Sunday, January 22, 2012

CradlePoint MBR1000 Review

After my old CradlePoint CTR-350 (reviewed in an earlier blog entry) abruptly stopped working after a few years, I started shopping for a new replacement router that would accept my USB data modem. Since I had a good experience with my CradlePoint CTR-350 (see my review of the CTR-350 *HERE*), I opted to take a look at the CradlePoint line of cellular wireless routers and came across the CradlePoint MBR-1000.

CradlePoint no longer sells the MBR1000 model so I managed to find one at an excellent price. I've been using the CradlePoint MBR-1000 for a few months now and I find that it works very well with both my USB data modems (Novatel Wireless MC950D & Nokia CS-18).

Like the CradlePoint CTR350, the MBR1000 router has the standard configurations that most wireless routers have. It also has a few configurations specific to cellphone carriers as well as some configurations that aren't part of most router configurations that I've seen. One of the features that both cellular routers have which is not cellular specific is it has the ability to scan the wifi channels in the area and use the wifi channel that will offer the least amount of interference. For example, if a nearby router is broadcasting/transmitting using channel 6, the CradlePoint MBR1000 router (as well as my old CTR350) can be configured so that it automatically won't pick the same channel of nearby routers. Using software, I've tested this and it does do this.

In addition, there are 4 ethernet ports on the router that can used by devices that only have an ethernet port and there is an additional 1 ethernet port which can be used for fail-over (internet backup) purposes. One of the features that the MBR1000 router has which the CTR350 doesn't is the ability to load balance between the "land based" internet provider and the cellular provider (or any of the other connections (USB port & Expresscard port for example). There are 2 USB ports on the MBR1000 which can be used to plug USB modems. There is also 1 Expresscard port.

In terms of the signal strength, I find it to be very good (much better than what I was getting with the CTR350). According to the specifications, the router's range is approximately 750 feet (compared with the 200 feet for the CTR350). The router has the standard security settings and supports 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2 and WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK Encryption Protocols. Unlike the CTR350, the MBR1000 also supports the N standard.

I find the cellular router to be very good. It allows me to use my carrier's data network on my various WiFi devices. I'm also not limited to using only 1 connection with my cellular carrier's data network (which was a limitation with the USB cellular data modem). I've tested it with my WiFi Skypephone as well as my PDA and I've connected a few items to it at the same time. According to the specifications for this model, this cellular data router is capable of connecting up to 64 devices to the internet at the same time via WiFi and an "unlimited" number of devices via ethernet connection).

The company also updates their firmware on a regular basis, fixing bugs, adding features, and adding support for more cellular data devices.

Some of the things that I like about this cellular data router:
1) I find the range to be very good.
2) It is easy to configure (or as easy to configure as a regular wireless/wifi router).
3) It is able to change the wireless channel automatically when it powers on.
4) It can be configured to automatically enter your SIM or your device's security PIN.
5) Has some nice (non cellular carrier) features not available/found in regular consumer routers from D-Link, Linksys, etc.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section. 


  1. Were you able to make that Cradlepoint MBR1000 work with your Fido Nokia CS-18? I noticed in another blog entry, that you have Fido - but cradlepoint does not list Fido, only Rogers.


  2. Thank you Steven for reading and taking the time to place your comment/question on my blog.

    Yes, it does work with Fido (and it works very well with Fido).

    CradlePoint mentions the type of internet hardware (in my case it is the Nokia CS-18 and the Novatel Wireless MC950D) that it will support so it doesn't really matter what carrier (Rogers, Fido, Videotron, Bell, Telus, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.) as long as the hardware is EXACTLY the same (i.e. same model number). I believe that they place the carrier hardware in a list under the specific carrier for simplicity reasons.

    It doesn't matter what carrier the hardware is listed for on their list, it only matters that the exact hardware is listed.

  3. Hi lmcjipo. I don't know if you'll have any insights on this. I have a Cradlepoint MBR1000 and like it very much. I used it with a Bell Mobility stick and then later with a Telus Mobility stick. Worked fine with both but I needed a firmware upgrade to recognize the Huawei E182E Telus stick. I've since unlocked the Telus stick and put in a Fido SIM because I got a better data plan with them. The Telus stick - Fido SIM combo works fine connected directly to my laptop, although networking warns it will be a "roaming" connection since Fido actually uses the Rogers network in my area (not an issue, verified with Fido no roaming charges), but it will not work in the MBR1000. The unit recognizes the USB stick but then just hangs there and doesn't achieve a network connection. I'm thinking the unit is not completing the connection because it thinks this is roaming and / or is waiting for some kind of confirmation, but I have not found any override or setting for this in the MBR's software. Any ideas?!

    1. Thank you Tony N for reading and taking the time to place your comment/question on my blog.

      I'm not sure if this is related to the issue that you are currently experiencing but in the "Status", "Device Info", the "Authentication & Security" setting is different depending on whether I have my Nokia CS-18 plugged into my CradlePoint MBR1000 or my Novatel Wireless MC950D plugged into my CradlePoint MBR1000.

      Also, in the Modem menu, do you have listed in Profile 1?

      Those are the 2 things that I remember playing around with in order to get my different USB sticks (Novatel Wireless MC950D & Nokia CS-18) to work properly when plugged into my CradlePoint MBR1000.

      The only other thing to note is that my USB sticks are Fido locked/branded and have a Fido SIM in it so I don't have any "roaming" message on the Rogers network even though Fido subscribers are actually using Rogers network for "free" since Rogers owns Fido.