Mainstream 5G is just around the corner, and for mobile router users, it’s going to mean having enterprise-level internet connection speeds with you at all times.
The trouble is, it’s hard to track down unbiased reviews of kit – so, rather than point you in the direction of one or two specific routers, we’ve put together a few questions that’ll help you find a set up that’s perfect for you. There’s already excellent information available about how to track down mobile routers – we’ll just build on that with some information that’s relevant for this next generation of mobile connections.
What is your router going to be used for?
How you plan to use your 5G router will, to some degree, start to help decide what’s right for you. It’s more than possible to buy a very low-priced router, but, despite 5G connection speeds, these cheap ‘leisure’ routers will be little use for anyone who is hoping to do more than just browse and perhaps remotely work for one individual.
If you’re hoping to find a router that’ll connect more than one person, a site, or even run your business network, you’re going to need something far more robust – and capable of handling multiple SIMs. Again, be careful when you shop though, as some lower-cost routers will offer a SIM backup (sometimes referred to as SIM failover) – rather than true multi-SIM functionality.
What’s the difference between SIM configurations?
What’s the difference between these two SIM configurations? Well, SIM failover capable routers will have one SIM providing a connection – with a backup SIM ready to step in if there’s a problem with your primary connection. On the other hand, multi-SIM devices can simultaneously deliver data connections from 2+ SIMs (sometimes as many as 18+) so your connection will be much quicker and reliable.
Many leisure routers will carry just one SIM; more capable units will have failover SIM slots, whereas true business standard routers will have space for many SIMs, usually from different suppliers. This point about different ISPs is important too; if you use connections from one ISP, you’re at the mercy of their service reliability – and while it’s normally good, different SIMs can respond differently in some geographical locations. It’s prudent to have SIMs from a number of different suppliers to make sure your connection never fails completely.
How will you configure your connections?
Assuming you’ve found a router that’s capable of carrying multiple SIMs, you’re going to want to think about how you’ll configure them. Generally, there are two options here; bonded connections and load balanced connections.
By bonding connections, you’re taking all the data that can be handled by one SIM, and merging it with the data that your other SIMs can carry. For instance, if 1 data connection is capable of 3 Gbit/s, you can simply multiply this up until you’ve got a speed that’s capable of handling the peak amount of data that your network is sending/receiving at one time. With predicted 5G speeds, these routers have the ability to handle an incredible amount of data, especially when you’re looking at routers capable of bonding numerous SIMs.
That said, bonding connections isn’t the right move for everyone, so you generally also have the option to load balance connections – which essentially means that you’ll keep each SIM independent, attaching either a user or an application to its standalone connection. While these connections are far less robust than the overall connection you get from a bonded setup, it does mean that you’ve got protected data transfers for mission critical apps.
Will this router be running your business network?
If the idea of protecting data channels for mission critical apps sounds appealing, it’s sometimes worth digging a little deeper into how you can make sure this function works for you. Load balancing and attaching a single application to a single connection is okay in some instances – but what if that application requires a more heavyweight connection?
Well, this is when it’s worth digging into routers that have traffic prioritisation functions. Traffic prioritisation allows you to mark certain application’s data as being more important than others. For instance, if you’re about to have a video conference call with the board or a potential client, you’re going to want to make sure that data travels seamlessly over your network – and doesn’t stall because you’ve got team members streaming video on their devices while they eat their lunch.
Setting up a traffic prioritisation service takes a little expertise, but it’s a function that you’ll find on some higher end devices – and the benefits are numerous if you’ve got applications that simply cannot fail. Downtime can cost businesses a tremendous amount of money – whether that’s in lost revenue, missed opportunities, or wasted staff time – so keeping your mission critical applications up and running might be a priority that’s good to safeguard.
What kind of data analysis will you need?
Connecting to the internet with a wireless router might sound like it’s a temporary solution – but for many businesses, it’s the right or most practical way to do things. For businesses like these, you don’t want to have to drop any functionally vs. a traditional wired set up. If this sounds like your situation, exploring router options that offer data analysis might be a good idea.
Routers with data analysis functions are especially useful if you’re bonding connections from a number of different providers – especially as digging into individual accounts can be time consuming and fussy. If data use helps you to monitor your performance or set goals for your business, finding a router that offers this function is going to be essential. Traffic analysis capable routers tend to be a little more costly, but it’s usually a cost that’ll repay itself many times over during the life of the router.
Which router is right for you?
Again, there’s no one specific router that ticks all the boxes for each business – but hopefully now, you’ll be able to seek one that meets your needs exactly – with a little knowledge that’ll help you narrow your choice down. The most cost effective way to purchase a new 5G SIM is quite simply finding the one that’s perfect for you, straight out of the gate.