Survey of 4G LTE Ethernet routers

For the deployment of the Phase II HiST auroral tomography systems, we required LTE broadband data connectivity to rural central Alaska. In this area north of Fairbanks, AK, GCN and AT&T have the best coverage. AT&T offers $10/Gbyte/month data modem plans, which is good for our usage only September-April yearly.

Since systems are often deployed 3-10 years or more, it is worthwhile to briefly consider that providers such as AT&T are disabling 2G networks, AT&T has disabled 2G already.

Reliable LTE router requirements

  • External antenna required (system + router is inside rugged weatherproof metal enclosure)
  • Ethernet connection to equipment
  • Wifi not desired or needed
  • USB not allowed. Numerous companies have cheap routers with a USB input to a consumer modem. I am unwilling to allow one computer going down to take down connectivity to the whole site.

Best 4G LTE Ethernet router we found

  • WR11-L600-DE1-SU North America LTE, HSPA+ $221 from Newegg
  • Newly released Nov 2014
  • Setup via web or SSH
  • OpenVPN server and client
  • 4G LTE 700/850/1700 (AWS)/1900 MHz
  • 3G fall back to 850/1900 MHz
  • Transfer Rate (max): 50 Mbps Up, 100 Mbps Down
  • Antenna: 2 SMA
  • Ethernet: (1) 10/100Mbps

Digi 4G LTE router datasheet

Digi 4G LTE router page

Digi 4G LTE Router manual

Gain antenna for LTE router

You need a broadband yagi, typically log periodic to give continuous frequency coverage to the numerous LTE bands. An example is the Wilson LTE yagi