If you’re looking to share a cellular Internet connection with an entire home network, in a large home for that matter, there’s now an easy way. Netgear announced today the availability of its Orbi LBR20 4G LTE Advanced Wi-Fi Router.
First announced at CES 2020, the Orbi LBR20, as its lengthy name suggests, is a regular Orbi router plus a built-in 4G LTE modem. And that makes it quite an interesting Orbi.
Dong’s note: I first published this post on January 6, 2020, during CES 2020 when Netgear announced the Orbi LBR20, and updated it on August 11, 2020, with additional relevant information when the device became available for purchase.
Orbi 4G LTE WiFi Router: A familiar Orbi with a big twist
From the front, the new Orbi LBR20 looks like most Orbi routers you’ve seen with a vase-like standing design and a ring of status light on top. It’s an AC2200 Wi-Fi 5 tri-band router capable of delivering up to 2200Mbps of total Wi-Fi bandwidth.
So it totally can work as a standalone router, just like any other router. Being one of the Orbi family, you can also add any Wi-Fi 5 Orbi satellite to it to form a mesh system. In this case, one of its 5GHz bands works as a dedicated backhaul.
Just to be clear, the LBR20 can support any existing Wi-Fi 5 satellite, including the Orbi Voice. However, it won’t work with any Wi-Fi 6 one, but that’s just how things are in this Netgear mesh product line.
By itself, according to Netgear, the LBR20 can deliver a Wi-Fi coverage of some 2000 ft² (186 m²). So, you only need to think of getting a satellite if you live in a home larger than that.
Built-in 4G LTE cellular modem
What makes the LBR20 different from the rest of other ORbi routers is the fact it has a built-in CAT18 cellular modem that has the Internet speeds up to 1.2Gbps. On the back of the router, you’ll find a NanoSIM slot that works with major mobile carriers. In other words, the LBR20 is an unlocked device — it’s not tied to a specific provider.
Like many mobile hotspots, the Orbi 4G LTE WiFi Router also includes two receivers for external LTE antennas in case you use it in an area with lesser-than-ideal cellular reception.
Regular internet sources supported
The Orbi cellular Wi-Fi router can work as a regular router, too. It comes with two Gigabit network ports, one of which can function as a WAN. Just hook it to an internet source, like a modem, and the router will work just like any traditional one.
In fact, according to Netgear, you can use both a regular broadband connection and a cellular one at the same time. In this case, the latter will be the backup one which automatically kicks in when the former is not available, or too slow.
As you can imagine, the Orbi LBR20 is not for everyone, but if you live in a rural area with land-based Internet service, it’s a great choice. It also an excellent option for those needing to be online at all times and want to have a cellular connection as a backup.
Netgear LBR20’s hardware specifications
Familiar mobile app and features
The Orbi LBR20 uses the same Orbi mobile app for setup and on-going management. It also has a full web user interface that includes a standard set of network settings and features.
Among these features, you’ll find the NETGEAR Armor, which is a cybersecurity solution that protects the entire network from online threats and Circle Smart Parenting Controls, which is an excellent fit for a household with small children.
Pricing and availability
The Orbi LBR20 4G LTE Advanced WiFi Router is available now as a single router at the suggested retail price of $399.99.