Spitz V2 4G LTE Wireless Router Review: Country Roads

If you have got quick web within the US, it is in all probability since you reside in the proper a part of a serious metropolis. The remainder of us get, nicely … this WIRED headline from 2007 sums is up properly: “Rural America Will Never Get Fast Internet.” Out right here, we get the scraps. These days, with 3G largely shut down, that is both nothing or, in the event you’re fortunate, like me, 4G service.

Rural 4G service is basically your phone plan, besides you must use it for all the things. It’s all the time metered (Google Fi affords 50 gigabytes a month “unlimited,” which is what I’ve been using lately.) It’s usually slow, relative to something like the cable or fiber internet available elsewhere.

One thing I’ve found can really squeeze a bit more out of these shoddy connections is a good 4G modem. I’ve tested half a dozen now and am working on a guide, but Gl.inet’s Spitz 4G LTE router is one the best. At under $200, it’s relatively affordable.

Alone With a Phone

Photograph: GL.iNet

In rural South Carolina, many of my neighbors just get by with their phones, either as their primary computing device or by using it as a hot spot. The phone-as-hot-spot works, and for some it may work well enough, but in my case my phone doesn’t get much reception indoors. I’ve come to rely on 4G routers, which usually have larger antennas and get better reception.

Gl.inet’s Spitz 4G router looks like many other routers in our guide, albeit smaller. It’s not until you open it up and find the SIM card slot that you’d even know it was a 4G router. There’s also a spot for a microSD card (up to 128 gigabytes) so you can use it as a media server if you like. The slot fits a micro SIM.

I tested the Spitz using a variety of SIM cards from different carriers and MVNOs (which you’ll need, if you’re serious about having connectivity out here in the sticks). I initially tested using a T-Mobile SIM and an AT&T SIM, but also got it to work with a Google Fi nano SIM by carefully aligning it in the slot. I don’t recommend this long term, but it works while you’re waiting for your SIM card adapter equipment ($4) to reach, which you’ll need to make use of a Google Fi or different nano-size SIM chip. Gl.inet has a guide to setting up Google Fi on the Spitz.

The included LTE antennas handle to select up sign that my cellphone cannot, however it might be good to have some MIMO ports to attach an exterior MIMO antenna. Otherwise, although, the {hardware} is easy and small. There are 5 LEDs on the highest displaying energy standing, WAN connection, 2.4-Ghz, and 5-Ghz exercise and LTE connection standing. On the again is an influence provide port, in addition to a LAN and WAN sockets for wired networking.

Full Control

Photograph: GL.iNet

Once you’ve got your SIM card inserted, you connect to the Wi-Fi network and point your web browser to the Spitz admin page. This is a big part of what makes the Spitz very powerful. Behind the scenes, Spitz uses the open source OpenWRT modem firmware, which lets you use some instruments and entry options usually discovered solely on way more costly routers, like network-wide VPN entry, ad-blocking, parental controls, time-based controls, and way more.

Gl.inet makes use of a customized pores and skin, so in the event you’re aware of OpenWRT, what you get with the Spitz might be barely completely different. All the options are there—and you may set up something additional you need—however issues could be in barely completely different locations than you are used to.

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