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Cradlepoint MBR1200 3G/4G Router Review

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Friday, 02 October 2009

Cradlepoint MBR1200 3G/4G Cellular Router

Update 2/13/2012: Cradlepoint has removed the PCMCIA card slot from the MBR1200 :( Read more



3Gstore.com has the MBR1200 on sale, Check out the latest sale info on the MBR1200
 
The Cradlepoint MBR1200 is a cellular router that simultaneously supports up to five separate 3G or 4G mobile broadband modems as its internet connectivity. The key purpose of any cellular router is to allow multiple computers access to the internet -- via 3G modems like those from Verizon and AT&T, or 4G devices like those from Sprint and Clear -- and the MBR1200 is the most versatile router to make that happen.

With its three USB ports, expresscard and pcmcia slots, the MBR1200 officially supports more 3G and 4G modems than any other cellular router, and Cradlepoint stands alone as the manufacturer who adds support for the newest modems in the shortest amount of time -- often having support for a modem even before the modem is officially launched by a carrier!

Aside from having the most inputs, the MBR1200 doesn't hold back when it comes to creating a local area network. The MBR1200 is the first cellular router to offer a built-in four-port ethernet switch that offers not just 10/100 speeds, but also 1000mbp/s LAN connectivity (a.k.a. "gigabit ethernet"). In addition to its gigabit switch, the MBR1200 supports up to 64 wireless clients over 802.11N WiFi (backwards compatible to WiFi B/G) through two internal MIMO antennas or two external high-gain WiFi antennas.

Beyond just being a cellular router, the MBR1200 also features a dedicated ethernet WAN port allowing it to perform as a Cable/DSL/Satellite router... but it doesn't stop there. The MBR1200 also features the ability to convert LAN port #4 to serve as WAN port #2, allowing for a total of seven different paths to the internet.

To provide connected users the highest level of "internet uptime", the MBR1200 can failover between ANY of the internet sources, and will even simultaneoulsy provide load balancing across all active internet sources. This ability to quickly switch from a failed service to a backup service means many businesses with unstable internet service will find the MBR1200 hard to live without.

Another feature is support for up to five concurrent VPN sessions, making the MBR1200 a great option for branch offices, client-site workgroups, and remote enterprise gatherings... we're sure the MBR1200 will also allow more executives to work remotely from home, even when that home does not have common cable/dsl service available to it.

The MBR1200 ships with a 110v A/C Power Adapter (12V, 1.5A output), CAT5 Ethernet Cable (5 ft), Mounting Hardware, Quick Start Guide, and Accessory Guide. An optional 'Security Cover' is available that covers modems to prevent theft. Optional high-gain WiFi antennas are available to extend the wireless range to and from the router. Optional 12v cigarette lighter adapter allows for use in vehicles.

The MBR1200 is arguably the MOST versatile a 3G/4G cellular router on the market today.

Cradlepoint MBR12000 Features/Specification/Requirements

Specifications:
  • WiFi Standards: 802.11 b/g/n; "MC-Plug"external antenna ports for optional MBR1200 WiFi antennas (2)
  • Network Connections: Four (4) 10/100/1000 LAN/WAN configurable ports, One (1) 10/100/1000 WAN (ethernet), three (3) USB 2.0 Modem Ports, One (1) ExpressCard Modem Slot, One 1 (1) PC/PCMCIA Card Slot
  • Buttons/Switches: WiFi on/off switch; WPS Button (WiFi Security); Modem Signal Strength; Reset; and Power Switch
  • LED Indicators: Power LAN/WAN 1-4, 1G WAN (Wired Network), WLAN (Cellular Network), WPS (WiFi Protected Setup), ExpressCard Modem, PC Card Modem, USB Status 1-3, Signal Strength
  • Dimensions: 9" x 5.1" x 1.57"
  • Certifications: FCC, IC, CE, WiFi Alliance
  • Operating Temperature: 0-50 degrees celcius
  • Power: 12v, 1.5amp input (110v A/C adapter included, 12v D/C cigarette lighter is optional)
Features:
  • Active Load Balancing between all internet sources.
  • Failover between any input, Failback to ethernet/WAN.
  • LAN Port #4 can be converted for use as 2nd WAN port via web admin.
  • Automatic channel scan for best wifi channel
  • WiFi client type (Lock to B or G or N, lock to B or G only, allow all)
  • Access controls to limit activity by IP address, MAC address, day/time, website name, and website rating (very cool for parents, schools or even kiosk deployment)
  • Virtual server settings to easily route specific port activity to servers on LAN side by IP address
  • Wifi radio power settings. Useful when you need/want to limit/reduce wifi range
  • Online check for latest firmware, straight to firmware update
  • Dynamic DNS (DDNS) with support for 10+ different DDNS services
  • Email notifications when certain router issues are triggered
  • Log submission to a syslog server
  • Offline storage of router config (useful when you want to save different settings for different uses)
  • 2.412 to 2.484 GHz Frequency Band Operation
  • Compliant with IEEE 802.3 and 3u standards
  • Supports OFDM and CCK Modulation
  • Supports Cable/DSL modems with Dynamic IP, Static IP, PPPoE, PPTP, or L2TP connections
  • Traffic Control and Virtual Server (max 32 servers) and DMZ
  • UPnP (Universal Plug & Play) and ALGs Support for Internet applications such as Email, FTP, Gaming, Remote Desktop, Net Meeting, Telnet, and more
  • Compatible with HSPA, EVDO, and WiMAX Cellular Network Devices
  • Easy Management via HTTP and Remote Management via HTTP and SNMP
  • Flash Memory for Firmware Upgrade, Save/Restore Settings
  • Full Integration with WiPIPE Manager (optional managed services from Cradlepoint)
VPN Information:
  • Create, manage, and terminate up to 5 IPSec VPN sessions
  • Supported VPN Implementations: MBR1x00 to MBR1x00, MBR1x00 to Cisco/Linksys routers, MBR1x00 to Linux Systems
  • Tunnel (default) and Transfer (aka Transport) modes
  • Hash Algorithms (hardware accelerated) - MD5, SHA128, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512
  • Cypher Algorithms (hardware accelerated) - AE2, 3DES, DES
  • Keying - automatic using IKE 1.0 or Manual
  • Authentication Method: Pre-shared Key
  • Full Integration with WiPIPE Manager (optional managed services from Cradlepoint)
Security:
  • Optional MBR1200 Security Enclosure ensures your modems stay where you put them
  • Firewall features Network Address Translation (NAT) and Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) which prevents against DoS attacks
  • Access control available in encryption and open modes, as well as password protected Internet Access to prevent unauthorized usage
  • Provides additional security of Enable/Disable SSID and Internet Access Control (Services, URL, and MAC Filtering)
  • Supports multiple concurrent IPSec, L2TP, and PPTP VPN Pass-Through Sessions
  • Supports 64/128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2 (Personal and Enterprise) Wireless Security Modes
In the box:

