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Pantech UML295 - First Look

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pantech UML295 - First Look

 

Last Thursday Verizon announced the new globally ready Pantech UML295 modem. This is an upgrade from the original UML290 modem that debuted when Verizon launched their LTE network. Unlike previous generations of USB modems this is the first plug and play USB modem that automatically installs the device drivers and doesn’t rely on VZAccess Manager. When we found this out the first question we asked is if the new model will work in any 3G/4G routers without requiring a brand new firmware update.

(Peplink Balance 30 pictured with UML295)

We started our testing with a variety of Cradlepoint routers and found that none of them currently support or even recognize the Pantech UML295 (Tested with latest 4.1.1 Cradlepoint build). This means if you’ve purchased or were thinking of upgrading to the Pantech UML295 you’ll need to wait for Cradlepoint to release a firmware update to add support for this modem. After testing Cradlepoint routers we decided to test the Peplink Balance family of routers and found that the UML295 was immediately recognized by the router and connected right away (Tested with latest 5.4.7 Peplink/Pepwave build). We then decided to test the throughput and noticed downlink/uplink and latency was right on par with the device plugged directly into a computer!

Pantech UML295 Supported Routers:


Please Note - If you’re a Pepwave Surf On The Go user, the UML295 does not currently work. Pepwave will be releasing a firmware update in the near future to add support for Surf On The Go users.

(UML295 with antenna connected)


The next big question everyone is going to ask is if it has an antenna port. As you can see from the image above the UML295 does have the connector for external antennas! This is a crucial component for a lot of rural customers that live in a fringe area and rely on external cellular antennas and/or amplifiers to boost their 3G or 4G LTE reception. If the device didn’t offer the antenna connectors you’d need to look at a more expensive wireless repeater in order to boost the cellular reception.

Conclusion:

In our initial testing we’ve found that the UML295 performed similar to the older UML290 in download/upload performance. However, when it came to signal strength the newer UML295 appeared to be at a slight disadvantage with the older UML290 pulling in a better signal, likely due to the flip out antenna design. Aside from the slightly reduced signal strength in the UML295 it’s a win in our book if you need a reliable USB modem that has existing router support and antenna connections to add an external cellular antenna. We’ve also compiled a list of compatible accessories for the UML295 for a quick reference here - Click: UML295 Compatible Accessories



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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 February 2013 )
 
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