I used to think there was no need for a dedicated mobile broadband modem. One can easily turn their smartphone into a WiFi hotspot. And that’s exactly what I did with one of my old Huawei smartphones – didn’t take long for the phone to fry itself.
Smartphones are not designed to be running under load for 24/7. So when I was looking at mobile broadband plans, I knew I needed to get a plan that included a 4G modem too.
Looking at the specs of the various devices didn’t help with the decision process. The devices with LCD screens costed dramatically more, but provided minimal benefits. In the end, I went with the cheapest option I could find – the Virgin Mobile branded ZTE MF90C WiFi modem.
Below are the highlight features of the device:
- Wireless b/g/n
- Support for two external antennas
- Support for WPS
- Removable battery
- microSD(HC) card support (up to 32GB for file sharing within the local Wi-Fi network)
- 4G, 3G and 2G network support
- Dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz support
For full feature set – refer to ZTE MF90C manual.
As you can see, all of the elements you expect from a modern day modem/router is present: 802.11n, 4G network support, Dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz support, and a firewall to boot.
Setting up the device for use the first time is straight forward and smooth, there were not issues or gotchas encountered. I found the software to be very robust and reliable – everything worked as expected.
The performance of the device is excellent. At one point, I had 5 devices connected to it. With 3 of the devices streaming content over the network and I did not notice any signs of lag or stress on the device.
The speed is outstanding, the performance of 4G is so fast I burnt through my 12GB data allowance in just a few hours.
If you are looking for a good solid performing 4G modem, don’t waste your money on getting the high-end model, the freebie ZTE MF90C is more than good enough. But keep in mind the network compatibility.