MBR1200 Failsafe Gigabit N Router, Power Adapter (12V, 1.5A), CAT5 Ethernet Cable (5 ft), Mounting Hardware, Quick Start Guide, Accessory Guide

Minimum Requirements:
  • Mobile Broadband USB, ExpressCard, or PC Card data modem with active subscription or supported phone with active tethered (phone-as-modem) plan
  • Windows XP/2000/Vista, Mac OSX, of Linux computer with WiFi adapter
  • Firefox 2.0, Internet Explorer v6.0, or Safari 1.0 internet browswer
Available accessories for the CradlepointRouter MBR1200:

MBR1200 Compatibility

As of the publish date of this review, the MBR1200 is compatible will all the same USB and ExpressCard modems as the MBR1000 and adds official support for these PCMCIA cards:

Verizon:

Sprint:

Alltel:

  • Huawei EC360

EVDOinfo maintains a complete list of router/device compatibility at http://www.EVDOinfo.com/routers

MBR1200 Performance

With all officially support devices, the MBR1200 will transfer maximum bandwidth provided by any internet service/carrier. Devices that function in MBR1200 but are not officially supported, may experience less than maximum available throughput made available by attached modem.

The MBR1200's gigabit ethernet switch was able to do a local transfer of a 1GB file in an average of 50 seconds or approximately 20 megabytes per second. The same file over the 100mb/s switch on an MBR1000 took an average of 95 seconds or approximately 10.5 megabytes per second. The MBR1200's increased LAN capacity will seriously benefit professional film crews that need to move video files around on local network, before sending "dailies" to film executives.

The MBR1200 has two built-in WiFi MIMO antennas that work very well, but initial testing resulted in about 10% reduced range compared to the MBR1000's three external antennas. However, when we added the two external WiFi antennas designed for use with the MBR1200, their high-gain design signficantly increased signal power over the MBR1000's three external antennas. Its worth noting that other high gain WiFi antennas can be used with the MBR1200 but they must be used in pairs. In the near future, we are planning to do a thorough WiFi range shootout comparing the older MBR1000's three external antennas vs. the MBR1200's internal antennas vs. the MBR1200 with Cradlepoint's external antennas vs. the MBR1200 with the WiFi booster antennas we sell for the CTR500.

What We Like and What We Wish It Had

  • Really Cool
    • five cellular inputs
    • a total of seven possible internet sources, simultaneously
    • the most supported 3G modems and cell phones or any cellular router
    • 4G modem support
    • load balancing across all available internet sources
    • failover and failback (to ethernet)
    • option for high gain wifi antennas
    • gigabit ethernet switch
    • security cover to prevent modem theft
    • Cradlepoint support -- especially staying as up to date as they do with new device support
    • all for ONLY $50 more than the MBR1000

  • Why Can't We Also Have?
    • SMS/Email alerts when bandwidth thresholds are hit
    • More common SMA jacks for WiFi antennas
    • Bandwidth aggregation (drool!)
    • Support for USB network storage
    • Support for USB printers
    • Support for USB voip like magicjack
    • Support for USB WiFi adapter to serve as another input (WiFi-As-WAN)

If you are in the market for a cellular router for mobile use or for failsafe backup, the MBR1200 has state-of-the-art features that make it the most versatile choice in the market today.

If you have questions about the MBR1200 feel free to contact the mobile broadband experts at http://3gstore.com

Cradlepoint MBR1200 Video Review



Cradlepoint MBR1200 Photos


Photo above shows MBR1200 with five active modems (MiFi USB cable plugged into left side USB port)


Two photos above show the sides of Cradlepoint MBR1200



The major players in the Cradlepoint Technologies router family.
clockwise from far right: MBR1200, PHS300, CTR500, MBR1000 and CTR350


The upper photo shows the optional WiFi antennas for the MBR1200
the lower photo shows longer MBR1200 antenna vs. fixed antenna on MBR1000



The optional Security Cover for the MBR1200 hides the modems to prevent theft.
Click here to see an animation that explains what the cover does.

The fourth LAN ethernet port can be switched to serve as 2nd WAN port, via admin.
Click here to see screenshot of all seven interfaces in use.


Last Updated ( Monday, 13 February 2012 )
 
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