March 23, 2018

Review: Netgear LB2120 LTE Modem with Ethernet Out

As a follow-up to my last post where I have decided to completely cut out Time Warner as my Internet Service Provider from earning any of more my business.  I was temporarily using an old Samsung J5 phone as my hotspot.  It was working as designed but at some point it decided to reboot itself thus shutting off the hotspot service.  I needed a solution that is more robust to reliably provide internet access to the various smartphone appliances, so I started to look into LTE modems, more specifically, an LTE modem with ethernet out, so I can power up my entire network.

For those unfamiliar, an LTE modem is just like a cable modem, but instead of having the internet connection via a cable line, you can plug in your data-SIM to get a solid internet connection.  Figuring I once tested my way up to 60Mbps+ from my Google Project Fi data SIM at this location, I figured it was more than plenty of firepower to replace Time Warner's cable internet speed.

I picked a NETGEAR LB2120 LTE Modem.  The installation is pretty straight forward.  Prior to powering it up, you insert a micro SIM card (if you have a Nano SIM, you will need to pickup an adapter like this).  After that, power up the modem and connect it to your laptop via the supplied ethernet cable for configuration.  The default gateway address is, from there you can setup your data carrier's APN setting and decide if you want this device to act as a Router or Bridge (set it as BRIDGE if you intend to connect this to your dedicated wireless router).  A quick note on the router selection.  I went with the more expensive LB2120 ($159) because to be totally honest, I didn't really know what I was dealing with.  The lower priced LB1120 ($99) has one ethernet port on the back which I think would have done exactly what I wanted it to do.  The LB2120 has an extra ethernet port which acts as a fail-safe pass-thru connection.  Basically, its for mission-critical applications where it allows this pass-thru LTE modem act as a back-up data should it detect a failure in the primary landline modem.  I didn't really understand this until I got the device, in hindsight, I think the lower priced LB1120 would have worked for my application since the LTE connection is my primary internet connection.

So, how did it work?

As good as I imagined.  I hooked up my Netgear LTE modem directly into my existing wireless router which is powering all of my devices.  The minute the LTE modem booted up and showed it's signal status, it went right to work and all of my smart devices came back online instantly.  The entire experience seems surreal and the sense of freedom (freedom from landline based ISP's utter bullshit) is refreshing.  My Samsung smart TV is hooked up to the router via ethernet cable, so I started to test out HD streaming immediately, the videos started immediately and the picture quality is top notch.  While that was happening, I ran a speed test and was surprised to find a 37Mbps/14Mbps while my TV was streaming a video.

I highly recommend Netgear's LTE modems for folks looking to cut the cords for good or if you live in a rural area where landline is unavailable.

Project Fi Data SIM connected to LTE Modem
Speedtest while TV was streaming a video!

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