Sprint's Netgear LTE Gateway Is a Plan B to ISPs

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-08-14 Print this article Print
Sprint Netgear LTE Gateway 6100D

The day I unpacked the Gateway and was setting up the paddles, my husband literally stopped short as he entered the room. "Can you not turn that on until I leave the house, please?" he asked.

His father is a space physicist who works with NASA, and he was raised with maybe overly generous concern about radiation. (From his father, I've learned that one of the dumbest things ordinary people do is stare into the microwave while their food cooks. If you do this, please stop.)

Certainly, Sprint has had the Gateway properly tested, and certainly, all the necessary official bodies have approved it and declared it safe. But as a person who takes seriously the very fine print that comes with smartphones, instructing people not to actually touch them to their heads, having those giant LTE-attracting paddles near to my desk gave me, to say the least, pause.

When I unpacked the Gateway, my first thought was that it looks very much like a first-version design—like that in two years' time it will be one-sixth the size. A later thought was that those antenna paddles, too, are likely to get reconsidered.

Paying for Data

The other major consideration regarding the Gateway is pricing.

The unit itself costs $199, or basically 24 payments of $8.34. (The 24th payment is a few cents less.)

Service plans for the router start at $14.99 a month for 100MB, with overage fees of $0.25 for each additional megabyte, and go up 12GB a month for $79.99. There are also 1GB ($19.99 a month), 3GB ($34.99) and 6GB ($49.99) plans.

Checking Sprint's user portal right now, it says I used 120MB over the last 54 minutes. (I watched a few minutes of videos, sent emails, read some news and clicked through a slide show, but mostly I've been writing this.) Basically, using LTE data for workaday computing adds up, which is the main complaint of reviewers on the Sprint site.

One person, who says the Gateway was purchased to support a roving team of auditors, calls the service speed "fantastic and everything you would expect." While the Gateway can support up to 64 users, this person says 10 people are using it, for a total of about 30 devices. He writes, "We burned through the 45GB in less than 15 days."

Another person said he lives on a farm without access to DSL or cable Internet service, and after attaching an antenna on his roof for the Gateway, has a "great wireless signal throughout the house." But, he added, "We watched a single movie on Netflix, and it ate up 3G of the 6Gs of our monthly plan."

In Summary

The Netgear Gateway isn't a perfect first choice for solid workday use. But if you're low on options, it is certainly something to consider, along with a sufficient data plan.

Better, it's a great option to have as a backup, if your initial Internet service is spotty, or for infrequent use in a remote office.

I suspect Netgear and Sprint will continue to tweak the router, and the data pricing, and that all the wireless carriers will continue to edge in on the cable providers' turf. While the carriers like to talk about "simple choices," in the Internet service provider space, a person can feel grateful for any choice.

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.   


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel