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Netgear M6 Pro Mobile Hotspot: Potentially an Excellent Travel Router

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Updated: The in-depth review of the M6 Pro is available here.

For quite some time, I've gotten requests to review travel routers -- those folks can carry with them on the go -- and I'd recommend turning the laptop into one every time. What Netgear announced today might change all that: The new Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G WiFi 6E Hotspot Router (model MR6550).

As the name suggests, this is a hotspot device. By design, it connects to the Internet via a cellular connection and shares that using Wi-Fi to multiple devices. In that role, it's not a new idea but an upgrade to Netgear's existing M6, and there's a similar M5 before that.

However, per Netgear, the M6 Pro can do much more than a simple mobile Internet solution. It's, in fact, a full-featured travel router.

Netgear M6 Pro Top
The Netgear M6 Pro Mobile hotspot -- note its 2.5Gbps network and the USB-C charging ports.

Netgear M6 Pro: A complete mobile Wi-Fi solution in a small package

At a glance, the M6 Pro looks similar to the M6 and, hence, the M5. It's a little square box with a cellular SIM slot inside and a built-in Wi-Fi router to share Internet access to up to 32 devices.

The device is unlocked. You can use any SIM with it, and it supports the latest 5G, 4G, and even older cellular standards.

Looking closer, you'll note that it's an entirely new beast.

All you can expect from a mobile router

For one, it's the first mobile hotspot that features Wi-Fi 6E. Specifically, you can use it to create a Wi-Fi network for clients using the new 6GHz band.

On the Wi-Fi 6E front, the M6 Pro is not all impressive. You have to pick between the 5GHz and the 6GHz band -- only one can work at a time.

So unless you have all Wi-Fi 6E clients in the mobile group, you'll have to use it as a traditional Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster. (The 2.4GHz band is always there.)

But having the 6GHz option when you want is always better than not.

Secondly, it's the first 5G receiver, from Netgear at least, that features 5G mmWave, allowing it to deliver exceptional fast cellular download speeds, up to 8Gbps, in certain areas.

What's more, the M6 Pro also supports High Power User Equipment (HPUE) to have better 5G reception. It can pick up cellular signals at the edges of a particular 5G coverage and have reception where those without HPUE can't.

And finally, the new hotspot router has a 2.5Gbps flexible network port. You can use this port as a LAN to host a wired client, effectively turning the M6 Pro into a cellular modem or a Wi-Fi media bridge. Or you can use this port as a WAN and let the M6 Pro function as a standard Wi-Fi router.

There's one more thing. You can also use the M6 in the repeater mode, for example, to receive an Internet-ready Wi-Fi connection and share that with other devices via an isolated local network it hosts.

The router and repeater modes are excellent for travelers since they enable devices to connect to an existing network securely, eliminating the need for a VPN in many cases.

The bottom line is that you can use the M6 Pro however you see fit: as a typical yet powerful mobile with a cellular connection or a traditional travel router/repeater when you want to take advantage of an existing Internet-connected Wi-Fi or wired network.

With or without a SIM card, the M6 is useful. It's a flexible travel router at heart.

Netgear M6 Pro Mobile Hotspot
While compact, the Netgear M6 Pro has much to offer.

Netgear M6 Pro vs M6: Hardware specifications

Netgear
MR6110 Nighthawk M6 Mobile Router
Netgear
MR6110 Nighthawk M6 Mobile Router
ModelMR6550MR6110
5G ChipsetQualcomm SDX65Qualcomm SDX62
5G Speed
(up to)
8Gbps2.5Gbps
5G TechnologySub 6 and mmWave(9xCA)Sub 6(2xCA)
4G Speed
(up to)
2Gbps1.6Gbps
4G TechnologyCAT 20 LTE A(5xCA)CAT19 LTE A(5xCA)
Wi-Fi BandwdithDual
Band Wi-Fi 6E AXE3600
Dual
Band Wi-Fi 6 AX3600
2.4GHz Specs2x2: Up to 700Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2x2: Up to 700Mbps
(20/40MHz)
5GHz/6GHz Specs5GHz or 6GHz
2x2: Up to 2900Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
4K QAM
5GHz only
2x2: Up to 2900Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
4K QAM
Wi-Fi SecurityWPA, WPA2, WPA3WPA, WPA2, WPA3
BatteryRemovable A5040mRemovable A5040m
Battery Life
(up to)
13 hours13 hours
Weight 
(with battery)
0.55 lb (252 g) 0.55 lb (252 g)
Dimensions (HWD)4.14 x 4.14 x .85 in
(105 x 105 x 21.5 mm)
4.14 x 4.14 x .85 in
(105 x 105 x 21.5 mm)
SIM TypeNano-SIM (4FF)Nano-SIM (4FF)
Network UnlockedUnlocked
Ports1x USB Type-C (charging/data)
1x 2.5Gbps Ethernet
2x TS9 RF ports (for external antennas -- not included)
1x USB Type-C (charging/data)
1x 2.5Gbps Ethernet
2x TS9 RF ports (for external antennas -- not included)
USB StandardUSB 3.2 Gen 1
(5Gbps)
USB 3.2 Gen 1
(5Gbps)
Screen2.8” LCD touchscreen interface2.8" LCD touchscreen interface
Operating RolesMobile hotspot/USB cellular modem,
Wi-Fi repeater,
Wi-Fi router
Mobile hotspot/USB cellular modem
Networking Featuresβ€’ Guest Network
β€’ Wi-Fi Protected Setup
β€’ WPS on/off control
β€’ Wi-Fi on/off control
β€’ Wi-Fi SSID broadcast on/off control
β€’ VPN passthrough
β€’ MAC address filtering
β€’ Website filtering
β€’ Port forwarding
β€’ Port filtering
β€’ Password-protected web admin portal
β€’ Guest Network
β€’ Wi-Fi Protected Setup
β€’ WPS on/off control
β€’ Wi-Fi on/off control
β€’ Wi-Fi SSID broadcast on/off control
β€’ VPN passthrough
β€’ MAC address filtering
β€’ Website filtering
β€’ Port forwarding
β€’ Port filtering
β€’ Password-protected web admin portal
Max Wi-Fi Clients3232
US MSRP$999$800
Netgear Nighthawk mobile 5G routers' hardware specifications: Netgear M6 Pro vs M6
Netgear M6 Pro Travel Ready
Netgear M6 Pro is designed to be a useful companion for those on the go.

A familiar mobile hotspot

Despite all the novelties above, the M6 Pro is a familiar device. It looks identical to the M6 or the M5 and similar to virtually any mobile hotspot.

You can use its touchscreen to manage its various settings, and it also has a web user interface for in-depth configuration.

Netgear says the M6 Pro can blanket an area of up to 2000 ft2 (186 m2) with Multi-Gig Wi-Fi speeds when running on battery. When plugged into power, its range is supposedly even more impressive.

The company also says that the device features unlock cellular technologies supported in 125 countries worldwide -- all you need is a local SIM card.

The point is, if you have used an unlocked mobile hotspot before, you'll feel right at home with the M6 Pro. So the question is when can you get it?

And that depends entirely on your budget.

Pricing and availability

Netgear says the Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G WiFi 6E Hotspot Router is available today for a cool 999 dollars -- that's $200 more than the original M6. (If you're a Canadian, you'll need CAD 1400.) And that's before a 5G cellular plan to match.

I'll get a loan together, and if that works out, you might see an in-depth review. So check back for more. Or go ahead and get one today. You know how much you want it.

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6 thoughts on “Netgear M6 Pro Mobile Hotspot: Potentially an Excellent Travel Router”

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  1. Do you know if the HPUE support is limited to band 41 or if it also extends to band 14? I was looking into getting a hotspot on Firstnet for use in a lot of marginal areas where this would make a difference.

    Reply
  2. Dong,
    Very few people are taking on the challenges of reviewing 5G CPE routers, it could really use someone – maybe you can be one of the first brave few?

    Example devices:
    https://www.tp-link.com/us/deco-mesh-wifi/product-family/deco-x80-5g/
    https://www.netgear.com/home/wifi/mesh/nbk752/
    etc.

    Just typical WiFi “broadcasters”… with a slot for a SIM card or nano-SIM card… and an integrated 5G modem. Such as the above Netgear M6 Pro – travel sized, as well as ones for the home.

    The scene could use someone like you to really accurately list specifications and test things, it’s really lacking such people right now – or rather, what few there are are on YouTube only. I’d do it myself, but am really lacking the funds to do something like this.

    Please give it more thought!

    Reply
    • As mentioned, I might do a review on the M6 Pro. I also wrote about the Netgear Orbi NBK752. But these routers are the same as any router. In fact, you can use any existing router with a celluar modem via the WAN port or USB port. They have the same Wi-Fi performance as the standard hardware. As for the celluar performance, it’s impossible to “test” since that varies from one place to another.

      Reply
  3. I keep trying to make excuses to not return the Starlink kit I received, maybe this is the straw that breaks the camels back??

    Reply

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