So here I am, having moved out of the US after spending what seems like an eternity in Taiwan before finally moving to my new home in Europe for the time being. As it turns out, things are different here! Broadband internet connectivity can vary from country to country, but generally is far superior to the USA in terms of options, pricing, and bandwidth caps. Yet there remain issues in fiber connectivity to a lot of places; options are still limited in speed and stability even for a wired connection. The other improvement is with mobile networks, and when I started looking at this further, I realized that I was for once in a situation where mobile broadband for the home was a viable consideration. NETGEAR clearly thought the same with a portfolio of such products available for the consumer. Today, we take a look at another of their Orbi WiFi routers, but this time it is not a WiFi system and allows for 4G LTE connectivity as well.
An Orbi router by itself rather than a system of router and satellite units seems almost blasphemous, but there is good reason for it. The NETGEAR Orbi LBR20 is their current flagship performance router for mobile broadband connectivity, with no 5G option at this time. The other options from the company are mobile hot spots, of which we will look at one separately in detail soon, and a standalone WiFi 6 LTE Nighthawk router that has lower throughput compared to this. The LBR20 does retain the option to pair with satellite units (purchased separately) for further coverage expansion as needed, but this review covers the individual unit, beginning with a look at the specifications in the table below.
|NETGEAR Orbi LBR20 4G LTE WiFi Router|
|Combined Wi-Fi Speed:||2,200 Mbps (866 + 866 + 400Mbps)|
|Coverage:||1,500 sq ft|
|Dedicated Backhaul (Wireless):||2x2 (866 Mbps)|
|WiFi Technology:||Tri-band IEEE® 802.11a/b/g/n/ac|
|LTE Support (North America):||4G band (LTE-FDD): B2,4,5,7,12,13,14,17,25,26,29,30,66,71; 4G band (LTE-TDD): B41; 3G band: B1,4,5;|
|LTE Support (EU/AU):||4G band (LTE-FDD): B1,3,5,7,8,20,28; 4G band (LTE-TDD): B38,40,41; 3G band: B1,3,5,8;|
|MU-MIMO:||Yes, Implicit & Explicit Beamforming for 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz bands|
|Dimensions:||6.7" x 3.1" x 8.9"|
|Weight:||0.78 Kg / 1.72 lbs each|
|Ports:||Two 10/100/1000 Mbps GigE ports (one LAN, one WAN), and two external SMA type LTE antenna connectors|
|Wireless Security:||802.11i, 128-bit AES encryption with PSK|
|Warranty||One year in NA|
Packaging and Accessories
First impressions are often long-lasting, and NETGEAR wants to make sure you remember it all. The product box for the Orbi LBR20 is a big cuboid that comes wrapped in plastic, and given the smaller product inside, it loses the sleeved cardboard packaging their Orbi WiFi systems get. No side of the box has been left empty as we see a nice illustration of the router along with the company and product name and the salient 4G LTE feature mention on front. On the other sides, we get more information pertaining to the marketing features, including an illustration of the coverage area and a quick reminder to get a satellite unit should you want to expand coverage. Specifications adorn an entire side, and double flaps on the top and bottom help keep the contents inside in place during transit.
Opening the box, we see a multi-language quick-start guide right away, so you won't miss it. It comes in handy during installation, especially since inserting the LTE SIM card is weirdly easy to do incorrectly, and an online version can be found here. NETGEAR also has a far more detailed user manual available online for those who want it, and it offers a lot more information about setup, customization, and managing your internet/WiFi connection. We now see an inner box which houses the Orbi as well as an accessory box. The other documentation is of the safety and disposal kind.
The accessory box, plain and white cardboard similar to the inner box itself, opens up to show an Ethernet cable and the power connection options for the EU and UK since I have the EU model, all of which are neatly packaged in separate compartments. Everything here is a matte white with black lettering.
The power plug works for a wide range of input voltages (100 to 240 V), and on an operating frequency range of 50-60 Hz. On a 110 V/60 Hz line, say, it takes in 1 A of maximum current for a rated power input of 60 W and outputs a maximum of 30 W over 12 VDC and 2.5 A. The EU model comes with two wall adapters to fit into the power plug, which you choose based on your region. The provided Ethernet cable is flat and two meters long, which allows for a decent amount of room for cable management along a wall if needed. It terminates in a standard RJ45 connector on either end and is compatible with the 1 gigabit Ethernet LAN ports on the unit. The AWM-style, 32 AWG 2854 hook-up wire used in the cable has been reliably used by other industries for harsher applications, so I am confident this cable will work just fine.
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