A mobile router is used to create a wireless network wherever you are, for example on your holiday. Thanks to today’s mobile broadband, sharing a mobile Internet connection between multiple devices is no problem.
M1 is a square small box of 10 × 10 centimeters. It has a USB c port for charging the built-in battery and a USB 2.0 port for external storage devices, which then appears in the network. There is an Ethernet port to use the router as a fixed router when available. What looks like two rubber feet alongside the gates are actually connections for external antennas, which then provide extra long reach in the wireless network.
Installation and operation
An odd detail is that M1 is not assembled when you buy it. This is because it must be fitted with a data sim card in order for it to work. When the sim card is in place, the battery is mounted and the router can be assembled.
The small color screen displays the status of the network, including the name and (very practical) password. There is an indicator for the battery and how much data has been consumed in the mobile broadband. Netgear promises an operating time of 24 hours, but during our tests the battery lasted half as long during intensive use.
The installation is fairly straightforward. Here too, the built-in screen makes use of it because it constantly shows what to do. It is even easy to update the router’s fixed program via the M1’s only button. It all goes on with a couple of dialogs when a computer is first connected to the wireless network. Here, just enter the network name and password.
In daily use, M1 functions as any other router. As long as the mobile broadband is good, the individual user does not notice any difference. The router is controlled from a web page or an app and contains the same functions as a fixed router. For example, you can use guest networks, grant access to ports, and use the router as a DLNA server for media playback.
In theory, Nighthawk M1 can handle speeds of one gigabit per second. If you get there in practice, of course depends on the mobile coverage where you are and whether the mobile towers in the area are upgraded with the latest technology. Our tests show speeds of around 36 megabits per second, which corresponds to the maximum speed of the mobile broadband on site. Under normal conditions, we reach a range of about 30 meters.
The question then is what the device does better than a hotspot from the mobile? The answer is that there are several important differences: the battery lasts much longer, the range and the transfer rates are better and it contains all the features we expect in a modern router. The downside is of course that the router is really expensive.
The market’s best travel-friendly hotspot. It provides significantly more features than is possible when a mobile phone is used as a hotspot. This is noticeable not least on the price.