BT IGMP support, which lets BT TV’s streamed channels work.

Orbi 4G LTE Tri-band WiFi router (LBR20) Performance review

Running on EE in the UK, I get between 12 and 22Mbps download speeds and around 9Mbps upload speeds. That’s alright for most web tasks, but not good enough for my usual complement of security cameras.

Broadband performance depends on the type of connection that you have. With a Gigabit WAN port, this router can handle practically every type of connection. Mobile broadband performance depends much more on the type of network you’re on, the time of day and the signal strength.

However, performance will vary wildly, so you could get more: certainly, the modem inside the router is fast enough to deal with the best LTE connections.

Wi-Fi speeds are pretty good, too. I got an average of 236Mbps at close range from this router. Running with a couple of satellites, I averaged around 200Mbps around my home, with the slowest point (two floors up in a Victorian terraced house) coming in at 150Mbps. Most importantly, these speeds are consistent and the router and Orbi system is extremely reliable.

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